The top 10 schools in electricity reduction were Appalachian State University, Bard College, Berea College, California State University Chico, Dickinson College, Louisiana State University, Loyola University Maryland, Portland State University, Wake Forest University and Western Carolina University, with an average energy reduction of 17.2 percent.
The top five schools in water reduction were Oberlin College, Pomona College, University of California Santa Barbara, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and Wake Forest University, with range of reduction of 4–17 percent.
“This tangible mobilization of hundreds of thousands of students reducing energy consumption, promoting sustainability and actively mitigating the effects of climate change shows that the next generation is ready for change and is no longer willing to wait for decision makers to address the issues at hand,” said Hannah Debelius, USGBC Students program manager, the Center for Green Schools at U.S. Green Building Council.
Participating schools used Lucid’s Building Dashboard® to compare performance, share winning strategies and track standings.
“As CCN continues to grow and expand, we are amazed at the impact students and staff are able to make,” said Chelsea Hodge, Lucid director of product engagement. “These students are demonstrating that creating a culture of conservation and inspiring individuals to change their behaviors can significantly reduce their campus’ carbon footprint.”
Nearly half of schools elected to participate in the group competition, competing campus to campus to save energy and water. With 13 group competitions this year made up of schools competing regionally or within standing rivalries, the spirit of competition heated up. Appalachian State University not only won its group competition against Western Carolina University, but both schools were in the top 10 for energy reduction. “We had a lot of fun with Western Carolina through social media and in pointing out different strategies,” said Donna Presnell, communication coordinator, Appalachian State University. “It was a good, friendly competition with them. You can now stop any student on campus and they’ll be able to speak to you about sustainability initiatives on campus.”
An optional CCN 2014 poster contest offered a $500 grand prize and four runner-up prizes to the schools with the most innovative outreach posters. Columbia University won best poster for its efforts to reduce energy in the residence calls — “I commit to power down” — with more than 700 votes from CCN participants. Penn State University won second, third and fourth place for its posters featuring tips to reduce water and energy with eco-friendly washing tips, and Dickinson College came in fifth place with its “Lights Out” poster.
“The poster submissions this year spotlighted the creative and innovative ideas that campuses implemented to get students to compete to reduce energy and water,” said Kristy Jones, senior manager of Campus Ecology at National Wildlife Federation. “One of my favorite posters stated, ‘If Batman can do it in the dark, why we can’t we?’ Students used fun, straight-to-the point taglines to show small behavioral changes can make a positive impact for humans and wildlife.”
With generous support from United Technologies Corporation, founding sponsor of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC, CCN gave students and staff an opportunity to organize and make immediate and lasting impacts on their school’s carbon emissions and campus culture. “It is exciting to see students and staff engaging with energy and water use on their campus,” noted Taylor McAdam of The Alliance to Save Energy. “A huge opportunity, both educational and financial, is missed when students aren’t incorporated into campus utility use.”
NWF’s Campus Ecology Program, a partner in the competition, has been working with colleges and universities for more than 25 years to advance climate action and sustainability on campuses, and to encourage the next generation to seek innovative ways to create a more just and sustainable future for humans and wildlife.
To learn more about the program, visit CompeteToReduce.org/CCN.]]>
I asked Kate Yoshida, Program Coordinator at the University of Illinois-Chicago, about how the Bike2Campus idea came about, since initially, this bike sub-group of CNSHE started meeting almost a year ago, and this is what she said:
I can’t remember whose idea the competition was originally (apologies to the person who thought of it), but we all thought it would be great to work together on a single event that would pull the cycling communities together in a way. We’ve been working steadily on it since the fall developing the cycling Smarts poster for education, Dominican University took the lead on the website and got the Chipotle sponsorship (which are both huge!), we compare notes on programming ideas– I think everyone in the group brought special knowledge or experience to the planning effort.
The campus community (students, staff and faculty) participating in the Bike2Campus challenge have the opportunity to win a free Divvy membership (Chicago’s bike share program), free bike tune-ups, Chipotle burritos, and other goodies and give aways. Events are happening across each of the campuses daily to encourage biking. They also encourage students to tag their photos on social media with #Bike2Campus.
