Forcast Earth Summit for Students

High School Librarians, let your students know about a chance to attend the Weather Channel’s Forcast Earth Summit in Washington DC December 5-7, 2008. Apply by October 19 using the online form, which includes submitting an essay describing the your love for the Planet and waht you are doing to keep it clean and green. Review the rules and details or visit last year’s summit site. Only 20 students will be selected to attend the summitt which inlcudes hands-on activities, speakers, and discussions, and the chance to create individual public service announcements (PSA) that will air on The Weather Channel network.

Greening of Delta Airlines

Feeling guilty about flying somewhere for a library conference?  Delta has some green options.

In late spring, Delta announced the options for those flying to donate $5.50 for domestic roundtrip flights and $11 for international roundtrip flights to help offset the carbon dioxide emissions of their flight through the The Conservation Fund to plant trees throughout the U.S. and abroad. Recently they annouced another green effort – a comprehensive on-board recycling program which includes not only aluminum but also newspapers, snack containers, soda cans and water bottles. Proceeds go to benefit Habitat for Humanity. Delta states that in the first two weeks of the program, they recycled approximately five tons of material.

Greening of Information Technology Podcast Available

For those academic librarians, if you missed this keynote address from the EDUCAUSE 2008 Enterprise Conference at the end of May, you can listen to the podcast by EDUCAUSE President and CEO, Diana Oblinger.  The slides are also available to follow along while listening to the 55minute podcast. Abstract: The environment is the largest enterprise system of all, and one that is impacted by information technology. As “green” initiatives and sustainability become a greater part of our consciousness, “green computing” will receive increasing focus in higher education. This presentation will explore sustainability, energy use, and “reduce, reuse, and recycle” programs.

Composting at your library

Coffee grounds, left over lunches, party food wastes…. want to try composting these materials (to use in your library gardens!) but how to do this efficiently, w/o smell or mess? Look for a compact, odor free, easy to use, type model. There are two composters at Nature Mill (a regular $299 and pro $399) which offer all of the above benefits and are worth checking out. They do plug in and use electricity, but only about 10 watts per month (about 50 cents). But the ease at which they can be emptied w/o the usual mess of other composters may convince others in your office to participate.

There are many other options for composters that require a little more work. Gaiam offers a few choices at a much lower cost and uses no electricity such as this positively reviewed Bokashi, or some general kitchen composters. You can go all out with an all natural worm composter if you are dedicated to the work it will entail.

A Carpooling Social Network

Thinking about carpooling but don’t know how to connect with people locally? NPR has a podcast on – a social networking site that matches people to arrange rides together. It’s free to join to arrange sharing but also has a function to allow members to share the costs of the trip, charging a 10 percent transaction fee. More information on how this works, including what happens if there is an accident can be found on their FAQs page.

Certified Green Building Products Search

Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), a third-party provider of certification, auditing and testing services, and standards, offers a searchable database of SCS certified products – “an online directory of green building products.”  You can choose a product category like flooring, furniture, garden, textile, etc., then choose more specific parameters according to your main selection. You can also search by certification type such as non formaldehyde, reclaimable products, biodegradable, etc. You can also search by brand name or product registration number.  There is also a link at the bottom of the page to a PDF file listing all FSC-certified wood products as well.

Green Plant Therapy

Start simple.  We can’t all redo our buildings to make them healthier and more green.  Poor ventilation, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), and  many other indoor pollution can really affect employees’ health and attitudes. To provide even yourself, your employees, or your library with better personal air quality, start with a plant. This chart (from goodmagazine) shows some of the basic toxins and which types of plants with help mollify their effects over time.  Even if you don’t have much light you can still have plants in your office/library. These sites list some ideas:

You can also read more about indoor air quality and “sick building syndrome” on the EPA’s site here.