Lots of what sustainability administrators do is administrative/operational. Most of the rest is strategic (as noted previously). But what I've noticed is that what I'm working on -- or at least the level of abstraction that I'm working on -- affects how I communicate with folks. It's not absolutely determinative, but it's a major influence. My alleged mind requires time and effort to shift between the pragmatic and the abstract.
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September 13, 2012
September 10, 2012
After talking to dozens (perhaps hundreds) of sustainability staff on a wide range of campuses, I've come to the conclusion that almost all of them fall into one of two categories: either they're administrators or they're strategists. (OK, that's a gross over-generalization, but when have I let a little thing like that stop me?)
September 6, 2012
Last week I wrote about a table of figures I find highly interesting, and earlier this week I found a way to publish the table itself. At first glance, the numbers bring into question the almost universally supposed efficiency of modern agricultural practices and -- especially for those of us with active imaginations -- perhaps the supposed efficiency of modern industrial methods in general.
September 4, 2012
Due to technical difficulties beyond my control, my previous post about a table of energy inputs and outputs for various forms of food production contained description and discussion, but not the table itself. If you're reading this, those difficulties have been resolved.
August 30, 2012
. . . is small and visually unimpressive. At the moment, it's in my living room. On an end table beside my favorite chair. It's table 3.1 in Chapter 3 of Ecological Economics: An Introduction by Michael Common and Sigrid Stagl. (It's written as a college-level textbook. Greenback's library didn't have it, but the Backboro public library did. Go figure.)
August 27, 2012
Yesterday, I posed (and pointed to an answer for) the question I've used to stop many an economist dead in his/her tracks. But I shouldn't pick on economists (at least not on this count). Most people in most professional concentrations are readily stymied if asked to justify or explain what they do in terms of first principles. Sustainability folk are no different. Ask "what's sustainability for?" or some variant thereon. Then prepare to ignore a certain amount of stammering and nervous weight-shifting.
August 26, 2012
When students arrive on campus (as they are currently), it's impossible to know where each is eventually headed. Some will go into the arts (although most won't). Some will go into politics (ditto). Many will to into business or the professions, although more won't. But the one thing of which we can be sure is that each student -- whether (s)he graduates or not, regardless of major or degree -- will become part of the economy.
August 21, 2012
Over the weekend, my watch strap broke. So on Monday, on the way home from campus, I went to the store to get a replacement. More precisely, I went to the stores.
August 15, 2012
OK, this is just a little thing. But sometimes, good thinks come in small packages.
August 14, 2012
It made the news here, but not for long -- ten percent of the world's population lost electric power in a single event.