John Wawrzaszek, Sustainability Manager at Columbia College shared about how collaborating with the other institutions has enabled Bike2Campus to gain great turnout and sponsorship:
The collective event, having strength in numbers, also helped in terms of donations and promotion. I feel that sponsors were more willing to respond to a larger ask knowing they could potentially reach 10 times the audience.
Another part that makes this exciting with the collaboration, is that this was an easy way to unify students across the city. The idea is to get students active and engaged no matter where they live or go to class. It’s a safe and fun activity that has positive impacts for the climate and their health.
It will be fun to see which institution leaves with top biking honors….friendly competition is something that will fuel us all to come back next year.
The Bike2Campus collaboration is a great way to engage students, cut carbon emissions and practice a more sustainable lifestyle.
Participating Colleges and Universities: City Colleges of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, Dominican University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Roosevelt University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Chicago and University of Illinois Chicago.
The Chicagoland Network for Sustainability in Higher Education (CNSHE) is a network of higher education institutions working to advance sustainability and accelerate climate action. CNSHE does such by working with students, staff and faculty to share best practices and by collaborating to achieve institutional and common goals which benefit the region and society at-large.
Come to Alaska this summer and join National Wildlife Federation’s Alaska affiliate, the Renewable Resources Foundation, for Salmonstock—a three-day music and arts festival celebrating Bristol Bay, wild salmon and the people who depend upon them! Held August 2-4 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in the small fishing town of Ninilchik, Salmonstock blends a small-town country fair atmosphere with the amenities of an established music festival, against the backdrop of breathtaking Alaskan scenery. Ninilchik is a gorgeous two-hour drive from Anchorage.
With multiple stages featuring top musicians, arts and crafts from local merchants, artists-in-residence showcased throughout the festival, booths featuring some of Alaska’s best restaurants and an extensive beer garden featuring brews from throughout the state, this is a uniquely Alaskan event not to be missed. More than 5,000 people made their way to Salmonstock in 2012, and this year’s third annual festival is shaping up to be bigger and even better.
Wild salmon are key to a healthy Alaskan ecosystem and a healthy Alaskan economy. Both are now threatened by the Pebble Limited Partnership (a joint venture of Northern Dynasty Minerals and Anglo American Mining), which wants to build one of the largest open-pit copper, gold and molybdenum mines in the world on top of the headwaters of Bristol Bay, the planet’s largest remaining wild salmon fishery. Salmonstock seeks to celebrate this renewable resource as well as educate, bringing people from all walks of life together to oppose the devastating threat posed by the proposed mine.An Awareness and Action Center on site will provide festival goers with the knowledge and resources they need to make their own positive impact on wild salmon habitat in Alaska, and help build a strong constituency of activists ready to take a stand against Pebble mine.
The lineup of musicians looks quite impressive; superstar Brandi Carlile just signed on to headline the show, bluegrass masters Trampled by Turtles, Minnesota rock and roll jam band The Big Wu, Americana favorite Great American Taxi and up-and-coming Colorado bluegrass band Head for the Hills will play at Salmonstock 2013. Other scheduled performers include Larry Keel & Natural Bridge, Moonalice, Si Kahn, The Coffis Brothers and Out Of Our Tree (featuring Tim Easton and Megan Palmer). More great bands will be announced in the coming weeks.
For tickets and more information, go to the Salmonstock website or the Salmonstock Facebook page. You can also contact RRF directly at email@example.com or 907-743-1900. See you in Ninilchik!]]>
As an aside, I thought I was really clever and came up with the term carbon debt all on my own but then I googled it and…Oxford, the world’s most trusted dictionaries, even has a definition. Carbon debt is a thing! Just to make sure that you, Oxford and I are on the same page, carbon debt is “the imbalance between the carbon footprint of a particular country, group, person, etc., and any carbon offsetting that has been agreed or undertaken to counteract this.” In simpler terms, if you have carbon debt, you and your lifestyle choices produce more CO2 than your environment uses.
