Climate Action to be taken at Pepperdine University

Climate Action to be taken at Pepperdine University

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Petition to
Pepperdine University Pepperdine Center for Sustainability and

Why this petition matters

We, the signatories, strongly urge Pepperdine University to make efforts towards prioritizing sustainability and climate change mitigation/adaptation on campus. We are prepared to consider withholding our donations as alumni until significant changes are implemented. 


Anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change is arguably the most prevalent and critical issue our world is facing. The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 2.12℉ (1.18℃) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by human industrialization which releases massive amounts of greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere. Rising sea levels, intensified natural disasters, and warming temperatures are impacting the planet and its people like never before and we, as Christians and members of the human race, have an obligation to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. (


Pepperdine University’s mission statement says that we are committed to “strengthening lives for purpose, service, and leadership” through a Christian perspective. This mission statement calls Pepperdine to actively work to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. 

The first aspect of Pepperdine’s mission statement says that we strive to live a life of purpose. Being Christians, one of our purposes is to serve God in all that we do, and that includes how we treat His creation. In Genesis, God gives humans “dominion,” or responsibility, over his creation, and by doing so, gives humans the purpose of protecting and caring for it. Being in a developed world nation, there is no doubt that Pepperdine’s actions are actively impacting the world both now and in the future.  

The second aspect of Pepperdine’s mission statement, service, is core to our identity as people of God. As the climate changes, marginalized communities are disproportionately impacted by the devastating effects of climate change and, as a Christian university, Pepperdine should seek to glorify God by serving especially these communities.

The third aspect of our mission statement calls for us to be leaders in society. Being Christian leaders in today’s world demands that we address the consequences of climate change because God’s creation, which we are called to protect, is being destroyed. We need to acknowledge that our disregard of anthropogenic climate change is irreparably harming our world now and will continue to cause harm in the future. Being Christian leaders in the face of climate change means leading by example, changing our own behavior and educating and inspiring others to do the same.


There are a multitude of ways we can acknowledge anthropogenic climate change and act on this issue. Listed below are some actions we would like to see taken on campus. Potential actions that can be taken are in no way limited to this list. However, these are viable examples that we believe can, and should, be implemented on our campus. 

-A public statement on climate change: Anthropogenic climate change is undeniably happening. We cannot deny the scientific evidence anymore. A statement on Pepperdine’s website acknowledging the threat of climate change and our commitment to taking action is a crucial first step in changing our actions. There have been numerous universities, including but not limited to USC, LMU, Gonzaga, Vanderbilt, and more, who have made public statements regarding climate change and their commitment to taking sustainable action.

-Perform a carbon audit of our institution: Understanding our current impact in regards to carbon emissions is an important step in taking action and providing the public with transparency of our environmental impacts.There are multiple organizations, such as Climate Stewards, who can perform a carbon audit of our campus. 

-Divesting from fossil fuels: The fossil fuel industry perpetuates climate change by releasing greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Pepperdine has declined to provide information on their investments, thus announcing their participation in the fossil fuel industry. Information on how the university should address these issues is linked here.

-An emphasis on sustainability in Pepperdine’s International Programs: 1) Mandatory purchase of carbon offsets for the flights taken by IP participants: Air travel is one of the most carbon intensive forms of transportation with flights producing 915 million tonnes of CO2 in 2019. Use the organization Climate Stewards, a Christian organization, to purchase carbon offsets. They invest in projects that limit the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted which “offsets” our carbon footprint. 2) Mandatory education of sustainability before student departure: There is currently an online module in the orientation regarding climate change and sustainability. There needs to be an even larger emphasis on sustainability and the impact that our travels have on the environment and the countries we are visiting. Professors and experts in the field of sustainability need to be included in this education plan.

-Work with professors and experts in this field on sustainability issues: There are many capable professors who are experts on the topics of sustainability. These professors must be included in the discussions surrounding sustainability on campus in order to ensure that appropriate actions are taken. 

-Make climate change and sustainability education a priority in our curriculum: A specific creation care GE/a food or agricultural GE; or the theme/topic being talked about within other GE classes. Integrate sustainability with classes/minors (ex. non profit minor - focusing on climate driven organizations)


Pepperdine University’s mission statement and identity as a Christian university in a developed nation, calls us to acknowledge and act on the issues of climate change. Taking action, such as the ones listed above, is a necessary step in mitigating and adapting to anthropogenic climate change. 

218 have signed. Let’s get to 500!