Thursday, August 29, 2013

Iowa library thinks local for music

I love it when libraries think outside the box.  The Iowa City Public Library decided to stop shipping their music money out to the world and start concentrating on local performers.  Bonus: all digital so no plastics being used.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Earth Overshoot Day: August 20, 2013

We hear a lot about our global "footprint," but what exactly does that mean? The organization Global Footprint Network has developed a system for analyzing the world's consumption in relation to how much the world can regenerate, sort of like an accounting balance sheet.

Every year the Global Footprint Network calculates the day that we begin living beyond our "budget," and for 2013, that date was last week, on August 20. Every day after that "overshoot" marker means we are "spending" beyond our budget and creating "ecological debt."

If you are interested in learning more about this concept, Western Libraries has a copy of the DVD: The Ecological Footprint: Accounting for a Small Planet, located in the Video Collection in Wilson 2E (under the call# HC79.E5 E2645 2005). And,  to learn more about your own "footprint," there is a really interesting quiz you can take on the Global Footprint Network's website that will estimate your personal footprint, and give you suggestions for steps you can take to change it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The coolest schools

And hot on the heels of yesterday's article about universities using sustainability as a brand, here is an article from Sierra Magazine about the ten most sustainable schools in the country.  We aren't on it, but there are some great ideas here. Thanks to Jeanne Armstrong for pointing it out.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sustainability and the Flutie Effect

Interesting blog entry from Dave Newport on sustainability as a selling point for colleges.  Thanks to Seth Vidaña for pointing it out.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Your Western

Part of what makes "sustainability" such a huge component of our institutional identity here at Western is our collective commitment to integrating our own environment into the learning experience. We live in such an amazing place, it just makes sense that we take advantage of opportunities to experience learning outside of the classroom by exploring our connections to the world of which we are a part.

I had the pleasure of watching this video back in 2012 when it aired as part of the "Digital Media: The Future is N.O.W." event on campus. It's been over a year since I first saw it, but I remember being impressed by it back then, and so I decided I should share it with you now.

I think affirmations of institutional identity  can help  unite us in our efforts as we travel through this world, making important decisions together about how best to move forward and what it is we value. Videos like this, made by talented students who are able to articulate what Western is to them (and to us) are therefore very valuable, as well as fun to watch!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Green Patriot Posters Part Two: Hans' Lunch-Time Excursion

Every now and then, Hans likes to wander around and explore. Don't get me wrong--he loves his home in Special Collections, but sometimes he wants to see what else is happening in the rest of the library.

This past Thursday I met Hans for lunch, and he decided he wanted to see what was new in the Daylight Lounge. He grabbed the documentary A Fierce Green Fire, which he had been wanting to see for awhile, and then we wandered over to Circulation so he could borrow the movie and also visit with his friends Randi and Amy.

Randi and Amy were very friendly and helpful, and before we left, Amy told Hans about a book that Rob had brought by the desk earlier that day called Green Patriot Posters. She thought he might want to take a look at it, and she was right!

Hans loves art, and he is particularly fond of art that deals with sustainability and environmental education. We took the book upstairs to my desk so he could flip through the pages while I ate my sandwich, and he found several favorite posters before he returned home to Special Collections.

It's always a fun time when I take Hans to lunch, and I know I will have more to share with you about Hans and the library very soon...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Green Patriot Posters

poster by Lisa Hultengren

Some of the books in Western Libraries are being rearranged and serendipity strikes again.  I spied a book I have never noticed before:  Green Patriot Posters.  (Wilson 2E - Books - Oversize NC1849.S87 G74 2010)

The Canary Project is behind the book and they have a website as well.  They are encouraging the idea that, just as in World War II, we need to make posters that encourage people to do their part.  Some great art! 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Climate Change, Wildfires, and Resilience

Trust for Public Land: Using climate science to strategically guide habitat conservation. from WCS Climate Adaptation Fund on Vimeo.

Last week, another headline from Western Today caught my eye: "The Great Burning - How Wildfires are Threatening the West." This headline referred to an article recently published in the "politics" section of Rolling Stone explaining how climate change has caused an increase in wildfires to become "the new normal." This piece made its way into Western Today because in it was a quote from Huxley Professor Michael Medler, who was cited as testifying before a House committee in 2007:

"Global warming is changing fire behavior, creating longer fire seasons, and causing more frequent, large-scale high-severity wildfires."

This also got me thinking about the wildfires in Washington this past summer, and about the numerous effects of climate change on forests in the Pacific Northwest, which led me to something really interesting--Did you know the US Forest Service has a really great website chock-full of information about climate change? Of particular interest to me is the "Pacific Northwest Research Station," and also the "Climate Change Resource Center," which is where I found the video that I posted above. What I like about this video is that it brings up some intriguing perspectives by focusing on planning for resilience, understanding connectivity, and integrating climate science into the conservation work that is taking place. Pretty cool stuff!

Friday, August 2, 2013