Monday, August 31, 2009

Ouch! Greenopia Gives Georgetown Lowest Environmental Rating

Greenopia, an organization that provides consumers with the information necessary to make eco-friendly decisions, released their own version of college rankings (after the US News & World Report, Forbes, Sierra, etc.). Georgetown was given only 1 out of 4 possible "leaves." Why did we rank so poorly?

Georgetown suffered because of bad environmental reporting. The survey said, "Simply put, Georgetown had some of the worst reporting we came across and this is unacceptable."

Georgetown was also criticized for lack of eco-friendly food options and alternative fuel vehicles.

Georgetown was called out for not signing on for the President's Climate Commitment, but we were commended for having a recycling rate of 37% (above average).

The summary of the report said that Georgetown is doing enough to count as "light green" but needs more aggressive action in some key areas. Agreed.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Welcome Class of 2013! Part Two (for those moving in today)

As I noted, my welcome to the class of 2013 was note quite over yesterday

We ended our list of easy steps to sustainability by talking about fueling your trip home, and now (after all of that arduous work packing) what better to discuss then how you fuel yourself?

6. Care for the WHOLE Person!
Organic farming uses less energy than conventional farming (and is better for the land), and local food requires less transportation and less pollution from produce-carrying trucks. Georgetown is in an ideal location to take advantage of the organic and local offerings of the city. And don't forget that a low-meat diet (rich in plant-based protein) is both good for you and for the planet.

Whole Foods Georgetown: 2323 Wisconsin Avenue NW (0.9 miles from the Hospital)
Trader Joe's West End: 1101 25th Street NW (1.2 miles from the Gates)

Farmer's Markets:
Dupont Circle: Sundays 9 am to 1 pm
Foggy Bottom: Wednesdays 2:30 to 7 pm
Glover Park/Burleith: Saturdays 9 am to 1 pm
Rose Park: Wednesdays 4 to 7 pm

And while we talk about shopping, don't forget to....

7. Think outside the bag!
Instead of getting plastic bags from Leo's, the Corp, CVS, or the grocery store, bring your own bag. The Corp and EcoAction sell reusable bags for shopping and Grab & Go. Plus, you'll get a discount at Vittles!

Think before taking a bag: if you can carry it or stick it in your pocket, then you probably don't need a bag! However, if you forget your bag or have too much to carry, make sure to reuse the bags when you get back to extend their lifespan.

While we talk about shopping...

8. Transparency in purchases doesn't mean window shopping!
You are conscious about the work you hand in for class, so be conscious about the products others try to give you! Whether it's organic cotton T-shirts, eco-friendly cosmetics, organic household cleaners, or recycled paper towels, there are hundreds of consumer choices than can help clean up the Earth.

After you finish up with your goods, don't forget too...

There is a reason why this slogan has three parts.

Water bottles, made from fossil fuel-rich plastic, are rarely recycled--only 12% of bottles are recycled, leaving 40 million a day in the trash. Try investing in a Brita water filter/pitcher and a reusable water bottle. Why spend over $1 a day for a new bottle when you can carry your own and refill it at the nearby water fountain?

When you are printing out notes, syllabi, or papers for class, print them double-sided. Double-sided printing is less of a burden for you to carry and less of a burden on the environment.

Keep old sheets of paper (like all of your NSO documents!) to use for scrap: to-do lists, notes, and doodling.

Be creative with your old water bottles. Why not put a plant in one of them to liven up your room?

Just as you should keep a reusable water bottle, take a reusable mug with you when you go to get coffee or tea, and expect a discount!


Go here for information about recycling on campus.

And here for off campus.

And ask us any questions you have!

And on the topic of waste.....

10. A Good Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste: You got into Georgetown, right? Do you know what that means? It means that you definitely have the smarts, so make sure they are put to good use! Stay informed on the issues, and make sure to think about the impacts that your actions can have on yourself, your community, and your country. And get involved!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Welcome Class of 2013!

Welcome Georgetown University Class of 2013!!!

While you ease your way into the life of a college student (and as a Hoya!), we thought we'd give you some quick and easy tips to sustainable habits/eco-friendly lifestyles on campus.

Bleed Blue, Wear Gray, Think (and Live) Green.

1. Be cool with water usage!
Try to limit your shower to ten minutes--every minute less can save 7 gallons of water, and cooler showers mean that less energy is required to heat the water. Maybe try a navy shower, which can be as quick as two minutes. Also, when you are doing your wash, make sure to keep the water cold--you get the same results!

