California’s public universities are the best. No, really.

Laer Pearce Author, Crazifornia
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Finally, a survey has shown that through diligence, hard work and unending commitment, California’s universities — Berkeley in particular — are the best in the whole wide world. Unfortunately, it’s for all the wrong reasons. Here’s why:

The University of California, Berkeley, has been crowned top … of the world’s most environmentally friendly higher education institutions.

The “UI Green Metric Ranking of World Universities” is based on several factors, including green space, electricity consumption, waste and water management and eco-sustainability policies.

Based on research and surveys conducted by the Green Metric team at the University of Indonesia on thousands of other universities around the world, the University of California, Berkeley … scored best with a points total of 8,213 and is the greenest campus in terms of its environment policy.

Berkeley may have gotten the title, but the award really goes to the UC Board of Regents and the UC faculty as a whole, because the green policies established at Berkeley are pretty much the same as those of every other UC campus. So it’s fair to say that California has the greenest public institutions of higher education in the world.

Now don’t get me wrong. Green space is great and eco-sustainability policies are as cool as it comes. Whether there’s a looming eco-catastrophe or not (I think it’s “not”), nothing feels better than whipping out that re-usable grocery bag at Safeway. No, the problem with Berkeley’s newfound glory is that it’s the outgrowth of the deeper commitment to deep green brainwashing that goes on at UC campuses. If it weren’t for regents who have bought into environmentalist doctrine, a faculty that’s bought into environmentalist extremism, and a curriculum that ensures wave after wave of freshly minted environmentalist soldiers will graduate every spring and go into battle for Mother Earth, Berkeley would not be at the top of the green university rankings.

Nor would America, for that matter. Of the top ten green universities on the University of Indonesia’s list, seven are from the US. The others are Northwestern (#4), Cornell (#5), Washington University, St. Louis (#7), Georgia Tech (#8), Wisconsin (#9) and North Carolina (#10). We are green from sea to shining sea. The study also shows that environmentalism is the game of wealthy Western countries, as of the rest, only Universiti Putra in Malaysia (#6) made the list — but then, Malaysia’s economy is stronger than that of eleven Western European countries. Of particular note is the list’s second-ranked school: England’s University of Nottingham, which gained fame as the epicenter of the recent global warming email scandal. And Berkeley is even greener than that!

You won’t find a Shanghai or Mumbai Tech on the list — they’re too busy studying how to grow an economy. And you certainly won’t come across a Botswana or a Macedonia U. anywhere in the compilation — they’re too busy trying to find economic sustenance to bother with eco-sustainability. Only countries with money to burn can spend time teaching the upcoming generation that burning money is a bad thing, because it increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Of course, California doesn’t have money to burn, even if has created the greenest university in the world, nor do most of the states that also host the list’s other green universities. No matter. Supporters of what now passes for higher education believe that as long as these universities turn out an endless stream of graduates who are appropriately indoctrinated in environmentalism and other progressive thought for the pipelines that run directly from college campuses to government office buildings, nothing will change.

It’s part of the PEER Axis in California and across America, the phenomenon of progressives, environmentalists, educators and reporters working together to create ongoing support for their policies. Progressives and environmentalists develop the policies and provide the activists, educators feed in studies to support the policies and make sure each class of graduates is sufficiently indoctrinated, and reporters promote the policies and demonize any critics. So, when Berkeley is called the world’s greenest university, what’s really being said is that the university is the best there is at supporting the progressive agenda.

Of course, if there’s one thing we know about the progressive agenda, it’s that it can be counted on to fail in the end. In California, the success of the University of California and the rest of the PEER Axis in converting California from an economic powerhouse into the nation’s greenest state is beginning to unravel their ambitions. With California’s economy reeling from the oppressive blanket of green policies fomented by UC alumni and their peers, Governor Brown has been forced to propose $1.4 billion in cuts to higher education in his FY 2011 budget. If the proposal stands, the resulting tuition increases will mean that for the first time in UC history, students will actually pay more towards their education than will the state’s taxpayers.

That, of course, will cause some students to rage against the machine, but others may actually take away a lesson in sustainability. Those with clear eyes will look around and realize that the system built by their professors and their progressive allies is burning money like China burns coal, and it had better stop or there will be no economy left to hire them when they graduate.

Laer Pearce, a veteran of three decades of California public affairs, is currently working on a book that shows how everything wrong with America comes from California.