But don’t get upset! Don’t get discouraged! Carbon debt is easily relieved! You can drive less, eat local and lower on the food chain and plant some trees. And, you can invest in carbon offsets!NWF Campus Ecology and the Carbonfund.org Foundation are partnering to offer campuses an affordable carbon offset opportunity that will:
If carbon offsets make you feel like that vegetarian who eats bacon in secret, rest assured that all Carbonfund.org offset projects are third-party verified, certified and audited. Carbon offsets are the perfect way to account for emissions resulting from events (sports games and, ahem, graduation ceremonies) and travel, and can be a bridge between the present and your campus’s self-supplying energy future as it builds that infrastructure. Investing in Carbonfund.org’s innovative offset projects–landfill methane gas-to-energy conversion operations in the northeast, reforestation along the banks of the Mississippi River and truck stop electrification across the country– is something your campus can do while continuing to increase energy efficiency and building its own, on-site renewable energy portfolio.
So here’s an idea for that graduation check from your great-uncle Harry: how about you invest it (or at least part of it, because let’s be real, graduating from college requires a bit of cash in the “celebration” fund) in a climate action project so you can graduate knowing that the CO2 emitted throughout your college career is being absorbed by climate-smart projects throughout the country and even the world. Better yet, pay a visit to the Commencement Committee, and ask them to look into offsetting your graduation ceremony.
If you have questions about Carbonfund.org offsets on your campus, email NWF Campus Ecology’s resident carbon offset expert, Kristy Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And most of all, HAPPY GRADUATION!! We wish we could sign all of your yearbooks personally with our soy ink pens, but just know that we have loved working with you! Best of all, this isn’t goodbye! Be sure to stay in touch by joining the NWF Emerging Leaders Initiative, which supports recent grads and young professionals (that’s you!) as they embark on careers in the environmental and conservation fields. The Emerging Leaders Initiative offers opportunities such as fellowships, leadership skills and professional development training, networking and more!
Keep in touch!
The NWF Campus Ecology Team
According to the American Psychological Association (APA) more than one third of Americans report high stress levels, and one in five say they feel very stressed at least half of each month. Stress impacts our health with physical symptoms like fatigue, headache, stomach upset, and back pain. It can affect our emotions, causing anger, depression, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping.
Children, as well as adults, feel the pressure from peers, schoolwork, and busy schedules. So what can we do?
Eating right, making time for exercise and spending time with friends and family are all important steps. But, a step outside may be the most beneficial. One study, from the American Journal of Public Health, revealed stress levels fall within mere minutes of being outside.
Everyone knows getting moving is great for you; moving around outdoors may be even better. According to Oprah.com, scientists have found that walks in nature reduce markers of stress within the body like decreased blood pressure, heart rates, and lower levels of cortisol.
Get outdoors and get moving with these activities or go to NWF’s Activity Finder for more ways to Be Out There:
Meditation is an excellent stress buster. Why not find a quiet spot in your backyard or local park and enjoy some outdoor introspection? Here are some simple techniques from the Mayo Clinic:
There’s powerful evidence that digging in the dirt reduces depression and anxiety and strengthens immunity. According to Huffingtonpost.com, a 2008 survey showed gardening may help reduce stress, even among those caring for chronically ill family members. Huffingtonpost.com also reports gardening can help lower cortisol levels and boost mood among people who had just finished a stressful task.
So grab your trowel and some seeds or plants and start growing with your family. Get your kids in on the action with these great tips for gardening with kids.
This month, try an easy, healthy, and fun way to reduce stress– spend time outdoors. Where you’re gardening, exercising, or just “be-ing” a new, relaxed you is just moments away!
The ideology of “sustainable dining” is a fairly new concept on campuses. While students and universities have been focusing on energy efficiency and policy, of course important issues, there has been another looming shift in our country where people are beginning to focus on their food and what their body intakes. We’re not just talking calorie counting, but examining what farmers and food processors put in the things we eat. In the light of this shift, students are demanding their school dining services think about these things as well. Additionally, how far food travels is a considering factor. Reducing the carbon footprint of your campus includes decreasing the distance your food is travelling from “Farm to Table”. Basically, buying local, naturally grown produce and naturally fed meat is important for the sustainability of human health and the health of our planet. And of course, in a still largely agricultural state like Georgia, opportunities for this should not be hard to find.
