Save the directionally-impaired hawks!

The 2010-2011 school year ended and we saw the departure of some of our better campus activists. Even worse, some of them, myself included, stayed and now have a profound sense of academic integrity. Despite these fall-backs, there is still discontent, environmental injustices, and issues popping up like wildflowers. What can we, the students do about this?

I don’t know.

I have some ideas where we can start, but I honestly can’t do this alone. The sad part is some days I feel like I am. I know we have people who are very dedicated to the idea of change, but they’re people too. They have lives to tend to. What we need is a lot of people moving towards the same goal, so that there isn’t a few people trying to make big change, and destroying parts of their lives to do so. Will you help?

-Ashley

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/politics/stories/torontos-new-green-roof-law-a-first-for-north-america

There is nothing like a green roof to warm the hearts of children everywhere. Or something like that.

-Ashley

This is an exciting article about the maker of Bounty, Charmin, and Head & Shoulders (to name a few).  This may be more exciting for me because both of my parents work for P&G, but you can still get a glimpse of how some corporations are trying to be less talk and more action.

http://www.csrwire.com/press_releases/31471-Procter-Gamble-Expands-Renewable-Energy-Portfolio

-Ashley

In the food protesting world, Wal-Mart is a biggie. With its low price gig it cuts out many competitors in the industry, making in it the number one grocery store in the nation. Mark Husson, senior food and drug analyst at Merrill Lynch said, “Wal-Mart coming to your village is like the black plague of death arriving.” Looking past the low-quality employee treatment and questionable farmer exploitation, ever since the Super Wal-Marts began to make their appearance across the nation, the superstore has been controlling the food market in ways we could not detect as we reveled in the fair glow of low price spaghetti sauce. I personally feel like I’m throwing all my values out with the rubbish when I enter a Wal-Mart, but ever since watching Food Inc, I have come to the realization that if change will ever happen, we will have to become allies with Wallyworld. They have so much power over the food industry, they can use brute economic force to make companies change their ways. It’s a scary thought and I can’t help but think that many economists would have a serious problem with the concept, but that’s Wal-Mart for you. I write this because my dad sent me this lovely yahoo article: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/WalMart-to-make-sell-apf-659733871.html?x=0, and I can’t help but think that I wasn’t wrong. Do your best to ignore the glaring mistake halfway through.

Also, I am very interested to know if by cutting costs on produce, are they simply cutting middle man costs or will they also give the farmers a little more for their goods?

-Ashley

*Breaking News Alert*

So you cool katz and dawgs and I wanted to share some recent stories in the news!

(1) For the past week or so I’ve been working on my term paper for my Political Systems of the Middle East course.  Not surprisingly I chose to do write my paper on United States oil diplomacy and try and make a prediction for the future of U.S. engagement in the Middle East and East Asia based on current global trends in energy production and consumption.   Did you ever think of India as a driving force behind the development of Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania?

Well meet Mukesh Ambani , #34 on Forbes list of the Worlds Most Powerful People and #4 on Forbes list of Billionaires.   Mukesh owns Reliance Industries , the largest and most valuable private sector business in India. Through Reliance Industries Mukesh has been buying out huge stakes in natural gas drilling companies in the U.S. and will be a primary funder of drilling activities in the region.   We’re talking payments to the tune of $392 million-$1.7 billion.

>>>>http://blogs.forbes.com/christopherhelman/2010/08/05/indias-ambani-grabs-more-u-s-shale-gas/

(2) The latest round of Wikileaks cables were released!  Among the communications revealing the activity of terrorist camps in Pakistan and insight into the capture of British soldiers by Iran not long ago was THE POPE defending the Copenhagen Accord…

Conversi immediately expressed the Holy See’s genuine desire to see the Copenhagen process move forward. He was aware of the January 31 deadline but did not know which countries had agreed formally to join the process. Conversi agreed to encourage other countries discreetly to associate themselves with the Accord, as opportunities arise. (Note: For practical reasons, the Holy See will not formally associate itself with the Copenhagen Accord: Vatican City State’s carbon footprint negligible. The Vatican decision is consistent with its practice of not becoming a formal party to agreements if they require substantial technical expertise and reporting commitments).

While the Copenhagen Accord was the symbol for failure of the progress of climate change negotiations and most of the nations who supported it have failed to meet it’s very laissez-faire requirements the fact that the Vatican has come out to support it’s efforts, in my opinion, is a symbolic victory to the movement. Typically on these existential issues science and religious bodies tend to clash. (see the story about the Congressman who wants to control the committee on energy and commerce says God will save us from climate change)

(3) As I mentioned in a previous post the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is meeting in Cancun, Mexico for its Conference of the Parties 16 meeting. The latest update I have from the negotiations is that there were diplomats staying up all night last night in order to work out agreements over the creation of a $100 billion fund to support adaptation to the effects of climate change and to support technological development of LCD nations so they could in essence “skip” fossil fuel based industrialization.  There was also refinement done to the language surrounding deforestation.

In my experience from reading the news to meeting them in person there are diplomats and world leaders present at these negotiations…most are from the United States…who are stopping a real solution from being agreed upon.  Fear not, we do have climate champions present!  Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, in a speech to 15,000 delegates at the COP16 negotiations passionately supported the process and urged cooperation when he said,

“If, from here, we send the Kyoto Protocol to the rubbish bin we are responsible for ecocide and genocide, because we will be sending many people to their deaths.”

Check out the whole story here: Huffington Post Update on COP16

Thats all I’ve got for now!

Hey folks,

As some of you know last year I traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark with the SIERRA STUDENT COALITION to take part in the UNFCCC COP15 climate change negotiations.  In Copenhagen I met amazing and passionate youth from around the world, a few of which I am still very close friends with, I participated in protests, I met with U.S. Cabinet Members and world leaders, but most strikingly I saw the negotiation process fail with the result being a non-binding document titled the COPENHAGEN ACCORD. I was asked to return to the UNFCCC negotiations this year in Cancun, Mexico for COP16 but after a few weeks I stepped down from this years delegation.  I give my whole hearted support to all the youth in attendance and I do think that the resources and time dedicated to having youth present is crucial to the youth climate movement but I have lost all faith in the current international process for combating and adapting to the consequences of climate change.

I do not think the ineffective “efforts’ of our political leaders are reason to become demoralized or feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the tasks ahead.  Instead I find them as fuel for our fire.  Their failures underline our efforts at home.  It provides us with more urgency and reason to fight environmental injustice in our own backyard while  creating a solidarity with youth in nations abroad and cultures of vast difference through our shared futures peril.

A friend from Oregon I met while in Copenhagen just passed on an e-mail to me and I’d like to share it with you all.

Hello, 

I know everyone is busy but I highly encourage you to read this blog posted by a friend of mine who is in Amsterdam. It is a really interesting look into the ultimate failure of the European emission reductions and subsequently the disaster of the Kyoto Protocol.

“Talks in Cancun can’t be anything other than canned. There is no chance there will be a treaty or even a workable framework.

Yet European policymakers hold out hope. “There is no alternative,” German Chancellor Merkel stated, “to the UN process” — and European greens insist that “there are still reasons for optimism.”
Europeans hang on to the dead treaty process because letting go requires acknowledging an uncomfortable reality. Europe has not reduced its emissions and is in no position to lecture the world. Fed up, the world’s largest developing powers — China, India, Brazil, and South Africa — broke away from Europe in Copenhagen. That the U.S., not Europe, mediated the divide, stung all the more.” 

See the full post:
http://breakthrougheurope.org/blog/2010/11/a_long_road_to_ruin_from_kyoto.shtml

Not a day later another friend of mine passed along another link.  It appears in the most current WIKILEAKS release it was revealed that the United States pressured nations to support the United State’s weak stance on climate change by using monetary aid from the United States as leverage.  It’s a sad time in our lives when our world leaders force nations in need to compromise their ideals in order to gain aid they rely on.

http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2010/12/wikileaks-us-manipulated-copenhagen

http://breakthrougheurope.org/blog/2010/12/wikileaks_cables_detail_us_cli.shtml

In ECO we’ve all experienced that the issues that draw our members to take action vary from energy and climate change, to food safety or the conservation of little brown bats.  What we must also understand is the complexity of the environmental movement and how it reaches from our daily decisions to recycle all the way up to international policy and CIA espionage.  I think it’s something we should all be aware of and truly understand.

Why talk about the future?

