50 must see YouTube videos to learn about the U.S. environmental policy | SolReka – Alternative Energy, News, Conspiracy Blog

50 must see YouTube videos to learn about the U.S. environmental policy | SolReka – Alternative Energy, News, Conspiracy Blog.

I think we should make it a lab goal to watch one of these at every lab meeting.


Circular of the Network for Cooperation in Integrated Water Resource Management for Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean

This document from the United Nations offers a great overview of the way nations are confronting the water-related challenges associated with climate change by trying to reach collaborative strategies that are adaptive to changes in environmental conditions.  I think the “open discussion” sections highlights the nexus of a lot of interdisciplinary research calls of late:  there are interactions between changes in weather and climate and societies and the relatively fixed nature of many traditionally engineered infrastructures.  In recent interactions with other professors at the University of Illinois, I have been thinking a lot about engineered flexibility, “soft-path” solutions, and building the social capacity, rule enforcement mechanisms, and constructed systems to allow for these to remain useful.  I’m thinking specifically about the utility of things like decentralized water reuse and water treatment.  Backyard berms, for example, are a great idea, but there is a level of buy-in and maintenance that needs to occur at a household or neighborhood level that makes me skeptical of their long-term success.  Neighborhood turn-over due to a collapsing housing market, for example, would likely undermine system efficacy.  New residents, might choose to use their yards for a different set of ecosystem services.  Recent examples include the movement toward re-installing lawns in Las Vegas.  I have a yet untested hypothesis about homeowner’s associations and other similar agents that make and enforce long-term rules as being more effective in maintaining these systems than neighborhoods with more overt environmental values.  Let’s take Phoenix, AZ as an example…

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Broader Impacts: citizen science participation

Science for Citizens Blog.

There are a lot of good ways to get things done without wasting people’s time….and to use the time people are already wasting!

I was captivated by two recent events:  (1) a lecture by the people running Zooniverse , a citizen science telescope image id project and (2) a discussion with colleagues from the Department of Crop Sciences that a graduate student recently digitized all the urban gardens in Chicago from Google Earth (and I mean more than just the official ones posted here).

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Sustainability Seeks Success on Campus

After attending the festivities of Sustainability Week, there is no doubt in my mind that the University of Illinois is taking the right steps in becoming a more sustainable environment.  With over 250 courses in 43 different departments, education on sustainability as well as sustainable decision making are major concerns at this university.  Currently iCAP, Illinois Climate Action Plan, has set a campus-wide goal to achieve carbon neutrality by the year 2050.  The major initiatives involved in this process are food and waste composting, renewable energy, space management, education and outreach, energy conservation, purchase of local foods, active transportation, behavior modification and water conservation.  Each effort has specific projects and aims in order to achieve the ultimate goal.  Some of the current projects include the LEED initiative at Lincoln Hall.  The renovations on this building are projected to receive a gold standing in LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.  Already, the new residence hall, Nugent Hall, has received a silver standing for its sustainable design.  Another project currently under way is the Bike Sharing program.  This program is funded by the Student Sustainability Committee with plans to update the present university Bike Plan.  The new plan entails Bike Fix-It stations across campus including air pumps and other tools to fix broken bikes.  Bettering the transportation system, and improving building energy conservation are just two of the ways in wich the University is planning to achieve its goal and ultimately create a cleaner, greener, more sustainable campus.

Sustainability Week Begins November 1

Campus Highlight: University of Illinois holds Sustainability Week!

On November 1st-4th, students can immerse themselves in the multiple sustainability events on campus.  From bike repairs to garden walks, the Office of Sustainability promotes awareness of  sustainable decisions applicable to everyday life.  Each day, different activites and events are provided.  Come out and see what our campus has to offer!

Tuesday, November 1st:

10am-2pm: Bike Repair Station:Volunteers will be on hand to evaluate your bike and do simple maintenance. North of Henry Admin Building on the Quad

12pm: Garden walk with Diane Anderson, Research and Education Specialist in Crop Sciences and Michele Guerra, Director of Wellness Center: The walk features Red Oak Rain Garden, Illini Grove, Idea Garden, Sunken (Hartley) Garden, Japan House Gardens, new Arboretum trails.The group will meet at the main entrance of the Campus Recreation Center East Building, 1102 W. Gregory Drive.

12-6pm: Sustainability Poster & Art session: ARC Winter Garden, 201 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign

4-6pm: Sustainable Student Farmer’s Market: The farmer’s market will provide fall produce for sale from our student farm on the University of Illinois campus. ARC Winter Garden, 201 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign

6pm: Recyclables Costume Contest: Use your imagination and come up with a homemade costume out of recyclable materials. Prizes will be awarded. Refreshments following. ARC Winter Garden, 201 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign * Registration is required*

6:30pm: Latrelle Bright, Director, performer and arts advocate in the Department of Theatre will be performing a solo performance piece “matter”: Graduate Dance Center, East Art Annex 2, 1206 W. Peabody Drive, Urbana

Wednesday, November 2nd:

12-6pm: Sustainability Poster & Art session: ARC Winter Garden, 201 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign

1:30-3:30pm: iCAP Forum open house: A review and progress report of the University’s Climate Action Plan, originally signed May 2010. Participants will be able to provide feedback, suggestions, and comments. Illini Union, 1401 W. Green Street, Urbana, Rooms B&C

4pm: Quad walk with Chancellor Wise: The walk will feature sustainability projects on the quad.Michele Guerra, Director of the Wellness Center will be leading the walk. The group will meet outside at the south entrance of the Illini Union, 1401 W. Green Street, Urbana.*This is an “approved event” for civil service employees.  Employees may attend, without loss of pay or having to charge a benefit, with prior supervisory approval and operations permitting.*

6:30-9:30pm: CyclingSavvy traffic cycling course with Gary Cziko and Carl Stewart: ARC Auditorium, 201 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign * “Registration recommended to ensure a place in the course. Walk-ins welcome as space allows.”
Thursday, November 3rd:

11am-1pm: Sustainable Student Farmer’s Market: The farmer’s market will provide fall produce for sale from our student farm on the University of Illinois campus. 57 North, Ikenberry Dining Hall, 301 E. Gregory Drive, Champaign

*Bookstore remote sales stations selling books related to sustainability

12-6pm: Sustainability Poster & Art session: ARC Winter Garden, 201 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign

1-2pm: Energy Rate Structure “Town Hall” with Jack Dempsey, Executive Director of Facilities and Services: An explanation of how utility rates are set for campus and what factors go in to the calculations. Illini Union, 1401 W. Green Street, Urbana, Room B

2-3pm: Campus Master Plan with Helen Coleman, Director of Campus Planning: Overview of campus planning and processes and how projects flow from idea to construction. Illini Union, 1401 W. Green Street, Urbana, Room B

4-5:30pm: Green Career Panel with Chris Pyke, Vice President Research at USGBC.  Join Chris and other professionals in the green industry to discuss recent and future trends in this growing career path.  Other participants include: Bart Hagston, Environmental Sustainability Manager at City of Urbana, Lacey Rains Lowe, Planner at City of Champaign, Wayne Wargo, Site Director at Abbott Nutrition, and Cassie Carroll at Illinois Green Business Association: Asian American Cultural Center, 1210 W. Nevada Street, Urbana

4:30-8pm: Dining Services 8th Annual Chef’s Challenge: This year’s event will be a mystery box theme featuring proteins provided by the Meat Sciences Lab.  They will also be providing a pantry to each team to cook with featuring local products.  There will be six teams competing from Catering, PAR, IKE, LAR, ISR, and Busey.  Each team consists of a chef/coach and two full time dining employees.Ikenberry Dining Hall multipurpose room, 301 E. Gregory Drive, Champaign

7pm: Chris Pyke, Vice President Research, U.S. Green Building Council: “Accelerating Green Building Market Transformation with Information Technology” will be speaking at Newmark Hall, room 1310, Stoughten Street, Urbana ** Chris Pyke is part of the Sustainable Innovations Seminar Series, a collaboration between the University of Illinois and ERDC-CERL-CASI**:

Friday, November 4th:

2:30-3:30pm: Students Sustainability Chat with Chancellor Wise: As part of the Chancellor’s listening and learning tour the sustainability related RSO’s have been invited to give short presentations.  There will also be time for questions and answers. University YMCA, Latzer Hall
** Student Registration is required**
Shoe Donation:
The ARC and CRCE will be collecting shoes throughout the week to donate to local charities. Please stop by one of the locations below.

ARC – 201 E. Peabody Drive, Champaign, IL
CRCE – 1102 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL

For more information:


Submit to the Saarinen Paper Competition at AAG

The Environmental Perception and Behavioral Geography Specialty Group announces the 2012 Saarinen Student Paper Competition.

Please note the deadline for submission of abstracts for the AAG Meeting is Sept. 28, 2011. The deadline for the full paper for the Saarinen Student Paper Competition is January 31, 2012.

The EP&BGSG will award a $250 prize for the best student paper, illustrated paper, or poster (graduate or undergraduate) presented in either environmental perception or behavioral geography at the 2012 AAG meeting in Washington, D.C.

Entrants in the Saarinen Student Paper Competition must also submit a maximum 25-page (double-spaced) version of their work. Papers must be based upon original research done as an undergraduate or graduate student and must be written entirely by the applicant. The winner will be announced at the Environmental Perception and Behavioral Geography Specialty Group business meeting at the 2012 AAG meeting. Attendance at the EP&BGSG meeting is not required to receive the Saarinen Student Paper Competition award.

All submissions will be judged on written clarity, methodological soundness, contribution to the field of EP&BG, and their presentation at the meeting.

The Academic Directors of the EP&BGSG will judge all entries.

To apply for the Saarinen Student Paper Competition, fill out an application form available from the EP&BGSG website and send the completed application form and manuscript to:

Dr. Bethany Cutts
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
University of Illinois
1102 S Goodwin Avenue
Urbana, IL 61810

In addition, Travel Awards are available for students presenting papers at the AAG Meeting in New York on the topics of environmental perception or behavioral geography.

More information and guidelines on the Environmental Perception and Behavioral Geography Specialty Group can be found on the EP&BGSG blog site: