Category: People (page 2 of 30)

Less is More…or so we’ve heard

     Why does this popular adage seem to be the linchpin of all sustainability efforts? Let’s begin by defining “sustainability”, a buzzword we all love to use but might not always know how to articulate. According to the World Commission on Environment and Development:

     Sustainable development should “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

     Nowhere in this definition is “buy less” or “use less” explicitly stated, yet there seems to be a general understanding that we just might need to cut back on something if we are to sustain healthy and equitable societies.

us-climate-talksImage source

     The desire to consider how our lifestyles impact other humans, animals, and resources should spark excitement and collaboration amongst those of us eager to preserve the people’s and planet’s prosperity. Unfortunately, it’s easy to see the distressing statistics indicating an inevitable climate apocalypse and resort to crossing our fingers and hoping for the best.

     It’s true. A zero carbon footprint is virtually unattainable and arguably, not too desirable. (We’re all for a plastic-free lifestyle, but aren’t quite sure we’re ready to go shower-free juuust yet.)

Continue reading

Sustainability Spotlight—Provost Office:

A Conversation with Mac Montana

 

Sustainability Spotlight—Provost Office- A Conversation with Mac Montana (1)

When Mac Montana, Special Projects Coordinator at the Provost’s Office, set out to complete the checklist for Tufts’ Green Office Certification Program, he didn’t realize the wide range of sustainability initiatives he would be working to bring to the Provost’s Office.

To get started, Mac identified a number of objectives on the checklist for the office to work toward. Thanks to this effort, the Provost’s Office has now made a commitment to buy 100% recycled paper and run meetings and events with little to no disposables (thanks in part to a permanent set of glassware and staff-donated food storage containers). The office even provides pre-filled MBTA cards that can be signed out for travel between campuses; this incentive to use public transportation comes at a low cost to the office and no cost to employees. Mac also put together a Living Green Agreement for employees to select their own sustainability goals to keep up with, while helping to track the office’s changes in sustainable attitudes and behaviors. These efforts culminated in the Office of the Provost’s Silver Green Office Certification.

01/29/2016 - Medford/Somerville, Mass. - The Eco Ambassador and Green Office Certification Ceremony and Reception on January 29, 2016. (Alonso Nichols/Tufts University)

Mac Montana (center) and others from the Office of the Provost receives Green Office Certification from President Monaco.

Mac is a part of the Ballou Hall Green Team, which has introduced compost bins on every floor of the building. The team also hosted an event in October called “Trick or Trade.” Employees were encouraged to trade in their personal electronic waste (e-waste), to be recycled by Facilities, for fall goodies. This event was such a success that the employees who weren’t able to bring all of their e-waste did their own e-waste disposal projects at home.

Encouraging sustainable behavior is no easy feat. Along the road, Mac has encountered some challenges. In fact, he was not always part of the effort towards environmental sustainability. There was a time, when he worked in the Office for the Dean of Arts and Sciences, that he thought making the changes suggested by the office’s Eco-Ambassador took too much effort and didn’t matter much. But, he is a self-described convert to the cause. He got involved and realized the work he was doing is both important and rewarding.

Office of the Provost makes the pledge to get the Gold level Green Office Certification by the end of this year!

Whenever Mac encounters barriers in his sustainability efforts, he responds to negative reactions with humor and positivity. He feels that these small behavioral changes are a small price to pay for the benefit we all get from them. For instance, even though compost can be stinky, a huge volume of waste gets diverted from the landfill because people choose to compost their food scraps every day. And Mac finds a reward in seeing people’s definition of normal change over time. As he describes enthusiastically, “It’s cool to watch people save one-sided paper to print on the other side, and even ask for someone else’s when they have run out.” That is a significant shift in behavior from when he first started.

To anyone looking for advice in making sustainability a priority in your office, Mac has a few pieces of advice. He recognizes that “change is hard, but it is easy to keep going once [colleagues] start adjusting. Inertia is a beautiful thing.” He also says to look for low hanging fruit. There are a lot of possibilities for change, but based on the office’s behaviors, some may be easier to start with than others. So, work to change culture bit by bit, and people will be more open to making more changes. Who knows? They may even begin to bring these behaviors home with them. After all, as Mac wisely notes, “Sustainability rocks!”

Want more resources for making sustainable changes in office spaces or encouraging colleagues to live green? Check out our Green Office Resources for a list of simple changes you can make in the office to reduce your environmental impact.

 

 

Know Tomorrow Boston (Friday, October 2nd)

When: Friday, October 2nd
Where: Ritz-Carlton Grand Ballroom, Boston, MA
Time: 2:00-6:30 PM
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/486754288152817/

Climate change stops here. This is our planet, and our only chance. Students are a social and political force to be reckoned with when their voice is energized and heard – so let’s make some noise!

You’re invited to the first-ever “KNOW TOMORROW Day of Action”—a major national movement taking place on Friday, October 2nd that will unite thousands of college students, activists, politicians, corporations and celebrities to take action on climate change.

Throughout the Day of Action, students at more than 50 universities in America will host large-scale events on campus, ranging from concerts and performances to speakers, road races and activity fairs.

Boston students – representing 12 colleges and universities in the area – are leading the charge, gathering at the Ritz Carlton on the Boston Common for an afternoon of music and speakers. From 2pm-6pm, students from BC, BU, Tufts, Harvard, Northeastern, Wellesley, and many more, will get loud for climate action with the help of Honorary Co-Host and Massachusetts Senator, Ed Markey (who will also be speaking at the event around 5:45pm), musicians such as Outasight and Speedy Ortiz and several climate change activists and organizations.

With the support of partners like Ben and Jerry’s and Goldman Sachs to The Climate Reality Project, The Ian Somerhalder Foundation and Shepard Fairey, the Day of Action is poised to be a momentous day for climate action.

This is your call to action, and your chance to make a difference. You can help secure our tomorrow. Know tomorrow.

Tufts Sustainability Collective GIM

If you are interested in sustainability issues from food to fuel don’t miss the Tufts Sustainability Collective’s GIM on Tuesday, September 22nd at 9:00 PM in the Crane Room. Stop by to learn about how to get involved withTufts’ umbrella sustainability organization and meet the club leaders.

 

Untitled-2

 

 

Apply to Live in the Tufts Green House!

Apply Online

Attention Tufts students: Please don’t hesitate to apply if you are just beginning your environmental journey; we are looking for a broad range of applicants!
Please contact us at tuftsgreenhouse@gmail.com with any questions about the application or any other concerns you might have! Don’t miss the upcoming vegetarian dinner on Thursday, January 22nd to learn more about the application process.

DEADLINE: FEBRUARY 1st

 

Older posts Newer posts