How are our colleges on recycling? (feat. Econauts)

Every week, the Econauts pick a different college to do a “waste audit” for. They take a sample of 4-12 bags of trash from the res-hall and apartment dumpsters, and sort out the contents between trash and recycling. Afterwards, they talk to students walking by about what they found in the trash. The most commonly found items that should have gone into recycling are: plastic dining hall to-go plates, plastic water bottles, cardboard boxes, and paper homework (of course).

This year, the Econauts started working with RA’s to further reach out to college residents. RA’s in the Village, Marshall, and Sixth all defined goals  to increase their colleges’ waste diversion from landfills.

The Village set a goal to decrease the amount of recyclables found in trash marked for landfills by 12% in Winter Quarter. To do so, they put on a diversion competition between the Village East and West, and threw a final food party for the winning side. They also got new signage out to residents, and applied for a green grant to get bigger recycling bins for the apartments. Meanwhile, Marshall College res-life set a goal to decrease the amount of recyclables found in their trash from 50% to 37% for Winter Quarter, and then to 27% by the end of Spring Quarter. They aspire to put together a competition between res-halls for decreasing water and trash waste, promote more programs focused on proper waste sorting, and share a video showing the life of a recyclable (made by the Econauts). Over on the other side of campus, Sixth College res-life set the goal to decrease the amount of recyclables found in trash from 33% to 25% by the end of the school year. They plan to increase programming geared towards correct trash disposal, and put up extra signage to increase student awareness on what’s recyclable.

Between Fall and Winter Quarter, every college (including Muir) was able to noticeably decrease the amount of recyclables found in their trash EXCEPT Revelle and ERC. During Fall Quarter, 50% of their trash turned out to be RECYCLABLE; this decreased slightly to 47% in Winter Quarter, and we hope to help them continue to bring that percentage down over time. Email us at ucsdeconauts@gmail.com or find us on Facebook if you have any questions on how you can improve your own recycling habits!♣

Credit: Samantha Forrest, Rep. for Econauts

A few weeks ago, US President Trump announced that that US would be backing out of the 2015 Paris climate accord.

“At what point does America get demeaned?,” President Trump asked during his public press conference announcing the withdrawal. “At what point do they start laughing at us as a country? We want fair treatment. We don’t want other countries and other leaders to laugh at us anymore.”
Ironically, withdrawing our national commitment to join the rest of the world in lowering our greenhouse gas emissions to keep global temperature increases under a 2 C limit (after which it’s much harder to turn back) and transitioning to a clean energy economy is our being unfair to the rest of the world. And hurting our own economy and national security in the process.

I’d say instead of laughing, the rest of the world is crying with many of we Americans as our national leaders stick their heads in the sand.

We Are Still In climate pledge logo

But we are now turning those tears to action.

Over 1,000 mayors, governors, CEO’s, and higher education leaders — including our own UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep Khosla — stated loud and clear in response that we are still in to meeting our commitments under the Paris accords. Along with the Chancellors of our sister UC campuses and UC President Janet Napolitano, Chancellor Khosla joins climate leaders like California Governor Gerry Brown, Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti, Mayor of New York City Bill De Blasio, and the leadership of companies like Starbucks, Apple, Microsoft, Nike, Amazon, Gap, and Facebook, among others.

We are still in to lower our greenhouse emissions, lead the world in climate science and technological research and innovation, and collaborate with the rest of the world in slowing the warming that will hurt our health, our economy, and our environment — especially for the most vulnerable among us.

“Climate change is a fact of life that people in Los Angeles and cities around the world live with every day. It is a grave threat to our health, our environment, and our economy — an urgent challenge that requires unprecedented collaboration,” LA Mayor Garcetti explain of his signing the pledge. “The President may be pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, but L.A. will lead by committing to the goals of the accord — and working closely with over 200 other Climate Mayors as well as governors and CEOs across the U.S. to do the same.”

This weekend we are welcoming His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to campus as our 2017 Commencement keynote speaker, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect or more powerful. He promotes environmental protection and sustainability alongside and in harmony with the promotion of human values, social integrity, compassion, interreligious dialogue, and ethical leadership.

“A man of peace, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama promotes global responsibility and service to humanity,” Chancellor Khosla explained. “These are the ideals we aim to convey and instill in our students and graduates at UC San Diego.”

And the ideals we are still all in to model ourselves as a public university.

Now that is no laughing matter.

