So MUCH To Do, APRIL 2014

Happy Earth Month, Y’all!

Everyday is Earth Day, of course, but this is the month we take extra time to celebrate all that is wonderful on this big blue planet, how we can behave to support its health and ultimately our health as communities and individuals.

Check out all the great events happening this Earth Month here at MVCC.

Also, there’s a really cool energy reduction challenge happening in Crawley Hall! You can watch real time energy demand and see how the building users are doing as they attempt to reduce their energy demands!

And here’s a bit from the US EPA on how to stay involved nationally and digitally. They have some pretty cool campaigns this month; definitely worth checking out.

Happy Earth Month from EPA!

April 22 is Earth Day, but we’re celebrating all month, sharing a new tip each day to help you act on climate change.

Below, we’ve listed many ways you can take action yourself and spread the word to your friends and family. Try one or many, but either way, let’s all #ActOnClimate!

Help us get the message out
Please help us share a message at noon on Earth Day, along with the link to a page full of things everyone can do to act on climate. We’re using a new system called Thunderclap to coordinate, so a message will go out from everyone at noon on Earth Day. Here’s the catch: we need 500 people to sign up or the message won’t go.

The message is: “For Earth Day, I commit to protect the climate. Take small actions that add up! #ActOnClimate http://epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/

We need your help, both to send the message and to invite your friends to send it, too. Join the effort or if you want more information about how it works, see our blog post.

Share daily tips through our website and social media
We’ve created 30 daily tips to act on climate, and we’ll post one each day. Help us get them out there:

Join a Twitter chat about climate issues
We’re going to have EPA experts available to discuss various climate issues on our @EPAlive account every Tuesday in April:

  • April 8, 2:00pm EDT – What can I do to act on climate?
  • April 15, 2:00pm EDT – What is EPA doing to act on climate?
  • April 22, 2:00pm EDT – EPA Research and Climate: What does the research show about climate change and what we can do about it.
  • April 29, 2:00pm EDT – Why is climate action important for our water?

How can you join the conversation? Just follow @EPAlive and the #ActOnClimate hashtag on Twitter. Ask us a question or share your ideas, or just read along with the conversation. In addition to using Twitter, we’ll publish a blog post for each chat, and you can ask your questions or send your thoughts as comments on the post. Here’s the first one: http://blog.epa.gov/blog/2014/04/lets-chat-about-how-to-act-on-climate/

We look forward to working with you to #ActOnClimate!

Moraine Valley takes steps to tackle climate change!

HOORAY!!!

Dr. Jenkins agreed to sign the American Colleges and Universities Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), pledging to eliminate Moraine Valley’s net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in a reasonable period of time.

The ACUPCC defines climate neutrality as having no net GHG emissions, to be achieved by eliminating net GHG emissions, or by minimizing GHG emissions as much as possible, and using carbon offsets or other measures to mitigate the remaining emissions.

Through Dr. Jenkins’ leadership, Moraine Valley now joins the other signatories in the necessary cooperative and united action to make positive change for today and tomorrow.

Contact sustainability@morainevalley.edu for more information about this new effort. Please read the formal press release below for more. This is really exciting news!

Moraine Valley President Dr. Sylvia Jenkins signs Presidents’ Climate Commitment

Moraine Valley Community College President Dr. Sylvia Jenkins joined a growing list of university, college and community college presidents across the country who have signed a commitment to eliminate net greenhouse gas emissions from their campus operations before 2050. She signed the American Colleges and Universities Presidents’ Climate Commitment on Sept. 30.

Through this commitment, Moraine Valley agrees to complete an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions; create and implement a climate action plan; reduce emissions while the plan is being developed; integrate sustainability into the curriculum; and make the plan, inventory and progress reports publicly available annually. An important element of this pact is to educate students about climate neutrality—having no net greenhouse gas emissions—and sustainability.

By signing, Moraine Valley joins more than 670 institutions concerned about the growing adverse effects of global warming on people’s health, economy and the environment. This group recognizes the need to reduce emissions by 80 percent by at least mid-century to avert further global disaster.