Friday’s workshop began with a keynote from K. Rashid Nuri, founder of Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture. Truly Living Well is an organization with two community gardens in Metro Atlanta’s urban neighborhoods. However, they do much more than gardening. TLW has a number of programs educating Atlanta and the state community on urban agriculture. Nuri came and gave a very inspirational speech on his background, starting Truly Living Well and his opinions on urban farming. We were reminded of why we were there and why this work is so important.The rest of the workshop included a panel discussion with experts from every step on the path of sustainable food to your plate, a project description from Kennesaw State University’s Students for Environmental Sustainability on their student-run and revenue generating farmer’s market, and presentations from Real Food Challenge and Emory Dining on sharing their practices from the student and administrator sides to promote local, healthy food on campus. The day concluded with a trip to a local meat grower, Hunter Cattle Farm in Brooklet, where the participants were given a tour and volunteered a bit on the farm with some of the routine duties. The tour guides stressed the importance of grass-fed beef and organic feeding of the animals they raise for human health. This sparked conversations on the natural diet of the food we eat and the pesticides and steroids often used in mass production farming. Overall, this workshop was about giving people examples of best practices from other institutions and shedding light on strategies from different experts so we can build upon this knowledge. Participants, like Julie Shaffer, Projects Manager for Sustainable Emory’s Food Service, commented on how informative and empowering the presentations were. Shaffer said:
“It was very inspiring to see others who are breaking new ground in the ‘good food’ movement. It was such a pleasure to hear stories about the creative work colleges and universities are doing across the state, in the area of sustainable food. Momentum for this movement is growing, and it’s very exciting!”
I believe this was the necessary guidance needed to drive sustainable food initiatives forward on Georgia university campuses. In the next year, my plan is to organize strategic planning meetings with students, administrators, and university dining staff together to brainstorm how to tailor this new venture to their individual campuses.]]>
If there is anyone who knows about successfully building a career of meaning, it’s Billy Parish. Within the last decade, Parish co-founded both the Energy Action Coalition (of which NWF Campus Ecology is also a co-founder and proud partner!)–the largest youth advocacy organization in the world working on climate change issues–and Solar Mosaic, a solar energy marketplace, where he currently serves as President. In 2012, Parish and co-author Dev Aujla published Making Good: Finding Meaning, Money and Community in a Changing World, a project that’s expanded beyond a simple print publication into a multi-faceted support and empowerment system for young people looking to “build careers that make money and change the world.”
This sounds like a big task, and highly idealistic. But Parish assured us that our work, our paying work, not just our extracurricular activities, can be meaningful.
Billy Parish’s Guiding Principles to Building a Career of Meaning:
- Follow Your Purpose: Parish admitted that when he started with EAC, he had no training (and no money) but he had a clear purpose: building a movement to address climate change. His focused purpose helped him stay the course and fit all the puzzle pieces together to achieve his goal.
- Build With the Best: As you are following your purpose, Parish encourages partnering with the best people you can find to help you accomplish your goals. While you may not be calling up Van Jones or Joel Rogers, as Parish did, he wisely suggested reaching out to the people you actually need on your team–don’t refrain from asking for help for fear of rejection. So maybe you should dial Van’s number after all! (“Hey, remember me from Power Shift ’11?! I was the one in the green hard hat!” might be a good way to start your conversation…) More realistically, think of the “Van Jones” in your life–someone with political, legal and business savvy. A corollary to building with the best includes cultivating relationships with your future co-founders: identifying your dream co-workers, your dream job. Keep in touch and lend a hand to the people who will help you get where you want to be.
- Go to the Root: Parish used the metaphor of a plant to represent his goals, and warned against always hacking at the leaves rather than tackling the root–the leaves always grow back, they even multiply, and a more effective and efficient strategy is to address the root issue. For Parish this meant building a constituency willing to fight for bold legislation to grow the green energy industry (through EAC’s Power Shift conferences), and later, finding a way to finance clean energy projects (via the creation of Solar Mosaic).
