Connections

03/31/2014 § 3 Comments

By Audrey Brinkers, Campus Garden Initiative Coordination

The advancement of mankind was rooted in connections.  Connections between villages allowed for trade; connections between people allowed for relationship; connections with the land allowed for agriculture.  Connections across the globe via planes, trains, and automobiles allowed for industrialization, and connections among great minds allowed for alarming technologies in every field imaginable.

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How We Measure Up? 2014 EPI Results

03/26/2014 § Leave a comment

by Andrew Carty, Greek Life Sustainability Intern

Yale University has released its 2014 data for its Environmental Performance Index (EPI) which ranks the world’s countries as environmental stewards.

The dual objectives of the index revolve around protecting environmental health and ecosystem vitality and are subdivided into nine issue areas. These issues categories are then subdivided again by twenty indicators.

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http://www.epi.yale.edu/our-methods.

So, who are the top ten countries according to the 2014 EPI?

1. Switzerland- EPI Score: 87.67 Percent Change Over Ten Years: +.8%
2. Luxembourg
3. Australia
4. Singapore
5. Czech Republic
6. Germany
7. Spain
8. Austria
9. Sweden
10. Norway- EPI Score: 78.04 Percent Change Over Ten Years: +2.79%

How does the United States measure up to the world as of 2014?

33. United States- EPI Score: 76.52 Percent Change Over Ten Years: +2.23%

Who are the world’s worst as of 2014?

169. Bangladesh- EPI Score: 25.61 Percent Change Over Ten Years: +3.98%
170. Dem. Rep. Congo
171. Sudab
172. Liberia
173. Sierra Leon
174. Afghanistan
175. Lesotho
176. Haiti
177. Mali
178. Somalia- EPI Score: 15.47 Percent Change Over Ten Years: +6.62%

What are the major findings/global trends according to the history of EPI?

Global improvements have been seen overtime in sanitation, drinking water, and child mortality. Global declines have been seen in air quality, wastewater, and fisheries.

The majority of indicators show vast improvement, but air quality and fisheries declines are still extremely worrisome.

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http://www.epi.yale.edu/key-findings

For more information on the 2014 EPI as well as older EPI reports, visit http://www.epi.yale.edu/epi.

The Year of Family Farming

03/25/2014 § 3 Comments

By Liz Essman

The United Nations declares 2014 the International Year of Family Farming, an initiative that aims to promote family and community owned farms in order to address human and environmental issues such as food insecurity and natural resource management.

family-with-goat

 

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Could Genetic Modification Save Species from Extinction?

03/13/2014 § 3 Comments

By: Nadia Lovko, Sustainability Metrics & Reporting Intern

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have been coming under fire lately with their use in crops.  93% of soybeans and 86% of corn produced in the U.S. are GMOs. Crops have been at the center of the GMO debate, but much more is being done with gene modification than just producing pest resistant corn.  Scientists have begun trying to use gene modification to bring species back from the edge of extinction. But how is this done? 

DNA

Image credit: Jay Kelly

 

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Parking Meter Pandemonium

03/11/2014 § 4 Comments

By Rachel Joseph, First Year Experience Intern

I understand the rationale behind the new parking meters. I really do. Not only do they raise more money for our city, but they also discourage people from unnecessarily driving to and around downtown when they can walk, bike, skate, ride public transportation, or in some fantastic cases, whip out their old school Razor scooter for a whirl. While my opinion and knowledge of the former monetary incentive is somewhat lacking, I can fathom the importance of the latter motive—encouraging more environmentally friendly transportation. By erecting more meters downtown, and by keeping them open until 10pm, people capable of walking, biking, or bussing to and around downtown are more likely to ditch their cars and take advantage of alternative modes of transportation.

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Parking a bike is free!

While the new parking meters have the potential to discourage automobile use and decrease Bloomington’s CO2 emissions, I don’t believe most people see it this way. This includes myself a lot of the time. The new meters feel more like a punishment than a present, a hindrance rather than an opportunity. All I’ve heard from folks since the meters’ appearance are complaints, criticisms, and protests. Indeed, what did the city expect?

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Curbing Climate Change

03/11/2014 § Leave a comment

By: Jessica Stavole, Energy & Built Environment Intern

In December of 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted and the first commitment period took place from 2008 to 2012.  Although the United Stated did not sign the Kyoto Protocol, the EIA reported that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2012 were the lowest since 1994, at 5,293 million metric tons, achieving a 5.2% reduction in CO2 emissions since 1997, meeting the Kyoto Protocol standard.

As shown in the above graph, the majority of carbon dioxide is emitted as a result of burning fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal and natural gas.  Carbon dioxide is considered to be one of the principal greenhouse gases (GHG), absorbing and emitting radiation within the thermal infrared range of light, ultimately contributing the warming of the earth’s atmosphere and climate change.

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Business for Bikes

03/04/2014 § 5 Comments

By Henri Venable, Bicycle Initiative Intern

I had an interesting conversation with an IU staff member regarding the latest bicycle infrastructure around Bloomington. He voiced two of the same complaints that people usually voice when bike infrastructure comes into town: 1) bike lanes make the roads too narrow and 2) reduced parking/vehicle space is bad for local businesses.

The first is a culturally driven expectation. Roads in Europe have been narrow for centuries and, somehow, vehicles manage. Bicycles in this country have historically been marginalized road users who are finally receiving the recognition they deserve and the infrastructure they need. Any normal sized car will continue to fit in the new sized lanes. If you’re concerned about your Ford F150, Hummer, or Tank not fitting comfortably in the lane, maybe it’s time for a re-evaluation of your transportation needs.

big-truck4

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Sustainability in Education

03/02/2014 § 1 Comment

By Sarah Baulac, Education and Research Intern

On Thursday, February 27 over 45 students came together to discuss sustainability issues on campus and students’ role in sustainability. Topics ranged from sustainable computing to transportation to sustainability as a lens for teaching many disciplines. The program featured a special announcement from Jeff White, Director of the Integrated Program in the Environment. The College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs will jointly offer a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental and Sustainability Studies.

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