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Archive for the ‘Impacts’ Category

no_coal_200.pngAt the close of the Bali climate change negotiations, we are left again with the disappointment of the Bush administration and all the other climate criminals in Washington. These fossil-fuel-phillic people have slowed down negotiations, stripped key renewable energy provisions in the US energy bill, and pretty much told the rest of the world that they don’t care if global warming cripples their economies. Ted Glick, now in a climate emergency fast for over 100 days, recently said the truth about these climate criminals, and Gore made it clear at Bali that the world must move without the US for the moment. Of course, wonderful things are building on the ground in the US, but we’ll have to wait until 2009 to get seriously going on this issue in the US.

But we don’t have to stop here. We have to make 2008 bigger than 2007. So, to kickoff the year, I created a petition, with the help of peer organizers, for youth around the world to tell world leaders that we want, in 2008, mandates to get rid of coal use by 2020. Dr. James Hansen from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies has made it clear that we can’t continue burning coal if we can’t capture it, and that it must stop within the next decade, or else we risk runaway climate that will literally cook the planet. So, youth have to tell world leaders that we want exactly that. On January 1st, we need to send these leaders a strong message with international media on this Youth Call to End Coal by 2020!

To make this really big, we need 10,000-100,000 youth from around the world to sign the petition and get ready to do media work on January 1st about it in every major global warming polluter. So, what are you waiting for? Sign the petition now and tell your friends to do the same! Go!

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coral.jpgCredit to Susan Lang from the Cornell Chronicle:

If world leaders do not immediately engage in a race against time to save the Earth’s coral reefs, these vital ecosystems will not survive the global warming and acidification predicted for later this century. That is the conclusion of a group of marine scientists from around the world in a major new study published in the journal Science on Dec. 13.

“It’s vital that the public understands that the lack of sustainability in the world’s carbon emissions is causing the rapid loss of coral reefs, the world’s most biodiverse marine ecosystem,” said Drew Harvell, Cornell professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and head of the Coral Disease Research Team, which is part of the international Coral Reef Targeted Research (CRTR) group that wrote the new study.

The rise of carbon dioxide emissions and the resultant climate warming from the burning of fossil fuels are making oceans warmer and more acidic, said co-author Harvell, which is triggering widespread coral disease and stifling coral growth toward “a tipping point for functional collapse.”

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By Tim Krueger in the Cornell Daily Sun:

Today, I’m doing something that’s rare in the 21st century: I’m selling people. And despite whatever rumors you may have heard, I’m not involved in any sort of transpacific child trafficking. Rather, the Cornell Democrats are having a date auction to raise money for (and by “for” I mean “not for”) global warming. It’s a great idea, and it’ll likely raise a ton of money, as did the one we held two years ago. Still, part of me is slightly uncomfortable with the notion that I’ll be selling people. The reason I’m doing this, however, and the reason I’m OK with it, is the same reason why I’m a Democrat.

Having an environmentalist date auction frames a tension between means and ends. Saving the environment is obviously important, but does doing so by commodifying individuals somehow blemish the end result? There’s no doubt that holding a date auction is one of the most effective fundraising strategies available to an undergrad organization. But the commodification of human beings contradicts liberalism, even if those human beings have willingly opted to participate. The “church of liberalism” is constructed around a certain sanctity of the individual that commodification, bluntly stated, transgresses.

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Once again, someone reached out and asked a question that engaged my “start philosophical wax” cycle button. MMB

Question: How did this [campus sustainability] movement evolve [at Ithaca College]: was it, to your knowledge, student driven, staff driven? Has it turned over in almost an Al Gore minute? (I know for me, Al has played a big role in my personal sea change).

My reply: It’s an interesting question. And actually, there are several interesting questions imbedded within this one. Sorry in advance, but you’ve hit one of my “engage philosophical stream” buttons. Here goes:

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Someone reached out to me this summer with an intriguing question, triggering a lengthy reply that I thought might prove instructive for others. Marian

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Question: I’m researching for an article [in which we will] detail some ways that our readers can use their clout as alumni to promote sustainability and social justice improvements on their old campuses. The framing question is, rather than simply writing a check and mailing it in at the end of the year, how can an alum shift that donation, or make it conditional, or direct it more specifically to support “green” (environmental and social justice) improvements at those institutions?

My reply: At Ithaca College, we’re in the midst of the waning months of our $115M capital campaign, so of course, we have reached out aggressively to all alumni to “give back” to the College.

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I seem to be fielding “green purchasing” inquiries lately from a number of folks, partly because I run the “point” for our campus sustainability work, and partly because some folks know that I used to be Ithaca College’s purchasing director. Someone who asked me this question earlier this summer apparently hit me when I was waxing philosophical. I thought my lengthy response might prove instructive to others. Marian

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Question: How much did shifting to green purchasing cost the university a year? Because I am writing a Guide for student affairs professionals, budget is a significant concern, so it is helpful if I can supply financial information.

Answer: As you surmise, it’s really difficult TO answer this question: Whether it “costs” more to make more sustainable choices is all over the map, depending largely upon the commodity itself, the purchasing strategies employed, and the will of the campus community to internalize and apply the costs of certain “externalities.”

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Adopted from the Cornell Daily Sun

Studies have repeatedly shown that water is good for our body, but what about bottled water and the environment?

Christina Copeland ’11, through her Bottled Water Campaign, is attempting to show the Cornell community that drinking bottled water is not only bad for the environment, but also that the water is no different than tap water.

“My ‘water bottle team’ and I just finished making up five different signs with the key water bottle facts on them,” Copeland said.

These facts include CNN news excerpts proclaiming that Aquafina and Dasani are no different than tap water, facts about plastic water bottle manufacturing process, which requires 1.5 million barrels of crude oil a year and information about the transportation of water bottles. 13,700 18-wheelers are used per week to transport one billion bottles of water across the world.

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