SUSTAINABLE SCOTS NEWSLETTER
Sponsored by the Macalester Sustainability Office
December 3rd, 2013
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I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving Break and had time to spend with family and friends. For this issue of the newsletter, I want to focus on ideas of consumption, consumerism, and potential solutions or alternatives to these behaviors.
It's SO easy to get caught up in the craziness of the holiday season-- whether you're celebrating Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Kwanzaa, Christmas, the New Year, or simply being done with the semester! In these times we often eat a lot, buy a lot, spend lots of money, and inevitably create a lot of waste!
This month I want to challenge everyone (including myself!) to think about why we engage in these sorts of consumptive behaviors; how they are a part of larger, global, perhaps systemic issues; and begin to imagine and create an alternative pathway for ourselves and the rest of society. There are other ways of doing things-- we just need to push ourselves and our communities to re-imagine our place and influence on the world, and incorporate this practices into normal daily life.
Below is a thought-provoking and inspiring video about how we can reshape our influence on the environment, and strengthen our economy and communities, as we move into the future-- check it out.
Best of luck to all students who are in the final push of the semester, and everyone else best wishes for the upcoming weeks as well :)
New Video from Makers of "The Story of Stuff" - "The Story of Solutions"
The Story of Solutions explores how we can move our economy in a more sustainable and just direction, starting with orienting ourselves toward a new goal.
|The Story of Solutions|
Climate Negotiations in Warsaw Conclude Inconclusively
The recent Warsaw climate negotiations ended late last Saturday with little progress made. The most significant outcomes were a minor agreement on the mechanisms to finance the protection of tropical rain forests, a deal to kick-start an international mechanism on loss and damage (from impacts of climate change that is already happening) and most importantly a timetable for countries to elaborate on how they will increase their mitigation ambition to contribute to the global effort to avert
dangerous climate change, alongside the derivation of a common set of accounting rules to ensure
comparability. Given that a global deal is targeted for
agreement by end-2015, a lot of these details would need to be presented during negotiating sessions in 2014.
In addition, little clarity was made on the means to capitalize the already institutionalized Green Climate Fund that aims to finance mitigation and adaptation projects a tune of $100 billion a year as well as broader questions on the conception of equitable mitigation burden sharing...There remains a lingering developed/developing world divide that United States and Europe want to breakdown in an effort to get all major emitters to commit to higher emission reduction ambition. Whether this firewall is maintained in the coming year or so might make or break the success of this multilateral process.
More detailed analysis is available at the following website:
Macalester Alum Kofi Annan Responds to Warsaw Negotiations
"If governments are unwilling to lead when leadership is required, people must. We need a global grass-roots movement that tackles climate change and its
fallout. In Australia, one initiative aims at getting one million women to take small steps in their everyday lives to cut emissions."
Read his op-ed for the New York Times
4 Climate Policies to be Thankful For (from Grist.com)
Read the full article here
1. The U.S. and the World Bank will avoid financing coal-fired power plants abroad.
2. The White House will push carbon limits for new and existing power plants.
3. The global warming "slowdown" showed us that international agreements can reduce climate change.
4. The world's largest economies will phase down the use of a potent greenhouse gas (HFCs).
Woodlands and Waterfalls: Art Exhibit by Holly Newton Swift
Gallery, Art Building, Macalester College
The paintings and drawing in the exhibition Woodlands and Waterfalls are the records of Holly Newton Swift's continuous examination of nature's structure.
Stop by the art building this week and check out these beautiful pieces of art!
Study Abroad Informational Meeting for Environmental Studies Majors
EnviroThursdays will return next spring!