So there you have it: strong advice from a successful, driven, young, inspired (and inspiring!) entrepreneur for entering the working world while still achieving your ultimate goal of building a cleaner, greener society!
Of course, you are encouraged to read more than just this blog about Making Good — Indie Bound will help you find a local book store to visit and order the book from — the book itself offers exercises and other resources to help guide you through your meaningful career path!
Have you read Making Good, or did you attend the webinar? Are you finding meaning, money and community in this changing world? Share your thoughts, your advice and your experiences in the comments below.
Praise for Making Good from Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, Author of Global Warming for Dummies: “Billy Parish and Dev Aujla embarked on a remarkably ambitious book. Not content to educate and mobilize on global warming and social justice, they have written a ‘how to’ book for ethical living in a corrupt economy. It is a practical guide to ensure that ‘making a living’ does not compromise ‘having a life.’ Making Good could change the world.”
NWF’s recent report Wildlife in a Warming World: Confronting the Climate Crisis details how wildlife and wild places across the nation are already dealing with climate change. As we celebrate the many wonderful ways trees touch our lives and benefit wildlife during this year’s National Wildlife Week, we also take a moment to step back and consider what climate change means for trees today and into the future.
The trees that define the landscape in many parts of the United States are expected to undergo significant range shifts in the decades to come. As temperatures increase and patterns of rain/snow change, many tree species will have to find ways to adjust. And, this means that the birds, mammals, and other wildlife that depend on these forests will also have to adjust, not to mention the livelihoods and communities that are closely tied to the many services provided by the forests.
Here are a few examples of what climate change means for our forests:
Forest and wildlife managers are realizing that our approaches to conservation need to match the new challenges confronting our forests. When making plans for how and where we protect forests, we now need to think about possible shifts in forest ranges, changes in wildfire and pest outbreaks, and the impacts of more heat waves, droughts, and heavy rainfall events.
National Wildlife Federation is helping lead efforts to make conservation efforts climate-smart. For example, in a project to restore Ohio’s Black River, NWF made recommendations about which tree species to plant based on climate model projections of how tree ranges will shift. Our efforts with rural landowners in Alabama have helped them understand the value of longleaf pine as a native species that is more resilient to climate extremes than other pine species.
At the same time, conservationists, city planners, and water managers are looking to trees and forests as a way to increase the resiliency of our communities to climate change. Trees are critical infrastructure for cities and towns, and tree plantings, like those NWF is urging for National Wildlife Week, can help create more shade and reduce the need for air conditioning during heat waves. Healthy forests also help soak up heavy rainfall, reducing the likelihood of downstream floods while providing natural filtration for drinking water.
When it comes to climate change, perhaps the most compelling reason to protect our forests and urban canopies is the crucial role trees play in removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it for a long time. In fact, the regrowth of trees in the Northeast currently offsets about 16 percent of the nation’s carbon pollution from burning coal, oil, and gas.
Trees are a bigger part of the carbon pollution equation than many people realize. That’s why NWF is working hard to fight deforestation in the Amazon and support forestry programs here at home. And, that’s why we hope that you’ll take a moment to plant a tree (or even better, a LOT of trees!) this year.]]>
During the roaring 20’s, Detroit glittered as a global center of automobile manufacturing. With a population that soared from 285,000 in 1900 to 1.6 million by 1930, it was the fourth largest city in the United States. As more and more Americans clamored for cars, workers flocked to the Motor City seeking the American Dream, dark plumes of “progress” loomed over manufacturing facilities, and art deco skyscrapers dotted the skyline. Today, the population has dipped to just shy of 706,000, about one-third of properties are vacant, and 10,000 homes are slated for demolition in 2013. To add insult to injury, climate change impacts are being felt in the Great Lakes Region. These impacts are not only adversely affecting wildlife, but are also affecting the places where people live: for example, when increased rain events exacerbate stormwater flooding and create sewage back-ups in basements and streets.I recently had the opportunity to view two photography exhibitions at the National Building Museum, which document the declining urbanism and economic shifts in Detroit, while also hi-lighting the ways in which nature is inhabiting the city and re-claiming its empty spaces. The exhibitions also allude to nature’s role in the city’s new identity.
