Category: Sustainability News (page 1 of 42)

U.S. PIRG Fellows and Digital Campaigners

We’re looking for smart, passionate, and driven students who work well in a team and want to make a tangible difference.

U.S. PIRG is an advocate for the public interest, working to win concrete results on real problems that affect millions of lives. We do whatever it takes to get results and work in a bi-partisan and fact-driven manner. We value providing young activists with the skills needed to make real and lasting change in our country. And we’re hiring! Specifically, we’re hiring our 2018 class of U.S. PIRG Fellows and Digital Campaigners to help run powerful campaigns for the public interest!

Change is hard and we’re looking for the smart and passionate young people who will drive that change for the years to come.

We need students from Tufts to join our fight and become leaders who will stand up for what’s right!

The Fellowship program is a great entry point to fact-based advocacy. During your 2 year fellowship you will learn everything you need to know to become an advocate for issues like consumer protection, government reform, and modernizing our elections.

As a Digital Campaigner, you will support our campaign team by running a powerful digital campaign to tackle problems like the overuse of antibiotics and overturning Citizen’s United.

Application details: Interested Participants can apply here

 

 

Slacktivism or #Activism?

Content based on a Tisch College Civic Life Lunch given to professors, staff, and students at Tufts University.


Civic Life Lunch – #Standing Rock: Starting + Sustaining a Movement
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2017, 12 – 1PM

Featuring: LaDonna Brave Bull Allard & Cutcha Risling Baldy, Moderated by Tufts American Studies Professor Jami Powell

Join us for a conversation with LaDonna Brave Bull Allard & Cutcha Risling Baldy. LaDonna Brave Bull Allard is the Historian and Genealogist for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Allard is also the Founder and Director of the Sacred Stone Camp, a spirit camp established in April 2016 that has become the center of cultural preservation and spiritual resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline. Cutcha Risling Baldy is the Assistant Professor of Native American Studies at Humboldt State University, where her research focuses on #IndigenousHashtagActivism and #TheNewNativeIntellectualism and how Indigenous people are engaging in #HashtagActivism to achieve social change.


Social media has transformed the way people communicate and relate to the world in the last few years. It has been applauded as a unifier and simultaneously criticized as “fake news,” as a realm where people lose touch with reality and get trapped into a world of likes and retweets. Could it be that social media is actually the great equalizer? Could social media really be a platform that empowers the people to broadcast their truths to the world while mainstream media and “the news” continue to ignore or distort them?

Well, if you ask Professor Cutcha Risling Balding, she’d tell you that social media, especially Twitter, makes a huge impact on the growth and success of a movement, as seen at Standing Rock—one of the most widely recognized and recent cases of environmental injustice. Risling Balding studies hashtag activism of social justice movements and believes that there is no such thing as “slacktivism.” As she explained at the Civic Life Lunch, there is no harm done by retweeting and liking posts that elevate and amplify indigenous voices which are so often silenced. Often, people seeing these posts get inspired and feel empowered to do something to stand in solidarity, even if locally. These actions can have a huge impact, pushing the mainstream media to actually cover movements on the news and even calling out the President to come out with a public stance on an issue.

Calling these actions “slacktivism” actively works to downplay the importance of movements that are seen as “indigenous issues.” The reality is that water protectors at Standing Rock, organized by young indigenous women, were putting their lives on the line to protect water in the Missouri River from pollution because “Mni Wiconi,” “Water is Life”—a universal truth for all living beings. Access to clean and safe drinking water is a human rights issue facing many communities in the US, disproportionately communities of color. Social Media enabled millions of non-native people to become allies and engage with the Standing Rock water protectors through retweets and likes of their posts, checking in at Standing Rock on Facebook, watching live videos and pictures as evidence of the police brutality and militarization. All of this shaped the narrative of what was happening at Standing Rock, instead of it being entirely decided by distant, out of touch, and inaccurate media and government reports.

This so called “slacktivism” caught the attention of media outlets and politicians who now had to address the sovereignty rights of the Sioux tribe in the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. News outlets began to invite and speak to indigenous people involved with the #NoDAPL movement. This is one step further in the movement to decolonize Native American tribes and the United States, and bring awareness to the public of the real, living, contemporary indigenous people who are able to further shape the narrative of social movements through social media.

Part-time Lecturer, Environmental Policy, Planning & Politics; Tufts University: School of Arts & Sciences: Urban Environmental Policy Planning (Medford, Ma)

The Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning and the Environmental Studies Program at Tufts University are searching for a part‐time lecturer for spring 2018 to teach UEP 0094-01/ENV 0094-01 Environmental Policy, Planning and Politics. UEP 094/ENV 094 is a core course in the Environmental Studies Program introducing students to the complexities of US environmental policy and planning through a case-based approach. Students in the Environmental Studies Program can take core courses in the major in any order, so the course will include first-years through seniors as well as undergraduates from other majors such as Political Science and Engineering. A syllabus for how the course has been taught recently is available upon request.

