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SU faculty tour the urban ecosystem Continue reading
One of the best-kept secrets on campus is the rain garden in the Waverly parking lot (between Newhouse 3 and Marshall St.). It’s an oasis of native plants that helps the watershed, provides habitat for butterflies and birds, and beautifies the landscape. Please join us to give the garden a little TLC (weeding and trimming) on these dates:
Friday, August 10, 8-9:30 am (rain date Sat., August 11)
Monday, August 20, 7:30-9 am (rain date Wed., August 23)
Refreshments provided. Gloves and tools will be available, but bring your own if you have them. Contact Rachel May (Academic Affairs) for more information.
The Natural Resources Defense Council has a series of articles called “Rooftops to Rivers.” The latest installment features Syracuse and Onondaga County and the very effective effort to use green infrastructure to divert polluted water from Onondaga Lake. It includes an informative, high-quality video interview with County Executive Joanie Mahoney.
Years ago, the County relied solely on “gray infrastructure,” or sewage treatment facilities, to address the problem of ongoing pollution in the lake. To build the first facility, the County razed a neighborhood on the South Side of Syracuse, displacing residents and infuriating those who remained behind. Other planned projects were similarly seen as threats to the integrity and quality of life in low-income neighborhoods and downtown.
The new County policy involves aggressive promotion of water conservation and “green infrastructure.” You can read about Save the Rain here.
By: Michele Cantos, PR Intern
Take shorter showers! Turn off the faucet! Fix that leak!
We have all heard these phrases about a million times from our parents or the crazy science teacher who is obsessed with the environment. At some point, these commands seem to just mesh together and sound like a broken record.
While these phrases may be a bit played out, they carry an important (and even scary) message behind them. The message is “water is our source of life.”
Last Thursday, I attended the Sustainability Division’s screening of the documentary “Blue Gold: World Water Wars.” One of the experts featured in the film reminded us that when we search for “life” in space, we are searching for water on other planets, hoping to find some to save us from what will happen if we do not reverse our waste and pollution of the precious resource.
Of all of the environmental films I have seen, Blue Gold was the most eye opening and, frankly, the most terrifying. The truth is that in a couple of decades from now there will be no more fresh water on planet earth. While there are other options, such as desalination or sewage treatment, these alternatives are costly and require large amounts of oil and energy.
We have been desensitized and perhaps can’t even picture what a world without water would look like. Aside from there being no more water (or any liquid drinks) to quench our thirsts or showers, there will also be no agriculture, no processed food, no livestock, no trees or shade. According to the film, cities built on top of ground water reserves have also began to sink in, as the water underneath them is depleted.
This issue is beyond the developing world and will affect everyone. Without fresh water the earth will not be able to sustain many forms of life, including the life forms that we consume and human life.
What can we do?
Take shorter showers? Collect rainwater?
But is this enough?
The film highlighted both individual waste and pollution of water but made it clear that most of the pollution and waste of fresh water comes from large factories and corporations. As consumers, we have the power to dictate how our products are made, the amount of water they use to make these products, and where waste is dumped. Support companies that are environmentally responsible, contact your state representatives and ask them to reject projects that affect our water reserves and to promote those that benefit the local water reserves. For more information on what you can do, check out the following hyperlink Action Plan.
“Nutrition Notes: Take time to eat thankfully, all year round“ is an excellent Syracuse Post-Standard blog post by Darlene Endy. She makes the point that if we think about where our food comes from, how far it has travelled, and who grew or harvested or prepared it for us, and if we also take time to appreciate its aesthetic appeal, then we will eat more appreciatively — and more healthily. I would also add that this is a recipe for eating more sustainably, since the key to sustainability is understanding and acknowledging the connections between everyday actions and their impact on natural and social systems around the world.
This is a terrific piece by Gar Lipow about what we really need to do to make a difference regarding climate change. He profiles one woman’s efforts to offset her carbon emissions from air travel by cutting back on driving and other uses of fossil fuel. His take-away message? Her air travel is NOT the problem. She had no other options for getting where she needed to go. The problem is with our collective refusal to invest in public infrastructure that would allow us to make better choices. Very persuasive, well-written, – and short! Read it here.
ESF senior Kevin Phu is on a mission to help destitute children around the world gain access to healthy nutrition. The Two Degrees nutrition packs, now on sale at People’s Place in Hendricks Chapel, pack quite a bit of protein and other nutrients, along with a promise that for each one purchased, another will be donated to children in the poorest parts of the world, such as Haiti.
Daily Orange coverage is here.
Do you wish you could get healthy foods and fresh produce on or near campus? A group of students is taking action to form a food co-op to help make that desire a reality.
Daily Orange coverage here.
Maxwell first-year student Emma Edwards convened a meeting to form a student sustainability group last week. According to the D.O., it was well attended and there was a lot of discussion of initiatives the group could pursue, especially relating to recycling and waste reduction.
Daily Orange coverage is here.
Earlier in October, the School of Architecture hosted an inspiring and entertaining, standing-room-only talk by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, whose firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) lives up to its name in many ways.
Ingels starts from the premise that pursuing more sustainable ways of living and working doesn’t mean “giving up” desirable features like comfort or quality of life. Instead, in his practice he seeks to turn environmental constraints into advantages. His buildings make creative, engaging, and often beautiful use of light and shade, water and views, mobility and density. Why not make a waste treatment facility that doubles as a ski run? A Danish pavilion for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai that allows visitors to bicycle through all the exhibits? A mixed-use development that becomes a destination for Danes seeking beautiful views of their countryside? A mosque that offers a different play of light and shadow for each of the five daily prayer times?
If you have always thought of environmental sustainability as a matter of ascetic discipline and rejection of luxury, Ingels’s work invites you to think again. Browse the BIG portfolio, or see Bjarke in action on the TED talks.