Skip Navigation

Skip to Navigation


  • "o-zone hole"

    Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Montreal Protocol

    September 19, 2007 at 11:14 am

    In the early 1980s, two global environmental issues began to receive a lot of attention. Scientists discovered large holes in O-zone layer in the Antarctic region and attributed it to the correlation between the size of these ozone holes and CFCs. Meanwhile, scientists also discovered an alarming pattern of rise in global temperature and attributed it to the correlation between temperature and greenhouse gas emissions.

    Where the two are different is how they have been addressed. To state things rather simply, o-zone depletion rates have rapidly reduced and the o-zone should restore itself over the course of this century due to innovation from American companies and an international treaty called the Montreal Protocol. Unfortunately, this has not been the case with global warming where talks have stalled for nearly twenty years since James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard institute, went before the US congress forecasting continued rise in global temperature.

    Andrew Revkin in Tuesday’s New York Times Science section has an excellent commentary on the history of international treaties for o-zone depletion and global warming as the Montreal Protocol celebrates its 20th anniversary. If you don't know much about the Montreal Protocol, it's definitely an article worth checking out.

    Continue by clicking the "read more" link below

  • Carbon Indulgences

    September 19, 2007 at 9:25 am

    Which nation will be the first to offset all of its emissions?

    Click here to find out.

  • Presidents Climate Commitment

    So What is the Presidents Climate Commitment?

    September 17, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    On February 26, 2007, as many of you know, President Rob Oden signed onto the Presidents Climate Commitment, which committed Carleton to initiate the development of a comprehensive plan to achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible. The whole campus warmly received the announcement of his signature even though few people were aware of what exactly he had signed onto.

    I wanted to provide a few details in this post about what exactly the Presidents Climate Commitment is, and then discuss a little about the short-term implications of signing the commitment.

    Continue by clicking the "read more" link below

  • Freakonomics

    Freakonomics on Global Warming

    September 13, 2007 at 9:17 am

    It was great to see Steven Levitt speak at Convocation last year. He was a much more charismatic than I was expecting him to be, and his anecdotes about his research were really funny. He also did a great interview with KRLX, which I thought was really cool of him.

    Recently, the New York Times began hosting his blog, Freakonomics, which he runs with Steven Dubner. It can be fun to check out every once in awhile, but there was one entry recently posted that I found particularly interesting. Titled “What Should We Really Be Doing About Global Warming? A Freakonomics Quorum”, Freakonomics asked several prominent business school professors and magazine editors what should individuals and the U.S. government be doing about global warming? Their answers were rather diverse, but the whole quorum answered the questions honestly and to the best of their abilities.

    Continue by clicking the "read more" link below

  • buckthorn art installation

    Stop Buckthorn, Help the Arb

    September 13, 2007 at 8:50 am

    The Buckthorn Menace, a large scale sculpture installation by artist Jim Proctor, pursues a novel alliance between art and environmental restoration by rendering the wood and roots of the invasive plant species buckthorn into forms resembling gargantuan dandelions in full seed. Constructed on the site of two buckthorn infested areas in Northfield –one in “The Upper Arb” of the Cowling Arboretum and one down slope from the new Science Center at St. Olaf College– this installation is part of a wider community education effort to raise public awareness about the environmental damage caused by buckthorn and other invasive plant species in Minnesota’s natural landscapes and wilderness areas.

    This community service project provides a hands-on opportunity to learn about the environmental problems caused by invasive plant species in Minnesota, and to be a part of the only possible solution to those problems – constructive community action!

    The installation will stand for a full year to allow viewing over the four seasons. It will be dismantled in October 2008, and the site landscapes restored by the planting of indigenous trees and shrubs.

    Project Launch
    Carleton College: Thurs., Sept. 20, 5 p.m. 104 Boliou Hall, Speakers: Jim Proctor and Prof. Mary Savina

    Continue by clicking the "read more" link below

  • Wally Broecker

    How to terminate a Glacial Period

    September 11, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    We all know at least a little bit about the gulf stream. The ocean takes warm water from the Caribbean all the way to Northern Europe. It explains how Europe maintains a much balmier climate than what one would otherwise expect given its northern latitudes. Without getting too technical, this phenomenon is the result of thermohaline circulation.

    Now an important question that must be addressed due to global warming, is what impacts will the melting of ice in Greenland and the North pole have on the gulf stream? Will it continue to go on as it has or will it be dramatically altered?

    Wally Broecker, one of the world’s most respected climate scientists, has researched and written at great lengths on this topic, and the ENTS department is proud to have him present his lecture “How to Terminate a Glaical Period”. We are honored to have him speak at Carleton, and he will be the first in what will be a series of lectures ENTS hosts this year.

    What: “How to Terminate a Glacial Period” presented by Wally Broecker
    When: Wednesday, September 19, 2007 from 7:30 to 8:30
    Where: Boliou 104
    Carleton College
    One North College Street
    Northfield, MN 55057

    Open to the Public.

    (This post continues past the break; click "Read More" to continue)

  • Want to be part of the Environmental Advisory Committee?

    September 10, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    The EAC is seeking two students for the committee. The term-length for both of these positions will be for the full academic year 2007-2008.

    If you'd like to learn more about the EAC, check out the webpage here:

    Applications are due Friday, September 14th at 5pm and should be submitted by email to

    EAC application.doc

  • Composting

    Carleton begins composting, single-stream recycling

    September 10, 2007 at 11:41 am

    The Facilities Management Department announced recently that Carleton will compost all food waste from both dining halls at an off-campus facility starting today. In addition to making this commitment, the college announced the beginning of a single-stream recycling program that allows students, faculty, and staff to put all recyclable materials in a single bin. Carleton College news reports that this strategy can result “in the recovery of 30 percent more recyclable materials.”

    The story, which can be found here, also mentions the Presidents’ Climate Commitment. “The program will help Carleton in its efforts to live up to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, recently signed by Carleton President Robert A. Oden Jr. The commitment pledges to move toward eliminating Carleton’s greenhouse gas emissions and steer the College toward climate neutrality. One of the items signed by Oden asks participants to select from a list of seven ways to support sustainability—in this case, reducing waste on campus. “

  • Welcome!

    September 6, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    This Blog has been on-and-off since the Carleton Sustainability webpage went public in the spring of 2006, and we apologize to anyone who has been trying to keep up with what has been going on at Carleton College with green issues.

    This year, we will be attempting to be a little more consistent in our updates. Most of the content will be focused on green issues at Carleton and other college campuses, but we will be also providing commentary on other national and international events.
  • The Mississippi River in New Orleans

    Struggle for Sustainability on the Gulf Coast

    January 3, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans "it was like filling up a bath tub without a drain and taking the water out with a straw...My family has lived here the past 200 years--where am I supposed to go?" --New Orleans Citizen.

    How do we respond to a National Disaster?

    Over the break, ENTS faculty and staff visited the Gulf Coast for one week. In the hopes of creating an off-campus studies program and providing an opportunity for coursework development, we saw just how complicated and challenging it can be to truly build a sustainable city. Check out this power point to read what we learned from the Army Corps of Engineers, local Geologists, the NAACP, and local environmental and volunteer groups.

  • Program Director Needed for Arbor

    May 8, 2006 at 4:15 pm

    Arbor is an ACT volunteer program devoted to learning about the environment while aiding in the ecological restoration and cleanup of the Carleton Cowling Arboretum and McKnight Prairie, and the Northfield Community. A program director is needed next year to help organize volunteers throughout the year. Email Carolynn Johnson or Kellie Carim if interested.