Getting to Green

Getting to Green

An administrator pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium.

May 31, 2009 - 2:52pm
Climate change is killing people. By the hundreds of thousands. Right now. That's one of the conclusions of an analysis conducted by the Global Humanitarian Forum, a think tank founded by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, as reported in The Guardian. Other conclusions include that:
May 28, 2009 - 8:32pm
You know, it's kind of fun blogging about higher education and sustainability. Fun in that it gives me an opportunity to play against some of the basic assumptions and contradictions of society. Elizabeth Redden's recent article wasn't at all about that (Elizabeth is smarter and more conscientious than I'll ever be), but a comment on her article kind of put it into focus for me.
May 27, 2009 - 8:06pm
I thought I was done with commencements for about a year, when someone sent me a link to the address Paul Hawken gave at the University of Portland. Paul's an environmentalist, an entrepreneur, and author and -- apparently -- quite the platform speaker. Think of him as Jim Kirk meets James Hansen, and you won't be far wrong.
May 26, 2009 - 8:06pm
Although it's only tangentially related to the topic of sustainability (and even that only if your mind runs in the same twisted circles (Moebius strips?) that mine does), I want to start by recommending to all and sundry the best TV series you (probably) never heard of. Slings & Arrows was produced for Canadian television, and tells of three seasons/productions at a disfunctional Shakespearean theater (theatre) company. Hamlet, Macbeth, Lear, and the offstage action is also well-written.
May 22, 2009 - 4:22pm
Events like commencements tend to connect me to family members I haven't seen in a while. In this case, an older woman, widowed, whose politics I'll describe as "Eisenhower Republican, Reagan Republican, but by no means Sarah Palin Republican".
May 19, 2009 - 8:34pm
To attend a commencement last weekend, I had to travel overnight. Two related observations stick in my mind, although I haven't entirely figured out how to address the information they offer.
May 17, 2009 - 4:12pm
I attended another commencement this weekend. After the ceremony, I was chatting with one of the graduates. The subject of academic gowns came up, and I was surprised to learn that the students had been required to purchase their own bachelor's costumes. No rentals. No options. Not wearing a gown? Don't bother to show up.
May 15, 2009 - 12:17pm
In discussions with sustainability folk on other campuses, one question that often comes up is "what are you guys doing about curriculum?" That is, how each school is addressing the part of the Presidents Climate Commitment which requires schools to make climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum and other educational experience for all students.
May 13, 2009 - 8:14pm
There are two trends sweeping society which bother me no end. One is for otherwise estimable publications (I've counted six, to date) to print "lead" as the past tense of the verb "to lead" (as in "... by the nose"). The other is for colleges to magically transform themselves into universities.
May 11, 2009 - 8:36am
As a parent, teacher and Greenback University staff member, I get to attend multiple commencement ceremonies each spring. I glory in what commencement celebrates, I share in the elation of the graduates as they rise and march out full of pride and potential, and I dread the two hours (sometimes more) of agonizing boredom in a folding chair that is the passive participant's lot. And in the category of "passive participants" I include most of the graduates; the commencements when I sat among the students weren't any better, as I recall.

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