Higher Education Webinars

Getting to Green

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

December 27, 2008 - 5:56am
I'm not sure when or why December 26 became Boxing Day but it always has been, at least in my experience. It's always been the day we gave presents to the postal carrier, and the newspaper delivery person, and tradespeople whom the family frequented and depended upon. Nothing like the presents key people in the auto trade or the financial services trade gave themselves, of course, but tokens of appreciation nonetheless. This Boxing Day, though, I was struck by the juxtaposition of two logically unrelated bits of information.
December 22, 2008 - 7:39am
A recent "Grand Avenue" cartoon shows a grandmother and two kids standing in front of a store window. One kid says, "Look, it's 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' DVD!" Grandma says, "Yes, it's about the over-commercialization of Christmas." The other kid says, " Cool! Let's buy it!"
December 19, 2008 - 7:29pm
I recently started getting daily environmental digests from ScienceDaily. Each newsletter has more items in it than I have time to read, but those I've checked out have been interesting, informative, and well sourced. Two items in this morning's update combined to reshape my understanding of anthropogenic climate change.
December 18, 2008 - 2:48pm
Elizabeth Coffman posted a nice discussion on the guilt(s) associated with bicoastal marriages involving children. The "mommy guilt" and also the "carbon guilt". She's dealing with the latter, at least in part, by participating in a biodiesel generation and utilization project where she teaches (kudos, Elizabeth). But for the former, distraction seems to be the least-bad available option.
December 17, 2008 - 4:52pm
The various tasks that fall to me as Greenback U's sustainability administrator bring me into contact with an increasingly broad range of folks across campus. To start with, completing our greenhouse gas inventory caused me to contact offices and individuals who had (and in some cases, didn't have) useful bases of data (not necessarily in electronic form) about energy consumed on campus.
December 16, 2008 - 4:39pm
When it comes to reducing campus greenhouse gas emissions, some of the best-intentioned changes have poor results. 'Getting sustainable' requires more than just good intentions and a grasp of the intuitively obvious; it requires systemic analysis. Two cases in point:
December 14, 2008 - 7:06pm
When I was a lad, I read a piece in a magazine, a book, I don't remember where. It talked about how small inputs at points of great leverage could overwhelm much larger efforts. Actually, it talked about how, if you grasp a broom by the corn-straw end and try to guide the tip of the broomstick into the opening of an empty jar, it's easy to do. Unless someone standing near the jar decides to stop you -- which they can easily do using only a single finger.
December 12, 2008 - 2:33pm
Three recent events of which to take note. Each of them signals a step in the right direction, so be not discouraged if the pace seems yet inadequate.
December 10, 2008 - 5:49pm
The sustainability crisis, the economic crisis, the fact that the US Chamber of Commerce (among other bad actors) is trying to sell the only political leadership we've got on the idea that the economic crisis means that we shouldn't have to deal with the sustainabilty crisis (when just the opposite is more like the truth) ... all of these are indicators of just how deeply systemic our real problems are, and how much we need to reinvent our systems and our paradigms to get out of the mess we're in.
December 9, 2008 - 9:30am
As the title implies, this is reading for everybody. I don't care whether you're concerned about issues of sustainability, national security, economic prosperity or the fiasco which is the Bowl Championship Series. You need to read this. Everybody you know needs to read this. Everybody they know needs to read this.

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