Cold Hands or a Cold Soul? Say No to Styrofoam.

10.15.2013 · Posted in Uncategorized

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We’ve heard it all before:
“I’ll have a large iced coffee and a Styrofoam cup too, please.”

Stonehill students are notorious for this indecency. Ordering an iced coffee or latte and a separate Styrofoam cup to shield our tender hands from the cold beverage. Many students don’t see a problem with this, as sustainable as our school is. And yet, the Styrofoam cups cause nothing but trouble.
Making up eighteen percent of America’s garbage, these cups can sit in landfills for over five hundred years, as they are virtually incapable of biodegrading. They are made with numerous inorganic materials and cause irreparable damage to the ecosystem, and potentially your own health. Heating Styrofoam can release polystyrene, a carcinogen, into the beverage it is holding. This polystyrene is also found lining most paper cups as well. In addition, producing one paper cup creates 0.24 lbs of carbon dioxide emissions.
Ordering one Styrofoam cup each day can create about 23 pounds of garbage each year. Before you order an extra Styrofoam cup for your iced coffee, consider the consequences. Having cold hands for a half hour is not nearly as uncomfortable as having 23 pounds of garbage in your hands.

– Hayley Bibaud

 

Source: http://www.environmentaa.org/whatwedo/whatwedo.php?dir=save_a_cup

Is water really as renewable as we think?

10.08.2013 · Posted in Uncategorized

Water is one of those resources we interact with on a daily basis. We use it to wash our clothes, we drink it, we see it falling from the sky, we use it for recreation. It is something that always seems to be there for us. Far from the truth is this. Water is becoming a scarce resource for many people around the world. When looked at in the short-term water is a renewable resource but over time it become polluted and unsafe to use. Throughout the world, about 1 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water. Of all the water on the planet, .007 of that is potable or safe enough for humans to drink. Water has become such a scarce resource. Everyday water is being polluted by exhaust, run off of pollutants, even natural disasters. Managing our water resources has become one of the most important steps we could take in securing a more sustainable future. For many people in developed countries the idea of a water crisis is almost non existent. That phrase “out of sight, out of mind” is true when it comes to the water crisis. For other developing countries it is much more of everyday life. The water crisis is not an unsolvable problem and there are steps being taken to fix the crisis but if we do not act now, we will face larger consequences due to our ignorance and lack of action.

Below are a few links to learn more about the water crisis and ways to help:

http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/water/

http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange2/current/lectures/freshwater_supply/freshwater.html#references

 

By:

Andrew Morahan

Connecting for Change 2013

10.08.2013 · Posted in Uncategorized

Connecting for Change is a conference held every year focusing on a wide variety of social and environmental justice issues. This year will be the 9th annual CFC conference and will be held at the Marion Institute from October 25-27 in New Bedford Mass. Their website describes the event as:

“…an annual three-day, solutions-based gathering that brings together a diverse audience to create deep and positive change in their communities. This internationally acclaimed event summons environmental, industry and social justice innovators to bring focus on food and farming, health and healing, green business, indigenous knowledge, environmental and social justice, women and youth empowerment, spirituality and sustainability, all working to catalyze a movement to heal our world. In 2012, over 2,500 people gathered in New Bedford and were privileged to hear from stellar keynote speakers including Bill McKibben, Sandor Katz, Ameena Matthews and Arn Chorn-Pond. In all, over 100 presenters and 50 workshops and tours ignited the conscience of the attendees. This year we will roll up our sleeves and harvest tangible, practical solutions to the specific challenges we face here in the Northeast and the world at-large. We are planning remarkable three days of live keynote presentations, afternoon workshops, a inclusive family program, an extensive Youth Initiative program, a downlink of the 24th Annual Bioneers Conference in California, an exhibition hall featuring sustainable businesses and organizations, a community action center, films, music, art installations, a farmers’ market and local & organic food.”

If you are interested in attending this conference, hurry and sign up now because registration closes on October 21st!

Register here : http://www.marioninstitute.org/node/add/registration-cfc?product_nid=728

Megan Rebeschi

How has agriculture changed over the years?

10.08.2013 · Posted in Uncategorized

The agriculture of our generation has changed drastically since our grandparents generation. Today we don’t have to worry about the growing seasons and if we will be able to plant certain crops. For our generation everything is always in season. if we want apples or strawberries in the winter we just drive to the grocery store and get them. Our grandparents, however, would rely on the weather patterns in order to survive. 200 years ago 90% of our population lived on farms and grew all of their food. Today only 2% of the entire population actual grow what they need to live. Is this necessarily a bad thing? In some cases this could be detrimental to our population. How can so few of us actually grow the food for the rest of the world. This is made possible by the advances in our technology. Even though we shrank in numbers the technology makes up for the difference.  We are able to construct genetically altered plants and food so that it will be easier and quicker to grow.  From using shovels and pitch forks to the abundance of advanced technology we have evolved into a self sustaining population.

