What is sustainability anyway?

10.29.2012 · Posted in Uncategorized

The word “sustainability” gets thrown around a lot and sometimes the definition isn’t always clear. Take a few minutes to watch this short animated clip explaining what sustainability is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5NiTN0chj0 

Now that you know what sustainability really is, you can go out into the community and educate others on how to live sustainably!

The Stonehill community is doing a lot lately to become more sustainable including composting, being more mindful of how much water is being used in the dorms, making recycling bins more accesible, and installing more water fountains to reduce the need for bottled water.  Also, more and more programs are being held in res halls here at Stonehill that revolve around becoming more sustainable.  Stonehill is even sending some students to a sustainability symposium at Brown University at the beginning of November so that we can learn more about what we can do to better our campus!

SO, join the sustainability movement and help make our campus and this Earth a better place to live!

 

-Erin Siulinski

How does this thing called “recycling” work?

10.22.2012 · Posted in Uncategorized

Recycle recycle recycle! You hear that word everywhere nowadays. To support a more eco-friendly world, people everywhere are being advised to recycle plastic, paper, and metal materials that no longer have a use. But what happens after that Poland Springs bottle has been placed into the recycling bin?
Let’s focus on the recycling of plastic disposable water bottles, such as the Poland Springs bottle previously mentioned. Plastic bottles must go through a series of steps in order to be made into a new product. First, they go through the process of bailing. This is where the bottles are taken to a materials recovery facility (MRF) and are condensed into huge dense blocks, or “bails.” These bails can weigh as much as 1,200 pounds and can contain as many as 9,600 plastic bottles. The next step is sorting, in which the bails are shipped to plastics reclaimer and then ripped apart by a special machine. The pieces ripped off of the bail are then sorted into different groups based on the color and resin of the plastic, and then sent through a machine that shreds them into millions of little flakes.
These flakes are then thoroughly washed to remove any impurities, and then dried and melted. The chunks of melted plastic are then formed into flakes and sold into end markets to be made into new products, such as more plastic water bottles.
Some factories even take the recycline one step further! You know that thin plastic-like material that is used as insulation in jackets? Well, some of the plastic is shipped to factories that spin the plastic like cotton candy to weave this type of fabric commonly found in jackets, carpets, and blankets.
So next time you are about to throw a plastic water bottle away, think of all the products that could result if you recycled instead! Or better yet – simply do not use disposable plastic water bottles. Even though recycling is an amazing thing, the factories and transportation facilities that are involved in the process use a lot of energy. Some of this energy could be spared if more people used reusable water bottles instead. So the motto of the day is: do not use disposable water bottles. But if you must – RECYCLE!

The girl who silenced the world for 5 minutes.

10.02.2012 · Posted in Uncategorized

This young girl (age 10), who spoke briefly at a UN meeting on the environment in 1997, talks about general problems in society which are detrimental humanity and the world’s ecosystems and how humanity’s patterns of bad behavior have never changed for so long despite what we’re all taught by our parents about morality. Her speech is shaped in a way that puts shame on her parents generation and past generations for never listening to the moral values we are taught as children.–Humanity is too often caught up in power, greed, and war, and the environment is too often left on the wayside.

Please take a moment to watch this short video. Keep in mind that this is a speech made 15 years ago, and that today the same problems she mentions have grown to much larger proportions.

Enjoy!
Dan Brennan

New England Sustainability Forum!

09.22.2012 · Posted in Uncategorized

On Friday, September 21, a group from Stonehill College, composed of faculty, staff, SEA members, and past/present ECO-REP members, attended the New England Sustainability Forum. It was a day-long event that was hosted by The Colleges of Fenway in Boston with professors coming from surrounding institutes such as Brown, Keene, Stonehill, and Yale just to name a few. Special speakers were also invited to present invigorated and enthusiastic speeches. This conference was held specifically geared towards sustainability on campuses throughout the New England Region. The theme for this year was “leveraging collective resources for the future.” Gabriella Gobiel ’14, a former Eco-Rep, was the only student presenting among the many student leaders that attended the conference. She presented on her research with Professor Susan Mooney on STEM PBL which reaches to increase skills within middle schools, high schools, and faculty in order to move towards a sustainable technology education for all students.

This conference was exactly what Stonehill needed in order to get ideas rolling and to get a good start on continuing on with spreading sustainability throughout the campus. On the same day, the “it needs to get better at Stonehill” nondiscrimination policy change initiative was passed. This only encouraged students to believe they have an active voice in what goes on in their College.