Because the future is all we’ve got!  We can learn from the past but without serious consideration of the future and where we are going to take ourselves the lessons of the past will have gone for not.  So lets take a quick look at the past of ECO then begin to decide where we go into the future and how this blog can, if done well, be a crucial part of future.

The ECO we know today.

Back in the fall of 2009 I transferred to IUP with hopes of joining a club that dealt with environmental issues. What I found was that there was a club, IUP ECO, unfortunately it was void of leadership after many members had graduated.  I did a little snoopin around and before long I was put in touch with former ECO members and began to meet some really cool and passionate kids around campus. I began to hold ECO meetings and toss ideas against the wall to see what would stick.  As with most clubs it took us awhile to really get our act together, we’re still perfecting that part, but right now we’ve gotten to the point where ECO is ready to take on some larger issues and develop a real community of passionate students.

Where ECO is headed.

IUP is full of potential.  During the time I’ve been on campus I’ve found curiosity and energy in even the most unexpected of places.  Most of the time there just isn’t a clear direction for how to apply this potential.  I see ECO facilitating that growth for IUP students of the future. From a  visionary stand point I see ECO as leading the way in questioning the status quo, as re-defining the social norms and paradigms that students at IUP have.  I’d like to see student empowerment grow and for the administration to look to the students for direction on policy choices whether or not they accept this shift or if WE accept it for them.  We are the Environmentally Conscious Organization and our environment is not just trees, recycling, and clean energy. Our environment is you and me and our interactions with each other and the world.  We must strive for justice and equality with the same vigor that we strive for clean air and less waste.

So what is there to look forward to at ECO?  We’ve got some really exciting projects and goals on the drawing board.  We’re ready to launch from the “organization building” stage to the “take action” stage in many exciting ways. Just take a look and see for yourself…

IUP ECO Food Campaign:

Right now IUP ECO members are preparing to develop a campaign around food issues that will reach the campus and community.  We hope to educate on health and safety issues, impacts on climate change, and positive choices we can make in our everyday lives.  We then plan on bringing action to this education in several ways, including the push for a student produce garden on campus.  Sound like an issue you’d like to get involved with?

Sustainability Fund:

For over a year IUP ECO members have been working towards the creation of a Sustainability Fund on campus.  The basic premise of this fund is that a $5.00 fee would be added to our tuition bills each semester.  The funds collected would be used specifically for sustainability issues on campus.  The oversight for the funds would be handled by a committee composed of students, faculty, and administration members.  Projects to be funded would be submitted by students.  We’ve hit our roadblocks with the administration but are forging ahead and developing a brand new strategy.  It’s a more than perfect time to get involved!!

Sustainability Committee:

IUP ECO members are working with administration members to develop a committee that would address IUP policy decisions and review current practices in the efforts to improve sustainability on campus.  There is currently an existing Recycling Committee that recently passed a small recycling budget to improve recycling on campus *confetti and celebration dance* but we’d like to see this committee expand to promote and embed sustainability as an aspect of IUP for the future.

SustainingIUP blog:

As activists it is important to know your stuff.  We’ve gotta be well versed on issues we advocate for, so well versed that we can put our opponents to shame with ease using the facts. Using this blog we can effectively communicate information and current events to ourselves and students around campus.  It is important that we are also well connected to youth organizing all over the world as a way to learn, share ideas, and get involved in issues much larger than ourselves.  As sustainability and youth empowerment grows on campus this blog offers students a platform to express themselves and the issues we must stand for!

So, are you ready to get involved?

Come to an IUP ECO meeting.  We meet at 7:00pm on Thursday nights in Keith Hall room 232.

OR

E-mail us at SustainingIUP@gmail.com

Keep it real y’all

Peter

 

A jar of extra spicy imported mustard.

Starbucks Venti Caramel Macchiato.

A footlong sub.

Less than 2 gallons of gas.

One third of a bale of alfalfa hay.

An IUP meal swipe.

Campus sustainability.

One and a half gallons of milk.

Wait… what was that other one? Campus sustainability? How can 5 dollars buy campus sustainability?

Well, if every student at IUP had 5 dollars of their tuition go towards a special fund, one created specifically to make the campus more environmentally friendly, it would be equivalent of you giving up one venti coffee once a semester in order to make the world a better place.

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