OK, so it's not particularly related to higher ed, but I have to remark on the White House's belated release of a report to the effect that global warming is real, and human activity is substantially responsible. There are no news-worthy facts or conclusions in it, but this isn't an administration that reaches conclusions based on facts, nor that is comfortable with the idea of "news" as separate from propaganda.
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May 31, 2008
May 30, 2008
Solving the sustainability problem is going to require using new technologies, in the broadest sense of that term. ("Technology" simply being the method by which you do something -- high-tech, low-tech or otherwise.) Over the next few decades, advanced societies will need to go through another major technology shift.
May 29, 2008
This morning's newspaper features an Associated Press article about a Brookings Institution ranking of the 100 largest US cities, based on per capita carbon emissions. The worst of the bunch is said to be Lexington, KY, with 3.46 tons per person as of 2005. My first reaction was total dismay. The article, the headline, and the accompanying chart all use the term "carbon footprint", and if we could get the average carbon footprint per US citizen down to 3.46 tons, we'd be in pretty good shape. The actual carbon footprint for an average US resident is on the order of 20 tons.
May 27, 2008
Over the three-day weekend, I managed to do a little reading. One of the magazines that I actually pay money to receive (as opposed to all the campus-administration-related rags I get at the office for free) is NewScientist. It's not "new" in the sense of "new age", the magazine's on volume 198. (Of course, it's published in the UK, and it's newer than the New Forest, so I guess everything's relative.)
May 23, 2008
OK, so I've got the numbers. We've completed Greenback's greenhouse gas inventory for academic years 2001 - 2007. The report goes out to various groups and bodies on campus next month. There aren't any huge surprises in it (one medium-sized one, which we'll discuss later). Running the buildings on campus is the biggest energy hog/CO2 emitter (by a lot), with transportation second. Other sources of emissions are trivial, by comparison.
May 20, 2008
This interactive map showing current (not projected) global warming impact requires that you have Google Earth installed, but you probably have that, already. Not particularly higher-ed related, but definitely worth checking out.
May 19, 2008
Today's issue leads with a story about how some community colleges are going to four-day schedules (MW/TTh classes only) to help students avoid commuting costs. When I first read it, my first inclination was to take an unearned victory lap.
May 17, 2008
Under the terms of the ACUPCC, Greenback University's greenhouse gas inventory is due in September. The heavy lifting is now done -- we have the numbers in hand. We have reasonable estimates of Greenback's emissions from building operations -- HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning), electric, etc.; operation of the campus fleet; commuting by students, staff and faculty; and GU-paid air travel. Also a couple of other activities, but those are the big ones.
May 15, 2008
It's probably just my northeastern liberal elitist upbringing, but when I think of colleges and universities that "get it" on the subject of sustainability, I think first of Oberlin, Middlebury, Harvard, Tufts, maybe Penn or Penn State. Half a beat later, the UCal system (like, what list are they not on?) and The Evergreen State College (gotta love that name, and there's a lot more under the surface) come to mind. But, truth be told, massive multiversity campuses in hydrologically challenging locations don't generally come to mind.
May 12, 2008
Back over Xmas/New Year's, my daughter introduced me to Dracula's Riddle, which took me about a month's worth of spare time to solve. Chat fora spring up around such inventive timewasters, and I consulted a couple of them in the process.