Showing posts from April, 2009

Earth Day: Don't assume it's only about "flower power"

Images of flower power stickers and "radical" hippies may have been your first thought when Earth Day approached this past Wednesday. Or maybe you felt a little nostalgic and recalled drawing pictures of children hugging the earth back in elementary school. However, Earth Day organizers, and I, want to clarify this image for you. Earth Day is not simply a Hallmark holiday. It is not a variation of Mother's Day or Valentine's Day - Earth Day is a salute to awareness and education.

At its most basic, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the environmental movement in 1970. Founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, wanted to "shake up the political establishment and force this issue [environmentalism] onto the national agenda."

Recall that the '70s were a time of gas-guzzling and rising oil prices. This was also an era when smokestacks were unregulated and tainted the sky gray. Legal consequences and bad press were of little concern to big ind…

Community Supported Agriculture benefits both consumers, farmers

Tired of the overpriced, wilted greens and rotten tomatoes you find yourself relentlessly purchasing at Dave's or Giant Eagle? Feeling pressured to meet your recommended daily vitamin intake, but see none of the fresh, crispy produce that you would love to crunch into? It may be about time that students look toward other, more reliable sources for their grocery needs. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) can feed our cravings and keep our wallets full.

Students have a bad reputation for eating microwaveable meals and ordering delivery regularly, but is it really our fault when the produce we crave is just bad quality? The answer to our problems may not require a journey around the world (the trip that most of our supermarket produce makes). Northeast Ohio can provide us with affordable, tasty produce while reducing carbon dioxide emissions and limiting the use of pesticides.

CSAs offer food subscriptions to the public through a farm membership. The membership entitles you to weekly…

Global environmental fund is inappropriate for economic climate: Projects to be sponsored by United Nations would be better handled locally

Does "going green" now refer to cash money instead of environmentalism? The United Nations (UN) recently announced plans to put $750 billion toward "green" investments. But in light of the fact that the Department of the Treasury just announced plans for investing or spending trillions of dollars in order to help alleviate the nation's economic crisis, is the UN's plan the most appropriate or effective effort to make during this time?

Green shouldn't mean gaudy - throwing money at a "green" situation does not automatically suggest a sensible or effective sensitivity to environmentalism. The UN's Environment Program (UNEP) plans to contribute one percent of global GDP, or about $750 billion, to a "Global Green New Deal." The Green New Deal would split the money among more energy efficient buildings, renewable energies, better transport, improved agriculture, and measures to safeguard nature. Not to say that this isn't an ambiti…

To advance in RecycleMania, all community members must participate

Recycling: not as savage as a dodgeball tournament, but for the next five weeks, consider yourself to be in a campus-wide, waste-dodging contest. The rules of the game, RecycleMania, call for blue bins as allies. Avoid beige bins like the plague. Our battle cry is, as termed by Case's RecycleMania coordinator, Linda Robson, "Use less and recycle the rest!"

RecycleMania just ended its fifth week today, but as of Feb. 7, we are in 118th place for the Per Capita Classic division, 74th in the Waste Minimization division, and 107th in the Grand Champion competition. Just as Case is a Div. III school for sports, we appear to be in the same modest position for RecycleMania.

Case may not be in the lead - in fact, we are nowhere near the lead - but the attention and participation gained through RecycleMania's recycling and waste minimization efforts are laudable. Just to refresh your memory, for the remaining five weeks (the competition started Jan. 18 and ends on March 28), ev…

Engineering solutions to climate change not ideal, but worth studying

The university community is currently scrambling for innovative ideas and tactics to win RecycleMania, the 10-week competition I wrote about in my last column. RecycleMania focuses on recycling and waste reduction, but other strategies exist to tackle climate change, namely engineering and scientific solutions. These may not be the most ideal solutions, considering anthropogenic actions are the main cause of climate change, but they are creative and worth studying.

The website lists feasible climate engineering plans, most of which work by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or reflecting solar energy back into space. Either approach would lower global temperatures.

One way to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere would be to plant extensive forests. This may not sound like the most feasible or economical plan, but it does come with several benefits: the trees would absorb carbon dioxide, and we could potentially gain more weekend relief from urban pressur…