Green Piece

12
Nov09

Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet

Posted by: Stephanie Knutson

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If you’ve ever wondered why “going green” and “sustainability” have become such big issues, Mark Lynas’ book, Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, should definitely be on your reading list. Lynas read tens of thousands of scientific articles about global climate change and its potential consequences in preparation for writing this book. He took all of that information and broke it down by degree. Each chapter in the book lays out the likely results of an additional degree Celsius of average global temperature.

The chapter on one degree of warming details changes in climate that we are already beginning to see: increases in floods in some places and droughts in others, the loss of Arctic and glacier ice, loss of biodiversity. By the time he gets to six degrees Celsius of average temperature increase, Lynas is describing a world unlike any most of us can imagine living in. This level of warming would cause plant and animal extinctions on a scale not seen since the time of the dinosaurs. This would be a world that was extremely hostile to human life, in which we would struggle to keep ourselves sheltered and fed in an increasingly chaotic environment.

Lynas is optimistic about our ability to avert disaster on the six-degree scale, but only if we can control our levels of greenhouse gas emissions before we get to three degrees. At that point, we begin to reach a series of tipping points that will send the climate careening out of control and emissions cuts will no longer make any discernable difference. So, if you’ve wondered at all about why this sustainability stuff is important or what’s really at stake, I would strongly recommend that you read this book.

Posted in: Green Piece, Read, Listen, Watch, Sustainability

29
Oct09

Boston Vegetarian Food Festival

Posted by: Stephanie Knutson

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Those of you looking for something fun and not Halloween-related to do this weekend should check out the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival. It’s happening Oct 31st from 10 AM to 6 PM and Nov 1st from 10 AM to 4 PM at the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center, 1350 Tremont Street, Boston. There will be cooking demonstrations and talks on everything from the basics of vegetarianism, to nutrition, to the effects of diet on global warming. There will also be plenty of exhibitors giving out free samples, educational exhibits on animals and the environment and children’s activities. Best of all, everything is free. Stop by and learn how you can eat healthier and help the environment.

Posted in: Environmental Studies, Green Piece, Staff Interests, Sustainability

16
Oct09

Campus Sustainability Week

Posted by: Stephanie Knutson

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Next week, October 19th through 23rd will be NU’s first ever Sustainability Week. There will be all sorts of informative and entertaining programs throughout the week. You can see the full event list here.

Highlights include a screening of the film Blue Gold: World Water Wars, a performance by the musical group Recycled Percussion (who recently took third place on America’s Got Talent), a green business networking event, and a panel presentation about how you can reduce toxic exposures in your daily life.

It looks like this is going to be a very interesting, exciting week!

Posted in: Environmental Studies, Green Piece, Sustainability

14
Oct09

The Lorax

Posted by: Stephanie Knutson

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Jacket.aspxRecently, my Environment and Society class watched The Lorax. I know what you’re thinking, why is a college class watching Dr. Seuss videos?

For those who don’t remember the story from childhood the Lorax is a small fuzzy creature who lives in the truffula tree forest and speaks “for the trees.” He’s an environmentalist who stands up to the Onceler, an industrial tycoon who’s chopping down all the truffula trees to make thneeds, “which everyone needs.”

The story goes on to show the results of unchecked, greed-driven production. The skies turn black. The rivers fill with waste. The animals run out of food and are forced to leave their home. Finally, the very last truffula tree is cut down. Then there’s nothing left but polluted, lifeless wasteland.

It’s a very powerful story. So much so, in fact, that it’s been banned from schools in some logging communities. Dr. Seuss argued that the story wasn’t anti-logging, just anti-greed. Can you think of other “children’s” stories with similarly powerful messages?

Posted in: Green Piece, Read, Listen, Watch, Sustainability

9
Oct09

No Family History Film Screening

Posted by: Stephanie Knutson

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Next Tuesday, October 13th, the NU Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative, and the Northeastern Facilities Department of Sustainability and Energy will be joining forces to present a free screening of the film No Family History. This film, made by environmental sociologist Sabrina McCormick, addresses the environmental causes of breast cancer, such as toxins in personal care products. It also looks at the movement to improve regulations to prevent breast cancer as opposed to focusing on finding a cure.

Sabrina McCormick, who has done extensive research on the connection between environmental toxins and health will be giving a talk after the screening. This event ties in well with both NU’s Sustainability Week and Breast Cancer Awareness Month and is sure to be an eye opener. The screening will be held October 13th from 6:00 – 8:30 PM in 105 Shillmam.

Posted in: Green Piece, Read, Listen, Watch, Sustainability