September 2014 eNewsletter

From the desk of OES:

Zero waste station bins at Oberlin’s Community & Culture Fest on Saturday, September 27.

Have classes only been in session for a month? Wow. A lot happened in September. When the semester started it was sweltering, now it’s cool and the leaves are beginning to change. In the month of September, I hired six new interns to join the OES team. We now have 2.5 full-time staff and 10 interns! See more below. I went to Ohio University for a couple days with fellow sustainability officers from institutions across the state for a Sustainability Summit. I had an incredible time sharing successes and challenges with my colleagues at other schools while enjoying the lovely Ohio University campus. In the meantime, folks from across Northeast Ohio gathered together for the Sustainable Cleveland Summit.

Together the City and College planned and carried out Oberlin’s Community and Culture Fest, which was a great time last Saturday. This year was our most successful year on the zero waste front, too, which is very exciting! The College held a campus-wide paper shred which resulted in 1800 lbs of paper being shredded and recycled. We welcomed a few speakers to campus, resumed Committee on Environmental Sustainability meetings, interviewed candidates for the AJLC Facilities Manager and Community Outreach Coordinator position, got new projects rolling on the Community-Based Social Marketing (CBSM) Research group (a website will be launched soon!), talked to some ENVS 101 students, presented Complete Streets at Kendal of Oberlin, and more as you’ll see below.Autumn is my favorite season of the year. Enjoy the many delicious foods in season (hello, pumpkins and apples!), take a walk in the Arboretum as the leaves begin to change and fall, ride your bike in the crisp fall air, read a book, and join me in celebrating this season and this place (no matter where you are)!
– Bridget Flynn, Sustainability Coordinator

An aerial view of Oberlin’s central campus from Tappan Square

News & Announcements:

  • Welcome new interns: This month OES hired six new interns for the year! OES currently have ten students in our internship program working on a variety of exciting initiatives from creation of the From Coal to Carbon Neutrality website to an ink and toner recycling program. Current OES interns are: Emma Ayzenberg, CJ Blair, Mae Kate Campbell, Sarah Epstein, Oliver Konkel, Katie Donnelly Moran, Jackie Noga, Julienne Pasichow, Hillary Pan, and Peter Schalck. Welcome to our new interns! Their bios will be here soon.
  • Water monitoring in the schools: The Dashboard project recently installed water meters in Langston, Eastwood, and the High School meaning that all four Oberlin K-12 schools have real-time water usage. You can see their usage charted against each other, along with the library by clicking on “City Building Water Use” at http://buildingdashboard.net/oberlincity/#/oberlincity.

Students in the Ecological Communications display the Dashboard and converse with the community at the Community & Culture Fest.

  • Community & Culture Fest: If you weren’t at this year’s Community & Culture Fest, you missed out on great food, arts & crafts, amazing performances, and other celebrations of the Oberlin community and the many cultures in it. This year marked the fourth year that the festival aimed for zero waste. I am happy to say it was the best year yet! While I don’t have final diversion numbers I can confidently say we had more compost than ever before from the festival. Thank you to all the restaurants, vendors, tables, volunteers and attendees that participated!
  • LaunchU deadline: The LaunchU Accelerator is an intensive, three-week winter term program designed to help participants create the change they want to see in the world through entrepreneurship, broadly defined. Now in its third year, Oberlin’s annual startup accelerator, bootcamp & pitch competition is for current students, faculty and alumni launching or growing all types of ventures, including: Tech Startups, Social Impact Ventures, Arts Organizations, Local Businesses, and Innovative Projects. Participants  will compete for $50,000 in support of their venture in addition to expert coaching and practical support. LaunchU is now accepting applications; the deadline is November 9 at 11:59PM. Email creativity@oberlin.edu with any questions.

Upcoming Events:
For all environmental-related events on campus – check out the Environmental Events Calendar! If you would like it to be shared with you, email Bridget. If you would like one of your events to be added to eNewsletter, please email us.

