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  • Compact Fluorescent Float

    Compact Fluorescent Lights (aka CFLs)

    October 22, 2007 at 11:06 am

    The college gives away Compact Fluorescent Lights, so why not limit the amount of energy you use in your dorm room by simply installing them in your desk lamp?

    Having recognized the major energy savings of using Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFLs) (they use about a quarter of the energy used by traditional incandescent bulbs), the college has put CFLs in most light fixtures around campus (including dorm rooms) in the last few years. Because the college cannot control the type of bulbs students use in their personal lamps, Facilities simply gives CFLs to students for free. Call Facilities at x 4133.

    And, make the switch soon. There is no need to wait until the incandescent bulb in your desk lamp burns out. Simply throw your incandescent light bulb in the trash. The sooner you make the switch, the sooner you’ll start saving energy. Currently, Facilities distributes the equivalent of 60 and 100 watt incandescent bulbs (used by most lamps) CFLs to students.

    As a CFL user, there are a few things you should know. While naturally CFL use minimizes the amount of the pollutants (including mercury) pumped out of power plants, the CFLs themselves do contain trace amounts of mercury. While not a huge safety hazard, there are certain precautions you can take in the event that a CFL breaks or if you would simply like to get rid of them once they burn out.

    Continue by clicking the "read more" link below

  • Climate Challenge Game

    Save the World! (In a Computer Game)

    October 19, 2007 at 11:34 am

    Have you ever dream of being a president or prime minister and saving the world?

    This Climate Challenge game from the BBC simulates the important decisions the prime minister of the UK will have to make in order to prevent the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. While you are attempting to cut emissions, you also have to manage the country’s economy and maintain political support.

    Check out the game here.

    How well can you do? Feel free to post your scores in the comments section.

  • Soup fishies

    Food Musings: Edible Communities

    October 19, 2007 at 10:06 am

    First one at the co-op, that stylish matte paper displaying fluted, orange-hued orbs of winter squash, “celebrating the abundance of local foods, season by season.” Then another arrived in the mail, “celebrating the abundance of North Central New Mexico, season by season.” Proclaiming stories such as “A Homegrown Wedding” and “Got Raw Milk?” these publications of edible TWIN CITIES and edible SANTA FE are two of a collection of thirty-plus magazines published regionally around the United States to promote the bounty and beauty of local foods.

    As an organization, edible Communities strives to “connect consumers with family farmers, growers, chefs, and food artisans of all kinds” and believes that “every person has the right to affordable, fresh, healthful food on a daily basis and that knowing where our food comes from is a powerful thing.” The edible Communities website details how individuals can begin an edible publication in their region, and the benefits of belonging to a larger food-impassioned organization as opposed to starting up on your own. Current publications stretch from Toronto to San Diego and from Cape Cod to Portland. Individuals can purchase multi-region subscriptions and receive publications from three different regions throughout the year.

    Both edible publications I have in from of me are remarkable in their beauty and accessibility. Now delicious, elegant food is featured not only on the glossy pages of advertisement-heavy mega-magazines with intimidating titles. The recipes and writing in edible publications feel approachable because they are familiar. A Minnesotan has perhaps visited one of the featured restaurants, shopped at several of the farmer’s markets listed and certainly has the ingredients for all of the recipes available to them, if not in their own backyard. The Santa Fe issue feels appropriately less familiar to a reader from the Midwest in features such as “A Tribute to Red Chile,” but the passion for strong communities formed around good, regional food reverberates through its pages, uniting it with the Twin Cities edition and all of the regional publications.

  • Hurricane Dean

    Emanuel Explains Warming-Hurricane Connections, Calls on Students to Join Field

    October 18, 2007 at 9:12 pm

    Speaking at Carleton on Wednesday evening, Kerry Emanuel presented a fascinating picture of hurricanes in their relation to global warming. Emanuel, a professor of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is known as a foremost expert in the small but increasingly important field concerning the impact of climate upon the number and intensity of hurricanes. In his remarks Wednesday night, Emanuel described some of the basic science behind hurricanes before delving into the research that has been done regarding trends in hurricane power (which he argued is a more important metric that hurricane number). Over the past century, ocean temperature has shown a strong correlation with hurricane power. Since increased ocean temperatures are one of the more direct impacts of global warming, this relationship could have real impacts upon coastal communities.

    Continue by clicking the "read more" link below

  • powerdrain

    Sleep Mode= Power Drain

    October 18, 2007 at 9:10 am

    The Christian-Science Monitor has a great, short article about how the "sleep mode" on our electrical appliances still uses a lot of power.

    From the article:
    "In standby, a machine is not really turned off. It goes into a state of reduced activity that requires only minimal power consumption. The downside is that even at vastly reduced power levels, millions of machines running all day, every day, adds up to huge amounts of wasted energy. With oil prices at record highs and the climate under threat from excessive consumption of fossil fuels, this is neither smart nor desirable."

