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Contents contributed and discussions participated by Julia Huggins

Julia Huggins

Diet For Small Planet May be Most Efficient if it Includes Dairy and a Little Meat, Cor... - 1 views

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    This is an example of the kind of food advice I feel good about listening to. These guys have taken the time to look at the big picture, crunch the numbers, and take more into account than their initial assumptions. It's just a preliminary study for the New York area, but it's a good example of the kind of research we need for informed decision making.
Julia Huggins

Returning to the Caveman Diet - 1 views

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    Questions our assumption that there's a healthy or natural diet that humanity needs to return to. Another example of where we may be creating false divides between nature and culture.
Julia Huggins

Rethinking Recycling - 0 views

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    And lastly (for now), just to stir things up a bit, check out this piece on Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), a monthly journal of peer-reviewed research and news published by the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
    This piece certainly raises interesting questions and offers unexpected claims. For example, in the Environmental Gains section it says, "Instead of recycling office paper, Gaines says, it should be used to generate energy in coal-fired power plants. 'Then you burn less coal and displace some of the coal emissions. Paper is a really good, clean fuel,' she says."
    I'd caution against jumping too quickly on the "rethinking" bandwagon, though, especially considering the fact that this claim is followed by, "But Dennison argues that Gaines' analysis glosses over an important factor. 'The wood has to be harvested from a forest and the forest has to be managed to produce the wood. And that set of management practices has important environmental consequences with regard to biodiversity, habitat, and so forth, that have to be counted...' " ... DUH. If this is where the debate is, I'm not convinced that these ideas have been fully flushed out yet.
    It's certainly important to challenge our dogmatic practices, but we also must make sure we've got our arguments all straightened out before we run with them. This is a place to start, at least.
    (There are, also, a number of other interesting points in this article, not all of which are so obviously undeveloped. I do recommend this piece if I've succeeded in interesting you with questions about "waste")
Julia Huggins

Waste Management 2010 Sustainability Report - 0 views

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    This is a report from Waste Management. WM is a company, not a governmental organization; this makes for an interesting report that addresses their "sustainability" from both the perspective of how their services contribute to global sustainability AND how they themselves are sustainable in their practices as a company. A great example, especially for an institution like Lewis and Clark -- as we also aim to contribute to global sustainability (e.g. ENVS department) but must also function sustainably as an institution (e.g. Facilities department). This report provides a model of how these two ideals can be integrated in one collective outlook.
    Additionally, following the trend of my previous posts, this report is yet another source of data about our waste stream. There is a strong focus on the future of our waste stream and the role WM hopes to play in it. There is a lot of emphasis placed on recycling, regenerative practices, and the use of waste as a resource.
Julia Huggins

Chapter 2 Waste Stream Components Analysis - 0 views

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    A report from a waste stream analysis conducted in Arizona (cough cough situated research). Includes insights such as, "Feedback from small com- munity stakeholders suggests that mandating recycling in Arizona at this time could be counterproductive. It would require cities and towns with scant financial resources to initiate recycling programs having capital costs and transportation costs that, alone, make recycling economically burdensome."
Julia Huggins

US EPA Industrial Materials Recycling - 0 views

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    For those who aren't convinced that action at the individual level is the best focus of our energy and/or activism:
    "Management and recycling of industrial products and materials are key priority areas. While typically not seen by the general public or part of most of our daily lives, these wastes are often generated in large volumes. Learn about EPA initiatives, such as the Coal Combustion Partnership Program, and the recycling and beneficial use of industrial byproducts generated during manufacturing processes.
Julia Huggins

UNEP Vital Waste Graphics 2 - 0 views

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    This is the sequel to my last post. Though still introductory in language and targeted audience (this is designed for the general public, not college students) this report does at least lead into some deeper, more fascinating, and perhaps more controversial issues. Of particular interest are: "Recycling - the right choice?," "The relativity of "basic needs," and "The making of international legislation."
Julia Huggins

UNEP Vital Waste Graphics - 1 views

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    And, just to further ensure my rightful position, erm I mean further encourage academic discussion... I have a series of articles and websites with useful information about waste to share with you all.
    The first of several, this UNEP report is a fantastic overview of and introduction to the idea of "waste." You all may or may not have already covered many of these ideas in 160, but if not, do take a look. Though much of it is basic, I did find myself learning a surprising number of things (e.g. I never considered just how many definitions of waste there are and how that can affect effective measurement of the human waste stream).
    It's worth taking the time to flip through the pages of this report as it touches on some of the questions I posed in my previous posting. For example, in the "Municipal Waste" section they report claims that, "Although our garbage bins represent only a small part of the total waste generated, it is an important part: the one in which everyone can take action. The part where we can take responsibility by deciding to reduce waste - by recycling and avoiding the purchase of over-packaged goods." Do you agree?
Julia Huggins

Juniper dorm goes trash-free - 0 views

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    Just noticed that I have been demoted from most active member position (not that I was paying very close attention to the group, ironically). And so, to feed two birds with one seed (as we environmentalists prefer to the phrase "to kill two birds with one stone"... unless of course, if the birds are proportionally overpopulated...) I figured I would both re-claim my hierarchical position and take part in shameless self-advocacy by sharing a link with you all about a project that my community in Juniper Dorm is currently undertaking... which many of you already know about because you live here. Nonetheless, in addition to the previously outlined motives, I figured that posting this link here could start up some needed academic discussions around this project; on both the specific questions we outline on the webpage, and the more general merits of this endeavor.
    What are the academic merits of endeavors like this? What are the potential academic drawbacks: could projects like this potentially encourage focuses that are too short-sighted? Is there value in examining the consumer sector's waste stream even if it is true that other sectors (e.g. industrial) have bigger contributions at the national and global level? I not only welcome, but explicitly solicit your thoughts and further questions on this matter.
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    This discussion is, I hope, an opportunity to start connecting the academics with other aspects of sustainability at LC (e.g. clubs like SEED and campus life groups like PEAS). I'll admit that, while I tried to be mindful of the academic/learning potential of this endeavor when I initiated in my dorm, I certainly haven't thought of everything we could learn from this, nor have I entirely digested whether or not this project is a worthwhile endeavor. My plea for your thoughts here is more than a formality -- this is personally important to me, and it also reflects bigger goals that have been developing this year regarding the future of sustainability at LC in the Sustainability Task Force and in other groups as well.
Julia Huggins