2. Don't be full of hot air!
Turn off the thermostat when your windows are open! All that cold air gets sucked out the window, and the energy gets wasted.

3. Give your room a nap!
Just as you get tired from the energy you expend during the day, so, too, does your room.

When you aren't in the room, don't forget to turn off the lights. And don't forget to turn off the A/C when you aren't there as well.

Also, turn off your screensaver--these screensavers, especially animated ones, can require more energy than standard power for the laptop. Better yet, turn your computer off at night! Good night room! And while you're saving energy.....

4. Human energy--the greenest and cleanest of all!
Using your own two legs is emission-free and also gives you great exercise. When you are going up to your dorm room, opt for the stairs instead of the elevator.

When you venture off campus, opt for biking or walking. DC's street system is easy to learn, for most of the city is a grid of numbers and letters.

For walking, all you need is a good pair of shoes. Go take a hike in Glover Archibold Park just past the Hospital, or for a long walk, follow the Potomac over to the Monuments!

As for biking, you are lucky to be in a very bike-friendly city. If you want to get to the Rosslyn metro stop in Arlington (1.0 mi) or to the Dupont Circle metro stop (1.5 mi), you can get there a lot faster by bike than by bus. If you are feeling competitive, try to see if you can beat the bus there!

And while we're on the topic of conversation....

5. There's a reason man wasn't meant to fly!
Most Hoyas travel to wherever they call home at least 5 times a year. There are several options to consider when making these plans: should you fly, drive, or hop on a train? As a student on a non-commuting campus, air travel will be the largest single contributor to your carbon footprint that you can directly affect.

If you live nearby (cough *New Jersey* cough cough--or even the rest of the tristate New York metro area---that means you, too, Connecticut), default to taking a bus or train home. Many students enjoy the Bolt Bus, which has free wireless internet ( and offers $1 trips--if you're lucky.

For those who must fly home, consider using Terra Pass ( to offset your flight. Surprisingly, the carbon footprint of a single cross-country round trip can be offset by as little as $10. And when booking your flight, use DC National, which is accessible by Metro. Dulles can only be reached by an hour plus bus ride or a $40 cab.

Now that you saved some jet fuel, get ready to discuss your personal fuel......

But that's in the next installment...So stay tuned!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Georgetown launches Sustainability Website

The Energy and Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee just launched a new and updated website.

The new site highlights some of Georgetown's sustainability achievements, research initiatives, and community engagement opportunities.

The site is based out of the Office of the Senior Vice President.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Vote for "Sam and the Wasted Semester"

In Vox Populi's Georgetown Youtube Madness, "Sam and the Wasted Semester" was up in the Activism category. Check out the video on the link above, and go vote!

Thanks for the heads up, Carter!

Eco-friendly Dorm Tips Countdown to the Hilltop #3

This post is going to be a 2 for 1 since I get to bring in some great survey data I found today.

According to a UK poll commissioned by IBM released yesterday, Generation Y (aka "us") is the least savvy age group when it comes to energy and water consumption. We tend to care more, but we know less.

To help you save energy, I am introducing

Tip #3: Buy a power strip...and use it.

The survey noted above interviewed 2014 adults 18 and over and asked them a variety of questions about energy and water usage. These included questions like "Which uses more energy: a kettle or a tumble dryer?" as well as questions inquring about people's own practices.

The 18 to 25 demographic, which didn't fare too well in the knowledge part, represents the college age and just out of college age group; in other words, those of us who are just living on our own for the first time. If we are living in a residence hall, we probably pay very little attention to our consumption since we don't see any bills, and even if we live in a townhouse, only one person in the group tends to coordinate the bills.

Having a power strip is a good way to making cutting down energy consumption a bit easier. If you want to turn things off but don't want to have to do so one by one (especially when they are hard to reach), you can just flick one switch to shut them all off (and then flip that same switch to keep them on).

Make sure to flip that power switch when you leave the room and go to bed so that your room doesnt' consume energy while you're out (or in dreamland)!

The power strip in the photo (taken from Flickr) is a "smart" power strip.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Eco-friendly Dorm Tips Countdown to the Hilltop #2

In your dorm room, you will probably collect a fair amount of trash over time. However, with all of the paper drafts, to-do lists, scrap, etc., a lot of that will be paper-based. So, here we have tip #2:

When it comes to recycling bins, "make it your own."

I know this isn't the most creative of catchphrases, but having your own recycling bin in your room is very useful. It makes your life easier to sort things as they come--paper, plastic, glass, cans in one bin; wrappers, food, etc., in the other.

