Tufts Gets Green

Office of Sustainability's Blog

Category: Ideas (page 2 of 12)

Mar 02: Campus Cultivation Conference

Campus Cultivation Conference
March 2nd
Tufts University
RSVP by Feb 15
http://cultivatecampuses.tumblr.com/

In 2010, Middlebury College hosted the first Campus Cultivation Conference, bringing together students from liberal arts schools with a garden or farm – or just a dream for one – in the Northeast for a day of networking and sharing. The following year, Wellesley College picked it up, hosting such schools as Babson, Brandeis, Olin College of Engineering, Bennington, Tufts, and of course, Middlebury.

This year, on March 2, 2013, Tufts University student gardeners are planning to keep it going!

We’ll be focusing on issues surrounding cultivation in an urban environment, with workshops on diverse topics including hydroponics, medicinal uses for herbs, and how to garden in cold climates. We will also have a collective problem solving exercise to help students create strategies for issues such as using limited resources and in the face of high membership turnover.

Working schedule includes:

Keynote speaker: Groundwork Somerville

Workshops:
Hydro/aquaponics by Sabrina from Rootdown Hydroponics

Canning/Preserving by TBA
Designing Food Systems Curricula by Jeff Hake (check out his blog )
Medicinal Uses for Herbs by Naturopathic Dr. Zartarian
Soil Health by Jeff Hake
Cold Climates by Tufts Biology Professor George EllmoreFor more information, email tuftsstudentgarden@gmail.com.

See you in March!

2013 Cambridge Science Festival (April 12-21) is still accepting proposals

The Cambridge Science Festival is a celebration showcasing Cambridge as an internationally recognized leader in science, technology, engineering and math. A multifaceted, multicultural event every spring, the Cambridge Science Festival makes science accessible, interactive and fun for everyone!

The call for proposals is still open for the 2013 Cambridge Science Festival!  Join the 10-day festival April 12-21, 2013 to celebrate the great science, technology, engineering, art, and math happening all throughout the Cambridge and Boston area.

We are looking for fun interactive workshops, talks, exhibits, performances, games, and great ideas only you can think up.  Some larger events to participate in include:

  • Science Carnival -  Show off performances, building workshops, or cool activities in a carnival of the sciences
  • A Robot Zoo – Present robotics projects as part of National Robotics Week
  • Science of Sports – Why does a curveball curve, anyway?
  • Rocket Day – Have a blast demonstrating astronomy-related research and engineering projects on National Astronomy Day (Saturday, April 20)
  • Science of Food – Cook up the biology, chemistry, physics, and materials behind the food we eat every day!

Participant online entry form

Cambridge Science Festival

April 12 – 21, 2013

 

2013 Cambridge Science Festival (April 12-21) is a 10-day celebration of the STEM in our lives run by the MIT Museum

Feb 01: Application due, Tufts Energy Competition

Greetings from the Tufts Energy Competition!

Do you have a great energy idea? perhaps even a final project related to energy? Win up to $3,000 to jump-start your energy idea! Apply to the Tufts Energy Competition!

Working on an innovative project on energy or sustainability that can be leveraged into a winning proposal? The Tufts Energy Competition is looking for your ideas! This competition is a celebration of innovative student-driven solutions to energy challenges. The goal of the Tufts Energy Competition is to support students implementing projects that explore solutions to key energy issues. The winning team will receive up to $3000 to implement their project, and the runner-up will receive $2000.

Every Tufts student is eligible to apply, including engineering students, undergraduates, Tufts medical students, international studies students, and more. The application will be available starting December 20 and is due February 1.

 

Need some inspiration? Previous finalists and winners include:

A Split Junction Solar Concentrator for More Efficient Electricity Generation

Giving Students the Chance to Choose Their Energy

Efficient Hygiene Initiatives: Bringing Ecological Sanitation to Thottiypatti

Solar Powered Uninterruptible Power Systems

Ocean-Based Algae Energy

Wind Turbines and Solar Cookers in Zimbabwe

High Voltage Lithium Ion Battery Management System

 

The 2013 Energy Competition hopes to continue this success with your great ideas!

For more information on the 2013 Tufts Energy Competition please visit: http://

 

For any further questions or comments on the 2013 Tufts Energy Competition please

email tuftsenergycompetition2013@gmail.com or nolan.katherine@gmail.com

DIY Recycled Hanukkah Decorations

The Holiday season is in full swing, and what better to make the winter a little brighter than with some do-it-yourself decorating! Earth 911 has come up with ten fun do-it-yourself decorations for Hanukkah. Check them out here and start your green decorating today!

Revamping the Kimberely Process: Conflict Diamonds, Prevention Workers

Revamping the Kimberley Process: Conflict Diamonds, Prevention Workers from Dani Jenkins on Vimeo.

