Trees made of books!

Christmas tree of Books at the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland

Always enjoy seeing libraries using discarded books to create art, purses, or  furniture! Go University of Warmia and Mazury of Olsztyn, Poland (and a Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia  – a shout out to my ancestors in Poland!) for their lovely giant Christmas tree created from books. See the writeup in American Libraries or visit their website for more info and videos.  Check out more trees made from books from my past blog posts too!

AASHE 2011 Conference Presentation Materials Now Available

AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) now has available all of the conference posters, panels and presentations from 2011 conference in Pittsburgh last October and the 2010 in Denver. The conference materials are in one searchable database, searched by conference year, category, organization, session type and keyword.   Blog posts, photos and videos can also be found on the AASHE conference website.

Green Schools Save Districts Money

Education News offers a summary of recent “Local Leaders in Sustainability” report by the American Institute of Architects and the U.S. Green Building Council showing how greening schools is not only eco-friendly but saves districts money!  One example given is school system in Mississippi saving  $23,000 in energy costs in the past year by participating in the Tennessee Valley Authority Green School Initiative (a program called Green Power Switch which produces electricity from renewable sources).

The report explains the benefits of greening schools, explains roles local/state/federal can play to go green, as well as providing ideas and action plans to green schools.Green school improve student health, decrease absenteeism, improve student performances, keep teacher retention, can be used as a teaching tool,  bring community together, save money by using less water and electricity, increase property values, and do not cost more than conventional schools!

One of the best things of the report are the Model Advocate and Profile of a  Green School sections – real world examples of advocates for greening school, such as Mayor Riley of Charleston SC who believes so strongly in this endeavor he promote  a now existing  a one-cent sales tax to support green school construction!  And Profiles of Green Schools like River Crest Elementary School in Hudson, WI –  a green school constructed below the cost of a conventional school!   The end of the report offers suggestion such as connecting with your local USGBC Chapter, creating a green school task force,  hosting a green school summit, creating a green school challenge, hire a green school fellow, create a green energy school policy or green cleaning policy, tour other green schools, and info on lots of groups to check out.

Greening your Holidays

Trees, cards, decorating, &  gifts… looking for ways to be greener this holiday? This article by  the Ian Somerhalder Foundation “How to be “Green” even during the busy holidays” offer a lot of good ideas. What kind of tree should you consider buying – real or fake?  Did you know 1.5 billion cards were sent in 2010 in just the US – 93% of which were virgin pulp?  For decorating, consider going green with LED and solar-powered alternatives –  US Dept of Energy study says if everybody replaced conventional holiday light strings with LED lights at least 2 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity could be saved in one month. The article also suggests creating edible ornaments to hang outside and feed wildlife, making your own pine decorations & wreaths  from trimming your trees or use other plants like holly or ivy, and rethinking any purchases of non recycled decorations.  For gift giving, shopping,wrapping and shipping, there are a number of things to consider such as buying online to say gas, donate to a charity in someone’s name, researching the eco-friendliness of the company, or giving a green gift like a real plant or seed or a recycled/organic item. The article also offers insight for wrapping, shipping and packaging your gifts.

The IS foundation’s mission is to “to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures.” Check out this article for more information to make your holidays really green.