Sustainability at Tufts

sustainability.tufts.edu

Category: Climate (page 3 of 10)

TSC holds Fall Sustainability Roundtable

TSC's Fall Roundtable drew members from the CSC working groups and various sustainability-related organizations around campus

Tufts Sustainability Collective, the active umbrella organization for environmental groups on campus, has been very busy the past two weeks! The student-run group hosted two successful events, a Sustainability Roundtable and a Sustainability Dinner at Dewick. Both of these events have become staples each semester, so if you missed them this time around, look for their reappearance in the spring!

This fall’s Sustainability Roundtable featured the Campus Sustainability Council‘s three working groups for Energy and Emissions, Waste, and Water. Each group presented their goals for the university and their progress since convening earlier this year, pursuing a dialog with members of the Tufts community, from students to the head of Facilities.

Energy and Emissions team-members noted the achievement of meeting the standards set by Kyoto protocol by 2012 and mechanisms for decreasing the university’s carbon footprint, such as increased efficiency and switching fuels to natural gas or to distributors with renewable sources. In order to reduce energy consumption as the community continues to grow, however, a university-wide effort is called for, and the educational aspect of this goal is where the Office of Sustainability comes in!

The Waste working group focused on reducing outputs to the landfills during new construction projects and building rehabilitation. They mentioned many waste-reduction goals and plans to collaborate with Tufts Facilities in particular to “use less, reuse and recycle more” before anything is dumped in the trash.

The Water team had great news to present, including some concrete actions already in motion on the Tufts campus! Projects so far have included water reuse systems for machinery in laboratories and elsewhere, reducing the water coming in by hundreds of thousands of gallons already, and the recent construction of a university rain garden near the lower campus dorms. Rain gardens are both visually appealing and ecologically sound, ensuring rainwater is infiltrated into the soil, cleaned naturally, and returned to the groundwater rather than sent with pollutants down the storm drains. The Water working group also discussed plans to enter the EPA’s RainWorks Challenge, a national infrastructure design competition, and to look into porous pavement and gray water systems.

Read more about what was discussed at the roundtable in Tufts Daily’s news article.

-written by Anne Elise Stratton

The Candidates and the Climate

While no candidate is perfect on climate change (and indeed, they all seem to be woefully inadequate), there are some differences:
 
PRESIDENT
Mitt Romney: despite his surprisingly good record on climate change while he was governor, Romney’s energy plan focuses almost entirely on pumping more fossil fuels into the atmosphere, a situation that would almost certainly ensure the world’s inability to reign in climate change (Rolling Stone has a pretty fierce write up of it, but you can read it yourself and see). Just one example: in his quotes about N. American energy independence, he uses a Manhattan Institute report that says, “In collaboration with Canada and Mexico, the United States could—and should—forge a broad pro-development, pro-export policy to realize the benefits of our hydrocarbon resources. Such a policy could lead to North America becoming the largest supplier of fuel to the world by 2030.” (what no-one seems to have told him, however, is that oil and gas companies that drill in N. America aren’t restricted to selling that fuel only to Canada, Mexico and the US – they’ll sell it to whomever gives the best price – as any good, non-government-run institution would do).
 
But anyhow, Obama’s no great climate champion these days either but at least he doesn’t blatantly ignore climate change or pledge to dig up and sell all the fossil fuels in North America. As an aside, Romney attacks Obama for ‘targeting old coal power plants’ – when, really, we wish he were targeting them, since those plants are some of the worst carbon emissions offenders.
 
Here is a summary of what the 2 candidates have said about energy and climate on the campaign trail.
 
US SENATE
Elizabeth Warren seems to support action on climate change – at least in words – but I doubt it’ll be a priority for her. Scott Brown, however, in June 2012 voted to ‘disapprove’ the EPAs endangerment findings on greenhouse gases and in March 2012 voted against ending tax deductions for major oil companies and extending incentives for energy efficient homes, plug-in vehicles and alternative fuels. They are considered one of 4 senate races with noticably different opinions on climate.
 