Open only to undergraduates, the course introduces students to the concepts and techniques central to environmental policy, including the important roles played by politics and planning. It serves as a foundation for further work in Environmental Studies or as a broad overview of the issues key in the field. Case studies offer insights at local, state, national and international levels into systems thinking, transboundary issues, and stakeholder perspectives in Environmental Policy and Planning. Emphasis is placed on the interplay of science, technology, and values in the development and implementation of policies and plans.

 

QUALIFICATIONS

Candidates ideally will have a graduate degree in environmental policy, planning or related field. Well-qualified Environmental Lawyers (JD or JD/MA) with appropriate environmental policy experience will also be considered. Candidates must show evidence of successful teaching in Environmental Policy or closely related areas.

Please submit a cover letter, CV, sample course syllabus, course evaluations, and contact information for three references. Questions about the position may be directed to Ninian Stein, Lecturer, Environmental Studies Program, at Ninian.stein@tufts.edu. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Application details: Apply online  

China’s National Sword

via GIPHY

Recycling is complicated. Most people see their recyclables taken off of their curbs each week and think that it’s the end of the process, but really it is just the beginning:

  1. From there, the recyclables are taken to a recycling sorting center, where all of the plastics, papers, and metals are sorted and packaged together with like materials.
  2. Then the recyclables are sold to manufacturers domestically and internationally on a commodities market.

The above video shows how mixed recycling is sorted.

The Changing Recycling Market in China

Some recyclables end up in China since it is the largest importer of recyclables from around the world. China uses these raw materials to drive their manufacturing based economy. The U.S.—China recycling relationship began when China sent over cargo ships full of exports to the U.S. and instead of sending those ships back to China empty, the U.S. began sending back discarded recyclables.

Beginning in 2013, China began regulating what recyclables were coming into the country, because historically most of the recycled materials that were sent to China were unsorted, contaminated with non-recyclable materials, and contained hazardous waste. The 2013 policy was known as the Green Fence and random inspections of shipments of recyclables began. The country began to reject shipments if they were contaminated, thus the total amount of recycled material that China receives has declined since 2013. The newest change to recycling policy is the National Sword. In this new policy, the Chinese government has banned 24 materials and has increased the rigor of the inspections.

How does this impact Tufts?

Now trash goes in blue bags and recyclable in clear bags!

Because of the National Sword, Tufts can no longer use blue bags in the recycling bins. Blue bags are opaque and prevent the recycling sorting facility from being able to see whether they are filled with trash. Instead of throwing out our blue bags, Tufts is repurposing them.  Tufts will continue to use the blue bags for trash bags until the blue bags run out.

As consumers and recyclers alike, we all need to make sure that we are properly sorting our recycling from trash. Help us keep our recycling clean so it can actually be used again! This is the only way to ensure that the recycling facility will not reject our recycling.

Never put these items in the recycling bin:

  • Liquids
  • Food waste
  • Plastic bags

Remember these items, and nothing else, go in the recycling bin:

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Glass
  • Metal (aluminum)*
  • Rigid plastics*

* = If you have a rigid plastic or aluminum to-go container, please rinse or wipe off food waste before recycling it.

via GIPHY

For more information on recycling at Tufts visit the Facilities Services – Recycling & Waste Management website or email recycle@tufts.edu.

10 Points of Hope for Progress on Climate Change

Content based on an Environmental Studies Lunch and Learn Talk given to professors, staff, and students at Tufts University.

Every week during the academic year, the ENVS 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 is co-sponsored by the Tufts Institute of the Environment and the Tisch College of Civic Life.

October 5, 2017
12:00-1:00pm | Rabb Room, Lincoln Filene Center
Ten points of hope for progress on climate change
Kate Troll, author and activist
Watch video

Author and activist Kate Troll will share her stories, insights, and experience in dealing with the political difficulties of advancing conservation initiatives in a state dominated by extractive resource industries. In her new book “The Great Unconformity: Reflections on Hope in an Imperiled World,” Ms. Troll uses the power of adventure storytelling to convey key policy insights and ‘hope spots’ in dealing with the challenges of sustainability and climate change. To inspire and empower others, her talk highlights ten points of hope for progress on climate change; leading to a robust discussion of the most practical ways to make a difference both personally and professionally.