 

Sara Boukdad

Five Reasons to Attend JAMNESTY and SUSTAINABILITY FAIR

04.17.2012 · Posted in Uncategorized

Five Reasons Why YOU should Attend the Upcoming Earth Week Events At Stonehill College

 1. Be a part of something BIGGER

A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. “ -Margaret Mead

Ever hear of the hugely successful “Think Outside the Bottle Campaign” that influenced not only students to stop drinking bottled water, but also for the college to cut budget spending on bottled water. This initiative was all thanks to a group of inspiring students with a passion to stop the support of the injustices in bottled water companies.

The Sustainability Fair and Jamnesty will both be hosting groups of students that want YOU to join their causes in creating a more sustainable campus. Come to these events to learn about projects such as a no-mow area on campus, sign the sustainability pledge, or if you are a graduating senior, sign the Graduation Pledge Alliance!

 2. F-R-E-E Stuff

Need I say more? Who does not LOVE free stuff; there will be donations of Stonyfield yogurt, to-go containers (thanks to dining services), your very own plant and much more. Who pays for reusable mugs these days anyways?!

 

3. Knowledge Is Power

Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be kept by understanding” -Albert Einstein

Why not educate yourself outside of the classroom when its as easy as stopping by some fun, energetic events. Enthusiastic social activists and passionate environmentalists are sure to be at both events to make you aware of various issues. They  will be providing ways in which YOU can get involved and make a difference. You will also become aware of the many clubs and organizations on campus that fight these issues and get a chance to meet the students that work very hard to make a difference!

 

4. MUSIC IN THE SUNSHINE

Jamnesty is an outdoor music festival with some of Stonehill’s very own musically talented artists including Rex Macapinlac, Chris Borelli, and many more! Come out and JAM hard at JAMnesty 😉

 

 5. FREE ADMISSION (BOOOOOOO YEAH!!!) AND LOTS OF FUN GUARANTEED

Being a poor college student is no longer a viable excuse!!

Sustainability Fair

Monday April 23rd

Commons A 11:00-2:00

Jamnesty

Saturday April 28th

Stone Pavilion in front of Shields 3:00-7:00

by:
Jessica Lantos ’14
Psychology and Environmental Studies

 

Summer at the Beach

04.16.2012 · Posted in Uncategorized

It is only the middle of April, and the Boston Marathon is going to be held tomorrow in 90 degree weather. Although the end of the semester seems to be dragging along to the finish line, summer is coming early and is winning out in the race. Instead of papers and finals, many of us will be hitting the beach this week, or will be wishing that we could. Whether you decide to stick your toes in the sand tomorrow or to celebrate the end of the year in May, here are some eco-friendly beach  tips to keep in mind when you go!

1) Carpooling to the beach is always fun and it can help to save on gas! It can also help your group reduce CO2 emissions and energy spent to get to your destination.

2) When you first get to the beach, use the boardwalk or walkovers that lead you to the beach if there is one. Doing this will help to protect sand dunes that may be sensitive to human interference and it will help to preserve ant animal or plant life that exists on the edges of the beach.

3) For lunch pack an old-fashioned picnic! Not only will those sandwiches and lemonade hit the spot on a sunny day, but by using reusable cutlery and cups, you can reduce your total waste from your beach excursion and reduce the risk of trash being left behind. Also if you can’t use reusable eating utensils and cups, make sure to dispose of your waste properly or take it home with you to throw away!

4) Remember that you are a guest at the beach so respect of he natural flora and fauna is key. The beach can be a very interesting place, but be sure not to disturb and observe animals and plants from a safe distance.

5) Finally, you can help support eco-friendly beaches by choosing to visit them instead of other beaches that may be overcrowded and devoid of fun and interesting wildlife and plants. Also many of them are in other parts of the world so you can plan some fun international adventures this summer! Some of these eco-friendly beaches include:

Whitehaven Beach: Whitsunday Islands, Australia

Playa Matapalo: Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve: Oahu, Hawaii

Koh Libong: Trang Province, Thailand

Las Islas Cies: Galicia, Spain

Happy Vacationing and Beach Hopping!

