Category: Tufts Community News (page 3 of 37)

The Silver Lining for Climate in Politically Uncertain Times

Content based on the 150th Environmental Studies Lunch and Learn given to professors, staff, and students at Tufts University. Every week during the academic year, the Lunch & Learn lecture series features speakers from government, industry, academia and non-profit organizations to give presentations on environmental topics. This is a great opportunity to broaden your knowledge beyond the curriculum, meet other faculty and students and network with the speakers.
Students, faculty, staff, and members of the community are welcome to attend this lecture series, which is co-sponsored by the Tufts Institute of the Environment and the Tisch College of Civic Life.
Climate Strategy During the Trump Years
Ken Kimmell, President, Union of Concerned Scientists

The presidency of Donald Trump poses significant uncertainty about the extent to which the United States will continue to make progress on addressing climate change. Ken Kimmell will explore how the incoming administration might rollback policies that have been put in place to address climate change, and make it more difficult for future administrations to address the issue. He will also discuss the progress that is being made in states and regions of the country and the improving economics of clean energy. He will highlight the strategies that the Union of Concerned Scientists and others are likely to employ to limit the damage to our climate objectives and build upon the progress that is being made.

Like many of us, Ken Kimmell, the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)—a leading science-based nonprofit that combines the knowledge and influence of the scientific community with the passion of concerned citizens to build a healthy planet and a safer world—see the “dark cloud” surrounding the new political climate; however, Mr. Kimmell is hopeful that its “silver lining” will come in the form of positive change from the people.

In his talk at Alumnae Lounge this March, Ken discussed the darkness in terms of threatened democracy and a “very confused citizenry.” The new administration has been riddled by what Mr. Kimmell refers to as a “factless presidency,” upheld by “alternative facts” and dominated by the belief that climate change is a hoax. Meanwhile, Congress is increasingly captive to special interests that wish to deregulate industries and thwart protection of the environment and human health. And, every day an increasing amount of fake news is published in the media, leading the public to lose trust in the institutions of media, government, and academia to try to “separate fact from fiction.”

At the same time, climate change continues to be a reality faced by many. The Paris Agreement, a global agreement between 197 signatory countries to address and reduce climate change, makes ambitious goals for the US. Kimmell explains that this agreement has not been ratified through the Senate and with the new administration’s determination to repeal and prevent climate policy, it will be a great challenge to meet the goals set by the Paris agreement. The administration’s “scorched earth” tactics to dismantle comprehensive climate policy create a long lasting impact on the viability of climate policy which, along with the government “censorship of science,” have created what Mr. Kimmell refers to as “Climate Denial 3.0,” in which people do not argue whether or not climate change exists, but instead feel that this determination and proceeding action cannot be made before further “debate and dialogue.” There is a real possibility more funding will be granted to the fringe theories in this “continuing debate,” creating propaganda that sows doubt instead productively of creating policy upheld by data collected on climate change by the federal government for over 20 years.

While it may seem a bleak future for the climate movement, Kimmell sees a silver lining in “opportunities to resist, build power, broaden the environmental movement, and revitalize it.” He observes that with “lightning speed, resistance is forming.” People are ready and organizing to mobilize, protect, and expose injustice in changes to federal policy. He also sees the court room as a safety net built into our government, as its decisions and actions are based in factual evidence for actions taken. While the federal government is lagging behind in climate leadership, many cities and states are taking initiative to create climate strategies and goals for increased reliance on renewable energy, clean energy job creation, carbon pricing, cap and trade, zoning codes that encourage smart growth, diversion of food waste, and investment in public transport.

With all this to contend with, what can we do as residents, citizens, students, and academics? Kimmell advises us to lead by example within our institutions, mentioning as an example UCS’s recent divestment from fossil fuels. Another way to make change is to join local movements of resistance and get more civically engaged, contacting your member of congress and local representatives. There are also national opportunities to stand up in resistance, including the March for Science—focusing on how science and academia can publish, communicate, and engage to reach the groups who need their help—and the People’s Climate March—working to acknowledge the issues of climate, justice, and jobs—both of which are coming up at the end of April.

We have the power to make our voices heard on climate change—a truly nonpartisan issue that “reaches across all people, animals, and landscapes,” and impacts disproportionately the health and security of low-income communities and communities of color. It is important that the environmental movement work with environmental justice communities to elevate the priority of climate change and resist deliberate inaction and oppression collectively.

