Zero Waste President’s Lunch at the SMFA

staff posing with sandwich bagsFriday was a busy day at the SMFA, with the last day of review boards, the annual Sidewalk Sale, and the President’s lunch. Every year, the Tufts community celebrates the end of a busy school year at each campus. Tufts Catering provided a delicious picnic lunch, including berries, pound cake, and chocolate sauce for dessert. Darin Weiss with place settingAnthony Monaco joined staff and students for the zero-waste event, where only recyclable and compostable plates, napkins, utensils, and cups are offered to keep material out of the landfill. Although recycling and composting eliminate waste, reusable options are even better! student with place settingAt this first ever President’s lunch held at SMFA, fifteen people brought their own place settings. Those who arrived with plate, cup, and utensils in hand won a Tufts Sustainability sandwich bag and a chance to win a lunch box. Sporks, Tupperwares, and cloth napkins are convenient to bring to work and school and using them is an easy way to reduce waste. staff with place settingWe hope to see everyone at next year’s picnic!

 

Check out our Facebook album for more photos of the event:

https://www.facebook.com/pg/greentufts/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1851786801507218 

Summer Sustainability On-The-Go

It’s the last day of classes, which means summer is around the corner. It is a time for traveling, whether you’re going home or you’re off to somewhere new. To make your trip more sustainable, be conscious about planning before you leave.

  1. Packing: Bring reusable utensils, tupperware, water bottles, shopping bags. Our sustainable packing video has great tips and tricks to make packing for break easy and sustainable!
  2. Moving Out: The items you do not wish to bring home with you do not necessarily belong in the landfill. Donate or recycle clothes, books, plastic bags, electronics and more at our Move Out stations. Find more information on our website. 
  3. Leaving: Unplug all electronics, close all windows, turn down the heat, and eat or pack your perishable foods.
  4. Travelling: Take public transportation like busses and trains, carpool, and avoid flying less than 500 miles, and buy a carbon offset if you can.

500 miles radius from Tufts.

5. Enjoy: Feast on locally sourced dishes and treat your destination with respect.

Get Packing!

Move out is around the corner! Packing up everything in your room might seem overwhelming. But Tufts’ Move Out stations, located Uphill and Downhill starting May 5th, make it easy to divert waste from the landfill when you move out of your residence hall. You can even win prizes just for donating!

The UPS Store can help you store or ship anything you will need for next year. They will even have your boxes waiting for you in your room, if you are living on-campus next fall.

Many other items- from clothing, to school supplies, home goods,  non-perishable food items, and unopened personal care items-can be donated to EASEProject SoupBook it Forward, and the Back-to-School Sale in the fall. You can also recycle plastic, glass, and metal;  Specialty Recycling (TextilesE-waste & Universal Waste, plastic bags and soft plastics, and Dining hall flatware). You can even compost at our stations.

Find all Move Out information at go.tufts.edu/GetPacking!

Earth Day is More Than Tree Hugging

This week, you’ll see a lot green, celebrating the earth. Businesses will promote their purported eco-friendly products wrapped in plastic, plastered with pictures of happy trees. Corporate greenwashing, or the practice of dispersing misleading claims about a product; service; or company to create the impression that it is more “environmentally friendly” than it actually is, has infiltrated Earth Day.

However, Earth Day did not begin with an obligatory promotion of trees. After Rachel Carson’s publication of Silent Spring, in 1962, an enormous oil spill in Santa Barbara in 1969, and greater awareness about the links between pollution and the health of living organisms, Senator Gaylord Nelson established the first Earth Day in 1970. Protests rallied “against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife,” according to Earth Day Network’s website.

These issues are relevant, even today, and show that sustainability is important in many parts of the world, not just in exclusive forests. While paying tribute to our trees and natural ecosystems is incredibly important today (and every day), we also need to recognize that our environment is intimately connected to justice and equality. Inevitably, climate change will make the Earth unlivable, especially for communities where people do not have the resources and are not allowed the agency to move away or curtail the effects of global warming. These are the same communities who have contributed the least to causing climate change, disproportionately communities of color and low-income areas. Seeking justice and equality is just as much a part of environmentalism as tree hugging.

Remember, on this Earth Day and every day, that environmental justice, climate justice, the ocean, the trees, the people, and the algae, are all important to protect and are all dependent on each other.

Watch this Grist.org video to learn more about environmental and climate justice:

 

 

Urban Farms and Food Deserts

Farmers’ markets and organic grocery stores help local farmers and promote sustainable eating practices, but are often geographically and financially inaccessible to many. Poorer communities across the United States often have few healthy, fresh, and affordable food options, making them “food deserts.” The lacking access to healthy options in corner stores, liquor stores, and fast food restaurants can lead to serious health problems, including  heart disease and diabetes. Urban farms bring together these communities to grow food, health, and justice.

Check out these local urban farms:

ReVision Urban Farm

“Victory Programs’ ReVision Urban Farm is an innovative community-based urban agriculture project that grows produce in its own fields and provides access to affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate food to residents of our ReVision Family Home and our extended community. In association with ReVision Family Home, we also provide job training for youth and Boston’s homeless.”

Grow or Die

We deserve healthy affordable food.

Companies manipulate us into eating foods that lead to illness and death. All we have is corner stores, liquor stores, and fast food restaurants. As a result, we have higher rates of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The food system we know is rooted in racism, poverty, and corporate greed. Food should be about life, growth, health, community, and justice.

We need to grow our own food.

Many of our families have experience growing food. We should be proud of our own resources and provide for ourselves.

We will use vacant land to grow food.

Our neighborhoods are fully of empty lots that have been unused for years. The existence of so many lots is a result of Boston’s history of racism and classism. Neglected and empty land causes problems for our neighborhoods, but we can change that by building gardens.

We will grow food together, strengthen our neighborhoods, and improve our health now and in the future.

Learn more about Food Deserts from this TED talk:

 

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