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.
When I started my new part-time research job at the university early this fall, they got me a new computer. It’s a laptop, and I love it. I have hobbled along on an old dinosaur for years, because as the miser I am, I could not justify buying a new one (especially with just one salary for the family). I now realize how wonderful it is to have access to fast internet and an updated computer – it makes everything so much easier! How quickly the computer world changes, and how easy it is to lose track of new technology.
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:
Okay, I'm a little late to this party, but there's been a fascinating exchange in blogland between Tenured Radical and Dr. Crazy. Both addressed the ways that budget issues are being discussed at their respective colleges.
I keep a Word document open on my desktop most of the time. It says "IHE blog ideas," and it's a collection of links and phrases that should spark something for a blog entry. This week I notice that I haven't updated it in a while; I don't think anyone's still really interested in Sarah Palin and working mothers, for example, and several of the other links are to articles published a month or more ago, articles (therefore) that I can't really remember.
“’Tis most true, [many have an incurable itch to write]…in this scribbling age,” Robert Burton wrote nearly 400 years before the blog. “[O]ut of an itching humor that every man hath to show himself, desirous of fame and honor…he will write no matter what and scrape together it boots not whence.”
is for grant-funded positions. But hiring for grant-funded positions is different than regular hiring.Grant-funded positions exist in a parallel universe to the rest of the college. Since they come with their own funding lines, they're immune to hiring freezes and even layoffs. As long as the grantors keep supporting the positions, we can keep hiring (and/or replacing) as needed.
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.