 

Mystic Mural Environmental Education Coordinator, Somerville Arts Council (Somerville, MA)

Applicant will work with Arts Council director and Mystic Mural project director to coordinate and lead fieldtrips and explorations focused on the Mystic River and local environs. This contract work will provide experiential learning environment for teen-age youth participating in the Mural project. Applicant will lead trips and/or coordinate with other local environmental leaders to lead trips. Topics to address are: flora/fauna, environmental justice, invasive species, water quality, and historical commerial and industry uses of the river. For more information and images go to: http://www.somervilleartscouncil.org/mysticmural

Scope of Service:

  • Present experiential workshops to youth about the Mystic River and its environs
  • Collaborate with Mural Artist to implement the environmental component of Mystic Mural program
  • Collaborate with other agencies and specialists to enrich the youth muralists’ experience and knowledge; help lead fieldtrips
  • Adapt and implement ane xisting 10-topic questionnaire/evaluation to use as a pre/post assessment for the program
  • Complete a program review narrative

Seeking applicant who has environmental education experience working with youth. This is NOT a position to support the design and painting of the mural, but rather to support environmental education component of the summer project. Contract ideal for teacher or others seeking a fun, enjoyable short contract for July.

Compensation:

Teaching/On-site: 5 hrs/day x 8 days x $20/hr= $800

Plan/prep/evaluation: 10 hrs x $20/hr=                   $200

Total compensation =                      $1000

Timeline:

2017 program year will start Monday, July 10th and continue for 3-4 weeks.

To apply:

Please send short email letter outlining experience and attached resume. Send to: Gregory Jenkins, gjenkins@somervillema.gov

30 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Month at Tufts

As we shift out of our winter hibernation and spring graces us with its sunny rays, it is time to celebrate Earth Month. The month of April, surrounding the main event—Earth Day on the 22nd—is a reminder to pay close attention on our environmental impact, remind ourselves of the ways we can make a positive difference, and join movements to protect our communities from the burden of environmental degradation and climate change. Here are some ways we can all reduce our impacts and reconnect with the environment:

  1. Bring your reusable water bottle with you to rehydrate on the go. You can find hydration stations on the Eco-Map.
  2. Turn the lights off when you leave your room.
  3. Get a coffee in a reusable mug at cafés on campus including The Rez, Brown and Brew, and Commons and receive a discount!
  4. Reduce food waste – Only take what you can eat in the dining centers.
  5. Eat meatless on Mondays  – the Eco-Reps are in the dining centers every Monday night from 5pm-7pm.
  6. Donate unwanted clothes to the Eco-Reps Earth Day clothing swap.
  7. Participate in Zero waste week with the Eco Reps.
  8. Recycle – Take our recycling quiz and see if you know what should go in the new mixed recycling bins!
  9. Attend an Earth Month event.
  10. Volunteer with the Tufts Food Rescue Collaborative to divert more of Tufts’ food waste and feed people who need it.
  11. Learn about one of Tufts’ LEED-certified spaces.
  12. Fill out our Green Office Certification checklist and receive a plaque recognizing your office’s sustainability efforts. Click here to see the list of offices that are already certified.
  13. Carpool, vanpool, bike, walk, or take public transit to work instead of driving.
  14. Head to the Bike Fix-It Station near the Campus Center to pump up your tires before you head out.
  15. Say hello to your Eco-Reps and Eco-Ambassadors.
  16. Bring your own place setting to events serving food instead of using disposable dishware.
  17. Register your bike with TUPD.
  18. Plug your electric items into a power strip and turn off the strip when you aren’t using it to save energy.
  19. Remember to bring your reusable bags when you head to the grocery store.
  20. Get your hands in the dirt with Tom Thumb’s Student Garden.
  21. Take shorter showers.
  22. Turn the heat down a few degrees when you go to bed at night and snuggle up with fuzzy socks and an extra blanket instead.
  23. Wash your laundry in cold water to preserve their colors and save the energy spent on heating the water.
  24. Recycle your e-waste—like batteries, broken headphones, and ink cartridges—in the bins located in your residence hall. If you are not sure where the closest bin is, ask your Eco-Rep.
  25. Terracycle your energy bar wrappers and chip bags at on-campus locations shown on our Eco-Map.
  26. Download the Eco-Map to learn about sustainability resources on the Medford/Somerville campus.
  27. Download the Bike Guide for more info on cycling resources on the Medford/Somerville campus.
  28. Learn about sustainable transportation options with the Boston & Grafton commuter brochures.
  29. Attend an Environmental Studies Lunch & Learn.
  30. Subscribe to the Sustainability at Tufts newsletter.

