Thursday, May 30, 2013

Early Warming: Book of the Year

If you haven't heard, next year's Book of the Year at Western is Early Warming: Crisis and Response in the Climate-Changed North, by Nancy Lord.   The library has paper and electronic copies.  (To reach the electronic copy click on "Online Access.")

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Who gets to walk down the red carpet?

Who on campus has been making special efforts toward sustainability?  Now is your chance to point them out.  Nominations are open for the Western Sustainability Awards.  

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Libraries and Sustainability

Libraries are founded on principles of sustainability in that they seek to provide access to information for all people, and they do this by sharing and re-using resources. Because of this, it is not unusual to find that in this modern age of frequent budget cuts, libraries are also finding creative ways to collaborate with each other, in order to share more resources with more people, all the while using fewer resources to do so.

Featured in the picture above are a stack of books I have enjoyed reading during this Memorial Day weekend. Each of these books are related to sustainability, and they are also all from a number of different libraries. And, the really cool thing is, the only place I had to go to pick them up was the library here at Western, (where I also happen to work five days a week), so really it couldn't have been any easier for me!

 Some of the books are from Western Libraries' own collection, some are from the Bellingham Public Library, while others I borrowed via the Summit system. Bellingham Public Library has a courier that comes to campus twice a week to drop off and pick up public library materials for those of us who have requested or returned them, which means you can have your public library requests delivered to Western Libraries for pickup any time you want! All you need is your public library card, and the ability to request your materials online from the public library.

Likewise, Summit offers you access to the collections of 37 academic libraries throughout Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. With a shared catalog and efficient loan system in place, requesting an item from Summit online is easy to do. It generally takes 3-5 business days for your item to arrive, and you will receive an email letting you know when it is at the library Circulation desk.  (And, for more information about any of these services, please feel free to stop by the Circulation desk!)

So you see, not only do you have Western Libraries' books at your fingertips, you also have access to a whole bunch of other libraries' collections as well! How's that for sharing resources? Now the only problem is finding the time to read everything . . .

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Are You Ready?

Sustainability is not the same thing as resilience which is not the same thing as preparedness, but the tragic events in Oklahoma this week reminded us that if you aren't prepared for disaster you have much less chance of being sustainable.  Here is one guide on the subject from FEMA.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Divestment Panel is Tomorrow, 5/22/13 at 6:00pm

Have you been wondering what those little orange squares people are wearing on their shirts (or have pinned to their backpacks) are all about? Students for Renewable Energy are one of the clubs that supported Western Libraries' Green Energy Fee grant-sponsored film series project this past quarter, and they are hosting a panel discussion about the student-approved initiative supporting Western's divestment from fossil fuel investments. You are invited to come and learn more about this campaign on Wednesday, May 22 at 6:00pm in the AW 204. (And, for more information about why people are supporting divestment, check out club member Edward Ury's Western Front guest column, "Divestment is a course of action.") 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Viking Supported Agriculture

If you will be in Bellingham over the summer and you happen to like good food, consider investing in  Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).  You support local organic agriculture and get rewarded with wonderful fresh yummies.  My family has been using a CSA for more than a decade and I can't remember how we got along without it.  Bonus: VSA is right here on campus!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Two Sustainability Film Events, Tomorrow Evening (Monday 5/20/13)

Western Libraries' GEF sponsored sustainability film series may be over, but that doesn't mean there aren't still opportunities to enjoy more meaningful movie events. For example, there are two important film screenings this Monday night, one on campus, and one at the Pickford, although this does create the problem of trying to be in two places at once!

The first film event I want to share with you is called Transition 2.0. If you have not yet heard about the Transition movement, here is a great chance to learn a bit about the inspiring phenomenon sweeping the world. It is a movement based on creating community and resiliency, and this film includes examples of people doing just that, clearly demonstrating that there is much happening to offer us hope for both the present and the future. The WWU student club "Transition Western" will be hosting this film screening at the Fairhaven Auditorium at 7:00 pm, and it will be followed by a discussion with some local community members who are currently involved with Transition Whatcom. This event is free and open to the public.

The second film event is called Bitter Seeds, and it will be shown at the Pickford Film Center at 6:30 pm. Director Micha X Peled will be in attendance, and 10% of all ticket proceeds will go to the Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival. This film explores the relationship between food production and social justice by examining how we grow things, weighing in on the debate over changes created by companies like Monsanto, who claim that genetically modified seeds are improving productivity and efficiency. However, despite these claims, many small-scale farmers are losing their land and their livelihood, and in India, an epidemic of farmer suicides shows us how desperate the situation has become. This film begins at 6:30 pm, and tickets cost $11 (or $8 for PFC members).

