Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

Wordless Wednesday

green-fireworks_492

Source: Surterre Properties

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Wordless Wednesday

Dragon Fly HD Rain Wallpaper

Source: Webgranth.com

Virginia “LEEDS” the pack

I was born and raised in Virginia so this article immediately caught my eye. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), home of the LEED green building certification program, announced the top 10 states for LEED certified buildings in 2012 as measured by the amount of LEED certified space per resident.  LEED which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is a means of verifying that a building(s) was designed and built in a way that would improve energy savings, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and CO2 emissions reduction.

2012 Top 10 States for LEED (plus the District of Columbia)

  1. District of Columbia – 36.97 per-capita square footage
  2. Virginia – 3.71
  3. Colorado – 2.10
  4. Massachusetts – 2.05
  5. Illinois – 1.94
  6. Maryland – 1.90
  7. New York – 1.77
  8. Washington – 1.56
  9. California – 1.46
  10. Texas – 1.43
  11. Nevada – 1.39

Although Virginia is the highest ranked “state” with 3.71 square feet of LEED certified space per, the District of Columbia is off the charts at 36.97 square feet per resident. This is mainly due to the fact that D.C. is home to the USGBC headquarters and green building one of President Obama’s focal points.  So actually we’re #2 on the list…but we’ll take it.

It should also be noted that Georgia was not listed in the top 10 and I was unable to find out the rankings past #10. No matter where the state of Georgia falls on this list, Life University is going its part with two LEED Gold certified buildings, the Socrates Café and Life’s Village Retreat.

Source: MNN and USGBC

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Are you a semi-informed consumer?

I thought this was a very interesting piece on the Black, White and Grey areas of the green movement. Have you always thought that electric cars, biodegradable products and organic foods were the best options?

Sometimes there’s more to the green scene than meets the eye. Following are three commonly held paradigms about sustainable living that are a little less straightforward than you might think.

Vroom Vroom
Many people believe that electric or hybrid cars are the most sustainable personal automobiles because they produce fewer carbon emissions. Electric cars, for instance, don’t burn oil-based fuel. However, in many states electricity is generated by pulverized coal combustion systems which can result in as much if not more carbon emissions than an efficient fuel burning automobile. Furthermore, efficient traditional nonhybrid vehicles can result in less pollution than a hybrid vehicle with poorer gas mileage. When it comes to choosing a sustainable transportation option, the devil is in the details.

Wasting Away
Another notion commonly held is that products made from biodegradable materials do not contribute to our solid waste problem. In reality, while biodegradable material is made to decompose quickly, it is more likely to end up in a landfill than in a compost heap, and landfills simply aren’t designed to facilitate proper degradation of these materials; it’s possible to find readable newspapers in landfills that are decades old. Additionally, a material that is biodegradable is not necessarily recyclable or compostable, so if you aren’t going to put the time and effort into making sure that material makes it’s way to the proper degradation facility, you might be doing more harm than good.

Organivore
Organically grown food is rising in popularity on the green scene, and many people believe that organic food is inherently more sustainable. After all, what’s not to love about naturally raised cattle, or fruits and vegetables that haven’t been doused in inorganic pesticides? There’s more to the story though. Organic farming often requires more land than conventional farming to yield similar results, and organic pesticides such as copper sulfate are acceptable for use on organic farms. What’s more, organic food that isn’t grown locally still incurs all of the environmental problems that accompany transportation of food. How did that organic mango make it into your fruit bowl again?

The moral of the story is that the green scene certainly isn’t white or black. Being a smart consumer is about knowing what your options are and making informed choices.

Source: Alternative Consumer

Wordless Wednesday

Source: Wiki

Wordless Wednesday

For our new subscribers…..on Wednesday’s “A Sustainable Life” will not contain words, but only a photograph. Carefully look at the picture and think of what the it says to you. If you would, please share your thoughts or comments on the image. We hope that you will enjoy “Wordless Wednesday’s”.

Source: Irrelevant and True

Live from LA

For the next three days I will be blogging from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference in Los Angeles, CA.  The AASHE conference is an opportunity for me to have diverse face-to-face conversations with other campus sustainability advocates and learn about real-life campus sustainability experiences, best practices, and tips.

Conferences often carry with them a lot of travel and grueling schedules but I love being surrounded with people who “get it”. They understand what I do, my goals and my challenges. When I introduce myself as the sustainability coordinator I don’t get a blank stare but a “so tell me a about your program.” AHHHH how refreshing.

So in the spirit of Meatless Monday I’ll tell you about my first experience in LA. After a long day of travel I went into classic American restaurant for dinner. I asked the waitress what she recommended (I was honestly too tired to decide for myself) and her first question was “Do you eat meat?”  I could not believe it. How progressive? Not….what do you have a taste for? Or let me tell you about our specials, but “Do you eat meat?”

I have always heard that all things environmental start in California and move east. I wonder how long it will take for this level of awareness to spread?