Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Greenhouse LLC

Are your heroes Rachel Carson, Wangari Mathaai and Bill McKibben? Do you hug trees on a regular basis? If so, great! If not, that’s great too! Either way, apply to join The Greenhouse, one of Georgetown University’s newest Living Learning Communities. The Greenhouse welcomes students of all interests and views who aim to learn more about environmental issues pertaining to our university, city, nation and Earth. In this community, students will take part in a range of activities designed to foster conversation on the environment. They will also have the opportunity to put their knowledge into action; first they will attend and organize events related to sustainability. Second, they will live according to a set of sustainable practices that they will determine at the beginning of the academic year.
While this community will change according to the needs and desires of its members, a small sampling of possible group living practices include:
  • Pledging to unplug and switch off electronics when not in use
  • Pledging to use heat and AC in moderation, if at all
  • Composting all biodegradable materials
  • Buying local, organic, vegan/vegetarian food for all meetings and events
  • Gardening in a plot in a community garden
Possible programming includes:
  • Attending DC Environmental Film Festival screenings
  • Visiting Eastern Market or local farmer’s markets
  • Hiking with Outdoor Education
  • Taking the St. Francis Pledge
  • Hosting Earth Week and Earth Day speakers, films and “how-to” events
For more information, check out the ResLife LLC page or contact The Greenhouse advisor, Professor Sarah Stoll 

Applications for current sophomores and juniors are due in two weeks on Thursday, 11/1/12.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Before you throw that away...can it be recycled?

Here's a refresher on campus recycling!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Take Action in DC!

Spring semester is underway, and EcoAction will have a ton of great events for you this semester! Stay tuned for posts about our spring programming and about eco-friendly back-to-school tips. 

Until then, there are a few exciting opportunities for environmental activism here in DC in the coming weeks. Before the workload gets too heavy, try to get out into the city and attend a rally or protest about a green issue that matters to you. 

First, a crucial rally around the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. We've been covering this since the summer, and we've had a Georgetown presence at the arrests in August and September, and also at the rally at the White House in November. For more information on the pipeline issue, check out this great overview from Friends of the Earth, or go to (the Tar Sands Action group, organized by Bill McKibben, is now part of McKibben's organization 

The next demonstration is on Monday, January 23 - the day that Congress returns to business. McKibben and the great people at are taking a stand against the big money behind the pipeline, especially the excessive influence of the American Petroleum Institute. McKibben notes that "the 234 Congresspeople who voted to expedite Keystone had taken $42 million in dirty energy money." The demonstration will start on Capitol Hill at 3:00 PM and then move to the headquarters of the American Petroleum Institute. Sign up here

(Also, take just a few seconds to send a message to Obama, declaring your opposition to Keystone XL!) 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Obama: Just say NO to Keystone XL

After 1,252 arrests this summer, a rally of more than 10,000 people at the White House earlier this month, and six months of grassroots protests, rallies, and petitions across the country, the State Department announced last week that it was delaying a decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline until at least 2012.

Photo credit: 
What is the Keystone XL pipeline? A 1,700 mile TransCanada pipeline that would carry 900,000 barrels of oil each day from the tar sands in Canada through the U.S. to refineries in Texas. The pipeline would cut through six states, over seventy rivers and streams, aquifers, farms, and backyards, and disrupt native communities.

Extraction of the oil poisons the air and water, requires hundreds of millions of gallons of water each day, and requires deforestation of the boreal forest in Canada. The oil is bitumen, an especially dirty oil whose refinement results in 20% more carbon emissions than does conventional fuel.

The jobs the pipeline would create would be mostly temporary. The environmental, social, and public health costs of the pipeline over decades and centuries would outweigh any short-term job creation. This pipeline would only increase our dependence on fossil fuels for energy, at a time when our money would be better invested in safe, renewable sources of energy.

Much more after the jump...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Congrats to the new board!

Congratulations to the new EcoAction board!

Co-Presidents: Megan Griffin & Fatima Tas

Treasurer: Patricia Cippolitti

VP of Initiatives: Tristana Giunta

Marketing & Multimedia Chair: Madeline Collins

Monk: Colin Segura

Goodbye, good luck, and THANK YOU to our graduating seniors, former Co-Presidents Claire Austin and Seungah Lee! And the best of luck to former Treasurer Coral Keegan on her semester in Thailand!

In the coming weeks, the new board will be discussing EcoAction's focus for the next two semesters. If you have an idea for an issue you'd like us to work on, just let us know!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Recycling WIN and FAIL!

Recycling FAIL! 

First of all, you can't recycle pizza, and second, cardboard pizza boxes should be stacked by paper recycling bins.

Recycling WIN! 

I think. This squirrel is graciously cleaning our recycling bins by taking food away!

