I may be the only person in Backboro who likes Limburger. (Maybe not, of course. It's unlikely that the local grocery stocks it just for me, but for sure there's aren't very many of us around here.) Smelly. Very smelly. But a lovely flavor, and you get used to the aroma after a couple of decades.
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December 17, 2012
December 13, 2012
For years, I've used the metaphor of lifestyle diseases -- obesity, diabetes, heart disease -- to help students understand that seemingly desirable behaviors, when taken to excess, can lead to negative and entirely unintended consequences. Eat too much, enjoy too much leisure, degrade a system -- your body -- that evolved to prosper under circumstances of scarce food and regular exertion. As a metaphor, it's served to help students understand that seemingly desirable social behaviors like production, consumption and energy (particularly, fossil energy) utilization can degrade a climate system that served humanity well under circumstances of minimal resource utilization and long-term carbon (coal, oil) sequestration.
December 6, 2012
I happened to watch an old movie last night. Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. 1948. Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, Melvyn Douglass. A gentle comedy about a (generally) gentle man acting rashly, getting in over his head, coming out of it OK (because, after all, it's a Hollywood production).
November 28, 2012
OK, so I've been in a bit of a funk lately. And my favorite Christmas decoration is the "Bah, humbug!" button my dame gave me years ago. But I can still enjoy the occasional Christmas-related news item, especially if it has a sustainability twist to it. Like this one does.
November 27, 2012
When I get off Greenback's campus and into the surrounding community of Backboro, I often work with local government and grassroots organizations concerned with sustainability. The government groups, of course, are constituted within (and so inherently committed to) prevailing structures of governance.
November 18, 2012
Let's be honest. Almost any color, when paired with white, makes an endurable combination. But in the never-ending quest for uniqueness in branding, some school teams sport color combinations only a colorblind alum could love.
November 15, 2012
If you listen to the news coming out of New York and New Jersey these days, water is still on everybody's mind. Not water per se, perhaps. But certainly the long-lived impacts of water having been where no one particularly planned it to be. Places like tunnels and electrical substations and the first floors of houses. It seems that water is becoming an image, synecdochetic perhaps, for nature or the environment or the planet as a whole.
November 14, 2012
Sometimes, when I try to get my mind around what it will take to make Greenback (or, indeed, any college or university) an exemplar of sustainability, I gets overwhelmed. It's still necessary, because if we don't know what we're trying to achieve then we can't tell whether we're making progress or not. And simplistic, one-dimensional goals can be worse than no goal at all.
November 5, 2012
Last Monday, Hurricane Sandy was still being spoken of in the mainstream media as a threat to the East Coast. By late Tuesday, the vocabulary had changed -- Sandy was a "super-storm", flooding was pervasive and (for too many) fatal, and climate change was here and now. Denialists may not have changed their tunes all that much, but (at least in my perception) the tide (sorry about that, folks) of public climate discourse in North America had turned. The operative phrase seemed to be "new normal". Nobody who used it was smiling.
October 25, 2012
At one of the lunches provided at last week's AASHE conference, I was involved in a conversation with an opposite number from another campus when -- from across a crowded room -- I had a flash of insight. Or I caught a flash of something and formed an insight. Probably 5 or 6 years after it should have occurred to me anyway.