-Aimee Morrison

An Inconvenient Truth

04.10.2012 · Posted in Uncategorized

Must-See Movie: An Inconvenient Truth
This documentary follows former Vice President Al Gore’s campaign to educate citizens about global warming. Although it was produced in 2006, it is still relevant today. It is based on atmospheric CO2 measures, retreating glaciers, CO2 concentrations in ice cores and temperature records. Despite some criticism, a survey by The Nielsen Company and Oxford University showed that 66% of viewers stated this film changed their mind about global warming, 89% became more aware of the issue and more importantly 74% have changed their ways since seeing the film.
You can find a film review here:  http://rwor.org/a/052/globalwarming-en.html
Stonehill’s Inconvenient Truth:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Bdd3miShP0
The film is also available in the MacPhaidin Library.
To help procrastinate a little bit more, grab some friends and some popcorn and watch An Inconvenient Truth!
-Tori Gray

Spring Cleaning the Green Way

04.10.2012 · Posted in Uncategorized

We all know that the pastime of spring cleaning marks the annual and much anticipated arrival of spring, but did you know that it is also a great time to help the environment? As we rummage through our dusty closets and drawers, it is easy to throw out a lot of items that would actually still have use somewhere else. So before you chuck it in the garbage can, try one of these neat ideas to recycle or reuse your unwanted items.

– Did you know that you can send your unwanted furniture to a furniture recycler that will then turn it into new furniture? Not only will this save you from paying to bring your old furniture to the dump, but it will help the environment by not wasting the wood or other materials.

– Got lots of unwanted papers laying around? Instead of throwing these in the trash, why not flip them over and print on the other side? There are many things that we print that don’t need to be turned in as assignments, so what is the difference if they have writing on the back? This will save you from having to buy as much paper and will also produce less paper waste.

-Another great way to go green is to replace old appliances with new, energy efficient ones.

For more information feel free to visit http://www.futurefriendly.com.

-Danielle Garceau

April Showers Bring May Flowers!

04.08.2012 · Posted in Uncategorized

This week April has started and Spring is on its way! The past couple of weeks of Spring have been a little shaky, and unpredictable, but nevertheless warmer weather is on its way. With longer days and more sun, now is the perfect time to start thinking about starting a garden that you can enjoy now and throughout the summer. You can grow a variety of pretty flowers, either annuals or perennials, or you could try your hand at growing your own tomatoes this summer. Growing your own garden, whether flower, vegetable, herb, or a combination of the three can be both a fun hobby and a secure source of fresh and organic produce. I can’t think of a better summer treat than juicy garden tomatoes on a fresh salad! Gardens can be a lot of work, but gardening is a rewarding hobby that many people enojoy and many families do together throughout the spring and summer months.

http://www.thebeehive.org/special-features/10-tips-grow-vegetable-garden?gclid=CPnHi6X5o68CFWUQNAodCHfaXg

http://www.flower-gardening-made-easy.com/

The links above are a couple of resources that will help you get started on a vegetable garden or a flower garden if you are a beginner. Gardening is not just a way to keep Sprng alive throughout the season, but it is also a great way to live more sustainably. By growing your own food, you will help to reduce your environmental impact. Your food will not have pesticides or other growth chemicals on it and you will be reducing the amount of fuel needed to transport your food from wherever it is grown to the grocery store. By using a compost bin at home and composting materials from your home, you can also reduce the amount of wast you put out. There are many environmental and personal benefits to gardening and there are many resources you can use, both online and at local gardening stores, to help you get started and improve your gardening skills.

Have fun finding your green thumb!

-Aimee Morrison

The Seasteading Institue

04.07.2012 · Posted in Uncategorized

“The ocean is the next frontier of human civilization.” That is the main objective and vision of the Seasteading Institute. They are working on achieving the goal of creating cities that float above water. Government is a powerful controller of the lives of its people. They believe that innovative political systems cities could be more beneficial than government action being taken right now. The Institute is working on engineering cities that are safe and comfortable for people and in all different sea conditions. In order to receive the Poseidon Award, the Institute must build an independent seastead by 2015 that is capable of sustaining at least 50 residents and be “financially self-sufficient,” among other requirements. Not only is the Institute trying to innovate new ideas, but do so in a sustainable and eco-friendly manner. There is a conference coming up at the end of May/beginning of June in order to further continue carrying out this intricate project and achieve their goal.  Below is the link to The Seasteading Institiute blog for more information and updates: http://www.seasteading.org/posts/blog/

Follow this link for a brief glimpse of what’s going on: Introduction to Seasteading

-Sara Boukdad