Sara McKinstry (@sarajmck)

 

We Are Still In at UC San Diego

UC San Diego Sports Facilities Earth Cube Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

On April 27, 2016, Sports Facilities Department and the SFAB Sustainability Committee celebrated the arrival of their new composting “Earth Cubes” with a ribbon cutting ceremony.  In this inaugural composting program, the Sports Facilities Department aims to vastly reduce the amount of waste going to landfill from the RIMAC Annex building. They have been composting the green waste from Peet’s Coffee & Tea and the paper hand towels in the building’s restrooms. As the first department on campus to incorporate composting into their on campus operation, they hope to demonstrate that composting is easy, and encourage other departments to follow their lead.   Click here to watch a video of the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Importance of Reporting Leaks at UC San Diego

It may sound dramatic, but you’re essentially flushing money down the toilet if you ignore a water leak.  The reason why leaky faucets keep you up at night shouldn’t be the drip drops down the drain, but rather the environmental impact they have.  To illustrate, according to the Washington State Department of Ecology, “a leaky toilet can waste 200 gallons per day.  That would be like flushing your toilet more than 50 times for no reason.”  Therefore, reporting leaks is our civic responsibility.

Saving water is critical for today’s environmental welfare.  California is already in a drought.  Jay Familglietti, a water scientist at NASA, stated in March 2015 that there is only one year of surface water left and when that runs out, California will begin using underground water to supply its 37 million residents. However, ground water is hard to replace because it takes a very long time for this natural process to occur.

We also need to conserve water because there will be ecological consequences.  We will have difficulty feeding animals, which will devastate livestock and endangered species.  Even more, California produces the most vegetation in the United States, and this affects all of America economically and agriculturally.

conserve-water

Fixing leaky plumbing is one of the most effective ways to save water with the least amount of effort from the campus community!  Be sure to report your leak to the right place.  For those in housing and dining areas, contact HDH Maintenance and Custodial. Leaks in sports facilities areas, contact Office of Sports Facilities. Report leaks in University Centers, contact FixIt, and anywhere else on campus, contact Facilities Management via email at wsc@ucsd.edu. Make sure to state your location, the type of leak, and contact details when reporting a leak.

Check out the UC San Diego Sustainability website for tips and tricks for conserving water.

Credit: Connie Li, UC San Diego Student Sustainability Communications Volunteer

 

The Zone Completes Green Office Recertification

UC San Diego Sustainability would like to congratulate UCSD’s The Zone for being the most recent office to be certified through its Green Office Certification Program!

The office was initially certified in 2013 and was just recently recertified, receiving a grade of Silver. The Zone goes “cupless” every other month, and even when providing cups utilizes biodegradable ones. zone recertThey plan on going completely cupless next year to motivate the students who utilize the space to use their own reusable water bottles. The Zone has also partnered with Roger’s Garden to begin composting its tea leaves and filters to reduce its waste even more and give back to the community. Shoutout to The Zone and all of its employees for continuing to help the campus and students while also working to help the environment!

For more information on becoming certified, please visit us on our website http://sustain.ucsd.edu/initiatives/green-office.html or email us at ucsdgoc@gmail.com

Green Office Certification Volunteers Needed

UC San Diego Sustainability is seeking college students interested in volunteer intern positions with our Green Office Certification Program during the ’16-17 academic year.  The program helps campus offices promote resource conservation and receive recognition for their leadership in sustainability.

Applications are due Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at 5 PM.  The volunteer position description and responsibilities are listed at the top of the form.

To learn more about the Green Office Certification Program, visit us at http://sustain.ucsd.edu/initiatives/green-office.html

UC San Diego’s ESW Wins Big at National Conference

Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) is a project-based non-profit organization whose mission is to develop, implement, and share sustainable technologies and practices worldwide. This past weekend at the ESW Nationals Conference, the UC San Diego chapter was awarded 135Outstanding Chapter of the Year out of 50 chapters nationwide in recognition of their work this previous year, which includes finalizing an intensive on-campus project (Solar Chill), forming a partnership with Global TIES, and representing five projects at the recent Clinton Global Initiative University. In addition, their outgoing chapter president, Jimmy Luong, was presented with the Chapter Leader of the Year Award for his dedication and for overseeing the success of the organization.

This year, the ESW Nationals organized a Resilient CommUnity Design Challenge where a dedicated group of students, aptly named CommUnity Growth, One Garden at a Time, is focusing on working with community partners in City Heights, specifically at Hoover High School, to propose and implement improvements on the local scale. In the near future, they will help construct an urban, community garden and establish after school STEM programs at the high school with the funds awarded. Out of 19 chapters that participated, UC San Diego’s group ranked 2nd place after a culmination of many phases and a final presentation. The chapter also submitted five photos to the Community Category for the Photo Contest and won based off of various photos that demonstrated student involvement and community efforts.

UCSD ESW was also just recently awarded the 2016 UC San Diego Sustainability Awards for Outstanding Student Group by the UC San Diego Sustainability Office. ESW is entirely grateful to receive these accolades and will strive to continue to make a positive difference in the UC San Diego community as well as in other local and international areas.