Much thanks to Colin Segura for this great WINs and FAILs!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Last week’s DC Green Student Organizations Forum was a great success! Students from green groups at Georgetown, American University, George Washington University, and Trinity Washington University met at American University to talk about how green groups can help each other and work together.

First, we did introductions, and learned about what different groups are doing on their campuses. Claire Austin (co-president of EcoAction) and I talked about the new community compost, the Greenpeace campaign against Asia Pulp & Paper, the Magis Row weatherization project, the recent victory with double-sided printing, and our upcoming trip to the Tar Sands rally, among other things. We heard about the Roots & Shoots chapter at George Washington University, about the development of a new environmental group at Trinity Washington University, and about the upcoming Food Justice Day at American. In addition, we got some great advice from GW students about how to expand our composting program.

Above all, though, the biggest achievement at the Forum was our decision to revive DC YEA – the D.C. Youth Environmental Alliance. The mission of DC YEA is “to serve as a dynamic alliance of DC Youth, creating positive environmental change in our schools, community, and government.” We gathered each other's contact information and set up the DC YEA Facebook page. Through DC YEA, we’ll keep in touch about environmental events on our campuses and in DC. We’ll be able to attend each other’s events and meet up at events in the city. Also, we’ll be able to keep giving advice to each other about our sustainability efforts on our respective campuses.

More about DC YEA after the jump, including our first event! 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Anthropocene and Environmentalism

Anthropocene: the debatable new geological age marked primarily by the influence of mankind over nature.

This article in The Economist, "A man-made world," focuses on the changing forces on the earth. The enormous amount of humans on the planet, as well as the surging technology, may mean that geoengineering may be the best way to reckon the relationship between humans and the environment.

"The Holocene never supported a civilization of 10 billion reasonably rich people, as the Anthropocene must seek to do, and there is no proof that such a population can fit into a planetary pot so circumscribed. So it may be that a “good Anthropocene”, stable and productive for humans and other species they rely on, is one in which some aspects of the Earth system’s behavior are lastingly changed."

But what exactly does that mean, in terms of how we look at environmentalism and energy production? According to the article, this isn't the first time we've tried and succeeded at changing a significant way in which the earth operates (19th century brought the first attempt at geoengineering the planet, this time to regulate nitrogen levels).

"Better to embrace the Anthropocene’s potential as a revolution in the way the Earth system works, they argue, than to try to retreat onto a low-impact path that runs the risk of global immiseration."

Let's be honest here. The science is over my head. But what this article brings to light is the idea that in looking at the earth and its ecosystems, you can't consider it as it was without the influence of humans and technology. One must consider and "change the paradigm" in order to really understand what the earth should be like with humans on the planet, using the land, and whether we are doing it justice. They argue for an influx of geoengineering in order to right our wrongs. But what does that mean for hot-button issues like the proposal of the Keystone XL pipeline and tar sand mines in Utah?

When asked what the place of nature is in the age of Anthropocene, Dr. Erle Ellis maintained the importance of environmentalism in our decision making. We just have to reconsider how we think of it. We as humans in the Anthropocene are permanently intertwined to nature from this point on. As he says, "Nature is something that we create; no longer is nature what creates us... There isn't anything left that hasn't been touched by us. Nature is something that is sustained and it's our job to sustain it."

(Click picture for the full article.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Energy Security VS Environment- Obama's Dilemma

Yesterday's online issue of the Washington Post highlighted the issues Obama has to decide between in the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal. Since this has been such a huge issue, written about almost every week in the papers, I won't go into the small details. But Eilperin and Mufson highlight the reasons behind the cause we're all fighting for in the protest of the pipeline.
The article starts off with, "In May, environmental writer and activist Bill McKibben — pondering a simmering energy issue — asked a NASA scientist to calculate what it would mean for the Earth’s climate if Canada extracted all of the petroleum in its rich Alberta oil sands region.
The answer to McKibben’s query came a month later: It would push atmospheric carbon concentrations so high that humans would be unable to avert a climate disaster. 'It is essentially game over,' wrote James E. Hansen, who heads NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and is one of the nation’s leading voices against fossil fuel energy."
(Click photo for article.)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

D.C. Green Student Organizations Meeting

Want to get off-campus for a night and meet some other college kids who care about the environment? Come to the DC Green Students Organizations Meeting this Thursday, October 20, at American University! EcoAction will be meeting at the Dupont GUTS bus stop at 6 PM, or you can meet us at American at 7 PM. You can RSVP on the Facebook event

This is the semesterly inter-collegeiate green groups meeting, where green groups from Georgetown, American University, George Washington University, Catholic University, Georgetown Law, the University of DC, and others get together to talk about what they’re doing and to share ideas! We’ll discuss what works on campus, what doesn’t work, how to work with administration, how to mobilize the student body, and more.