This is pretty cool: EarthHour.org
Cities around the world are turning out their lights as an act of solidarity for the sustainability movement. Chicago has agreed to participate and is working with major buildings to take down their lights for one hour. ComEd is even working as a sponsor. It is cool, and I think we should work to push this out to the suburbs!
Social conscious investing seems to be a larger emerging trend. Investors are starting to question the amount of carbon released by the companies they may potentially invest in. This may be bad new for many large corporations based in one area and shipping products all the way across the country or around the world or for the coal fired energy plants here in Illinois. We often do not think about where our favorite products are produced and how much energy it takes in their production, how much gas is used in shipping, or the amount of pollutants given off in their production. It looks like investors will start thinking about these issues for us. You can listen to the full story on NPR at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=19226037.
Joe, one of our awesome librarians, directed me to the Jan/Feb 2008 issue of Environment magazine, which our library gets in print and gets online in our Academic Search Premier database (MVCC ID required to view from off campus). This issue’s cover story is “Campus Greening,” which focuses on how there is growing momentum in higher education to develop infrastructure that is more “green” (sustainable). I would say that the efforts of the Green Team here at MVCC are a reflection of this. This article notes the following:
Reasons for Campus Greening [in Higher Education]
- Prospective students are interested in the environment, so green campus maps and green tours are offered.
- Doing the right thing, locally and globally, is consistent with campus social action agendas.
- More walking and biking will improve health.
- Conserving water yields multiple savings: lower water bills, reduced sewer charges, and decreased energy costs.
- Colleges with vibrant environmental programs use the campus as a learning laboratory, connecting students to nature through campus field trips, discussions of environmental values and hands-on projects.
- Greening examples enliven courswork; for example, students in economics learn cost-benefit analysis by assessing alternative flooring choices and then have the satisfaction of seeing their work affect university decisions.
- Growing concern about climate change informs many campus activities.
[Rappaport (2008). “Campus Greening.” Environment.50:1, p.8. Note, Rapport draws from Barlett and Chase (2004), Sustainability on Campus for part of this list.]
If you are interested, you can read the entire article online from the library databases at, Campus Greening (MVCC ID required to view from off campus).
Chicago Public Radio’s news magazine 848 had a couple of pieces that I thought I should post about. First, they interviewed Lisa Madigan, Illinois Takes on US EPA
Last Friday, a federal appeals court struck down an EPA rule that effectively relaxed mercury emissions standards. Critics say President Bush’s EPA isn’t doing nearly enough to protect the environment.
And lately, environmental groups have been joined by more and more states in putting the squeeze on federal regulators. Illinois has been among the leaders.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has been leading the charge, and she joins us.
That also spoke with former EPA director Christine Todd Whitman, in this piece, the future of Nuclear,
President George W. Bush’s environmental policies began to take shape under his first EPA administrator, Christine Todd Whitman. She was a notably moderate voice in a largely conservative cabinet, and she tussled with the White House now and then before departing in 2003.
On the other hand, environmentalists say she dutifully followed Bush’s agenda in key areas – from climate change to Manhattan’s air quality after 911. Now, she’s at the forefront of a push to invest in nuclear power.
Whitman’s the co-chair of the nuclear-industry-funded Clean and Safe Energy Coalition. We caught up with her in Chicago yesterday, and asked her to address some lingering controversies about nuclear power’s safety, like the release of low-level radiation that can build up in the environment.
Most people put a minimum of at least five if not somewhere more likely of between eight and 15 different lotions and potions on their body each day. The skin is one of the most direct paths of chemicals into the bloodstream. Do you know what you are putting into your bloodstream every day? And don’t trust labels like “natural” or “organic” because they have to be certified and may contain numerous toxic and carcinogenic chemicals.
Well, how do you know the truth behind a label? Here is a short list of ingredients to check for. This is a great list to print out and stick in your purse or wallet and carry with you to check when you are shopping. If a product contains one of these ingredients, I say put it back on the shelf. These chemicals are mutagenic, toxic, carcinogenic, cause birth defects, promote allergies, or cause heart, kidney or liver dysfunction – just to name a few, but not even close to all, of the problems they cause.
Parabens (Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben)
Petrolatum / mineral oil
Coal Tar – D&C colors or FD&C colors
Phthalates [diethyl phthalate (DEP), dimethyl phthalate (DMP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP)]
Lead – often in hair dyes that mask gray hair – may be listed as lead acetate, but if it is not listed, will include one of these similarly phrased warnings: “Do not use near open wounds”, “Do not use to color mustaches”, or “ Wash hands thoroughly after use”.