You can put your mini recycling bin next to your mini trash can or maybe next to your printer if most of the recycling stream will be bad paper drafts. Or, you can work with your roommate so that one buys the trash bin and the other buys the recycling, and then you share.

And, if you really want to "make it your own," put a sign on it. I have always been partial to Woodsy the Owl, a character from an old Forest Service campaign.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Is Sustainability Increasingly on the Minds of the Freshman Class?

According to a study done by the Princeton Review, almost 7 out of 10 incoming college students said that the green practices of universities would have at least somewhat of an impact on their selection.

The survey question read as follows

If you (your child) had a way to compare colleges based on their commitment to environmental issues (from academic offerings to practices concerning energy use, recycling, etc.), how much would this contribute to your (your child's) decision to apply to or attend a school?

The results were the following:

Strongly (07% Students, 05% Parents, 06% Respondents Overall)
Very Much (19% Students, 14% Parents, 18% Respondents Overall)
Somewhat (42% Students, 40 % Parents, 42% Respondents Overall)
Not Much (24 % Students, 30% Parents, 26% Respondents Overall)
Not at All (08% Students, 11% Parents, 08% Respondents Overall)

The overall percentage ("somewhat" to "strongly") is 66% (68% for students, 59% for parents). However, the one question that must be considered in such an analysis is how much value the answer "somewhat" really has. The middle response (the 3 on the 1 to 5 scale) tends to be a default answer. However, the fact that 1/4 of students said that sustainability issues were mattered "very much" or "strongly" has more weight, in my opinion.

Eco-friendly Dorm Tips Countdown to the Hilltop

For the next few days, I have decided that I am going to go through some good tips to start off the new semester for all you new and returning Hoyas.

Tip #1: Think outside the bottle.

When sitting through class, trekking across campus (up and down hills), or just being outside (DC is humid, you know), you will probably want to have water on hand. Rather than stocking up on water bottles (which will cost you not only cost you a lot of money over time but also produce a lot of waste), invest in a reusable water bottle. This way, you can fill up wherever you are on campus: each building has its fair share of water fountains, and I can attest to the fact that the water is clean.

There are a variety of styles of water bottle that you can get to suit your personal interest:

Nalgenes (now BPA-free): These are most commonly associated with the plastic reusable bottles, but they make other products as well. You can get these at Whole Foods, Target, sporting goods stores, and other places as well.

SIGG (BPA-free liners): These are made from aluminum, and you will probably recognize them from their colorful styles. Check out the website or a local store to get a taste for the wide selection that exists.

Klean Kanteen (BPA-free from the start): These are made from stainless steel.

It's been a hot and humid summer, so stay hydrated and stay green.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Where's Georgetown?: Parte Deux

I came across a great piece from Auden Schendler at Grist talking about the Sierra Magazine rankings. He puts the value of sustainability for colleges in a blunt but truthful way:

"And the reason I’m pissed [His alma mater wasn't on the list either] is that it seems to me that even if you didn’t care one little tiny bit about climate or environment—if all you cared about was endowment, physical plant, and US News ranking—as an undergraduate institution you’d create a killer Enviornmental Studies program with a climate focus simply to recruit students and make money as a business.

Why? Because people are banging down the doors, almost literally, to study the interface between climate, politics and business so they can be part of the great challenge of our lives. And schools that train people well in that field will not only do well as both businesses and schools, they will also meet the needs of their students."

So, moral and ethical reasons aside (although they should matter to a university, especially a Jesuit one with a global focus), we have here a strictly practical and image-based reason to emphasize sustainability. Money and image are essential to any large-scale institution (keeping up with the Joneses, so to speak).

Your global reputation should have to do with how you help the globe, no?

Photo taken from Flickr.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Where's Georgetown?

Today, right as the US News & World Report unveiled its annual college rankings, the Sierra Club unveiled its "cool schools" list, ranking the top universities.

The top three were the University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Washington at Seattle, and Middlebury College.

However, more interesting to note here is that in this list of 135 schools (that is right, one hundred and thirty-five), Georgetown wasn't even there. Was there a reason why we weren't ranked? Were we not even considered, or did we just fail that badly?

George Washington was ranked #81; however, AU and Catholic weren't on the list either.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Whole Foods: What's the Whole Story?

Last Wednesday, John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, wrote an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal on health care reform. His piece, entitled "The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare" has caused a lot of buzz over liberal blogs over the past week.

