Integrated Energy Master Plan Draft Released

06/28/2012 § 1 Comment

By Bill Brown, IU Director of Sustainability

The Central Heating Plant on the IU Bloomington campus.

According to the 2010 Campus Master Plan, the Bloomington campus could “realize an overall 30% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2020 and an 80% reduction by 2050, including anticipated development.” The Campus Master Plan consultants, JJR/Smith Group, went on to state “these reductions can be achieved by reducing existing and future energy consumption, diversifying campus energy resources, investing in efficient steam and electricity co-generation facilities, and monitoring actual campus energy use to better understand power consumption and develop reduction strategies.”

An Integrated Energy Master Plan (IEMP) followed to determine just how that could be accomplished and what it would cost. The long-awaited draft report of the IEMP was presented to the IU Board of Trustees, June 21, at their meeting held on the IU Northwest campus in Gary. Consulting engineers Eric Utterson and Jerry Williams, of 8760 Engineering, LLC in St. Louis, presented a brief PowerPoint presentation of their extensive study. « Read the rest of this entry »

Sustainability When Your Life Depends on It

06/25/2012 § Leave a comment

By Sara Swan, Campus Garden Initiative Intern

I recently returned from a trip to Jamaica. When I say that, people tend to picture me reclining on the beach drinking fruit juice. When I tell them that the trip actually involved days spent traveling on intensely bumpy one-lane mountain roads (terrifying when your bus is headed straight towards another bus, each driver honking manically at the other), they look surprised. When I explain further that I helped transplant native tree species, build a visitor’s center at the eco-lodge where we resided, and planted ginger and medicinal herbs using a machete, Jamaica’s most ubiquitous (and bad-ass) tool, they look even more surprised. When I finally explain that it was all part of an IU service learning course called Roots, Fruits, and Jamaican Ecologies, they understand.

Working on a ginger farm with the president of the BPFA

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This Week in Sustainability 6.25.12

06/25/2012 § Leave a comment

** Notice: We are making a few changes to the format of This Week in Sustainability that we hope will make the bulletin more digestible. Events and news will now be updated as follows:

  • Upcoming events will be listed in the This Week email and on our calendar. We will not continue to include these events in our blog posts. If you do not receive our weekly email and would like to, please email to subscribe. 
  • The most recent items in the “News, Ongoing Events, and Opportunities” section will be highlighted in the This Week email, while the full list of items will still be available on this weekly blog post. Submitted items will be included in the blog post for 4 weeks. After this time they will be retired, but you may email to resubmit your item with an extension request if you feel your item should remain on the list for a longer period of time.
  • Regional and national programs that have continual opportunities will be listed on a new webpage that we are in the process of developing. This will be a more static site that includes basic information and typical application and program dates. If we are contacted about an upcoming deadline for these opportunities, we will include a reminder in our weekly blog post.

Please email us at if you have any questions.

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If you are interested in having an item included in our listing, please send an email with the title, time, date, location and description to by the Saturday evening before your event occurs.


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Bloomington Community Orchard Workdays and Events (posted 6/25/12)
The Bloomington Community Orchard is having a wonderful summer: a first harvest of strawberries, further developing the Orchard site, a new hive of bees just introduced. There are exciting times coming, and the Orchard would love to have you involved. Every experience level and skill set has a place at the Orchard, whether you’re attending a workday to help maintain the Orchard, helping us spread the mission of the Orchard through the community or coordinating special projects. Check our calendar ( for details or email Amanda at for more information. « Read the rest of this entry »

“Colors of the Wind”

06/25/2012 § Leave a comment

By: Hayley Prihoda, Dunn’s Woods Project Intern

I recently read the article “Earth Stewardship: science for action to sustain the human-earth system” by F. Stuart Chapin and partners.” I naïvely assumed the article’s primary aim was to call humans into action; to raise awareness about the injustices we have committed against the planet in the past and suggest ways to remedy the situation in the future. I quickly realized I was wrong. The last line of the article’s abstract reads, “The goal of Earth Stewardship is not to protect nature from people; rather it is to protect nature for human welfare.” I did not believe what I had read and proceeded to re-read the line multiple times, the words “for human welfare” ringing in my head. Having questioned and examined all the possible implications of this statement, I came to the conclusion that the article meant exactly as it had said: the planet is only worth saving when it suits human needs.

