2015 NWF EcoLeader Graduate Student Research Fellowships

Are you an LIS grad student interested in sustainability? This might be a possibility for you:

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NWF is seeking graduate students in the U.S. to conduct and test market research and business planning and assist with content development for the new NWF EcoLeaders online community. There will be two track options for the Fellowship, Market Research and Content Development.”  More…  (due Feb 25)

Recyclemania on Campus

recyclemania-logoRecyclemania is a competition between universities in the winter for the largest amount of recyclables per capita, largest amount of total recyclables and highest recycling rate (percent of the waste stream that is recycled). The school’s campus recycling usually weighs and measures all trash, recycling, and compost from on campus and reports it weekly during the competition. In 2015 its from  February 1 – March 28. Often campuses will have a dorm or hall competition as well.

My university is competing against their rival and it’s neck and neck right now, they call it a RecycleMania Civil War, with the winner receiving the trophy made of recycled materials each year:


Of course its easier to be at a school and town that recycles almost everything!

Climate Voices: Webinar on Future of Global Climate Policy TOMORROW

Climate Voices is hosting this webinar:
February 4, 2015, 12:00–1:00 p.m. EST (more events here)

Dr. Rachel Cleetus, the lead climate economist at the Union of Concerned Scientists will lead this webinar, focused on where the world left off in the recent global climate talks in Lima, Peru. She will offer viewpoints on the United States climate and energy policy landscape, opportunities and challenges ahead, and rethinking how we cope with the growing risks and costs of climate change. Dr. Cleetus will speak about policy in the United States at the regional, state, and national levels, including EPA standards, carbon pricing, clean energy policies, and policies that help build resilience to the impacts of climate change, and how we can prepare for the upcoming climate talks in Paris.



More about Climate Voices…

Their goal to engage in non-partisan conversations about the research findings of the majority of climate scientists to citizens across the United States and Puerto Rico. By connecting with neighbors and community organizations they aim to  initiate discussions about the local effects of a changing climate and possible ways to address impacts. They have a great MAP to help you find a local speaker. Be sure to check their RESOURCES tab for some useful talking points, reports, guides, videos and more!

Does your campus use STARS to document its sustainability progress?

Passing on this important message from the SustainRT list for those in academic libraries, from Madeleine, Coordinator Elect, SustainRT

This is an opportunity (or an awareness exercise) !

Does your campus use STARS to document its sustainability progress?

Not sure? Then check THIS LINK and see if your institution is listed.

1) If your campus has completed the version 2.0 report (most recent), take a look at section A-10 Support for Research.

Three questions at the end focus on the library’s contributions to sustainability research/learning.

a- Does the institution provide ongoing library support for sustainability research and learning that meets the criteria for this credit?
b- A brief description of the institution’s library support for sustainability research and learning
c- The website URL where information about the institution’s library support for sustainability is available

What was filled out in these fields?

2) If your campus is still using version 1.2, a great opportunity awaits your library — to shine as a contributor to this forward momentum! Might you play a role in providing information for version 2.0?

Finally, this new library category is a reminder of why it’s important for library people to be involved with AASHE, the organization that oversees STARS.


ALA Midwinter Chicago – Sustainable events!

Board Meeting – open to the public
When: Saturday January 31, 2015; 1:00-2:30 pm
Where: Hilton Conference Room 5C
SustainRT Social Event (Details TBA)
When: Sunday February 1, 2015; starting at 3:00pm
Where: The group will meet at the Hyatt Regency McCormick, Room Clark/CC 22c,
 Agenda:  After brief introductions, we’ll head out for some fun and conversation. We’ll have two options available:

A) Come ice skating! We’ll take a quick cab ride to Millenium Park (the rink is on Michigan Avenue between Washington and Madison Streets). No charge except to rent skates ($12).


B) Walk to a nearby eatery (TBA)


Growing Smarter (and easier!)

UrbMat-Clean-Full_I saw this article in my Terp Alumni Magazine (MLIS UMd 1997!) about alums who have created a blueprint garden called a Nourishmat (check out their funded kickstarter). It’s a 6×4 foot UV treated polypropylene mat with pre-cut holes, labels and grid to tell you where to plant what and helps combat weeds. It comes with 98 seed balls – a variety of herbs and veggies and outfitted with an easy to attached hose to its drip irrigation system. Basically an easy way for ANYONE to start gardening! Looking recently for more info on the product I see it is now called UrbnEarth. You can order a variety of non GMO seeds too!

