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Archive for October 30th, 2007

Adopted from the Cornell Daily Sun

Not wanting to handcuff myself to the president’s toilet, I’ve decided to write a column for The Sun — a hygienic approach to advocacy.

My concern is for the environment, and specifically, Cornell’s impact on it. Lake Source Cooling, parking lots and carbon emissions are a few of the issues that inevitably come to mind. Since these pertain to Cornell’s immediate impact on the environment, they continually spark debate here on the pages of The Sun and throughout the University.

The student group KyotoNow! has been particularly successful at bringing the University’s own energy consumption into the limelight. Last winter they worked together with President Skorton to implement a plan for Carbon Neutrality.

Since then, we have excitedly watched as photovoltaics were installed on Day Hall, green roofs appeared on West Campus and energy improvements were made across the University.

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Adopted from the Cornell Daily Sun

In yet another step toward making the campus more sustainable, the University has begun examining ways to permanently reduce its ‘agricultural footprint,’ or the amount land necessary to support human diets.

Christian Peters, M.S. ’02, Ph.D. ’07, a Cornell postdoctoral associate in crop and soil sciences, is currently working on research about the agricultural footprint. His research is dismissing the formerly held view that a vegetarian diet uses the least amount of land in New York. The benefit of this diet is that the land can sustain more people.

“The goal of our research was to improve understanding of how consumption of meat and fat influences a population’s requirements for agricultural land. We found that while adding meat to the diet generally increased the amount of land used to produce food, vegetarian diets did not always support more people. The reason for this apparent paradox is that livestock can produce edible food from resources that are inedible to humans, namely byproduct feeds, hay and pasture,” Peters said.

According to Peters, his research did not set out to find this ideal diet, but instead hoped to produce such answers for this area.

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