How is it that a scientific journal, Ecosphere in this case, could publish an article that does not give any value to the planet simply for being a planet? Are not scientists the individuals esteemed for understanding the value and intricacies of all living organisms? If scientists, those that study the complexities and miracles of the living world, do not appreciate nature for its intrinsic value, will anyone? « Read the rest of this entry »

Beets, Broccoli, and Bikes

06/24/2012 § Leave a comment

By Frances Einterz, Big Red Eats Green Fall Festival Intern

While admiring the kaleidoscope of produce at the stalls of the Bloomington farmer’s market, I find it easy to identify the exact travel distance of the beets and broccoli I will be morphing into this evening’s dinner. However, as I mount my bicycle, which was recently repaired for free at the Bloomington Bike Project, it occurs to me that I cannot similarly identify the origins of my bike. I recognize that perhaps I am part of a hypocritical farce in which I haughtily minimize food miles without applying similar consideration to other products I buy. I am an omnivore with a consumer’s dilemma.

Putting aside the broccoli and beets, I decide to mentally disassemble my bike. I am a recent and proud convert to the commuter cyclist lifestyle, but I question how “green” is the physical production of my bike? Bloomington plays host to at least ten local bike stores, but it seems doubtful that the bikes they sell are made in the U.S., much less in Indiana. For training, I ride a Cannondale, and using I learn that the Cannondale road bike is made of rubber from Venezuela, aluminum from Kentucky, and cardboard from Virginia. The carbon fiber frame travels roughly 8000 miles from China before landing in Bedford, PA where its final assembly takes place.

In 2009, Cannondale was one of the few bikes still made in the United States until, in 2010, its mother company, Dorel industries, moved all of its aluminum frame production to Taichun, Tawain and closed all but one of its factories in the United States. It is estimated that one bike’s production emits about 530 lbs of greenhouse gases, but after 400 miles of bike rides, the bike pays off its carbon emission debt.

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Grown in Town Farmstead: An Urban Agriculture Initiative

06/18/2012 § Leave a comment

By Haley Long, Sustainability and the First Year Experience intern

Riding along East Miller Drive over on the South side of town, it’s usually pretty easy to spot John Galuska’s urban farmstead. The little houses that line one side of the road are a bit older, with well kept lawns that all seem to blend together after a while. When you reach John’s place, though, it’s obvious that you’ve arrived at your destination. The property is easily spotted due to the mass of flowers that fills up the space where a front yard might otherwise be. The wildflowers and grasses, which mimic the prairie ecosystem native to southern Indiana, and the sunflowers, which can reach up to 14 feet tall, are a good landmark to look for when searching for Grown In Town Farmstead.

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The Last Frontier of the Green Movement

06/18/2012 § 1 Comment

By Shar Fish, Green Teams Coordinator

Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, will be convening June 20-22. Approximately 50,000 leaders in sustainable development from the public, for-profit, and nonprofit sectors will come together to create initiatives aimed at environmental protection, poverty reduction, and promotion of social equity. Key Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture initiatives include land conservation, natural resource protection, expanding the information exchange of chemical pesticide risks, and waste reduction, among others. These were deemed key initiatives in similar conferences held between 1992-2002 and are now being revisited to assess progress.

Directly associated with these concerns but absent from the list is a discussion of the impacts of industrialized animal agriculture, as noted in an op-ed to The Washington Post co-authored by Peter Singer, godfather of our country’s animal welfare movement. Singer found that attendees will have access to catered organic food at Rio+20, but a focus on meatless meals is apparently absent.
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