Environment

Recyclemania Feels So Good

This year marks the eighth year Tufts Recycles has participated in RecycleMania, an eight week long competition among colleges and universities to see who can reduce their waste the most. This year, the Tufts Eco-Reps have stepped their game up with a catchy recycle-themed parody.

Check it out below and remember: you can recycle your daily Tufts Daily, plastic take out containers, paper cups and their plastic lids, juice and cardboard boxes, yogurt containers and more!

RecycleMania at Tufts from Arshiya Goel on Vimeo.

For more information on participating in Recyclemania, check out Tufts Recycles’ Facebook event and their tips for winning the competition.

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TuftsRecycles! Sends Shoes to Africa

Last semester, the TuftsRecyles! Team put a recycling bin for shoes in the Tisch Sports Center. The project was a partnership with Rerun Shoes, a full-service footwear recycling company, that aims to remove usable shoes from waste lots in North America while supporting sustainable microbusinesses in the African Tropics.

TuftsRecycles! recently updated their blog announcing that the are sending their first full box of shoes to secondhand shoe vendors in Mali, Guinea and Liberia. Check out the photo below and visit their blog for more details.

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Colony Collapse Disorder in Environmental Preservation and Improvement

This semester Will Russack, A14, enrolled in the “Environmental Preservation and Improvement” course taught by Associate Professor George Ellmore. The course’s goal is to “energize students’ desire to work for positive and measurable environmental change” by highlighting solutions to current environmental problems.

Little did Russack know, the two-and-a-half hour environmental studies seminar would inspire him to write a series of posts on his personal blog on the topics discussed in class. He writes: “So far I’m really enjoying the class because every week I come away with a plethora of knowledge about a new topic and the confidence to talk about it.”

One of those topics was “colony collapse disorder,” the phenomenon of the sudden disappearance of honey bees in the United States:

“We investigated the potential for multiple factors to be working together to create these massive die-offs, as the research has been unable to find a clear culprit. The first factor discussed is the usage of systemic pesticides. Systemic pesticides spread throughout all the tissues of a plant, including the nectar and pollen. This means that adult forager bees are receiving direct exposure to the pesticides, and that entire colonies are experiencing indirect exposure when the foragers return. Systemic pesticides are known as neonicotinoids, which have been shown to have significant effects on the central nervous system.

A study by Pettis et al. demonstrated that honey bees exposed to a systemic pesticide known as imidacloprid were significantly more susceptible to infection from the gut pathogen Nosema (figure 1). A second study by Henry et al. showed that exposure to systemic pesticides decreased foraging success in honey bees. The bees were fitted with radar tagging devices to track their position (figure 2). The bees experienced significant“homing failure,”  with up to 31% of bees exposed to pesticides unable to find their way back to hive after foraging. Mortality due to homing failure was even higher when the bees were unfamiliar with their foraging area, as one would expect. Here we can see how just 1 factor, pesticides, is able to have multiple effects on bee health and how these factors could interact to weaken colonies.”

For more on Russack’s presentation, check out his blog post.

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Tufts Climate Justice

“Telling the Climate Justice Story,” a class that bills itself as “revolutionary,” will be offered for the first time this spring. The team-taught, interdisciplinary course in the departments of Environmental Studies and Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, will focus on the complex issues surrounding climate change, and the political, social, economic, and scientific challenges it poses. Students will participate in model negotiations, and will be asked to use cutting-edge media to convey climate justice narratives.

For an introduction to the course, watch the video below:

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Friedman’s Urban Garden

Tufts’ Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy is located in the heart of downtown Boston, but its urban location hasn’t deterred a handful of ambitious students from starting an outdoor garden.

The Friedman Garden was started in 2009, and Friedman students, staff, faculty, and community members alike are invited to help cultivate organic produce year round. All food grown in the garden is available for students to enjoy and oftentimes the fresh produce will be served at school-wide functions or potlucks. Student volunteers also help run educational after-school programs with the nearby Quincy School.

Check out these photos from The Friedman Sprout, the school’s student-run newspaper:

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Tufts Eco-Reps: “Shorter Showers Save Lives”

The Tufts Eco-Reps, a group of students who work to promote environmental sustainability around campus, have released a humorous video about the benefits of taking short showers. Of course, short showers help conserve water. The Eco-Reps take this idea one step further, though, by poking fun at all the things you might miss if you’re wasting so much time in the shower each day. Check out the video below:

 

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Farmers’ Market

Every Wednesday until October 10, staff, students, faculty and friends can stock up on local, fresh produce right on campus.

Tufts Dining‘s third annual farmers’ market works in collaboration with the Friedman School’s New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (NESFP), which helps those with limited resources farm in Massachusetts. The market also partners with the United Teen Equality Center of Lowell (UTEC), an organization that works with underprivileged youth in Lowell. UTEC is also the source of the much-loved Magic Cookie Bars on campus – you just might find them at the next market!

Tufts Farmers’ Market

Where: Campus Center Lower Patio

When: Every Wednesday until October 10, from 11:30am – 1:30pm

Why: Get delicious, nutritious, and fresh locally-grown vegetables and fruit on campus, while also supporting local farmers and teens

 

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Green Trips for All!

Thanks to Tufts Recycles!, anyone can decrease (or completely remove) their environmental footprint while on the road. Basing their tips from the movie YERT: Your Environmental Road Trip, Christopher Ghanny, A15, drops some knowledge on sustainable traveling. From basics like using your own dishware to lesser-known techniques using smartphones, their environmental wisdom offers ideas we can use both on the road and in every day life:

Tupperware is your best friend.

Instead of wasteful food containers and plastic bags, bring reusable plastic bins with you to hold your leftovers and food scraps. When shopping, use your tupperware to stash fruits, granola, or nuts bought from bulk bins (Whole Foods has them, and they’re less pricey than you probably think!). Locking containers like the ones pictured above also prevent flies and animals from getting into your food supply.”

Keep these tips in mind when you go on your next trip or adventure and for more helpful environment-friendly tips, be sure to check out Tufts Recycles! on Twitter and Facebook.

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Two Bald Eagles Released at Cummings

The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts recently released two juvenile bald eagles that had been treated at the Wildlife Clinic. They documented the double release, which occurred at the same spot where they were originally found in Tynesboro, with videos posted on their Facebook page.

The first video captures the first eagle being released from its crate and calmly waiting on the grass as cameras flash and video rolls:

In the second video, we see the eagle taking flight:

In the final video, the second eagle is released from its crate and flies off into nearby trees:

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While packing up, recycle and reuse

This year Tufts Recycles! encouraged students to think about recycling and reusing while they were packing up their dorm rooms for the summer. The R²ePACK move-out initiative asks students to Reuse & Recycle everything, pack and clean. This year they collected:

  • 8500 pounds of clothes and linens, to be donated and recycled
  • 1 truckload of freecyclable items, to be donated to incoming freshmen in the fall
  • 20 pairs of crutches, to be reused by the Tufts Athletics Department
  • 15 boxes of nonperishable food, donated to Project Soup in Somerville
  • 6 boxes of Dining Hall dishes, returned to Dewick-MacPhie and Carmichael Dining Halls
  • 5 boxes of school supplies, to be donated to the Medford Public Schools
  • 3 boxes of books, to be donated to the Boston Prison Book Drive
  • 2 cubic yards of broken and working electronics, to be recycled
  • 1 mountain of mattress foam, to be recycled

To document R²ePACK 2012, the team took photos during the collection. Click on the photos to see more on the Tufts Recycles! blog:

 

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