Is LEED No Longer in the Lead? - 2 views

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    As we are currently pursuing a LEED platinum certification for our new dorm building, this might be a good time to ask ourselves if following the status quo "green fads" is really the best way to be a "leader in sustainability"... especially if those fads could be falling out of popularity and assumed legitimacy
Julia Huggins

New Agtivists: Nikhil Arora and Alex Velez turn coffee grounds into fun fungi kits | Grist - 0 views

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    Fungi grow on coffee ground "waste," produce large edible mushrooms, and leave behind rich fertile soil for your gardens. Sound too good to be true? Incorporating and working within pre-existing energy cycles, and keeping the whole system in mind when addressing issues of "waste" and "resources" can result in some surprisingly beneficial and efficient solutions!

    The even more exciting news? We're doing this too! There's a large bin in the basement of Juniper, full of the Bon's coffee grounds, now sprouting several pounds of oyster mushrooms.

    Take home message behind inspirational change? Follow the ideas that excite you, and bring them to life in your framework of time and place.
Julia Huggins

Vertical farming: Does it really stack up? | The Economist - 2 views

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    A challenge to the idea that vertical farming may be more energy efficient than traditional approaches.

    Like the debate around local food though, it bothers me that we focus on energy and/or CO2 emissions when we measure environmental impact.

    In a much bigger picture, I'm not even so sure that another agricultural revolution, like this, is really what's best for the planet in the long run.
Julia Huggins

Leviathan Gas Discovery Could be The Mother of All Resource Curses | Green Prophet - 0 views

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    "Houston-based Noble Energy today confirmed that its Leviathan gas find under the water off the shore of Israel is easily the largest exploration discovery in its history, with an estimated 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas"

    I'm not quite sure what to make of this discovery. This article certainly gives it a declensionist spin, and I'm not quite sure that I can come up with any alternate positive side.

    On another note, the term "natural resource" really bugs me.
Julia Huggins

NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Deepwater Horizon Library - 0 views

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    For those interested in the gulf oil spill:

    "Yesterday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) made public a new website, the NOAA Deepwater Horizon Library. The site contains a treasure trove of information relating to the oil disaster in the gulf oil disaster. This includes reports on the incident itself, scientific reports on the wildlife affected, and a detailed history of the response and cleanup efforts undertaken by governments, private companies, and individuals. It also describes ongoing efforts to rebuild the coast and the Gulf ecosystem."
Julia Huggins

Memo to ecovores: It's cheaper being green - 0 views

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    A perspective on the environmental movement that most likely everyone in LCENVS (and beyond) should keep in mind.

    "She learned the same thing about growing fruits and vegetables: Anyone can grow shit themselves. Anyone. Broke-Ass was sick of reading about kids who just graduated from art or architecture school manning their self-righteous food-coops with heirloom everything; looking down on everyone who wasn't raising bees on their rooftops in Brooklyn. To Broke-Ass, it all smacked of Marie Antoinette playing shepherdess with her ladies at the Petit Hameau at Versailles. You don't need to have white-kid dreadlocks, a degree from Bennington, or any more than a passing interest in limiting your carbon footprint to raise your own crap. You just need to be hungry."

    Moral of the story is (in my opinion), maybe environmentalism isnt limited to the privileged middle/upper classes and we're doing ourselves a disservice by assuming so or treating it that way. Can we extrapolate this from agriculture and apply it to the greater environmental movement? Maybe our priority shouldnt be ecological modernization -- maybe we should focus on taking advantage of sustainability where it already exists and has potential to exist, instead of sending the message that it can only be achieved through college degrees, high tech appliances, and hybrid cars.

    Maybe... these are all maybes. But nonetheless I think they're maybes worth considering.
Julia Huggins

Climate change: we are like slave-owners - 1 views

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    "An economy run on slave labour has much in common with one run on fossil fuels, argues Jean-Francois Mouhot. Ending suffering means we all need to become modern-day abolitionists."
Julia Huggins

Caltech Reactor a Breakthrough for Sustainable Business | CleanTechies Blog - CleanTech... - 0 views

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    "...researchers have found a way to do something vaguely similar to what plants do every day: harness the energy of sunlight to convert carbon and water into a liquid fuel."
Julia Huggins

Bird conservation leads to tree death - 0 views

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    Saving endangered species throws off entire ecosystems. As much as I support science's role in the environmental movement, this article is a pretty good reminder that a "science-can-and-will-fix-all" attitude can be dangerous. It's also a good reminder of just how little we know and understand about ecosystems. We should definitely make sue that fundamentalist beliefs about environmentalism (save all endangered species first and foremost, for example) dont get in our way of actually doing something progressive.
Julia Huggins

EarthTalk: What is Global Dimming? - 0 views

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    Global Dimming: Global Warming's counterpart. Unfortunately, it's not a counteracting counterpart.
Julia Huggins

Stephen Hawking Asks, What Is Reality? - 2 views

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    So, we can (and should) address domestic poster-child questions such as "what is nature?", but let's not get complacent about the bigger questions: this article talks about the fact that the reality in which we're trying to sustain our existence may not even exist. What to do?
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