Mackey, a self-professed libertarian, began his piece by quoting Margaret Thatcher: "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money." He, as noted, accuses the Democrats' plan of socialism and avers that health care is not a right.

The end of his piece is heavy on the logic of individual empowerment/fault, i.e. if you aren't healthy, it is your fault.

He writes,
"Recent scientific and medical evidence shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat. We should be able to live largely disease-free lives until we are well into our 90s and even past 100 years of age."

Although this point is true, it completely ignores the issue of access to such food (as discussed in Food, Inc., Fresh, and many other documentaries), and it also ignores the expansive array of health problems (from injuries to inherent conditions) that cannot be reduced as easily. Believe me, I am all for advocating dietary habits (I can go on for hours about the needed reform of the "American diet"); however, not everyone can afford Whole Foods, a farmer's market, or other such options. We at Georgetown are lucky to have a 4 Whole Foods stores within 3 miles, over 5 Farmer's markets in that same range, a Trader Joe's, and a few small natural markets. However, this is not the case everywhere.

Mackey's critique--especially the use of the misnomer "Obamacare"--has brought about much negative attention for Whole Foods. You can read about some of the blogging rage here. Many are calling for a boycott of Whole Foods because of Mackey's talking out of line and out of touch.

Moreover, Whole Foods has been called out in the past for its troubled relationship with labor issues, having forbidden its workers to unionize.

However, one point that I think is important not to ignore is this simple fact: Mackey's salary is only $1. Back in 2007, he decided to reduce his salary and donate his stock to charity because he didn't feel that he truly needed the money.

A boycott on Whole Foods, thus, would not be hurting John Mackey's bank account.

Whole Foods also has been one of the biggest champions of green power purchasing, animal cruelty prevention, an array of community organizations, and organic farming. Whole Foods, with its branding, has attracted many people to organic and all-natural foods, improving their health and the soil at the same time.

Whole Foods has founded the Animal Compassion Foundation and the Whole Planet Foundation to expand our notions of community, and it donates 5% of its net profits to charitable causes every year.

So, whoever out there has also been following the Whole Foods controversy, what are your thoughts? I don't think that the op-ed is reason for a full-out boycott. However, trying to buy more of your produce locally is always a good idea--if that's what you decide to do (which I have been trying to get myself to do).

Regardless of what you do, always remember to think before you buy an think before you bite.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bill Clinton (SFS'68) encourages colleges to go green

Bill Clinton (SFS'68) spoke yesterday at the 2009 Climate Leadership Summit in Chicago, which was sponsored by the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment.

In front of a group of 250 college administrators, Clinton spoke about our need to ramp up action around climate change.

He said, "Every time somebody sees a project on one of your campuses, fixing a building, you are having an impact, even beyond the fight to produce climate change and lower your utility bills."

He also encouraged college students to call into their senators and representatives to advocate for reform.

Bill Clinton is always welcome to come to his alma mater to speak about college sustainability. I think that would be a powerful statement---one that would bear meaning to the campus on multiple levels. Maybe he can speak in the beginning of 2010---42nd for the 42nd, anyone?

I think we learned from his speech that, as is the case with all of us, renewable energy "turns him on," so to speak.

The photo comes from TreeHugger. I chose this over a fantastic but out-of-context photo of me with Clinton from a rally last year.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Preventive Medicine

All of this talk about health care is making me hungry for some preventive medicine...or..however you want to say that creatively.

Anyways, preventive medicine is a great way to include principles of sustainability in the health care reform because what is good for your health and what's good for the planet often coincide.

Take, for example, your food and beverage. New York talked about passing a tax on sugared soft drinks to much outrage from conservative talk radio. However, the Center for Science in the Public Interest presents this calculator that shows how much revenue could be gained from placing a small tax on sugared beverages. Getting people to eat a more healthful diet (less high-sugar, high-fat, high-sodium, highly processed food in favor of more whole foods) benefits the environment because of the energy savings from the production process--the bottling, packaging, high-fructose-corn-syrup making process that characterizes our food industry.

What else would be a part of preventive medicine?

Also valuable to both people and planet would be an increased sin tax on cigarettes, another possible source of revenue. Cigarettes, unlike other drugs, have a direct health effect on those around the user (not just the user him/herself). Smoke pollutes the air and your lungs, releasing toxins into both. If we want clean air and healthy people, smoking needs to go down.

