Be the Change…

02/28/2012 § 2 Comments

Over the years, I’ve done some things that I would consider to be difficult: I’ve climbed mountains, run races, taken organic chemistry exams… you know, hard stuff. Right? We’ll, now I’m not so sure. That’s because recently I’ve been working on changing human behavior.

Think I’m joking? Just think about it – you know how hard it is. We’ve all failed miserably with New Year’s resolutions, and we’ve all crashed and burned on day three of the eat-less/run-more plan. Most people can’t even change little habits; so imagine convincing someone to trade their car for a bike or the bus, a few degrees on the thermostat for a sweater, factory farm meat for local veggies, or a mall shopping spree for a trip to the thrift store. Not so easy. But whether you like it or not, sustainability is 99.9% about changing human behavior.

It’s hard to accept sometimes, because part of us thinks that we shouldn’t have to give up stuff. And in a way, we’re right – being comfortable and having a reasonably decent quality of life shouldn’t wreak havoc on the world. But it’s the reality we live in.

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This Week in Sustainability 2.27.12

02/27/2012 § Leave a comment

This Week imgIf you are interested in having an event sent out over the listserv, please send an email with the title, time, date, location and description to by the Saturday evening before your event occurs. 

IUOS Website | Follow us on Twitter | Like us on Facebook | Sustainability Calendar 

Upcoming Events:

Thursday, March 1
“Critical Approaches to Environmental Sustainability across Latin America” with Michael Cepek and Andrew Matthews

When: 7:00 pm
Where: Sassafras Rm, IMU
Description: You’re invited to join the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies for a dialogue with Michael Cepek (UT–San Antonio) and Andrew Matthew (UC–Santa Cruz) on “Critical Approaches to Environmental Sustainability Across Latin America.” This event is sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies Sustainable Development Initiative, a U.S. Department of Education Title VI Project. « Read the rest of this entry »

Moving Forward

02/22/2012 § Leave a comment

By Bill Brown, Director of the IU Office of Sustainability

Just as the Campus Master Plan highlighted the importance of sustainability in campus design and operations, President McRobbie’s New Academic Directions Committee called for IU to “seize opportunities for strategic structural innovation.” Included was the recommendation to “develop a new interdisciplinary undergraduate major in sustainability studies and a strategic plan for service learning and community outreach in sustainable development.” Creating new interdisciplinary majors is much more difficult than, say, unifying a comprehensive campus-wide recycling program, but it is critically important work and the initiative is moving forward.

The IU Office of Sustainability (IUOS) will be searching for ways to greatly expand our current collaborative programs to catalyze sustainability research and curriculum development in 2012. Assistant Director Emilie Rex will continue to oversee one of the country’s largest and most successful student sustainability internship programs as an effective way to integrate research and teaching into campus operations.

Here’s a brief preview of what 2012 may hold for IUB Campus Sustainability, organized by the seven working groups of the Campus Sustainability Advisory Board: « Read the rest of this entry »

What does “Living Sustainably” mean?

02/20/2012 § 1 Comment

“Sustainability” seems to be one of the hottest buzzwords in today’s lexicon; however, what does sustainability really mean? While some of the confusion on the topic may stem from the fact that there is no one set definition of sustainability, I think that much of the confusion surrounding the word is due to its broad scope, as well as the fact that many peoples’ current lifestyle choices and practices don’t necessarily line up with sustainability concepts. After all, it is one thing to define sustainability, but what does it mean to truly live sustainably?

Getting people to live more sustainably involves branching the gulf that exists between current lifestyle choices and more idealized sustainability practices. While some changes can be harder to make than others (and even more importantly, to stay committed to in the long run), making incremental changes in behaviors and incorporating sustainability concepts into ones’ life doesn’t have to be painful- in fact, many times the more “sustainable” choice is often more economical and/or efficient in the long run! « Read the rest of this entry »

This Week in Sustainability 2.20.12

02/20/2012 § Leave a comment

This Week imgIf you are interested in having an event sent out over the listserv, please send an email with the title, time, date, location and description to  by the Saturday evening before your event occurs. 