Earth Month Celebrations

Tufts has a month-long series of events planned to educate the community about sustainability issues. The month will culminate with an Earth Day celebration on the Medford/Somerville campus.

See the Facebook event

April 6th
Lunch & Learn: An acidifying ocean: Where might it lead?
12:00-1:00 PM, Rabb Room

April 6th
Medford Bike Commission Meeting
6:00-7:30 PM, Tufts University Mayer Campus Center, Room 012

April 7th
Tufts Food Systems Symposium: Intersections of Waste and Food Insecurity
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, Breed Hall, 51 Winthrop Street

April 7th
Hillel’s Farm to Table Shabbat Dinner
5:00-9:00 PM, Tufts Hillel, 220 Packard Ave

April 10th
CIERP Research Seminar: Ujjayant Chakravorty
12:30 – 1:40 PM, Cabot 702

April 10th

Federalism in the Era of Climate Change

6:30 PM, Barnum 104

April 11th
TIE-SEI Nexus Symposium
1:00-6:00 PM, Alumnae Lounge

April 12th
ENVS Internship Poster Symposium
12:00-1:00 PM, Remis Sculpture Court

April 12th
Hot Topics in the Environmental Industry (Networking Event)
5:00-7:00 PM, Alumnae Lounge

April 13th
Lunch & Learn: Sustainability at the municipal level in Somerville
12:00-1:00 PM, Rabb Room

April 13th

MassDEP Climate Meeting: AlChE Boston Dinner

6:00- 8:30 PM, SciTech

April 14th
Environmental Escapade to the Boston Public Market + art exhibit at Hay Market
12:50-3:10PM, Back of Miller Hall

April 18th
Eco-Rep movie screening of The Age of Consequences
6:00 PM, Tisch 304

April 19th
Voices from the Edge: Gina McCarthyFacebook Event Page 
7:30PM, Alumnae Lounge
Presented by Ex College

April 20th
Lunch & Learn: Boston to Bukoba and back: Building the honey money chain
12:00-1:00 PM, Rabb Room

April 20th
Grafton Green Team Clothing Swap
Grafton Campus

April 20th
8th Annual WSSS Symposium
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, ASEAN Auditorium, Cabot Center

April 21st
Earth Fest + Eco-Reps Clothing Swap/Jumbo Mountain
11 am – 2 pm, Academic Quad in front of West

April 22nd
March for Science (Boston)
2:00-4:00 PM, Boston Common

April 24th
Clean Water, Healthy Rivers: Preventing toxic algae blooms in local waterways
6:30-7:45 PM, Barnum 104

April 27th
Lunch & Learn: Drought, blight, and the aesthetics of dispossession
12:00-1:00 PM, Rabb Room

If you are planning any Earth Month events at Tufts that were not included on this list, please contact sustainabilityoffice@tufts.edu and we will add them.

ATO Environmental Challenge

This semester, ATO of Massachusetts GreEco-Reps Grace Aro, A17, and Matt Stewart, A19, initiated the chapter’s first semester-long environmental challenge. Members are encouraged to incorporate environmentally friendly habits into their daily routine, and are awarded a certain number of points for each eco-friendly act they perform.

Points are tabulated by Aro and Stewart, who keep track of the sustainable acts through Snapchats from members. At the end of the semester, the member with the most points wins a prize of their choosing. Each member receives one point and a “Green Greeks” sticker for their first green act, and then one point for each act thereafter. For example, requesting and using a compost bin for your apartment, dorm, etc. is ten points. Compost bins are worth the most points because one of the GreEco Rep goals for this year has been to get all the houses with GreEco Reps to compost. Additionally, having a compost bin is more work than most other sustainable tasks, and Aro wanted that level of commitment to be recognized.

This semester, the GreEco Reps are encouraging their communities to try small actions that can be done every day. However, Aro finds that for some, doing these things feels inconvenient or difficult to remember. To combat this, Aro was inspired to start a competition. She realized that members would be more likely to be convinced to make small, positive changes to their daily routines if they could win prizes. According to Aro, the competition is popular so far, with 18 active participants and 5 new composters, although members need the occasional reminder at weekly chapter meetings. Since Aro and Stewart brought the idea forward, Delta Tau Delta and Chi Omega have started their own green competitions.

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