In the last few months we have seen climate change making its mark through ten different hurricanes in ten weeks and wildfires in California that have burned over 200,000 acres, while the response from our federal government has been minimal and regressive. In spite of what seem to be ever-growing barriers to slowing down the onslaught of climate change, we cannot lose hope and stop trying. For those who care deeply about environmental justice and working to mitigate the effects of climate change, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged by extreme climate events regularly hitting vulnerable frontline communities, continued extinctions of species all over the world, and neglectful responses from our government and industries that disproportionately create these problems.

If you ever feel yourself giving up on working in this field, think about the “10 Points of Hope for Progress on Climate Change” as presented by activist and author Kate Troll. Much of this advice comes from her new book The Great Unconformity: Reflections on Hope in an Imperiled World of stories, insights, and experiences in dealing with political difficulties of advancing conservation initiatives in Alaska—a state dominated by extractive resource industries.

Before jumping into the 10 Points of Hope, she asked us to reflect on 5 key points:

  1. We only have one Earth. This is our one chance to save our species and many others on this planet.
  2. We will see significant changes globally with 2ºC warming, so we must stay under this temperature change as stated to in the Paris Agreement.
  3. There are three times as many fossil fuels in known reserves than we can burn before reaching over 2ºC of warming.
  4. We will exceed our possible carbon budget by 2040 if we continue with business as usual.
  5. Take a moment to think of five consequences of unabated climate change. There are many that will affect us locally and globally. Here’s a quick list of a few of the severe consequences of climate change:
    1. More, unpredictable, extreme climate events
    2. Sea level rise
    3. Mass extinction of humans and other species
    4. Climate refugees
    5. Disease control problems

Despite these potential consequences, as Troll sees it, we have many reasons to find hope and remain determined to reduce the impact of climate change.

1. There is a greater awareness that synergy rules.

Troll explains that there is growing awareness that economic growth and sustainability and the health of the environment are one in the same. This has been demonstrated by both global organizations and domestically by the EPA.

2. Millennial generation is the United States’ new civic generation.

The generation born after 1982 is dedicated to individual actions that fulfill collective responsibilities in the marketplace and voting booth. We are tipping the scales in favor of preventing climate change.

3. There is a rise of women in work and business.

Women tend to bring community based values and corporate responsibility to their workplaces, which keeps businesses accountable to their impacts on local communities and global climate change.

4. The rest of the world gets it, and #WeAreStillIn.

Over 40 countries have policies of carbon pricing, there is a booming renewable energy industry, last week the world celebrated Global Climate Change Week, and institutions including Tufts, cities, and states are pushing back on the lack of national leadership shown by President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in June.

5. Love of place.

Troll emphasizes that love of place will push us to protect and prevent climate change, as inspired by Naomi Klein’s book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate.

“It is not the hatred of coal and oil companies, or anger, but love that will save the place. When what is being fought is an identity, a culture, a beloved place that people are determined to pass on to their grandchildren, there is nothing companies can offer as a bargaining chip.”—Naomi Klein

6. Alternative consumerism is rising.

There are over 458 eco-labels in 195 countries, which shows growing awareness about climate change and interest in looking to the marketplace to reduce its impacts and be responsible and accountable.

7. Grid parity of renewable energy to fossil fuel electricity.

Utilities can source renewable energy at a competitive price, sometimes even cheaper, than fossil fuels.

8. Disinvestment campaign is making a $5.5 trillion dollar impact. 

Fossil fuel divestment campaigns started on university campuses in 2011. Today, there are over 750 institutions and 58,000 individuals already committed to divestment. Learn more about how you can change your personal banking to be a part of this movement, watch this Environmental Studies Lunch and Learn. 

9. World religions have spoken.

Troll says that all major faiths of the world have issued declarations on the need to address climate change. She sees this as part of the powerful underlying current to protect and mitigate climate change that is transformative.

10. The Great Awareness Unconformity

Her last assurance of hope comes from the idea that humans are an evolutionary force—we impact the evolution of other species, forcing nature to evolve on our terms. A counter narrative to this is that creativity is an evolutionary force. Creativity breeds creativity, and acts as an equal counterpart to our destruction. People are finding creative solutions and research every day that we can incorporate into our lives, communities, and policy.

This environmental work is exhausting and never-ending. It can be frustrating and sometimes infuriating, so it is of the utmost important that each of us keeps these points in mind. We must keep standing up against self-centered, careless, and dehumanizing industry practices and government policies. We need to protect and support communities of color and low-income communities who continue to disproportionately suffer the burden of climate change despite the fact that they are not contributing to it. We are not alone in the work we are doing. There is a global community of truly inspiring people working on this, and we are making progress.

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