Second Nature

Founding Year: 1993


Budget: ~$1.7M (2018)

Timothy Carter (President)

A national non-profit that is committed to accelerate climate action in, and through, higher education and has worked with over 4,000 faculty and administrators at more than 600 colleges and universities. It was founded by Dr. Anthony D. Cortese, Senator John F. Kerry (D-MA), Teresa Heinz Kerry, Bruce Droste, and others to push “innovative solutions among leadership networks in higher education so that students would be prepared to be of the character to value citizenship as well as commerce… We envision humanity thriving through healthy, just, and sustainable living within a dynamically changing earth system. We see higher education playing a prominent leadership role in shaping research, learning, and communities that inspire and operationalize this positive future.”


  • Enhance, leverage, and mature the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, currently involving 680+ schools
  • Designing and supporting complementary commitments of carbon neutrality and resilience, which encourages holistic climate leadership
  • Catalyze collaborative partnerships across institutions and sectors
  • Communicate shared and consistent messages through a variety of media
  • Create cross-sector sustainability data and information exchange.


  • The American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (institutional commitments to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions from specified campus operations, and to promote the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth’s climate);
  • Campus Sustainability Day (an annual celebration of sustainability in higher education that recognizes the achievements of, and challenges for, the tens of thousands of students, faculty, and staff working to instill sustainability principles in their institutions and surrounding communities)
  • Capacity Building (with significant focus on minority-serving institutions);
  • Higher Education & Climate Resilience (tailored resources for higher education on climate impacts, tools or examples for resilience implementation, and clear guidelines and analysis for the most usable and responsible approaches.) Many publications including a white paper series (e.g., “Climate Change: Investment Risks and Opportunities for Higher Education”), links to the U.S. National Climate Assessment, a monthly newsletter, and a couple of hundred blog posts.


  • UC3 Coalition – The University Climate Change Coalition, or UC3, is a bold new coalition of leading North American research universities that will prototype a collaborative model designed to help local communities achieve their climate goals and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future.
  • We Are Still In Coalition – Over 1,000 governors, mayors, businesses, investors, and colleges, representing the broadest cross-section of the American economy yet assembled in pursuit of climate action, declared their intent to continue to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing carbon emissions.
  • Carbon Pricing Toolkit
  • Colleges and universities are important leaders in preventing the worst impacts of climate change. This toolkit provides recommendations, examples, and tools to guide schools through the process of exploring, designing, and implementing a carbon price on campus.
  • C2P2 – The Carbon Credit and Purchasing Program (C2P2) is an initiative to support colleges and universities in developing and marketing carbon offsets as a way to accelerate their progress towards campus carbon neutrality.
  • CRUX – Climate Resilience in Urban Campuses + Communities (CRUX) is a cohort of six campuses sharing learning with the Climate Leadership Network to accelerate resilience progress across the country.



Second Nature contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals

  Organization Type

  Geographic Foci


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