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bike to Work Day is Tomorrow, May 17, 2013

Don't forget tomorrow is Bike to Work and School Day! Cycle or walk to work or school and stop by the community Celebration Stations on your way.   Western will have two Celebration Stations from 6:45am-10:30am: one in front of the Rec Center and one near Red Square. For more information, about BTWSD or cycling resources, contact the Sustainable Transportation Office at 650-7960.

The Big Book O' Sustainability

When I was your age, sonny boy, they didn't have encyclopedias on every subject under the sun.  How wonderful it is that that has changed.  The Library's reference collection features a new ten-volume set called the Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability.   Each volume has a different subject.  The Future of Sustainability, The Business of Sustainability,  Ecosystem Management and Sustainability...  And so on. Very cool.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ride for Reading

Now here are a couple of causes a sustainable library can get behind.  Delivering books - and messages about exercise - to kids via bicycles.  Just one important tip: don't read and ride at the same time.

Project MUG

As you know, we here at The Green Shelf are huge fans of the Green Energy Fee Grant Program, and we are also strongly supportive of any attempt to reduce waste, particularly waste generated by paper cups. We launched our own "Bring Your Own Mug" campaign as part of our Green Energy Fee supported project, and now there is another group on campus piloting a re-use-able mug proposal called "Project MUG."

If you sign on to join their pilot, you will become eligible to borrow a re-use-able mug from the VU Cafe, which you can return to the VU for cleaning and re-checkout. There is only enough room for 40 people to participate in this pilot program, so if you are interested,  email soon!

Monday, May 13, 2013

A good enough tune can save a piece of wilderness

Jay Ungar wrote "Ashokan Farewell."  Ken Burns put it in a documentary on the Civil War.  Governor George Pataki was inspired to save the piece of land that inspired the tune. Read all about it.  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sustainability and Creativity

Hans Wholebean and Rob Lopresti

Whenever we talk about “sustainability,” one topic that comes up over and over again is consumption. Reducing our consumption is vitally important to creating a more sustainable world. I think one important way we can reduce our consumption is to increase our creativity.

I started thinking about this a bit more last Thursday after I had the pleasure of listening to Western Libraries’ (and The Green Shelf’s) very own Rob Lopresti at a reading in the library skybridge in honor of his prize-winning novella, “The Red Envelope.” Not only was the talk Rob gave very entertaining and stimulating, I also really enjoyed listening to him answer questions about how he engages with his own creative process. Rob is an example of someone who continually creates, despite working full time as a librarian and having a very busy life, because he is truly a writer, and being creative is such a strong part of who he is.

I am constantly in awe of the people I work with here at the library as I learn more and more about their interests and pursuits. I am very fortunate to work with so many talented people every day—so many artists and writers and creative thinkers. While it is too late for you to catch Rob’s reading, there are a few other library-sponsored events happening this Tuesday featuring a few of these same creative people.

For starters, this coming Tuesday, May 14, from noon to 1:00 pm at Village Books, Reference Specialist Julene Sodt will be speaking about “Breaking Knitting Stereotypes” as part of the Western Connections Speaker series, (sponsored by both our wonderful local bookstore Village Books, and also by Western Libraries). Julene will be talking about how people from all walks of life succumb to the joys of needles and yarn as she shares her experiences with us about a library knitting circle and virtual networks for the addicted knitter.

Later that same day at 4:00 pm, eight poets, including Western Libraries’ very own talented poets, Paul Piper and Allen Frost, will be hosting a poetry reading. (Featured poets will also include: Bruce Beasley, Ryler Dustin, Nancy Pagh, Suzanne Paola, Jeremy Voigt, and Mishon Wooldridge.) This event, called “Pod of Poets,” is free and open to the public. It will be held in the Library Presentation Room, Wilson Library 164, and promises to be very engaging.

Then, that same evening beginning at 6:30 pm, Western Libraries and the Pickford FilmCenter will present the amazing Yasujirō Ozu film Late Spring at the Pickford theatre as part of the Masters of Japanese Cinema series that another one of my favorite people, Western Libraries’ own librarian Jeff Purdue, has helped create. I am looking forward to this thoughtful and lovely film because I know there is much from it that will linger with me later as I go about my own daily life.

