Thursday, December 27, 2007

Private college nation's first carbon-neutral campus

* College of the Atlantic has become the nation's first "carbon-neutral" campus
* The private college has 300 students and only one major -- human ecology
* They have offset emissions of 2,488 tons over the past 15 months
* The college is buying carbon offsets through The Climate Trust of Oregon

Friday, December 14, 2007

Another Great TED Talk

Don't miss this 16 minute slideshow by Frans Lanting: A lyrical view of life on Earth.
Nature photographer Frans Lanting narrates The LIFE Project, a collection that tells the story of how our planet evolved.

Sustainable Architecture in Chicago

Don't miss this exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago: open through January 7, 2007

Learn about works in progress in the Chicago area, which emphasize creative approaches that are not only environmentally sound but also aesthetically significant.
This exhibition features environmentally-responsible and ethical approaches to land use, materials, and energy-efficient practices with specific examples of how such ideas are being applied locally.

One of the really interesting projects done by Studio Gang Architects is the "Bird Nest" building at the Ford Environmental Center in Calumet, IL. Using salvaged steel, a basket like mesh on the outside of the building prevents migrating birds from flying into the large glass windows. Almost 100 million birds die annually by crashing into glass. This environmentally sound design includes geothermal heat pumps, earth tubes, a bio mass boiler, wind turbines, and water collection systems.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Juicy Geography's Google Earth Blog

I think we can all get ideas on how to use Google Earth from the lessons at Juicy Geography I personally liked the lesson on "Locating a Wind Farm" which makes use of Google Earth to identify wind energy sites. Part two suggests that students can make use of a wide variety of accessible online data to choose a site for a wind farm. The task includes suggested locations in high resolution detail and a 3D model that can be used to build a virtual wind farm.

The Story of Stuff

The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard is a 20 minute movie teaching about the connections between many environmental and social issues. It promotes the idea of sustainable production and consumption. Keep up with activist efforts at the The Story of Stuff Blog.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Activist Idea

These Come from Trees blog is hoping to save a couple hundred thousand trees per year. Did you know:
Quick Facts about "These Come From Trees"
* Testing shows a "These Come From Trees" sticker on a paper towel dispenser reduces paper towel consumption by ~15%
* A typical fast food restaurant with two bathrooms can use up to 2000 pounds of paper towels a year
* The average coffee shop uses 1000 pounds of paper towels a year
* A single tree produces around 100 pounds of paper
* A single "These Come From Trees" sticker can save around a tree's worth of paper, every year
* Roughly 50,000 fast food restaurants in the US
* 200,00 gas stations in the US
* 14,000 McDonalds' in the US
* There are 10,000 Starbucks in the US
Seems like a simple, but effective activist idea.

Why Can't We Grow New Energy?

If you don't know about TED talks you should. They are usually quite interesting and informative. I've been doing some research for my new Integrated Global Studies School and I ran across this one which seems to intersect with growing the algae for energy.

Juan Enriquez presents the lecture,"Why Can't We Grow New Energy?". He wrote one of my favorite recent books, As the Future Catches You, which I've been especially recommending to all young adults.

Juan Enriquez offers a glimpse of some ground-breaking research to explore the potential of bioenergy. Our current energy sources -- coal, oil, gas -- are ultimately derived from ancient plants -- they're "concentrated sunlight." He asks, Can we learn from that process and accelerate it? Can we get to the point where we grow our own energy as efficiently as we grow wheat?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Focus the Nation

Focus the Nation is coordinating teams of faculty and students at over a thousand colleges, universities and K-12 schools in the United States, to collaboratively engage in a nationwide, interdisciplinary discussion about “Global Warming Solutions for America”.

On January 31, 2008, a national symposia will be held simultaneously at over a thousand campuses, places of worship, businesses, and other venues across the country. On that day, each Focus the Nation team will invite local, state and federal political leaders to come to campus and participate in a non-partisan, round-table discussion of global warming solutions. US Senators and members of congress, state representatives, mayors and city councilors, all will be receiving dozens of invitations to speak about global warming, from over a thousand institutions nation-wide.

Every campus will also vote on their top five national priorities for global warming action, producing a campus-endorsed policy agenda for the 2008 elections. This is an opportunity to catalyze the country, and indeed, “Focus the Nation” around a non-partisan, reasoned, campus-lead discussion of this critical 21st century issue.

Focus the Nation will stream a free, live, interactive webcast called The
2% SOLUTION. Join Stanford University climate scientist, Stephen Schneider, sustainability expert Hunter Lovins and green jobs pioneer Van Jones and youth climate leaders, for a discussion of global warming solutions. Audiences can weigh in with cell phone voting. The goal is 10,000 screenings—and a change in the course of history. Why the title? To hold global warming to the low end of 3-4 degrees F will require cuts in global warming pollution in the developed countries by more than 80% below current levels by 2050. Put another way, we need to cut roughly 2% a year for the next forty years.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Spill Your Green Beans is a video sharing website and a powerful aggregator of green-related media content for anyone and everyone to access on-line. The diverse community of users (people, organizations, and companies) can upload video content, connect with each other to share media, and find the most relevant green-related video content from and the rest of the web.


New Trier Organic Garden