October 4: Green Energy Ohio Tour at Oberlin @ various locations @ 7:30PM: Once again Oberlin is a a part of Green Energy Ohio Tour. This year’s tour will start at the AJLC at 9AM and continue around Oberlin from the Fire Station to residential homes until 4PM. See more and flyer on the Oberlin Project [website].
October 4: Harvest Hootenanny @ George Jones Farm @ 2PM-Midnight: This event will feature all you can eat foods, stage shows, cash bar, beer making, kids activities, farm tours, raffle prizes, a bonfire, drum circle, hikes and more. Tickets available at your local City Fresh Stop, at the gate, George Jones Farm, or by phone (216.469.0904). $15/person Proceeds benefit City Fresh and George Jones Farm. [facebook]
October 6: Nature Knows No Borders: Advancing Peace in the Middle East through Cross-Border Environmental Cooperation @12:15PM @ Wilder 215: Join this panel presentation for a light lunch and enlightening discussion sponsored by Oberlin College Hillel. To learn more, visit www.arava.org
October 14OES Hangout: Fall Festivities Edition @ Wilder TBA @ 5PM: Join us for fall foods, lively discussion, and fun at our October OES Hangout. This is a potluck so bring something if you can; but no worries if not, as lots of great vegan food will be provided. Bring your questions, ideas, or just yourself. Calendar and facebook event will be out soon!
Saturdays through October 25thOberlin Farmers Market @ 9AM-1PM: The farmer’s market is a great place to find an array of local produce, products, neighbors, farmers, live music, and friends. It is located at in the parking lot near Oberlin Public Library and City Hall (69-85 South Main Street) in Oberlin.

For more info and to see a full list of events, please the Events tab on the OES website: http://new.oberlin.edu/office/environmental-sustainability/events/

Numbers:
With the fall harvest underway, now is an especially pertinent time to take a look at agriculture. 2014 was declared The International Year of Family Farming by the U.N. in an effort to draw attention to the importance of small family farms in helping to nourish the world. As global population continues to rise, the need to produce more food sustainably is growing, and smallholder farms will play a role in meeting this demand.

Farming accounts for approximately 70% of global freshwater withdrawal, and many aquifers have been severely depleted. However, is the US growing feed for animals uses 56% of the country’s fresh water (read more about animal agriculture in the Did You Know section of this newsletter). Soil is being eroded between 10 and 40 times faster than it is being replenished, resulting in 30% of the world’s arable land becoming unproductive in the last 40 years alone. Many of these adverse effect of agriculture are from resource-intensive large scale agricultural operations, concentrated in areas of high potential yield. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), however, there are more than 500 million family farmers around the world, contributing to the livelihoods of more than 2 billionpeople. Family farms are often situated on marginal land, and the people who work these areas have developed a broad knowledge base for working with the resources they have available to maintain (or even increase) the productivity of their land. The FAO found that smallholder farmers utilizing integrated farming systems can be between 4 and 10 times more productive than large-scale, monoculture operations–producing more food while using fewer resources.

Did you know?
  • According to the FAO, animal agriculture accounts for 18% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, while transportation (all planes, trains, buses, cars, trucks, etc.) combined accounts for about 13%.
  • The process of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) uses around 70-140 billion gallons of water annually. Use of water for animal agriculture ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons of water annually.
  • Animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of Amazon destruction.

(References: http://cowspiracy.com/fact-check/)

  • Oberlin signed the Real Food Challenge with the goal of 40% “real food” by 2020. Real food is defined as local, humane, fair-trade, and sustainable. Learn more here.
  • Campus Dining Services (CDS), OSCA co-ops, and many restaurants in Oberlin offer local, seasonable foods, and vegan options.

Green Tips

  • Canning your Own Food: With Autumn comes the harvest–an abundance of fresh fruits and veggies! A great and sustainable way to savor the season is to preserve some of this delicious food for a time when finding fresh, locally grown produce is hard to find. Check out the resources from the National Center for Home Food Preservation for information on how to get started and preserve your own food!
  • Time of the Season: Cooler temperatures lower tire pressure, which decreases the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Now’s the time to check your tires!
  • Fall Lawn Care: Instead of raking up and bagging all those leaves, use them to nourish your lawn! Use your lawn mower to cut leaves into small pieces, allowing them to fall into and under the grass. This increases the surface area of the leaves which makes them easier to break down, adding a ton of nutrients (especially phosphorus) to your lawn!
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