Contributed by Dr. Sarah
Listen in on a rich conversation with Bill Chameides, Dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University on curriculum innovation for environmental leadership. Bill is a very dynamic guest with an unusual background not just in academic science but the arts and the non-profit world– you won’t be sorry you listened in.
Our November, 2012 Virtual Roundtable included sustainability directors and faculty from Middlebury and Yale who contributed keen insights into their dilemmas about how to educate the next generation to lead.
What competencies do we need to cultivate in new leaders?
How do we (can we?) integrate campus sustainability operations and curriculum?
What is the role of the arts and the social sciences in environmental education?
Listen to the audio here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/3iufr91wj4k5r4g/November_2012_Spheres_Roundtable_Duke.mp3
Where do you think we need to go with environmental curriculum innovation? Post a comment!
So what made our family vacation this year green? Or “green-ish” I think is more accurate for most of us trying to go green.
Vacations afford great opportunities to explore new places, connect with family, and downshift from our hectic lives.
And vacations, like just about everything we do, have an eco impact.
As a mother who wants her kids to have the best possible future, I try to take actions to reduce our eco impact when we’re at home, and on vacation. (And vote my eco conscience, which I’ve blogged about before because that’s where we can have the greatest impact- here’s that post http://wp.me/pfb2v-9H.)
Here’s what we did in an effort to go green again this year on our vacation:
1. Wind-powered cabins! This is worthy of an exclamation point. The Snooty Fox cabins where we stayed in Harbert MI (in Harbor Country) feature a wind turbine. And no air conditioning except in the main house. Just ceiling fans. The fact that electricity use is low at the Snooty Fox matters because they can’t run on wind all the time. (The cabins are anything but snooty- very simple, and owned by a very un-snooty fellow named Laru.) Laru calls his cabins a chance to “go glamping” which I think means camping of a more glamorous sort than usual.
2. Buying local We bought as much local food as we could, which wasn’t hard. In addition to local corn and eco-friendly meats, we bought organic eggs from a family that raises hens. That was really cool– the kids got to hold hens for the first time in their Chicago-born-and-raised lives.
3. Avoiding fast food No fast food. Why does this matter? Fast food usually has a fair bit of wasteful packaging, but most importantly, making fast food hogs energy. (Don’t get me started on the fat and salt problem- another matter.) Mostly we ate “in” and cooked for ourselves which was a bonding opportunity.
4. Recycling This is the most basic thing we can do at home or on the road. We set aside all our recyclables and ran them over to the recycling center, which happened to be conveniently across the road.
Why do I say “green-ish?”
Because there’s no way to avoid some degree of impact on the environment. It’s like Yvon Chouinard, Founder of the eco-comitted outdoor retailer Patagonia says, “We’re all polluters.” We might as well be honest and humble in our efforts. And use that honesty to propel us to deepen our commitment, fueled by fierce love for our children, to leave the natural world in the best possible shape so that our kids can thrive.
Isn’t this sky over Lake Michigan lovely? And… Check out these blog posts about our previous green -ish vacations…
Contributed by Dr. Sarah
- Am I shopping at Patagonia for clothes for my upcoming trip to LA because of the summer sale? Sure. The sale helps.
- Am I giving them my business because they have versatile styles? Yes. (For the record, I care about style…)
- Do I shop there because of their amazing return and repair (yes, repair) policy? It doesn’t hurt.
- Am I impressed by their friendly knowledgeable sales people? I am, in fact. (This goes some distance with me.)
All of that, and…
I’m also a deeply committed eco conscious-consumer.
I know that Patagonia clothes will last– lessening my need to tap the planet’s limited natural resources (and my pocketbook).
And when my clothes have worn out (in some decades, if I can still fit in them!), I can recycle them. Any of them. All of them. At Patagonia. Just by mailing them in… That’s very motivating to me.
I know that they do their best to use green materials and processes that do as little harm as possible to the natural world that my kids– all our kids– will inhabit for the rest of their lives.
They are committed to the core to reducing the impact of their eco impact. No “green washing” here. And they are humble about the fact that they have further to go– as we all do.
And this is really important to me– They have a “Vote the Environment” campaign. In my view the single most important eco action we can take is to become engaged voters. So I love this campaign!
They even want us to shop less! A business that wants us to buy less?!
That’s why I feel really good about giving them my business as I wait for the box to arrive with that new sun dress for my trip to LA.
Why am I such a committed eco shopper? Because I love my kids. Fiercely. How about you?
Contributed by Dr. Sarah Warren
Last night while sitting on the porch with my friends David and Kelley, sipping vinho verde, we got to talking about the extraordinary tastiness of the organic garlic from Henry’s Farm (henrysfarm.com) at the farmers market. David went on to talk about what he calls “orange-tinged olive oil.” Mango salsa. Organic greens. I said, “OK. That’s it. I’m getting up early to go to the farmer’s market for the first time this year”
The conversation veered into global challenges such as economic sustainability and feeding the world’s burgeoning population in a manner that’s responsible to the natural world, the economy– and importantly– our health, and our kids’ health.
But back to the farmers market…
Not only did I find green garlic (which I’ve never had before) from Henry’s Farm– which won’t be available for long– but I ran into many friends, including fellow green mom and blogger Amanda Hanley (http://www.ecowren.net/).
I crossed paths into my friend Sheila who regaled me with ironic tales of being asked to leave her town’s environment committee because she is too environmentally conscious (?!)
And I ran into my friend Doug Doetsch, who steered me towards the last of this years’ peonies. Lovely. Fragrant. Peonies.
So I came home loaded down with olive oil and peonies and organic garlic scapes –which my family and I will enjoy in the days to come.
And I was reminded that farmers markets are not just about tasty, healthy local-ish food but about connecting us with our friends and community.
Contributed by Dr. Sarah Warren
I recently had the great pleasure of hosting a Spheres of Influence Virtual Roundtable featuring the sustainability leadership of my alma mater, University of Michigan. So I wanted to share that inspiring conversation here. (MP3 below.)
The roundtable featured special guest Professor Don Scavia, who holds many titles, including my all time favorite job title ever: “Special Counsel to the President for Sustainability.” I want that job!
That job title suggests to me that University of Michigan wants to go beyond embedded sustainability to what I call “embodied sustainability” in which every decision is informed by thoughtful consideration of its eco impact.
Don is a very articulate spokesperson for both the social and technological aspects of sustainability, and for the kind of leadership that he embodies which is that of convening disparate stakeholders to solve the urgent problem of making our practices more sustainable, and less harmful to natural world, for the sake of future generations– as in, our kids and grandkids.
Listen here to Don’s thoughtful description of how University of Michigan has been collaborating with staff, faculty and students to tackle this pressing problem:
Speaking as a psychologist, I say we all need to be bridge-builders like Don if we want to forge the relationships necessary to protect the planet for our kids and their kids!
1. Yale’s first (current) Sustainability Strategic Plan (including Progress Report):
Note especially the Progress Report on the left side.
2. Draft of second Sustainability Strategic Plan: This material is for participants in the 2/27/13 virtual roundtable only.
Please note that the draft version of Yale’s new strategic plan is not to be shared as the plan is not finalized. This material is for participants in the 2/27/13 virtual roundtable only.
3. Planning Tool: Matrix for Sustainability Strategic Plan Architecture: