Category: Water (page 3 of 6)

Three Days of TELI-G

For a graduate interested in environmental concerns, it doesn’t get much better than the TELI-G workshop.

Originally designed as a week-long conference for educators, the 2014 TELI-G seminar was a condensed format that ran from January 17th-19. Held in the Chase Center, it also had the unique distinction of being designed for graduates, allowing Boston students to partake in the Tufts Institute of the Environment’s (TIE) prestigious event.

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As a student personally interested in Water issues, I was fortunate enough to be chosen in the handful of participants for the year. True to TIE’s advocation of inter-disciplinary  study, the students were from a large assortment of academic backgrounds: The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts Engineering School, Tufts Medicine, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy were a selection of the schools represented amongst the students.

Led by the charismatic and enthusiastic director of TIE, Antje Danielson, as well as staff from the TIE office, students were exposed to a variety of issues and methods for

considering complex water issues in our Environment. Friday was composed of a day long introduction to Water considerations, led by Tufts academics highly versed in the problem. Saturday culminated in a day long negotiation simulation on water crisis, with students participating in a multilateral exercise to understand the complexity of such a dilemma. Sunday involved discussions, information sessions, and opportunities for students to create feasible water projects with the opportunity to be funded by a TIE grant.

I was personally impressed by both the breadth and utility of the information provided. Students were able to gain useful skill sets to apply to their studies. Over the course of three days, I learned about Systems Thinking, Systems Mapping, and Social Network Analysis, all under the umbrella of environmental water concerns but capable of being adapted to any field of study. We were even instructed on utilizing online technology for finding research by one of Tufts’ highly skilled librarians.

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Overall, by the end of one weekend, I found myself resolved to studying the issue further. I came out of TELI-G not only with the ability to speak credibly on the complexity of water issues, but also with developed skills useful for any range of academia. Most importantly, I was educated on a complex issue and taught to look at the concept from multiple perspectives in order to create an effective solution.

Timothy Grant
Communications Intern, Tufts Office of Sustainability
Graduate Student, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy

Tufts Eco-Reps Keep Busy This Week!

We don’t know how we did it, but the Tufts Eco-Reps managed to survive another week of environmental overload! In a good way, of course!

We kicked off the week on Tuesday with a Hodgdon-Bush movie night! First, a talk was given by Maragaret Garcia, a PhD student with the Civil Engineering Department and member of the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) water diplomacy program.

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She shared her personal experiences and motivation for pursuing a career focused around water diplomacy and concluded with a question and answer session. The talk was a unique opportunity and provided a wonderful segue into the movie Last Call at the Oasis, written and directed by Jessica Yu, which urged viewers to be more conscious about the world’s current and impending water crisis.

 

Following on Thursday, the Eco-Reps teamed up for shifts at the Dewick-MacPhie dining hall where a display was set up to educate diners about our program. The display featured the compost program within the dorms and dining halls, a compost continuum showcasing the progression from food waste to nutrient-rich soil, the benefits associated with meatless meals, and a general introduction to the Eco-Rep program for any interested students.

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The table was a success with almost all of our program’s stickers being handed out to students who eagerly slapped them onto their newly received “Choose to Reuse” reusable Nalgene water bottles. The bottles were provided courtesy of the university as part of an initiative to reduce the use of disposable plastic water bottles.

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Friday proved to be no less hectic when the Eco-Reps were asked by the non-profit Reverb to host another table at the Eco-Village for the Campus Consciousness Tour featuring Grouplove. Before the concert started, the Reps attended a meet and greet session with the members of Grouplove.

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The team then set up a table next to other volunteers and organizations such as Ben & Jerry’s where concertgoers could explore sustainability both within and outside of the university. The concert was a loud success, as we rocked our way to a greener tomorrow.

Finally, the week wrapped up with free smoothies in Bush Hall! The Eco-Reps paired up with the ACE fellows to show students how to eat sustainably and stay healthy during the coming exam period. The event was a refreshing end to what was another crazy week for the Tufts Eco-Reps.

Keep an eye out for us on campus, and until next week, don’t forget to stay green, stay fresh, and stay kale (…what?).

Earth Week Scavenger Hunt

FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY! EXTENDED THROUGH SUNDAY, APRIL 28th!!!

Take part in our Earth Week scavenger hunt and YOU could win cool prizes!

Rules: Take pictures of the following items and post them on the Office of Sustainability Facebook and Twitter pages. The top photo-getters will receive fun prizes! For a list to take around with you, use our printable Earth Week Scavenger Hunt!

Send us a picture of…

  • your reusable water bottle
  • the front of Tufts Institute of the Environment or the Office of Sustainability
  • you with President Monaco doing something sustainable together
  • “Choose to Reuse” sticker
  • compost
  • a bike
  • a meatless meal
  • bike generator (in the lobby of TIE/OOS)
  • Terracycle (try Tower Café or the Lobby of OOS)
  • an Eco-Rep
  • a CFL or LED lightbulb
  • you on the T or MBTA Bus
  • one of the 4 Zip Cars on campus
  • wildlife (bonus points if it’s not a tree, flower, or squirrel)
  • you turning off the lights or your power strip
  • Recycling!
  • Tina Woolston, Director of the Office of Sustainability
  • a Professor teaching an environmental class
  • an Eco-Tour sign
  • Eco-Labels
  • TSC Meeting or Branch Meeting

We will be handing out Choose to Reuse stickers to ALL participants, whether or not you win, at our table at Earth Fest. We look forward to seeing you there!

 

Chemicals and Gasoline contaminating 3-5 gallon water bottles?

Report put out byGREENUVM: “BURLINGTON – Vermont health officials are advising anyone who has purchased either 3-gallon or 5-gallon drinking water bottles since November 1, 2012 to open and check for gasoline odor before using the water.

Clean water is odorless. If you smell gasoline or chemical fumes, do not drink or use the water.

This precaution is being urged following reports from Massachusetts that plastic water bottles of these sizes may have become contaminated by being used to store fuel and then recycled back to drinking water bottlers.

Only 3-gallon or 5-gallon size bottled water containers are affected.

If you find a water bottle with an odor, notify the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation at 802-585-4912, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, after Super Storm Sandy struck the eastern seaboard in October, some gasoline shortages were reported in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and some residents used empty containers such as large water bottles to transport gasoline. Laboratory tests conducted by Massachusetts state officials on a sample taken from a 5-gallon container of Poland Springs bottled drinking water showed the presence of small amounts of chemicals including benzene. This indicates gasoline contamination.

Other bottled water suppliers who use refillable plastic bottles could also be affected by this event.

In the past three months, bottled water companies have had an increased number of returned water bottles found to contain gasoline residue or fumes. Despite disinfection and sanitation efforts, a small number of contaminated bottles are believed to have recycled back to consumers, based on a number of consumer complaints.

Neither the Vermont Department of Health nor the Department of Environmental Conservation, which regulates public drinking water supplies in the state, have received reports of contaminated bottled water.

The possible health effects of consuming water contaminated with these chemicals will depend on the amount of exposure. If you can smell chemicals, you can assume contamination. If you have health concerns, contact your health care provider.

If you use refillable bottled water containers for anything other than drinking water, for the protection of everyone, do not recycle back to the water supplier. “

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

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