It would not be politically feasible to levy too high of taxes on these goods; HOWEVER, the volume of the purchases produces the revenue. Money can be reinvested in healthful school lunches and anti-smoking campaigns (and the people-friendly cities noted below), and overall consumption would go down a bit (maybe just slightly--but every bit makes a difference). Food companies would be able to innovate their way out of the problem if need be--finding ways to offer healthier options to the American public. (How nice would it be to see fewer--and more prounounceable--items on the ingredients of your food!)

However, the energy you take in is not the entirety of preventive medicine; one must also think about the energy put out, i.e. exercise. Making cities and suburbs more friendly to walking and biking as alternative means of transportation keeps waistlines thinner and emissions levels thinner as well.

Healthy people, healthy planet, healthy budget, healthy reform.

The photo comes from the CSPI's site (linked above), where you should go to take action!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Book Review: Cheap by Ellen Ruppel Shell

Ellen Ruppel Shell's book Cheap: the High Cost of Discount Culture is an expose on the inner workings of the world of consumerism: the designs, the psychology, the travels, the boardroom ideas that make us buy what we buy and expect to buy it for dirt cheap. Cheap is, I would say, the Fast Food Nation-equivalent for Walmart and the rest of our bargain-based economy.

The prices that we pay are kept low by an unsustainable system of cheap labor and environmental exploitation, of cutting corners around regulation every chance available. They are a prime example of our failure to contextualize our actions (and especially our purchases) in an increasingly globalized world.

When you buy a snack or a T-shirt, how much do you really know about it? How far did it travel to get there? Where, in fact, was it really made? Who made it? How much were the laborers paid--if they were even paid? These types of questions will foment in your mind while reading this book, and you will get a better understanding of the system of subsidies (which make our food dirt cheap and destroy agrarian economies abroad) and marketing (why prices are what they are--both economically and psychologically).

The one shortcoming of this book, in my opinion, is its failure to provide a semblance of a solution at the end. For those of you that saw Food, Inc., even though you probably felt powerless at the end, the producers attempted to give you a glimmer of hope. Ruppel Shell discusses Wegman's as an example of good quality goods, ethical practices, and low prices---for real. (Just ask anyone who shops at Wegman's about this: you will listen to them extol the praises of Wegman's for hours on end. Just make sure you have enough time.) However, one does not feel as though one really has the power to effect change in the system. Sadly, it comes down to the idea that, as you have heard since elementary school, knowledge is power. You can't solve a problem unless you know what the problem is.

Recycling Survey of Campus

We have discussed the idea of a recycling survey at various points throughout the year, and by the end, we had some progress but nothing streamlined. With no internship and no interviews (just some research and reading to do) lined up (plus an aversion to traveling to far in 100 degree heat), I decided to go on a building-by-building journey of campus and check out the trash and recycling situation. I hit the following buildings: Walsh, Healy, ICC, Reiss, and Leavey.

I started out in Walsh, and when you enter Walsh, you feel as though you are off to a good start because of the presence of battery and cell phone recycling (Yes, it's there). However, there is no marked plastic recycling on the first floor of Walsh: only glass, newspaper, and cans. This brings me to RECYCLING POINT #1:

RECYCLING POINT #1: All recycling locations should have facilities to accommodate all recycling (paper, glass, plastic, aluminum) possible and should be paired with a trash can.

as well as RECYCLING POINT #2:

RECYCLING POINT #2: Mixed paper, white paper, newspaper: How about one for just "mixed paper" as a collective term for all? If not, then either 1) more education needs to be done about what the value to separation is (Money, in case you are wondering), or 2) all forms of paper recycling bins must be paired with each other at all locations.

From there, I continued on to the rest of my journey through Walsh, which has one of the most abysmal states of recycling.

1) No standardization: There is no set style of bin in Walsh. Bins range from ghetto, broken, lidded plastics recycling bins to Coca Cola "Give it Back" bottle recycling bins. It is haphazard, at best.
2) Rarely even there: Standardization aside, the main problem is that recycling, often, isn't even available.

RECYCLING POINT #3: Bins must be of standardized form and placement.

Recycling Points #1, #2, and #3 characterize the states in Healy, ICC, and Reiss as well, so there is no need to elaborate too much there. However, I must establish the following vital rule with regard to the Leavey Center. Hoya Court, home to mass consumption of bottles and mass food and wrapping waste, has no trace of recycling whatsoever:

RECYCLING POINT #4: Recycling facilities must be available wherever corresponding materials are being consumed (i.e. paper by a copying machine, plastic/aluminum by a vending machine or a food court).

