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.

September 11, 2008 - 3:02pm
Much of my life, this week, is focused on finalizing Greenback U's greenhouse gas inventory as it's going to be reported under the terms of the Presidents Climate Commitment. Not the numbers themselves -- those were pretty much set in stone (barring late discovery of outright error) back in the spring. Rather, I'm finalizing the "narrative" which will get submitted along with the numbers -- what's important, how it was calculated, what it means.
September 9, 2008 - 2:21pm
Another campus sustainability competition is underway, and this one has a video feed.
September 7, 2008 - 2:47pm
A bunch of academics, supported by an editorial staff based at Boston U, have put together the Encyclopedia of Earth. The site describes itself as "everything earth, articles by experts, ever expanding" and, based on an admittedly cursory investigation, that description seems apt. Rather than staking out anything that could be characterized as a position on either extreme, EoE provides well-reasoned, well-sourced data and analysis on a wide range of topics relating to the only planet we've got.
September 5, 2008 - 4:02pm
So, I'm in the process of submitting Greenback's baseline greenhouse gas inventory, as called for under the ACUPCC. AASHE has supplied an online tool to use in filing the reports for academic years 2001 through 2007, and it's pretty straight forward. Even if your school hasn't (yet) signed the PCC, you can use the same link to see the publicly available reports filed by the schools which have.
September 3, 2008 - 4:08pm
So ... "climate disruption", you say? I think I like it! Meanwhile ...
August 28, 2008 - 5:33pm
For some time now, I've been uncomfortable with the term "global warming". Not that it's in any way inaccurate, just that the term "warming" doesn't sound particularly threatening. At least, not around here. After all, my grandfather used to say that we got two seasons -- July and winter. "Warming" can sound a lot like a good thing.
August 27, 2008 - 4:21pm
A recent article by Bryan Walsh in Time Magazine reports the National Wildlife Federation's conclusion that, while campus operations have gotten considerably greener since the turn of the century, the sustainability content of the curriculum hasn't increased one iota. (Check out the original NWF report here.)
August 26, 2008 - 1:08pm
It's easy to get wrapped around the details. And being a campus sustainability analyst/auditor/planner/provocateur means dealing with a lot of details, many of which don't come out quite the way I'd hoped. So, it's nice to be able to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. (Often a good idea, unless you're working on a scaffold.)
August 25, 2008 - 10:15pm
OK, so it's badly written, and the key section (at least from my perspective) is entirely ungrammatical, but McPaper recently published an important article about "thinking green". It seems like the American Psychological Association has determined that (1) being outside can make us happy, (2) being made to feel guilty can drive us into denial, and (3) we're even more likely to go into denial if an "authority" says it's OK to do so.
August 20, 2008 - 7:37pm
When I think about information, I usually think about it at rest. Kind of like, when I think about water, the image of a lake or an ocean pops into mind before the image of a river. Maybe that's largely a function of where I've lived, but it's also about how many of us on the wonky side learn and think -- combining and recombining bits of data from various sources, trying to form a comprehensive understanding. "Information", then, is the material of which a stable (if only temporarily) understanding is formed.

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