By Danielle Mulligan
Welcome back! Hopefully everyone enjoyed their week off and feels rejuvenated for part two of the spring semester. Some may have stayed on campus while others may have travelled back home or to warmer places in search of actual spring-like weather. I personally love to travel when possible but struggle to balance that passion with my knowledge of the hugely negative environmental impacts of travelling. Starting from the ride to the airport and then the plane ride, I’m already leaving a huge carbon footprint! How can we become more environmentally conscious travelers?
Since we’re back at school, it may be good time to just take a pause and think about our past week. Whether we stayed in our dorms, were home or were lying on the beaches of Cancun-what are ways in which we could have made our vacation time a little more eco-friendly?
Here are some tips from my own travel experiences and from the travel section in “The Green Book”-a book filled with different tips on how to change habits in all areas of our lives.
The weather this past weekend was just GORGEOUS and we hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did!
We have some exciting news to share… the first round of Recyclemania grades have been released! Woo!
Here are the results…
Blakely Hall: C
Carmichael Hall: C+
Haskell Hall: C-
Hill Hall: B-
Hodgdon Hall: B-
Houston Hall: C-
Lewis Hall: C
Miller Hall: C+
South Hall: C
Stratton Hall: B-
Tilton Hall: B-
West Hall: B-
Wren Hall: B+
The official report can be also be seen here.
It looks as though Wren Hall is in the lead! But have no fear – If your dorm received a less-than-satisfactory grade, there is another round of grading just around the corner. The winner will be announced at this year’s Earthfest on April 11th! Speaking of which, keep an eye out for a clothes donation box in your dorm where you can drop off any gently used/unwanted clothing. What you may consider a former fashion faux pas may totally brighten someone else’s day. We appreciate very much your donations as we gear up for Earthfest!
EcoRep, Miller Hall
The Office of Sustainability is proud to present Part 1 of Unwrapping Building 574, a three part blog on Tufts’ current building project.
Building 574 represents the future of sustainability on Tufts Campus, with green initiatives designed into the building. Due to the uniqueness of the site and age of the building, the project requires some unique initiative and planning to make such a concept feasible. Communications intern Timothy Grant interviewed Ray Santangelo, the project manager, and one of the building’s head architects, David Kasdish, on 574 and what it means for sustainability. Even without a background on the subject, the interview is fascinating and easy to follow. Part 1 includes the history of building and some initiatives to include sustainable design. Part 1 is Available Now!
Elena Naumova, director of the Tufts Initiative for the Forecasting and Modeling of Infectious Diseases (InForMid) and Associate Dean for Research at the Tufts School of Engineering, spoke last week as part of the Tufts Environmental Studies and Tufts Institute of the Environment Lunch and Learn program. Her presentation on the Environmental Indicators of Enteric Infections and Water Safety in Southern India covered student research projects sponsored through a collaboration between the Tufts School of Engineering and Christian Medical College in Vellore, India.
A mathematician by training, Naumova emphasized the importance of translating data into usable information that allows for action and policy.
Naumova began by laying out the importance of preventing waterborne diseases. Globally, there are 4 billion cases of diarrhea annually, 2.2 million of which lead to death. Of those 2.2 million, 80% of the deaths are among infants. Unsafe water is a large factor in these diseases.
Modern mathematical tools allow for an understanding of waterborne outbreaks in “temporal and spatial patterns”, Naumova said. “Practically all waterborne diseases exhibit strong seasonal patterns distinct for a specific pathogen in a given population [and] locality”, in a phenomenon known
as seasonality. An example familiar to New England residents, of course, would be the peaks of flu that occur in the winter. “Variability in seasonal characteristics can provide clues on important factors influencing disease occurrence, exposure, [and] spread.” These environmental factors, when they are within human control, could be a key to disease prevention. Climate change, however, will affect our ability to use these seasonal indicators as the patterns we have come to recognize begin to shift radically.
Naumova further presented statistics on the seasonality of cryptosporidiosis in the United States and the United Kingdom, salmonellosis in the United Status, and rotavirus in India.
She then laid out two studies conducted by some of her students, Dr. Stefan Collinet-Adler, Andrea Brown, Alexandra Kulinkina, and Negin Ashoori. Both studies examined the transmission of infectious diarrhea in 300 urban and rural households in the Vellore district of Tamil Nadu, India. The first study focused on the role of flies, which can carry pathogens such as norovirus, salmonella, and rotavirus. In the tests conducted, 72% of the flies tested positive for potential human pathogens. The second study used GIS to map ground water quality and distribution systems in Vellore.
Naumova here noted the importance of recognizing the difference between water quality and quantity: the focus of these studies was on quality, for lack of water leads to other severe problems but obviously cannot cause waterborne diseases.
Elena said she is always looking for students who are interested in going abroad and conducting research and will do whatever she can to make that possible!