Archive for February, 2012
We have a vision. We have a desire. We have the motivation to create change, and the drive to make it stick. As one of my favorite musical artists once said, “You and me together, we could do anything, baby”. And mimicking this call to action, no matter the slight context variation, I am reaching out to all students, clubs, professors, and the administration to work together now as a collective body to not only enhance our message, but accelerate our combined vision to reality. Let us remove these silos, forget about the perceived stagnant state of policy chance, and tear down the bureaucratic and nonsensical walls that have separated us since the conception of each and every one of our numerous clubs and organizations. Let the past stay in its time as we swiftly wipe all of the old chalk residue off the dilapidated blackboards.
We are surrounded by an environment that will serve as an experimental laboratory for the start of new micro-movements, for inspirational meetings that spur inter-community participation and action, and for remarkable happenings placing Wash U in the spotlight for a global audience to replicate our next achievement. Each and every one of us is in our own personal, communal, ethnic, collegiate, regional, trait oriented, attention focused, book reading, like-minded, shoe wearing bubbles. We have unintentionally put up barriers that are constantly reinforcing traditional practices that act as the anthropomorphized cartoon characters slapping us in the face as we attempt to bypass them from side to side. Enough with the trickery, it’s time to gear ourselves for the never before journeyed path ahead to an unknown, but remarkably bright destination.
Imagine a university that prides its staff, professors, administration, students, and prospectives on their respective passion for tending to the environment we all have a stake in. Visualize a futuristic classroom filled with natural light that invokes a feeling of sitting in the dense bamboo forests of the mountainous regions of Eastern Asia, swimming in an olympic size pool that doubles as a battery for storage of electrical energy capacity, and a modern rooftop harnessing the power of the sun and natural forces to mitigate our over burning of environmentally detrimental minerals. Every one of us, some still in hiding, hold an emotional sentiment and positive feeling of bliss in our interactions with the natural world. Let us not battle the problem with only thought, but meaningful action to spark change in others. Target, position yourself among friends, and flip the switch from wielding cowardly, negative arguments, to building a new connection in a never before realized light. Look up, and remember that it will take more than the power of one, the network of a few, and the wants of an organization, to build this idealized world.
Few actions are more powerful than a positive push.
A smile. A word of optimism and hope.
And you can do it when things are tough.
Because tough times never last, but tough people do.
One remarkable change leader in this world once said,
“All of our dreams can come true - if we have the courage to pursue them”
That man was none other than Walt Disney.
What if we could raise cows that release less methane?
Novus says they can, with special essential oils added to cattle feed that reduce the cows’ methane emissions by 25%-50%! You might recall that the recent Olin Sustainability Case Competition was sponsored by Novus International. A local company with offices worldwide, Novus makes products to improve the health of livestock, pets and people. Originally Monsanto’s Feed Ingredients Division, it was sold to two Japanese firms in 1991. As part of the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care® Program, Novus is accountable for the safe, responsible and sustainable management of chemicals through their entire life cycle, including worker safety and energy efficiency in facilities. Novus claims that its innovation contributes to global food availability and sustainability by:
- Making livestock production more efficient
- Teaching sustainable practices to farmers in Brazil
- Achieving a higher ROI on egg production
- Raising fish with lower waste
- Substituting antibiotics with organic acids
How are they doing this? Take a look at this page, part of their Sustainability Report, which also talks about Innovation, Integrity, environmental impact and community involvement. What do you think about these products?
Corporate Affairs VP
When talking with the two freshman this week, our work on energy at Net Impact came up in the conversation. To my surprise, these two individuals had no clue about our onsite renewables on campus. If you are reading this, and are as shocked as these two freshmen were, it’s OK. There is only one visible array on campus, and that is on the south facing side of the roof of the Olin Library. The other, much larger system, rests ontop of Braur Hall (the new engineering building). Because of “aesthetic” reasons the architecture committee on campus is not willing to display more perminant panels on buildings, meaning if more are built they will be hidden as is the case with Braur. This is nonsense. Avoiding the display of clean energy weakens the argument that our school is actively promoting sustainable practices.
So, what do we do? This semester, our Energy Committee is working on acquiring an easily transportable solar panel system to be used at outdoor events on campus. This trailor of clean energy will be a visible centerpiece of every event it latches on to. Through online education materials we will produce, anyone at the school will be able to see, touch, and learn solar. 2012 is the year that some backwards practices at the school will be abolished.
Check out the online presence for solar at our school at “SOLARPANELS.wustl.edu“
1st Platinum LEED Headquarters in MO, Model of Sustainable Design & Construction
Sound familiar? Alberici is the construction firm that’s renovating Umrath, next to Mallinckrodt. In St. Louis, Alberici is a leader in Green Building services, which is important because, as you might know, about 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. stem from buildings. Alberici’s headquarters was the 1st Platinum LEED building in Missouri and only the 9th in the world, back in 2005! Platinum LEED is the highest rating earned from criteria across these categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Air Quality.
FUN FACTS - Alberici Headquarters:
- On-site Wind turbine generates 20% of the building’s energy.
- Solar panels provide 90% of hot water heating.
- Southward orientation and saw-toothed (jagged) building lets in light and warmth during the winter.
- Highly reflective white roof membrane and low-e glass keeps the building cooler, saving energy.
- Rainwater cistern saves 150,000 gallons of water per year.
- During demolition of the old factory on site, 97% of materials were recycled and diverted from the landfill.
Pretty neat, right? We’re planning a TOUR, so email us if you’re interested!
Want to work at a national park, museum, somewhere different?
Looking for a fun, outdoorsy way to gain hands-on experience in environmental management? The Student Conservation Association offers a range of expense-paid internships across the country – choose from working at a national park, museum, marine site, community, and more! SCA recently came to recruit on campus and are especially looking for business students and those with other specialized backgrounds who are passionate about the environment, so take your pick and apply online! Benefits include living allowance, round-trip travel, housing, AmeriCorps Education Award, and access to partner organizations. WashU / Great Lakes region recruiter: J.R. Gilness, <jgilness@theSCA.org>
Green Corps – Meet them at the Career Fair this Wednesday!
If you are interested in gaining exposure to environmental organizations, be sure to meet the recruiter from Green Corps, the Field School for Environmental Organizing, at the Career Fair this Wednesday, Feb. 1, between 3-7pm at the DUC. WashU alumnus, Harry Alper, joined this program last year, after being active in Green Action and the Wilderness Project. Green Corps is hiring for their year-long paid training program, which provides “hands-on experience in solving urgent environmental problems — global warming, deforestation, water pollution and many others — with groups such as Sierra Club and Food and Water Watch.” Green Corps graduates are then placed with leading environmental and social change groups. Visit www.greencorps.org/findoutmore and contact Recruitment Director, Aaron Myran: Aaron@greencorps.org, or (617) 747-4302 for more information.
Also, if you are an environmental engineer, Ameren and SABIC Innovative Plastics will be at the Career Fair as well. Stay tuned for more sustainable job and internship opportunities! Make sure to tell us what organizations you are interested in, so we can tell the Weston Career Center staff. See you at the Career Fair!