 

 

 

http://animalsmart.org/animals-and-the-environment/comparing-agriculture-of-the-past-with-today

 

 

by: Dieter Kuhlka

Saving the World One Water Bottle at a Time

10.08.2013 · Posted in Uncategorized

 

 

water bottles

If you were to guess what percentage of water bottles end up in landfills every year what would you say?  10 percent? Maybe a higher 30 percent?  50 percent?  How about an astounding 80 percent!  Yes that is correct, 80 percent, actually OVER 80 percent of empty water bottles end up in landfills every year.  Not only is this horrible for the environment but it also is also extremely expensive to buy water bottles.  Bottled water can cost anywhere from 240 to 10,000 more times than tap water.  In addition to an SFGate article titles, “Water Bottle Pollution Facts” states, the production of plastic bottles requires millions of barrels of oil per year and the transportation of bottled water from its source to stores releases thousands of tons of carbon dioxide.”  It makes zero sense for people to continually use water bottles because it is both expensive and bad for the environment.  So the next time you go to buy water try to avoid it completely by using tap water, or just recycle the bottle when you are done.

 

By:

 

Jeremy Peckham

The Hidden Water We Use

05.09.2013 · Posted in Uncategorized

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We use a lot more water than we think each and every day.  We use water for everyday things like showering, cooking, laundry, cleaning, etc. But, there is a lot of water that goes into so many products that we would never even consider. For example, it takes about 1,800 gallons of water to produce only one pound of beef.  This water usage comes from growing the food for the cows and the water they drink.  Another example of a product that uses a lot of water is chocolate.  It takes 3,170 gallons of water to produce one pound of chocolate.

This website gives other examples of products that use a lot of water to produce.

http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/embedded-water/

So, try and limit how much you use some of these products. It really will have a huge impact!

By: Erin Siulinski

Simple Steps That Will Reduce Your Carbon Footprint!

05.09.2013 · Posted in Uncategorized

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Everyone always talks about how important it is to reduce your carbon footprint. This task can seem daunting sometimes because there is so much out there.  So, here are some simple steps that you can take that will reduce your carbon footprint. Even if you just focus on a couple, you’ll still have a huge impact on the environment!

  • Pick three produce items that you buy normally and switch them to organic. Organic produce doesn’t use harmful pesticides, which is better for the environment and your health.  
  • Go vegetarian one day a week.
  • Buy grass-fed beef.
  • Start a mini-garden. Even if you only grow one fruit or vegetable, you’re still saving energy and money!
  • Start a composting bin and use it in your garden
  • Buy reusable grocery bags instead of the paper or plastic bags that are normally provided.
  • Replace at least three lightbulbs with CFLs or LEDs
  • Go to the farmer’s market once or twice a month
  • Instead of using a dryer, hang up clothes to dry. Especially in the summer!
  • Give up bottled water. Invest in a good water bottle
  • Turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth or washing your face
  • Take a shorter shower, even if it’s only shorter by a minute or two!
  • Recycle old electronics, don’t just throw them away
  • Change to paperless billing
  • Unplug phone and computer chargers when not in use
  • Shop at thrift shops

By: Erin Siulinski

 

Top 10 GREENEST Presidents

05.05.2013 · Posted in Uncategorized

by Danielle Witter

 

Unfortunately, environmental actions and efforts of sustainability are not always among the top priorities on the agenda of the President of the United States. In fact, one may think that that environmental preservation is a modern topic that was not even considered by presidents hundreds of years ago. The truth is, several presidents have worked towards creating a greener country – dating all the way back to the early 1800s! For example, did you know that Abraham Lincoln established the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)? Did you know that Nixon signed the bills that established the Environmental Protection Agency and the landmark Clean Air Act? Read this interesting post on The Daily Green to find out more!

http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/greenest-presidents-460808#slide-1

 

 

Green Beach Days

05.05.2013 · Posted in Uncategorized

by Danielle Witter

 

With summer fast approaching, we begin to daydream about sunny, relaxing trips to the beach. As you prepare for your beach outings, it is important to keep sustainability in mind! Here are a few tips to keep your beach trip as green as possible.

– If the beach is in walking distance, save the gas and walk there! If you do not live near a beach, drive to the closest one.
– Pack your food in reusable storage containers. Use washable plates, cups, and cutlery. Use re-usable napkins. Put everything in a good old-fashioned basket or tote. Minimize waste!
– Keep yourself hydrated with water you brought from home in a reusable bottle. Avoid bringing or purchasing plastic water bottles, like Poland Springs or Dasani.
– Don’t use aerosol sunscreen. Use lotion or a pump spray instead.
– Throw out your own trash, and pick up trash that you may see around you.
– Instead of using an outdoor shower to rinse the sand off of you before entering your car, try baby powder instead! Sprinkling baby powder on sandy areas makes it easier to brush off.
– Minimize your use of electronics. Enjoy nature or read a book instead!
– When you wash your bathing suits and towels, allow them to air dry instead of using an electric dryer.
– And remember – you don’t need to purchase a new bathing suit every year. 🙂

Divestment…Here?

04.25.2013 · Posted in Uncategorized

Divesting from fossil fuel companies will put our college campus on the right track towards making Stonehill an even greener and more sustainable community. Leading Colleges across the country are taking the steps so that they no longer invest their money in companies that support the fossil fuel industry whether that is in coal, oil, or natural gas. Instead campuses are looking elsewhere towards companies that have taken steps to go green and invest in renewable resources. Implementing a five year divestment plan here at Stonehill will be a consistent move towards upholding this catholic institution’s mission statement “towards the creation of a more just and compassionate world”. The best part is we are not alone in our endeavor and we can be a leader too! Look at the links below to see some examples of other campuses working towards divestment!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gdp-fqk5zc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jl8svpYypwE&feature=youtu.be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eQYDY8yLMk

http://gofossilfree.org/doa/