“I’m pleased that we can join in this effort, and I know that Moraine Valley is fully committed to accepting this challenge and meeting those expectations well before the 2050 deadline,” Dr. Jenkins said. “We have worked hard over the last few years to cut down our greenhouse gas emissions and improve our sustainability efforts. We already have a LEED platinum certified campus center in Tinley Park and have earned a bronze rating from the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System that are testament to our dedication to this cause.”

MVCC president Dr. Jenkins signing climate commitment

PHOTO CAPTION: Dr. Sylvia Jenkins, center, signs the American Colleges and Universities Presidents’ Climate Commitment with members of Moraine Valley Community College’s Green Team as witnesses.

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            For news media inquiries, contact Maura Vizza, Moraine Valley public relations generalist, at (708) 974-5742 or VizzaM@morainevalley.edu.

 

Staying Hungry for Justice

Students, staff and faculty frat the University of California, Santa Barabara recently participated in a 24-hour “Justice Fast”, to promote justice, solidarity, integrity and dignity, in light of humanitarian issues worldwide and other social justice concerns.

Excerpts from the article, Campus Fasting Event Highlights Diverse Social Justice Movements, shed some light on the event:

  • …the act of fasting, or abstaining from eating, emphasizes a continued prevalence of people’s hunger for justice. … “We’re trying to bring awareness to certain issues that are affecting our society and our larger global society,” Ochoa said. “At first, we were trying to figure out what issue to revolve our fast around, but in the end, we realized we couldn’t just focus on one issue. So we decided to split them, and students decided to take upon their own issues.”

Another recent article, which cites this UC-SB event, discusses deeping the academic experience to help students foster their already innate connection to the global challenges facing them and expounds on why these students resorted to fasting:

  • From water shortages to climate change, population growth to the health of bees, biocultural diversity to globalization, everything feels inextricably interdependent and connected. Higher education is a great leverage point for addressing the complex issues that affect us all. Many students recognize the multifaceted challenges that face us, and they can become overwhelmed when classes seem abstract and disconnected from day-to-day life and there is no clear action component to the learning process. A recent article discusses a student fast at the University of California, Santa Barbara with the slogan “There’s too much to lose, don’t make me choose!Resorting to fasting shows the seriousness with which these students take environmental, social and economic problems.

And these students and others across the nation are serious!  80% of US grads want to make a positive impact on the environment and 92% want to work for an eco-friendly company. Thankfully, 53% of our Fortune 500 companies are publishing some kind of sustainability or corporate social responsibility report, so our grads can find these companies, and nearly 80% of the nation’s population agrees we need to decrease consumption of energy and goods. This means, more and more our institutions of higher education need to be preparing students to be able to design systems, social and economic, that will meet these concerns and allow humans to persist within our limits.

At Moraine Valley Community College, faculty are fortunate to have an excellent resource that will help them integrate the concepts of sustainability into their coursework. The Moraine Valley Learning Academy, in collaboration with the Center for Sustainability, offers a faculty-enrichment program called the Greening Your Curriculum- Prairie Project. Enrollment for Fall 2013 is open now. The course explores many facets of sustainability, addressing today’s challenges and the unknowns of tomorrow, and guides faculty to understand how these topics relate or can be used to teach their individual disciplines. The program is unique to Moraine Valley, but there are other similar examples across campuses regionally and nationally. I am inspired and hopeful because of them.

Film Blog from Library full of Eco-Flicks!

The Moraine Valley library has several themed blogs, which anyone can find them on its homepage. Of particular interest to me lately is the Film Blog series posted by Moraine Valley Librarian, Sarah Ando. Sarah has been reviewing several films on food, carbon & climate change. Check it out!

Or if you’re interested in personal liberty and freedoms of expression,  Librarian, Troy Swanson has a really interesting piece on Bassem Youssef of Egypt and his fight for free speech.

Librarian Jen Kolan wrote about “a breakthrough in hydrogen fuel production” and its potential impact on how we might fuel our vehicles in the near future. Jen also directs readers to more books and resources that can be found in the Library to learn more on the topic.

I share all this to highlight the Library, the great resources within (including the Librarians!) and to also show how integrated sustainability topics are in our current events, in research and in the Moraine Valley culture. Check out the blog to learn more or peruse the Center for Sustainability website to find out what Moraine Valley is addressing to ensure a sustainable today and tomorrow.

