Other Colleges Succeed with A Reading Program

Like our One Book One College program spear-headed by library extraordinaire Troy Swanson, other colleges are going with the sustainability theme as well.  This year Troy’s One Book pick is Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte.  Surrounding this book, Troy has organized really great program offerings of speakers, panel discussions, and film showings.  Other colleges, like Rice University, have also found similar success in a book themed program.  Rice chose Elizabeth Kolbert’s Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change.  For a listing of the events they held log onto http://greeningthecampus.wordpress.com/2008/06/15/academictheme/.

Dirty Secrets, Earth’s Atmosphere, Cauldron Earth, and Oil

Here are a few new DVDs on the library’s shelves. I hope you stop by and check them out.

Protecting earth’s atmosphere:Earth is the only planet known to support life. The primary reason is a mixture of different gases, known as the atmosphere. These gases, along with the sun, warm our planet to an average temperature of 15 degrees Celsius. This delicate process is known as the greenhouse effect. Without it, the sun’s energy would escape back into space leaving the earth frozen. In this edition of Science Screen Report, we learn about the earth’s atmosphere, climate, and the greenhouse effect. We explore the impact human activity is having on our atmosphere, and ways scientists believe we can prevent further destruction to the atmosphere, and allow our planet to continue to thrive.

Dirty Little Secrets: Program studies fine particle air pollution and its public health hazards

What if The Oil Runs Out?:This film follows a middle-aged, Midwestern couple through violence at gas stations, conflicts with neighbors, and the loss of their livelihood; it also focuses on their daughter, an oil prospector determined to find new crude oil fields in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. Interspersed with the docudrama are notable statistics on oil production and consumption as well as real-world interviews with former Pentagon energy security adviser Paul Domjan, Centre for Global Energy Studies chairman Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, and other experts

Cauldron Earth:This program shows how research into the chemical makeup of geological and biological materials drives the innovation of energy systems, building methods, and transportation technolog–and how these improvements can save lives and reduce stress on the environment. Hydrogen fuel cells, resin coatings for giant wind turbines, wax-plaster mixtures for energy-efficient home–the video features these and many other advances, suggesting a future in which humanity can both profit from and protect the Earth

Fragile Reef, Boiling Point, Blue Vinyl, Rachel Carson

Four new DVDs on Green-related  topics that have just been added to the library collection.  We hope that you’ll drop by to check them out.  

  • The Fragile Reef: This program travels to Chumbe Island Coral Park, Zanzibar ; Mafia Island Marine Park, Tanzania ; and Ras Mohammed National Park, Egypt, to study the fragile ecology and amazing biodiversity of coral reefs and the impacts of tourism, pollution, overfishing, sedimentation, and climate change. Commentary provided by Mark Spalding and Ed Green, coauthors of the World atlas of coral reefs, and experts from the World Wildlife Fund, the Zoological Society of London, and Zanzibar’s Institute of Marine Sciences
  • Rachel Carson: Natures Guardian: In this program, Bill Moyers pays tribute to environmental crusader Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring. Grim footage of ecological degradation from the pre-Carson era is combined with generous excerpts from actress Kaiulani Lee’s one-woman play about Carson’s life called A Sense of Wonder to honor the legacy of an individual who, heedless of personal cost, sounded the alarm that launched the environmental movement. Moyers also talks with photographic artist Chris Jordan, who turns the statistics of consumerism into indelible images of consumption and waste–Container
  • Boiling Point: This program spotlights three trouble spots that epitomize the intensifying competition for freshwater and efforts being made to manage it: the Okavango River which flows through Angola, Namibia and Botswana, the Rio Grande, a source of agricultural irrigation for both the U.S. and Mexico and rainwater reservoirs in the West Bank
  • Blue Vinyl: With humor, chutzpah, and a piece of vinyl siding in hand, Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand and co-director and award-winning cinematographer Daniel B. Gold travel to America’s vinyl manufacturing capital and beyond in search of the truth about vinyl.

GreenFile Database Added to the Library Web site

We are happy to announce that the library has added the GreenFILE database to our online information resources.  This can be accessed at our online database page (look under G on the list).   You need to enter your name and barcode found on your student ID to access this from home.  This database provides a range of new resources that focus on sustainability and environmental issues.  For instance, here is a link to a review from BioCycle magazine of Garbage Land: NAVIGATING THE HOUSEHOLD WASTE STREAM.  Here is the official description of this database fromEBSCO: EBSCO proudly offers GreenFILE, a freely accessible research database focusing on the relationship between human beings and the environment, with well-researched but accessible information on topics ranging from global warming to recycling to alternate fuel sources and beyond. Comprised of scholarly and general interest titles, as well as government documents and reports, GreenFILE offers a unique perspective on the positive and negative ways humans affect the ecology. 

Hell and High Water, Living Green, and the Hot Topic

All of us in the library are gearing up for the fall semester. We are looking forward to getting back in the swing of things.

As we are getting ready, I wanted to send along links to these new books that have been added to the library collection.  We are adding tons of new resources, but these stood out for me. 

Click on the links to get the call number, and stop by the library to check them out.  If you need help, just ask one of the super cool MVCC librarians.

One Book, One College: Garbage Land

We are happy to announce the 2008-2009 One Book, One College selection, Elizabeth Royte’s Garbage Land. You can visit the One Book Web site at http://www.morainevalley.edu/garbageland.

Writer Elizabeth Royte invites us to follow her on a trek into the garbage cans, dumpsters, landfills, sewer plants, and refuse piles of our country. Sift through the piles of dirty diapers, plastic bags, and discarded wrappers and containers that are accumulating under the surface of the earth in our landfills. Royte asks a simple question: What happens to my trash, my recycling, and the stuff I flush down the toilet? Her answers are frightening because her answers are the same answers for each and every American. We are each responsible for creating increasing amounts of garbage that threaten our personal and our planet’s wellbeing.

GreenFile From EBSCO

The EBSCO database company has made it’s GreenFile available for free. The GreenFile,

offers well-researched information covering all aspects of human impact to the environment. Its collection of scholarly, government and general-interest titles includes content on global warming, green building, pollution, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, recycling, and more. The database provides indexing and abstracts for more than 384,000 records, as well as Open Access full text for more than 4,700 records.

You can search the GreenFile for free.

I thought that this might be a handy database to send along to our campus community.

Environment Magazine: Campus Greening

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]

  1. Prospective  students are interested in the environment, so green campus maps and green tours are offered.
  2. Doing the right thing, locally and globally, is consistent with campus social action agendas.
  3. More walking and biking will improve health.
  4. Conserving water yields multiple savings: lower water bills, reduced sewer charges, and decreased energy costs.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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).