Frontiers on the Environment Speaker Series
Room 380, Institute on the Environment, U of M St. Paul Campus
Wednesday, December 4th, 12 - 1pm
"Transporting Energy: U.S. Infrastructure Challenges"
Alexandra Klass, IonE Resident Fellow and Professor of Law, Law School
This presentation addresses the development of physical and regulatory infrastructures for transporting oil, natural gas and electricity in the U.S. Hydraulic fracturing has allowed oil and natural gas development in parts of the country that were not major producers when pipeline networks were built. Is the regulatory structure put in place decades ago sufficient for the expansions needed today? Likewise, wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources are being developed far from population centers, with the electricity they produce transported through transmission lines. Does it still make sense for states to be responsible for siting and construction of interstate lines?
Wednesday, December 11th, 12-1pm
"Tracking Animals Through Space and Time: Understanding the Consequences of a Changing World on Wildlife Populations"
James Forester, IonE Resident Fellow and Assistant Professor
Across the globe, spatial patterns of land cover and human land use are changing rapidly. Coincident with these changes are shifts in the spatial and temporal patterns of weather and climate. For wildlife species at the edge of their geographic ranges, these changes can be dramatic and potentially limiting. Forester will discuss initial steps to quantify how wildlife populations are responding numerically and behaviorally to these novel combinations of climate, weather and land cover.
Transportation Town Hall Meetings
Transit for Livable Communities has recently announced a series of town hall meetings happening around the Twin Cities metro area this month! These public meetings kick off tomorrow, December 3. See all dates, times, and locations listed below.
At each event, Met. Council Chair Sue Haigh and MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle will discuss how transportation affects quality of life and the economy, and the importance of investing in our state's transportation system. They will also take feedback and answer questions.
Upcoming Transportation Town Hall Meetings:
- Minneapolis: Tuesday, Dec. 3, 4-6 PM, Central Library, Pohlad Hall, 300 Nicollet Mall
- Coon Rapids: Wednesday, Dec. 4, 4-6 PM, Anoka/Ramsey Community College, Coon Rapids Campus, 11200 Mississippi Blvd. NW
- Cambridge: Thursday, Dec. 5, 2-4 PM, City Hall, 300 Third Ave. NE
- Saint Paul: Tuesday, Dec. 10, 4-6 PM, Union Depot, 214 E 4th St.
- White Bear Lake: Thursday, Dec. 12, 4-6 PM, Century College, 3300 Century Ave. N., Room 2315
- Burnsville: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 4-6 PM, Burnsville High School Theatre, Mraz Center for the Performing Arts, 600 East Highway 13
Sustainable Gift Giving Options
Hipcycle: If you're into upcycled shopping, prepare to fall in love. Hipcycle.com boasts tons of cool products, from housewares and furniture to apparel and jewelry that have been reinvented for a second act. (And it just might give you new ideas of what to do with some things around your house!)
Etsy: a wonderful go-to website for vintage and handmade art, jewelry, clothing, furniture, and more! http://www.etsy.com/
Make your own!
Divestment - or Sustainable Investment? A U of M Frontiers in the Environment Presentation
Get involved with Twin Cities' Environmental Organizations
Interested in pursuing a career in the environmental field? Ever wonder how the environment could be encompassed into the work you do? Consider doing an internship with a local environmental organization and learn a bit about what it's like to do work in this field. Check out the list of environmentally-focused internships provided by the Internship Office:
Want to Work in Sustainability?
Are you interested in a sustainability career but have no idea where to start? A very nice guy has compiled a list of useful resources that can jumpstart your search! Check out this website for links to to websites and a brief description of what they have to offer.
Click here to view the website
Contact the Sustainability Office!
We are located on the first floor of Kagin Commons, on the right-hand side as you enter the main area. The student-worker desk is located underneath the Sustainability Office sign, and Suzanne's office (our lovely Sustainability Manager) is located nearby in room 124.
Send one of your student workers to the Sustainability Student Worker Network!
Assign one of your students to work on sustainability issues for your department and send the Sustainability Office their contact information. We will assist with project planning and connect them with a twice-a-month sustainability network meeting.
To submit something or make a correction to the Sustainable Scots
Newsletter please contact:
This newsletter is sponsored by the Macalester Sustainability Office.