From Tufts University’s Conflict and Natural Resources class.

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!

Campus Sustainability Council Fall 2012 Update

During the summer, the Tufts Sustainability Council’s various working groups met to discuss goals for Tufts in the areas of water, waste and energy/emissions reductions.

The Water Working Group envisioned Tufts having an integrated water management approach that reduces consumption, promotes reuse, and minimizes impacts on the environment enabling Tufts to become a leader in campus water management in higher education.

To reach this goal, the Water Working Group recommends that Tufts meets and exceeds federal, state and local regulations regarding runoff, sanitation, and sewer systems; implements LEED standards for water use and quality; and ensures that Tufts students, faculty, and staff are knowledgeable of how their actions impact water use and quality and know how to mitigate negative impacts on their watersheds.

The Waste Working Group’s primary goal as discussed during their Summer meetings is an overall reduction of waste at Tufts by 3% a year through source reduction, improved waste management strategies, and a general culture change on campus with regards to waste.

Part of the Waste Working Group’s proposed strategies involves improved purchasing practices to ensure that an increased percentage of environmentally responsible products are purchased by the university.

The Energy and Emissions Working Group discussed ways for Tufts to demonstrate leadership in responsible climate action through energy efficiency, emissions reduction and adaptation. Under the New England Governors/Eastern Canadian Premiers Climate Change Action plan, the Energy and Emissions group is committed to seeing Tufts reduce emissions to 10% below 1990 levels by 2020 and reducing emissions to 75-85% below the 2001 levels by 2050.

To do this, the Energy and Emissions group is developing a laundry list of energy efficiency measures and is committed to supporting a transition away from fossil fuels and teaching the Tufts community about the importance of energy efficiency, reduced energy consumption, and reduced emissions.

The groups stressed a need for reporting, feedback, and community outreach to ensure that all of Tufts sustainability efforts and goals can be reached.

Over the remainder of the semester, the Water, Waste, and Energy/Emissions groups will be meeting to discuss progress towards these goals, ongoing sustainability efforts, and additional strategies the university could use to meet their goals. A draft report will be available on February 1st, 2013 for comments. The comment period will end on March 1st and a final report will be prepared for the end of the academic year.

- by Robert R. Lynch, Campus Sustainability Council Administrative Intern

Permaculture Design + Regenerative Leadership Initiative (San Francisco, CA)

The regenerative leadership and permaculture design course is an incredible opportunity to gain real skills, build community, and get your hands dirty learning how to design sustainable living systems rooted in nature with permaculture design principles. Join an incredible regenerative leadership and permaculture design certification retreat in the San Francisco Bay Area, February 16-24th or April 20-28th, and go beyond sustainability towards a wildly fulfilling life and a truly regenerative culture.

Participants are taught by leading sustainability experts and learn valuable life, career, business, and community skills while earning an internationally recognized Permaculture Design Certificate. The skills offered in this course are applicable to aspects far beyond the garden – you will learn to design nature-inspired, resilient, regenerative systems – composting toilets, water-catchment system, natural green buildings, eco-villages and much more.

For more information on the program, click here. Scholarships are available — enter code SCHOLARSHIP when applying online.

Tips for Zero-Waste Week

It’s easy to do the Zero Waste Challenge when you are at a place like Tufts, where recycling bins abound and compost drops are available on campus. Still, here are some good tips to keep in mind:

  • Snack on fresh fruit – it’s healthier AND it’s compostable.
  • Carry a small tupperware to put food to compost later.
  • Bring your lunch and use the container to get takeout for dinner.
  • Get your drinks without a straw.
  • Avoid individually wrapped tea or drink loose leaf tea.
  • Always bring a reusable mug or water bottle.

    Photo courtesy of Tufts Dining

    • Save 20 cents at Mugar Cafe, Tower Cafe, Brown & Brew, Hodgdon Good-to-Go & Commons Deli if you bring your own mug.
    • The Tufts “Choose to Reuse” clear water bottle will get you a discount on any fountain beverage at Mugar Cafe, Hodgdon Good-to-Go, Commons Deli, and Tower Cafe. Water and sparkling water will also be discounted at Hotung Cafe.

A few things to remember:

  • Aluminum foil and yogurt cups are recyclable.
  • All napkins are compostable.
  • Any rigid plastic can be recycled – including coffee stirrers. (It doesn’t have to fit through the openings of the recycling bin, by the way – just lift the cover.)
  • Energy bar wrappers and chip bags are recyclable. Tufts has Terracycle brigades on campus.

For more information on recycling and composting at Tufts, visit the TuftsRecycles! website.

Good luck and have fun!

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