Eco-Villages! (book summary)

In the spirit of the new year and thinking globally (acting locally) I wanted to post about this talk on campus I attended this fall, about ecovillages/llocalization in a global world. The speaker –  Karen Litfin, from U of Washington, teaches in Political Science on global environmental politics, with core interests in green theory, the science/policy interface, and “person/planet politics. Karen took a year to travel the world and dwell and learn more about the Ecovillages. Her book is out now (BUY IT!!!!!!!), Ecovillages: Lessons for a sustainable economy. She also offers a website and blog where you can find out more and see photos of the ecovillages she visited. These Ecovillages are a real thing, a network, of many various types, all over the globe.People involved in the creation of these seek positive change that will come from ground up. Buy a copy for yourself, your library – why not have a book discussion too! 

Here are my notes from her talk:

Dr. Karen Litfin decided to go around the globe to see who is living in a low eco footprint, and in sustainable communities. As she graphed the numbers vs time, resources use, population, etc. she showed visually we cannot continue with this infinite growth on a finite planet. How do we play a finale game with our home planet? Karen visited 14 eco-villages  in 5 continents.  They ranged from rich to poor, religious or not, suburban or rural, all sorts of diversity, but with one common thread:   Humans are an integral part of web of life – we are inseparable from nature. (Though the old game is unraveling the web!)  Karen’s insight learned on the trip included positive change will come from bottom up.  A politics of YES…let’s move toward the thing we love, don’t wait for other, don’t wait for corporations or blame them, the focus is what we can do to make our own society. Being inseparable from nature means we can access the evolutionary intelligence that brought us here. Can be bio concept, can be a spiritual concept, can be secular…the evolutionary intelligence concept.

Some notes on her visits:

  • EarthHaven in western NC started, off grid, live simply, natural materials. Build their own houses, live on about$8000/year but feel very rich, good schools, good support, co-own huge land
  • Ithaka, NY Ecovillage - lives on about $55,000 a year, American Dream for middle Americans comfortable lifestyle, live in small places, co own land, community house, educational work… live on half the U.S. EcoFootprint.
  • FindHorn, UK - started by christian mystics, after WWII in 1962, the the mother of all ecovillages, more spiritual based and know for gardening. Burms into the hillside, green roof, no eco footprint. They process their own water in a greenhouse living machine system!
  • Seine Linden in Germany, goal to live on one footprint (Germans in general live half what we do in us anyway, largest solar panels of any county, and much more dense housing);  they do a lot with horses, go back to old ways to eliminate fossil fuel. Vegan agriculture only, no manure at all.
  • Senegal, Gambia- poorest of all visited, need for food, they just live in villages but not by choice really, hot dark places.Africa’s village has smallest Eco footprints but  many young men left for work to seek work somewhere, desperation, so they are not really sustainable (need basic needs first, like water and literacy) Average make $80 a year and half of that went to malaria medicine. Senegal has an ecovillages ministry, and had a summit this year supported by Germany!!!
  • Sarbodya (Sri Lanka) –  a network of 15000 villages.  They help theses villages.  Micro finance, literacy, water,  recycle everything, grow their own food, solar panel, etc there, no poverty and no affluence. Sharing of labor as a community.  First thing they learn is a peace meditation.  Buddhist inspired but honor every religion. Concept: Shramadana society or Sharing of labor.
  • Auroville, in southern India, most Europeans from dozens of countries. Spread out through the forest.  They are living simply compared to Europe or us, but they are rich compared to villages near them. They planted millions of trees, biodiversity increasing there. Compressed earth bricks from hand machine (spiritual work since earth is divine consciousnesses!) venting at top, mosquito nets, traditional architecture and modern features to work here. Ex: a web designer living in hut there working remotely :)
  • Damanhur in Italy, live in tree houses, communicate w plants! Spiritual. Templates of humankind underground. See templates.com for a tour.  They have their own money creditos, pay taxes on that, turn in euros when you arrive.
  • Svanholm in Denmark, known organic farming and hand crafts, also integrating children into everyday work.  Very much secular “allergic to religion” most prosperous, well off, proud to be a commune. Support each other in a way beyond individualistic.
  • UFA, Berlin – secular, through sharing of culture, dance music art theater circus … In Downtown Berlin! Motto: If it’s not fun let’s not do it :)
  • East Hollywood – urban area, semi rough area, hardly any children there, community of activist, they all work full time in social justice or environmental area.
  • Konohana (Japan) – an ag community, grow a ton of food, focus on overcoming the ego. Before cultivating fields they cultivate minds, and point fingers at each other to point out if they were egotistic that day.  Use a Probiotic gel use in all their fields, foods, animals.

Anthropocene era now. Humans are the dominate species.  New geological era –  Basically we have the earth in our hands!! But hopefully there is something even larger whether it be spiritual or evolutionary intelligence. What can we do!? — Change our purpose; think local to act global; leverage today’s resources in the service of that purpose.

After this journey… Karen started her eco-community off Puget Sound on an island! growing food, chickens, goats etc in 270 sq feet little place :)