IUOS Website | Follow us on Twitter | Like us on Facebook

Upcoming Events:

Monday, February 20
Informal presentation for prospective participants of two summer “expedition” courses:  “Volcanoes of the Eastern Sierra Nevada” and “Learning from Nature: Permaculture”
When: 6:00 pm
Where: Foster International Living-Learning Center, Foster-Shea Lounge
Description: Students!  Interested in an exciting new way to take an introductory science course in a spectacular field setting?  Come to this info session for some free pizza and to learn about two new courses, offered by Collins LLC, in conjunction with the Dept. of Geological Sciences and COAS, that offer students a unique opportunity for summer field study. The two courses are open to both science and non-science students and both offer College CASE N&M credit:
Geology G188 (Collins L130) “Volcanoes of the Eastern Sierra Nevada: Geology and Natural Heritage of the Long Valley Caldera,” offers a hands-on, inquiry-oriented introduction to geological and environmental sciences in some of the most spectacular and geologically active areas of the western U.S. The class is taught by Michael Hamburger, professor of Geological Sciences and John Rupp, research scientist with the Indiana Geological Survey.  Further information is available at the course web site:
Collins L230, “Learning from Nature: Permaculture” is taught by IU Religious Studies professor David Haberman, in conjunction with Peter Bane, author of The Permaculture Handbook: Garden Farming for Town and Country, Keith Johnson, Editor of Permaculture Activist magazine, and Rhonda Baird, permaculture practictioner and teacher.  This course offers students hands-on experience with the rapidly growing and internationally recognized design system for creating sustainable human environments that create ecologically sound and economically prosperous human comunities. Further information is available at the course web site: « Read the rest of this entry »

This Week in Sustainability 2.13.12

02/13/2012 § Leave a comment

This Week imgIf you are interested in having an event sent out over the listserv, please send an email with the title, time, date, location and description to by the Saturday evening before your event occurs. 
IUOS Website | Follow us on Twitter | Like us on Facebook | Read our Blog

Upcoming Events:

Monday, February 13

Department of Geography Colloquium: “Changing Sea Ice of the Canadian Arctic” by Dr. Stephen Howell, Visiting Post-Doctoral Fellow, Climate Research Division, Environment Canada
When: 4:00 p.m.
Where: Ballantine Hall 005
Abstract: The Arctic climate system is now in the midst of rapid change.  A consequence of the changing Arctic has been warming and surface air temperatures have increased by 1.36°C per century since 1875, accelerating in the last decade to 1.35°C per decade.  One of the impacts of increased Arctic warming has been the gradual reduction in end-of-summer sea ice extent that is now decreasing at a rate of 12% per decade. While it is certain that a warmer Arctic will continue to bring about lighter sea ice conditions, considerable regional variability is apparent. This presentation i) outlines the remotely sensed techniques used to monitor the changing sea ice of the Canadian Arctic and ii) discusses the role of atmospheric forcing on the changing Canadian Arctic sea ice.

Screening of “The Oil Crash: A Crude Awakening”
When: 7:00 p.m.
Where: Myers Hall 130
Synoposis: Supported by a powerful mix of archival footage, NASA shots of burning oil fields, and, often unintentionally hilarious, historical film excerpts, OilCrash guides us on an exotic, visual journey from Houston to Caracas, the Lake of Maracaibo, the Orinoco delta, Central Asia’s secretive republic of Azerbaijan with its ancient capital Baku and the Caspian Sea, via London & Zürich. Oil Crash visits cities around the world to learn of our future from such leading authorities as oil investment banker Matthew Simmons, former OPEC chairman Fadhil Chalabhi, Caltech’s head of physics, Professor David Goodstein, Stanford University political scientist, Terry Lynn Karl, peak oil expert, Matthew Savinar and many more. Free pizza will be provided. Event sponsored by Volunteers in Sustainability.  « Read the rest of this entry »

An update from the Edible Campus Steering Committee

02/11/2012 § Leave a comment

The Edible Campus Steering Committee, formed in September 2011, is charged with utilizing the expertise of campus and community stakeholders, to develop academic and community outreach opportunities and volunteer programming in support of edible gardening spaces that enhance the historical character of the IU Bloomington campus.

The committee, made up of 35 faculty, staff, and students and co-chaired by Campus View Childcare staff member, Amy Roche and Anthropology faculty member, Catherine Tucker, has decided to divide themselves into three sub-committees to adequately address their objectives this growing season: Food Production and Use, Academic Initiatives, and Volunteer Engagement.

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