In Detroit Disassembled, Andrew Moore’s stunning large-format photographs are a nod to the style of 17th Century paintings, featuring crumbling buildings and streetscapes that are now overtaken by nature. In one over-sized print, an abandoned elementary school is surrounded and swallowed by prairie beneath bucolic blue skies, a stark juxtaposition in a once-booming metropolis. In another photograph, birch trees are growing out of decayed tomes left behind in a former book depository. In another, foliage has literally overtaken a two-story home, covering it in green leaves.
Camilo José Vergara takes more of a retrospective approach in his exhibition, Detroit is No Dry Bones, documenting locations of the city over time, profiling the transition of the former industrial capital. Vergara posits that Detroit’s “ruins” should be preserved, constant reminders of the Detroit’s cultural heritage and the capacity of its residents to survive in the face of adversity. Should modern ruins like the Michigan Theater, a once-grand renaissance-style building that is arguably the most beautiful parking garage in the world (cars are literally parked inside the theater’s shell, perhaps even in the spot where Sammy Davis Jr. met Frank Sinatra), remain as links to the city’s past?
Is there hope to revitalize decaying and declining urban centers, like Detroit, as they struggle to find their new identities? Of course there is, and nature can actually drive that transformation in the Motor City and elsewhere, but it requires us to be urban visionaries.
We need to take an approach that doesn’t exclusively focus on problem-fixing, but envisions the potential of our cities and towns, and recognizes that nature is critical, functional infrastructure and is just as important as buildings and roads. Instead of riding shot-gun, we need to put nature in the driver seat of our cities and towns.
We know that nature can survive and thrive in urban areas, while benefiting the humans that live there — we just need to place a premium on our green infrastructure and be smarter about designing spaces to function in this way.
Here are some ideas:
These ideas are not only relevant for communities that are re-developing and re-defining themselves due to economic downturns. Some of the same approaches can be taken in communities that are re-building and recovering from natural disasters, like those communities affected by Superstorm Sandy.
These are just a handful of ideas — learn more about climate-smart communities.
What are your ideas to make natural an integral part of our cities?
Detroit Disassembled and Detroit is No Dry Bones can be seen at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, through 17 March 2013.
And that’s not all – in the forest, an immediate concern is the potential for hemlock woody adelgid to have a major range expansion, and possibly wipe out eastern hemlock altogether.
These insects are native to Japan and feed on and kill eastern hemlock trees. The bug’s range is constrained to places where minimum temperatures remain above -20 degrees Fahrenheit… which now includes where I grew up, in North Carolina, and soon could include the forests in the entire Northeast. Climate model projections indicate that temperature increases could place the entire range of this tree above this temperature threshold, leading to range-wide declines and possible loss of the tree species altogether.
Why do we care? “I am more of a wildlife gal/guy than a tree one”, you say?
Eastern Hemlock is the most significant whitetail deer wintering cover in southern and central NH and parts of Maine and much of Massachusetts. Hemlock is used both as cover and forage during deep snow or cold temperatures. Loss of hemlock from the bugs could significantly drop the number of deer who make it through the winter, especially as we have more extreme winter storms that dump larger amounts of snow.
“But we need to worry about the economy, what about the economy?” Good question. Deer drive hunting license numbers, important revenue in most states. A significant reduction in deer numbers drives license sales and hunters getting out and spending money down correspondingly. Hunting and fishing license sales provide the bulk of state fish and wildlife funding in many states, which protects our wildlife and our pristine places.
A few fun facts from the Congressional Sportsmen’s foundation:
“I am convinced! What can we do about?” I am so glad you asked. We have a plan!
1. Reject tar sands in the US (including a pipeline here in New England)
2. Cut climate pollution from coal fired power plants
and last but not least,
3. Get the word out: talk to your friends and neighbors, post this on your facebook page, and share it on twitter.