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US Colleges’ Obsession With ‘Sustainability’ Is Unsustainable

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Editorial, Investor's Business Daily

The sustainability movement on college campuses across the country is not merely the work of a bunch of wacky students doing the harmless things that kids grow out of. It “distorts college curricula and cuts off free inquiry on important questions,” said a new study from the National Association of Scholars.

Sustainability: Higher Education’s New Fundamentalism begins with the explanation, ” ‘Sustainability’ is a key idea on college campuses in the United States and the rest of the Western world.”

And while it might seem like “just a new name for environmentalism,” it “really marks out a new and larger ideological territory in which curtailing economic, political and intellectual liberty is the price that must be paid now to ensure the welfare of future generations.”

The report’s authors uncover some interesting nuggets:

• Rather than disciplining their students — and steering them back to the education that they have strayed from and that their parents are paying for — college administrators are complicit in the movement. As many as 685 institutions have signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment , which recognizes “the need to reduce the global emission of greenhouse gases by 80% by mid-century at the latest.”

• U.S. students can earn credentials in sustainability in 1,438 distinct college programs. Sometimes certificates are issued, but doctoral degrees are also available.

• Sustainability has even been integrated into English composition, mathematics and psychology curricula.

• And it is costly. The report estimates that U.S. colleges and universities spend more than $3 billion a year on sustainability-related programs and initiatives.

American institutes of higher learning were once just that — establishments that furthered the education of our young people. But now they have become palaces of absurdity, seats of fevered activism, incubators of left-wing causes.

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