US HOUSE 
Jon Golnik doesn’t list ‘environment’ as an issue on his website, but under ‘energy’ he indicates he supports the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and drilling in ANWR. OK, I guess that says it all. Climate doesn’t seem to be a priority for Niki Tsongas, but she states that she help[ed] to pass tougher fuel efficiency standards and incentives for renewable energy, so there’s hope there.
 
Don’t forget to vote!

Oct. 5: Presidential Campaigns Energy Debate

Date: Friday, October 5, 2012

Time: 7:30 pm [seating at 7:00 pm]

Viewing: MIT Kresge Auditorium, Televised by E&E TV

 

The MIT Energy Initiative and the MIT Energy Club are co-sponsoring a televised energy debate with representatives from the campaigns of President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney on Friday, October 5 at 7:30 pm in Kresge Auditorium at MIT. Event and registration information are included below:

Speaker for President Barack Obama: Joseph Aldy, Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University

Speaker for Governor Mitt Romney: Oren Cass, Domestic Policy Director; Romney for President

Moderator: Jason Pontin, Editor of Technology Review

Questioners: Steve Hargreaves, CNN Money; Bill Loveless, Senior Editor of Platts; Monica Trauzzi, Managing Editor and Host, E&E TV

Sponsors: MIT Energy Initiative and MIT Energy Club

Two students will be selected to present a question for debate. Interested students must submit one question for consideration in their registration. Winning students will be notified by the MIT Energy Club and MIT Energy Initiative.

REGISTER to attend and participate! This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. A lottery will be conducted if attendance exceeds venue capacity.

For tickets and more information, click here.

Oct. 1-15: EcoChallenge 2012

The EcoChallenge is an opportunity to change your life for good. For two weeks, October 1-15, we challenge you to change one habit for Earth. You choose your challenge, we connect you with other EcoChallengers, and collectively we prove that small actions create real change.

Participating is simple:

1. Choose your EcoChallenge category and actions (October 1-15): water, energy, food, transportation, trash or choose-your-ownLooking for inspiration? We’ve got suggestions and success stories in each category to get you started.

2. Register for the EcoChallenge.

3. Decide whether you’re going to take on the Challenge individually or as part of a team

  • To start your own team, select “start a team,” and we’ll help you invite friends and coworkers to join.
  • To join an existing team, select “join a team”.
  • To participate individually and raise pledges to support NWEI’s sustainability eduction programs, select “participate as an EcoChallenge Fundraiser,” and set your fundraising goal. Remember: everyone who raises at least $50 is entered into the EcoChallenge raffle!
  • To participate individually without raising pledges, select “join a team” and join the “NWEI Community Team”.

4. Create your EcoChallenge profile page. You can start your page during the registration process and Log In at any time to add or edit.

5. Share your challenge with friends and family—and while you’re at it, invite them to take the EcoChallenge, too!

6. On October 1st, start working toward your challenge goals and Check In on the website daily to log your progress. Connect with other EcoChallengers online and share your progress on your personal EcoChallenge blog.

Whether the EcoChallenge is your first step toward a lower impact lifestyle, or you’ve been around the environmental block many times, we invite you to Challenge yourself this October 1 – 15. Register today, and join a growing community of people who are taking action on behalf of the planet!

Oct. 12: The Future of Water Symposium

Cloudy with a Chance of Solutions:
The Future of Water

Friday, October 12, 2012 | 9 am – 5 pm

 

Radcliffe Gymnasium, 10 Garden Street, Radcliffe Yard
Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Radcliffe Institute’s annual science symposium will focus on the important and challenging topic of water. Water is a theme that encompasses issues as varied as environmental contamination, public health, agricultural shortages, and geopolitical disputes. “Cloudy with a Chance of Solutions: The Future of Water” will focus on the ecological and human health hazards of environmental contaminants, the threats to drinking water of fracking, the promise of new technologies for water treatment, the need for national water policy, and the role of urban and other areas in conservation. The majority of the talks will focus on the “hard science” of water-related issues; others will offer the perspectives of experts from the policy, business, or urban-planning worlds to put the scientific discussions in a broader context and to link them thematically.

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.  

For more information and to register, please visit www.radcliffe.harvard.edu or call 617-495-8600.

Register Now!

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