Sustainability at Tufts

Tag: energy (page 3 of 6)

Eco-Reps Update

These past two weeks, the Eco-Reps have been in contact with people all over campus. Professor Nancy Gleason talked to us about sustainable development. Our own Ben Rabe shared his experience working as an energy auditor before coming to Tufts and how it relates to dorm life. As you know from our last blog post, we’ve been doing work with Tufts Recycles to work on the Recyclemania challenge. In addition to all of this, our reps have been hard at work planning their first events of the semester. Look out for flyers advertising your dorms event!

Fletcher School alumnus and beloved professor Nancy Gleason’s talk to the Reps about sustainable development was one of the most anticipated meetings of the semester. On the university level, Professor Gleason emphasized that college is the most sustainably most students will ever live in their entire lives. We rarely use cars, all of our food in the dining halls and dorms is composted, we have have low flow shower heads, easily accessible recycling and terracycling. Even those not conscious of sustainable living are living more sustainably. Our mission as Eco-Reps is to make people aware of this fact so that Tufts’ students can graduate being aware of their effect on the planet. On a larger scale, Professor Gleason emphasized climate refugees, the people that will be displaced due to rising sea levels. Some uphill reps will be having an event talking about this the week before spring break. Find out more about Professor Gleason, her work, and her classes. (She’s extremely nice and knowledgeable.)

Ben Rabe, the Blakely Eco-Rep, worked as an energy auditor in Minnesota after undergrad before coming to the Fletcher School. Energy Auditors show you how your home is using energy, where you’re losing it and how to make it more efficient. Ben gave us a presentation of how this relates to dorm life. Opening your window on the top floor of a building for example, doesn’t let any air in, unless there’s a breeze, it just lets air out. This only serves to make the bottom floors colder! If you would like more information regarding dorm energy usage and how you can help, contact Ben!

Recyclemania is in full swing! Tufts could be doing A LOT better. We are doing okay, but so far our first round results are lower than last year. Keep up with your progress here! Also, learn what is recyclable at Tufts . It’s an easy how to guide of what goes in each bin at Tufts. If you live in Lewis or Tilton, hall snack trash sort demonstrations are coming your way.  We know Tufts students love being green so let’s show our support for Tufts and the Environment and beat Harvard this year in the National competition!

Last but not least, some great Eco-Rep events are coming up. West and Hill will be joint hosting a Lorax bike-powered movie night! South will be having tasty bike-powered smoothies. Other tasty events to look forward to are Vishakha’s composting event with dirt cups (those delicious pudding + oreo + gummy bear creations) and Sidney’s delicious vegan foods event. Other events are on their way as well. If you live in these dorms definitely go! But if you don’t live in these dorms, you can still come! I know all the reps will be wanting in on these amazing events and treats. If you don’t like delicious food or the environment, then  come hang out and let us know what kind of event you want to see from us!

Thanks for reading!

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:
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.
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.
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!

Oct 19: MIT Energy Night

We would like to invite you to attend the MIT Energy Night. The event will be held from 5:00-8:30 pm on October 19, 2012 at the MIT Museum. The MIT Energy Night showcases energy research, initiatives, and entrepreneurship at MIT. It is a large scale poster session and is free and open to the public. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served. You do not need to RSVP.
Presenters are MIT graduate students, postdocs and MIT-affiliated start-ups. In past years, MIT faculty, energy professionals, technology investors, local and national press have attended the event. The event first started in 2006 with 30 poster presenters and 600 attendees. Last year, the event attracted 70 poster presenters and over 1,300 attendees! For more information, please visit our website:

Oct 22: Public Perceptions of Wind Energy Projects in Massachusetts

The state of Massachusetts has plans for increasing its cumulative wind energy supply to 2,000 MW by 2020; currently it is at 61 MW (10/11/2012). To be able to achieve this goal, it is important to have a coherent understanding of the factors that make wind energy projects accepted at the local level.

Fletcher’s Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP) is conducting a study of the factors that lead to community acceptance of wind energy projects. The leader of this study, CIERP postdoctoral research fellow Maria Petrova, recently conducted a survey  and will  present her  results.   From  April  to June, 2012, surveys were mailed to randomly selected residents from the towns of Hull, Kingston, and Falmouth in Massachusetts, where wind projects have been sited with various levels of success. The differences in responses will be analyzed, and the factors that influence public acceptance and lead to the adoption of wind projects at the local level will be discussed.


Dr. Petrova came to CIERP from Oregon State University, where she completed her PhD in Environmental Science in 2010. Her doctoral dissertation focused on public acceptability of wave energy technology in Oregon. Her main interests are in public opinion and acceptability of renewable energy technologies (RETs), as well as the policies that need to be in place to advance RET development and deployment. She is also interested in comparative RET policy studies, mainly between the U.S. and countries in the EU.


Event will be held on Monday, October 22, 2012 from 12:30-1:45
(a light lunch will be served – no RSVP, first-come first-served)
Cabot 702, The Fletcher School
160 Packard Avenue, Medford

Oct. 5: Presidential Campaigns Energy Debate

Date: Friday, October 5, 2012

Time: 7:30 pm [seating at 7:00 pm]

Viewing: MIT Kresge Auditorium, Televised by E&E TV


The MIT Energy Initiative and the MIT Energy Club are co-sponsoring a televised energy debate with representatives from the campaigns of President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney on Friday, October 5 at 7:30 pm in Kresge Auditorium at MIT. Event and registration information are included below:

Speaker for President Barack Obama: Joseph Aldy, Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University

Speaker for Governor Mitt Romney: Oren Cass, Domestic Policy Director; Romney for President

Moderator: Jason Pontin, Editor of Technology Review

Questioners: Steve Hargreaves, CNN Money; Bill Loveless, Senior Editor of Platts; Monica Trauzzi, Managing Editor and Host, E&E TV

Sponsors: MIT Energy Initiative and MIT Energy Club

Two students will be selected to present a question for debate. Interested students must submit one question for consideration in their registration. Winning students will be notified by the MIT Energy Club and MIT Energy Initiative.

REGISTER to attend and participate! This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. A lottery will be conducted if attendance exceeds venue capacity.

For tickets and more information, click here.

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