    "The US Department of Energy has estimated that by 2010, the portion of each utility customer's bill consumed by appliances in standby mode will reach 20"

    (Hat tip to RFF's Common Tragedies)

  • Van Jones

    Reclaiming the Future

    October 18, 2007 at 8:43 am

    “Try this experiment. Go knock on someone’s door in West Oakland, Watts or Newark and say: ‘We gotta really big problem!’ They say: ‘We do? We do?’ ‘Yeah, we gotta really big problem!’ ‘We do? We do?’ ‘Yeah, we gotta save the polar bears! You may not make it out of this neighborhood alive, but we gotta save the polar bears!’ ”

    If this key communication disconnect continues, Jones, a visionary Oakland-based activist, explains, we will never find solutions to either social inequality or environmental destruction. Instead, we need a “green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.” Green For All, based out of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, seeks to bring “green collar” jobs to urban areas. If young people of color start installing solar panels now, explains, Jones, they’ll become managers in five years, owners in ten, and eventually inventors.

    The publicity this initiative has been enjoying the past week (New York Times and The Nation) speaks to the revolutionary nature of the program, and a revolution people have been waiting for. Van Jones believes these two movements have been separated for too long, and his passion is contagious. The fight to curb climate change has literally been a fight to maintain the environmental status quo, a conservative approach that turns off many people who do not benefit from the way things are. Van Jones’ environmental revolution provides hope for both sides of the double helix—-hope for a more inclusive, diverse environmental movement, and hope to lift people of color out of poverty.

  • Lamppa Leads Web Conference on Financing Renewable Energy

    October 17, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    Rob Lamppa, Director of Energy Management & Senior Project Manager for Facilities, recently led a web conference sponsored by Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) and Academic Impressions. The online presentation, titled "Financing Renewable Energy and Interconnection with the Utility," was presented in two parts on Oct. 9 and 11, 2007. Lamppa presented with Michael Philips from Energy Ventures International, a Maryland-based energy consultant and co-author of The Business Case for Renewable Energy: A guide for Colleges and Universities.

  • Iceberg

    What’s Happening to the Arctic Sea Ice?

    October 17, 2007 at 11:05 am

    Though the most recent data concerning Arctic sea ice melting has received attention in the media, it is hard for most to grasp what “record melting” means. “Record melting” is difficult to show in one simple figure and to understand in a historical context. In the New York Times, two weeks ago, the Science section put up a great interactive graphic which really demonstrates how quickly the ice is melting. I strongly recommend that you check this feature out.

    Continue by clicking the "read more" link below

  • Al Gore

    Gore, IPCC win Nobel Peace Prize

    October 12, 2007 at 11:13 am

    The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced today that Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have been awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in spreading awareness of global warming and in laying the groundwork for solutions to be developed. In a statement released by the former Vice President, Gore said he was "deeply honored" to have received the prize. "We face a true planetary emergency. The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity. It is also our greatest opportunity to lift global consciousness to a higher level." Gore became the country's most prominent figure on the issue of global warming following his Academy Award winning documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." For the Panel's part, chairman Rajendra Pachauri said he was "overwhelmed" by the award and that he hoped it would bring a "greater awareness and a sense of urgency" to the fight against global warming.

    Source: BBC

  • Hurricane Dean

    Hurricane Expert to Speak at Carleton

    October 11, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    On Wednesday, October 17, Kerry Emanuel will deliver a lecture entitled “Global Warming and Hurricanes.” Dr. Emanuel, a meteorologist at MIT, has written a number of books on the subjects of hurricanes and climate change, the most recent of which is What We Know about Climate Change (Boston Review Books). In his research, Dr. Emanuel has found connections between climate change and increased hurricane intensity. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Emanuel was named to Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people. The talk continues a yearlong public lecture series on the topic of climate change hosted by Carleton’s Environmental and Technology Studies program.

    Dr. Emanuel will lead an informal discussion at 4:00pm in Olin 103. His lecture will begin at 7:30pm in Boliou Hall, room 104. Refreshments will be served afterwards. Both events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Adam Smith.

    Read a recent review of What We Know about Climate Change, written by Bill McKibben.

  • Apple Orchard

    Rotten to the Core?

    October 10, 2007 at 5:23 pm

    It's fall in Minnesota. The leaves are turning colors, and it's time to go apple picking, right?

    Daniel Gross in an article available at argues that the Fall apple-picking tradition is more idiotic than idyllic and represents American tendencies to esteem overconsumption and balk at nature that's a little too natural.

    In my opinion, that may be a little harsh and condemning. It may be true that when we go out to buy a half-bushel for our house or floor, we may not eat it all, but of all battles to choose, why apple-picking? What do you think?