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.

November 15, 2008 - 7:17pm
Over the last year or so I've gone to 1 or 2 conferences, taken 1 or 2 training classes, visited a number of campuses outside the Backboro metropolitan area. Traveling always presents me with a quandary -- do I really need to go? if I really need to go, what's the most ecologically responsible way to get there? is being ecologically responsible worth the hassle?
November 13, 2008 - 1:27pm
So if the title is "Tuesday", why am I posting this on a Thursday? Simple -- when the conference ended late Tuesday afternoon, I rode/drove back to Backboro, arriving in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. As a result, I was wiped out yesterday. And when I'm wiped out, I can hardly read, much less write.
November 10, 2008 - 9:52pm
It doesn't make sense. Fourteen hours of mostly sitting around shouldn't leave me more tired (and certainly more stiff) than fourteen hours of farmwork, but it does. Or it has. Because I am.Still, it was a day generally well spent. Bookends of problem perception surrounding useful insights into solutions.The opening bookend was Van Jones. Inspirational and celebratory, but with a hands-on, pragmatic perspective. Three underlying problems:
November 9, 2008 - 8:22pm
To save gas, money and GHG emissions, a number of us from the Backboro area shared a ride to AASHE 2008. Specific jobs differed, but everyone was concerned in some way with campus sustainability. That's why it struck me as odd when, while we were driving through a particularly commercially dense portion of Virginia (I-95, a bit south of Washington DC), someone in the car remarked on how much they'd love to live in an area like that. You know, with any store you wanted, so you could just go out and buy what you needed.
November 7, 2008 - 11:19am
Greenback U is located in the northeastern quadrant of the lower 48. Raleigh, NC is in the southeast quadrant. And Raleigh is where this year's AASHE conference is taking place, so I guess it's not just the Dow that's headed south.It will be a pretty full schedule -- pre-conference workshops on Sunday, opening plenaries Sunday evening, sessions from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. on Monday, then again from 8:00 a.m. until about 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday. I'm already looking forward to getting back to work, so I can get some rest!
November 6, 2008 - 2:39pm
Lost among the stories about the ongoing election, NPR's "Day to Day" program on Tuesday carried a bit about a really interesting fungus, recently discovered. The discoverer, Dr. Gary Strobel of Montana State, described the organism as an endophyte -- an entity that lives within plants -- and its most interesting property (at least to my ears) as the fact that it puts out a liquid which is directly usable as a fully satisfactory diesel fuel.
November 5, 2008 - 12:34pm
Officially, it's not yet over. Effectively, it ended past my bedtime. But even at the relatively early hour that a farmer retires, the outcome was obvious. Obama might only take a modest majority of the popular vote, but the electoral count was going to be pretty one-sided.This morning, my good half told me about the speeches I'd missed. I went online and watched them. Each candidate, to my eyes and ears, gave the best speech of his campaign. (My wife said that if McCain had campaigned in the same tone as he conceded, he'd have won the election. She could be right.)
October 31, 2008 - 5:21pm
One of the issues which often raises its head when I speak about sustainability to local groups -- both on the Greenback campus and in the community of Backboro -- is best phrased as "we can't afford to be sustainable." To my mind, "I can't afford it" is, like "I didn't have time", a less confrontational way of saying "it wasn't important enough to me." That being the case, I try to address the objection strategically, not directly. Not "spend the money, dammit!', but "here's why we need to find a way to make it affordable".
October 30, 2008 - 3:18pm
Doing a greenhouse gas inventory for a college or university involves crunching a lot of numbers. Activities which generate emissions, factors for calculating the emissions generated, forcings to translate other gases into CO2 based on global warming effect, lots of stuff. The tool Greenback used to prepare its baseline inventory was the defacto standard of such things -- Clear Air - Cool Planet's Campus Carbon Calculator.
October 29, 2008 - 8:19am
First, the bad news. (And I guess the bad news could be good news, if you look at it a little bit sideways.) The bad news is that the green movement is now spawning Kitty Kelly-style exposes with a definite Ann Coulter twist.

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