So, as for public spaces on campus go, I think these four rules sum it up well so far. If you want to see all of my photos (I have 120 photos chronicling my journey), just ask--I'll send the Snapfish link to you!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

CarbonFree DC: Showing Why Green Doesn't Have to Cost You Too Much Green

Today, I went to a meeting for CarbonFreeDC's "Extreme Green Neighborhood Makeover." CarbonFreeDC won a $20,000 grant through the Green Effect competition, sponsored by National Geographic and Sun Chips. With this money, they plan to help 20 low-income families in DC make their homes more efficient and eco-friendly.

CarbonFreeDC will be reaching out to local businesses, government agencies, and community groups to get the most out of this money, and they will be featured in National Geographic Magazine (with possibly even a documentary sponsored by NG) and in an ad on Sun Chips bags.

Not only does this effort help low-income residents of DC, and not only does it help the environment, but it also helps to dispel the myth that you have to have a lot of greens (i.e. money) to go "green." They plan to track the savings of the 20 households over a few years to see how quickly the "Green Makeover" pays back.

CarbonFreeDC, a grassroots initiative to reduce the carbon footprint of our nation's capital, also has a number of seminars throughout the year on issues from composting to urban gardening, so they are worth checking out.

I would love to have some Georgetown representation in the Green Home Makeover project. It is a perfect example of the blend of sustainability and social justice, and it will help get us as a club more connected to the issues relevant to the residents of DC. You with me?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Who Says Mondays Can't Be Fun?

This summer, I have been reading a lot of HuffingtonPost Green, a site I would highly recommend to all of you environmental advocates out there. It is my top way of finding out about policy, analysis, trends, and fun stories connected to the environment.

In honor of today (everyone's favorite day of the week, Monday), I wanted to write about Meatless Mondays, a nonprofit initiative of The Mondays Campaign, in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which is encouraging people to give up meat (at least) one day a week. Their ultimate goal is to reduce meat consumption 15%, a goal that would benefit both the health of the public and of the planet.

The Meatless Monday's website outlines a number of the health benefits from jumping on the bandwagon with this movement.

Health Benefits:
  • Reduce Risk of Heart Disease: Plant-based foods have less saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Most Americans don't get enough fiber, and fiber comes from the bounty of the Earth!
  • Improve Overall Quality of Diet: The more (natural) colors, the healthful and vitamin-rich it will be.
Environmental Benefits:
  • Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the meat industry emits about 1/5 of total greenhouse gases, putting it ahead of the transportation sector.
  • Minimize Water Usage: From 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef (as opposed to 220 gallons per pound of tofu).
  • Help Reduce Fossil Fuel Dependence: About 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the US. Plant-based protein, on the other hand, takes only 2.2 calories.
Meatless Mondays is something I would love to see brought to Leo's in the fall. Granted, it is hard to eliminate the meat options, but you could make the vegetarian options more attractive by getting some intriguing recipes.

Lost on what to eat for protein without your meat? There are plenty of options (and not just tofu), don't you worry?
  • Tempeh: I like tempeh more than tofu becuase it has a more pleasant texture and a slightly nutty flavor; it's great for stir-frys.
  • Edamame: the soybean itself
  • Chickpeas: Do you love Middle Eastern food? Try falafel with some hummus.
  • Lentils: How about some Indian food? You could try a lentil curry.
  • Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt (Fage, Oikos) is delicious and very protein-dense.
  • Eggs: Have breakfast for dinner, and make an omelette!
  • Cheese: Make a pizza!
These are just some basic thoughts, but I'd suggest going to site above and searching for recipes. You might find something you like!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Big Boathouse Bill

On Thursday, the Voice's blog (Vox Populi) posted an article about how much GU has been spending to lobby for space for the proposed new boathouse. The land that the University has been eying is protected by the National Park Service, so what does that mean? Time to spend money to lobby for removal of restrictions (but of course)!

GU recently tacked on an extra $20,000 to the boathouse bill, bringing its total to $1.2 million (since 2005). Yes, you heard that right. When GU is constantly strapped for financial aid and when we have had a historically weak endowment (making the University averse to outlays of money for things that are not buildings), it has been spending large sums of money for federally PROTECTED land.

Wouldn't it be nice to see that money invested in the students? A new boathouse has very limited meaning to the student body as a whole, and its financial and environmental costs seem to outweigh any financial benefits that could be accrued.

Think about the hurdles that it took to get an organic garden on campus. Think about the efforts that GU is putting into getting the NPS to remove restrictions on land. Reflect.

Photo courtesy of Vox Populi.