Thurgood Marshall College Residential Life Office Receives Green Office Certification

Earlier this week, the Thurgood Marshall College (TMC) Residential Life Office was certified by the Green Office Certification (GOC) Program.  This program seeks to help campus offices promote resource conservation and receive recognition for their leadership in sustainability.  The program partners with office staff to identify opportunities to implement or improve existing sustainable practices and earn points toward certification.

The ReUntitledsidential Life Office was awarded Silver Certification Level.  Receiving this designation has motivated the Residential Life Office to plan how they can continue mitigating their resource consumption  within their office.  They are even more driven to earn additional points toward their certification level, as they will be seeking to apply for a Green Grant, which is sponsored through Housing, Dining and Hospitality.  With this Green Grant, they are hoping for further sustainability projects that might include recycling, energy efficiency and other resource saving measures.  Prior to the certification, the office had made the initiative to shift a majority of their work documents over to electronic use by purchasing iPads for the staff, reducing their paper usage.

Congratulations to the TMC Residential Life Office for their leadership in sustainability by becoming certified!

For more information on how your office can become certified, please visit us on our website http://sustain.ucsd.edu/initiatives/green-office.html or email us at ucsdgoc@gmail.com.

2015 UC Cool Campus Challenge

UC San Diego Sustainability Recognizes Top Participants, Teams and Winners of Opportunity Drawings


Protecting the environment and its valuable resources from climate change is a social responsibility each one of us can contribute towards individually.  Together as a community we can make a much bigger impact.  President Napolitano has committed the University of California to a goal of carbon neutrality by 2025.  This commitment will require all of us to work together in an effort to conserve energy, reduce waste, and preserve our resources.  We have proven to be an institutional leader in research and teaching, and we can also lead the way to a more sustainable future.

The UC Cool Campus Challenge was designed as an online educational outreach tool intended to encourage behavioral change by motivating and rewarding the UC Community as we take steps towards reducing our carbon footprint.  Over a ten week period starting October 6 through December 10, participants were asked to pledge and verify actions, such as using a power strip, turning off lights when not in use, or carpooling.  Points were earned upon pledging, verifying and uploading photos illustrating sustainable actions.  Additional points were earned for inviting others to join and attending events.

Twelve UC campuses competed to earn the most points.  UC San Diego finished in 9th place, behind Riverside and Berkeley.  First place was awarded to UC Irvine.

UC San Diego would like to recognize and congratulate the top participants and teams on our campus!

BFS Team for web

(L) Dan Ronquillo, Team BFS Members (R) Eric Del Rosario, Gayle Ta & Ana Portlock

TOP INDIVIDUAL UCSD PARTICIPANTS:
Dan Ronquillo, Core Bio & Lab Support
Eric Del Rosario, Business & Financial Services
Ana Portlock, Business & Financial Services
STAFF PARTICIPANT:
Dan Ronquillo, Core Biology & Lab Support
STUDENT PARTICIPANT:
Collette Moura, Eleanor Roosevelt College
FACULTY PARTICIPANT:
Margaret Ryan, Family Medicine & Public Health
TOP UCSD TEAMS:
Business & Financial Services
Muir College

 

And our opportunity drawing winners are… 
Bicycle & Safety Gear: Amanda Loeper, Environment Health & Services
Extension School Course Certificate: Angela Lee, Revelle College
 

Staff Sustainability Network (SSN) Update February/March

UCSD’s Staff Sustainability Network (SSN) is excited to soon review applications for their second annual Staff Project Grant. The purpose of this grant is to provide introductory funding for on-campus projects with a sustainability focus. SSN hopes that in doing so the Network will empower UCSD staff employees to be proactive regarding sustainability efforts on campus.

Last year’s grant was awarded to a seed project proposed by Chris Johnson of the Landscape Services Department. With the money from the grant, Chris bought seeds, soil, containers, and heat mats to begin his vision of UCSD growing its own trees on-site, rather than purchasing them from an outside vendor. Along with the help of others in his department, Chris has been able to grow about 200 plants with the seed money, and has more seeds and containers to work with this spring.

Chris_Grant Plants

Chris Johnson with a display of plants grown from seed at UCSD.

Due to a lack of a controllable environment, such as a greenhouse or shade house, some of the seeds that were planted were destroyed by water or wind, or dried out. This is one of the reasons that Chris and his colleagues (Mike Scarry and Andre Leon) are currently proposing that an arboretum be established on campus, as many other UC campuses already have. An on-campus arboretum of course would support plant propagation, and has the potential to provide education and research opportunities, aesthetic appreciation, food production, a platform for sustainability efforts, such as composting, water conservation, and more.

To learn more about the proposed arboretum, Staff Project Grant, or get involved with other sustainability efforts on campus, come to an SSN meeting  or sign up to join the SSN e-mail list. Remember that any UCSD staff member is eligible to apply for the Staff Project Grant!