Whether we are writing a story or a poem, painting a picture, or knitting a sweater, facilitating a meaningful event, or even cooking a delicious meal to share with someone we love, these are all creative pursuits that require us to put our skills, talents and energy towards making something, usually with the goal of somehow sharing what we make with the people in our lives. These personal connections are a fundamental part of what really sustains us, of what makes our lives meaningful. So I hope I will see you at one of these awesome events happening this Tuesday, because creativity is contagious and inspiring, and often exposure to one creative thing leads to another… 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sustainability (formerly) on display

I spotted this in my e-files today.  The library has a collection of figurines of people reading, most of them a gift from Miriam Snow Mathes, formerly a librarian at Western.  We have a display case with a rotating collection of those figurines, and last fall it featured this blog's mascot, Hans Wholebean, along with books on sustainability and crafts.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Latest books on Eco-Justice

The Journal of Educational Controversy is published right here at Western.  The most recent article is "Latest Books on Eco-Justice," by C.A. Bowers.

Water Week at WWU: May 6th - May 10 2013

Check out all of the events happening on campus this week for Water Week!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tapped: Showing Tomorrow, May 6th at 6:30 pm

  Western Libraries and the Green Energy Fee Grant Program present "The Built to Last Picture Show," a series of films about sustainability. Celebrate "Water Week" by joining us for Tapped, the final film of this series, which is also sponsored by the AS Club Students for Sustainable Water.  
Tapped examines the role of the bottled water industry and its effect on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil. It will be shown in Wilson Library 164 at 6:30 pm on Monday, May 6, 2013, and it will also be followed by a discussion with Students for Sustainable Water. This event is free and open to the public. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Fossil Freedom Day of Action

This past Friday, May 2, was a national "Day of Action" to promote divestment from fossil fuels. People from around the country got involved by coming together to express their support for divestment at their  universities and institutions. You can check out pictures from people who were part of the day's events from across the country here.

WWU's own students and community also participated  in Red Square shortly before noon on Friday. Here is a picture I took of two of my favorite students, Western Libraries' lovely and wonderful GEF-grant-funded -small-project team members, Ella and Lidiya, at the event. (We are also in the crowd below, somewhere under a sea of orange squares).

(This photo is from the WWU Divestment Facebook page)

For more information about Western's student-led campaign for divestment, check out this article in the AS Review, see the divestment  Facebook page, or attend a Students for Renewable Energy meeting to learn how to become involved.

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Wrath of a Green Billionaire

Interesting article in Bloomberg Businessweek about Tom Steyer, who retired from his hedge fund last year to work on climate change, mostly by targeting Democrats he disagrees with.  "The way politics works is by people winning and losing jobs -- their own jobs."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

David Suzuki on campus this Monday

If you haven't heard yet, Canadian environmentalist and activist David Suzuki will give a lecture titled “Time is Running Out: Ecology or Economics?” at noon on May 6 at Western Washington University's Performing Arts Center Concert Hall, as part of Western's annual Japan Week Celebration.

The event is co-sponsored by Japan Week and Western's Office of Sustainability, and is free and open to
the public.

I would suggest you get there early.  And then, at 6:30 you can see TAPPED, the last film in Western Libraries Built To Last Picture Show series!


Early warning: a special showing of a new film about sustainability, June 8-9, at the Pickford here in Bellingham.  Here is the Facebook event page.

"ELEMENTAL is a visually striking and inspirational documentary which inter-weaves three remarkable eco warriors' stories from across the globe. Separated by continents yet sharing an unwavering commitment to protecting nature, the characters in this film each have their own unique path, personal challenges and deserved breakthroughs. When you have a chance, please review more info below and watch the trailer here."


Did you know the EPA has a blog?  You do now.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

REMINDER: The Green Tie Gala is Tonight!

In case you missed last year's Green Tie Gala, have no fear--you can still make this year's because it is tonight! Come and enjoy delicious food, great conversation, and good times as you learn about all of Western's awesome environmental clubs and the amazing things they are doing. It promises to be a fun event and I hope to be there with my husband tonight as well--(I promised him wearing a green tie was not a requirement).

The fun starts at 6pm, and the event is being held in the VU Multi-Purpose Room. Here is a video that was made last year to promote the environmental clubs and the gala. Check it out and then come to the event this evening. Maybe I will see you there!