03/11/2014 § 1 Comment
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.
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?
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.
03/04/2014 § 3 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.
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.
02/26/2014 § 2 Comments
By: Mary Roper, Green Purchasing Intern
Spring is near.
We suffered through the coldest January Indiana has seen in 35 years, the snowiest winter with the Polar Vortex bringing down 51.6″ of snow on us in total, and although last Saturday gave us a little taste of spring, the weather this week has felt somewhat glacial. Although March 20 brings the first official day of spring, this writer believes that a warmup is on its way (knock on wood).
Spring is near!
With the warmer temperatures, I invite you all to take the opportunity to explore the wonderful things Bloomington will be offering. From out door tennis matches at the IU Memorial Stadium, to new collections at the IU Art Museum, this spring will offer countless opportunities to walk, bike, or use public transportation to explore our city!
The warmer weather means opportunities to attend the annual Wylie House Heirloom Seed Sale on March 1st. What’s great about this sale is that we are able to purchase a variety of vegetable, herb, and flower seeds that are locally grown and chemical-free. It means the opportunity to participate in different marathons, walks, or hikes like the Peninsula Hike on March 13, or the classic Hoosier Half Marathon on April 5. And it means the return of the farmer’s market on April 5, a popular way for most students, faculty, and Bloomington citizens to spend their Saturdays.
After being cooped in for most of the winter, I can feel the city humming with anticipation of warmer weather. Although it is not here yet, I encourage you to research local events that our city is hosting. And remember,
Spring is near!
photo source indianapublicmedia.org
02/19/2014 § 5 Comments
By: Nadia Lovko, Sustainability Metrics and Reporting Intern
Bioremediation is the use of microbes and biological processes to clean up contamination. Some microbes can eat and process contaminants and use them for fuel. If soils and groundwaters do not have enough of these microbes, they can be added through a process known as bioaugmentation. This process is becoming increasingly popular as a method of cleaning up oil spills. pesticides, and other contaminants.
02/19/2014 § Leave a comment
Wildlife trafficking is crime that when caught, unfortunately usually results in a slap on the wrist. As a result, its become a mainstay in funding shady groups like Al-Shabbab. Al-Shabbab is a Somalian militia group that swore fealty to Al-Qaeda. They were responsible for the attacks on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi last year. The Department of State estimated that poaching provides around 40% of their income.
As wildlife trafficking has become a more integral part of the funding strategy for groups like Al-Shabbab, enforcement has become more important. Groups in the United States have recognized this. The Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking in the United States has called for stricter enforcement and greater consequences for wildlife trafficking. The Clinton foundation has even unveiled an 80 million dollar program to combat the ivory trade.
Part of the problem fueling poaching issues is the lack of economic opportunity in areas where it persists. Park rangers who combat poachers are well armed and often given permission to kill on sight. This makes poaching a dangerous line of work. Poaching problems are indicative of the need for economic development. If I can make a reasonable living doing something where I’m not risking my life, I’m far less likely to risk it.