Be Green in 2013: Recycling Odd Things

More Plastic Recycling!
If you use plastic bags (grocery, food-storage, newspaper bags, etc.) Your local grocery store probably accepts them for recycling. Jewel & Dominick’s (or other Safeway stores) are two locally that I know accept these. The Whole Foods in Orland Park also does. So does Target, Wal-Mart & JC Penny at Ford City Mall!! Just to double check, for store drop-off locations near you, see this site Earth911 directory.

  • At the very least, most stores collect plastic carry out bags (the kind you receive if you forgot your cloth bags). The bin is often located at the entrance or sometimes at the checkout area
  • Most stores collect a wider variety of “plastic film” or “plastic bags and wraps”—like Jewel, Dominick’s, Wal-Mart, Target & Whole Foods—you can recycle any of the following: plastic carryout bags; dry cleaning bags; newspaper bags; bread bags; cereal box liners (plastic bags inside the cardboard box); produce bags; sealable food storage bags (like Zip-loc); wraps from paper products, (diapers, napkins, paper towels, bathroom tissue, and baby wipes); & case wrap from bulk snacks & beverages.
  • Most of these different plastics outlined in bullet 2 are labeled with a #2 or #4 near or inside the recycling symbol on the bag.
  • Make sure plastic bags and wraps are clean and dry (you want them that way for storing at home before bringing them to the store, anyway). No food residue, paint, adhesive or stickers.

Eyeglass Recycling!
Do you have old eyeglasses lying around? Not sure what to do with them? The Lions Club collects used glasses (in one piece or broken) and redistributes them to people in need.

Imagine if you could help a child read. An adult succeed in his job. A senior maintain her independence. And provide a community with more opportunities to grow and thrive. Donate glasses and change someone’s life with the Lions Club.

Visit this site, type in your city (Orland Park has at least 5 sites!) and locate a Lions Club and an eyeglass collection center.

You can also package your old eyeglasses and mail them to one of two locations:

  • Your nearest Lions Eyeglass Recycling Center
  • Lions Clubs International Headquarters
    Attention: Receiving Department
    300 W. 22nd Street
    Oak Brook, IL 60523, USA

And, don’t forget- the Moraine Valley Center for Sustainability is still collecting Frito-Lay Chip Bags, Expo Markers & PaperMate Pens for recycling.

Office L-242 or email sustainability@morainevalley.edu for more information

Global Food Security and Sustainability

We wanted to spread the work about this Global Education event that connects to our sustainability mission.

Global Food Security and Sustainability
December 4th: 10:30-12:30, Moraine Room 2 (M Building)
Two key issues in nearly every country are the cost and availability of food and energy. Rising prices of commodities, such as wheat, corn, rice, and gasoline can lead to many problems, including: riots, hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. This event will discuss the causes, interconnections, and implications of rising commodity prices throughout the world.

 

 

Congrats, Stephenie!

Stephenie Presseller, sustainability manager, has been selected as a Community Green chair for the Center for Green Schools at the United States Green Building Council. She was chosen from 90 applicants for her commitment to making green building education and training opportunities more accessible to community colleges.

Celebrate 40 Years of Earth Day w/ Moraine Valley

Moraine Valley Community College has an active Green Team that’s been in service since 2007. This year the Team decided to ramp up Earth Week in honor of 40 Years of Earth Day- April 22, 2010. The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970 in which millions of Americans participated in random acts of sustainability all across the country!

Join us at Moraine Valley any day of the week April 19 through 24 toparticipate in an eco-friendly events. Each day there will be at least one free, fun and educational activity for students, staff, faculty and community members.  Check our website, morainevalley.edu/sustainability/events for details.

Here’s an abbreviated sneak preview – Tree Campus USA Tour, Taste of Moraine, Green Cleaning Infomercial, Social Justice Lecture, Native Plant Walk & Learn, Free Cocoa Mulch & Green Living Workshops!!!

Call 708-974-5412, email sustainability@morainevalley.edu or visit  morainevalley.edu/sustainability/events for more information.  See you there! 

Earth Week 2010 Poster, MVCC