November 2015 eNewsletter

From the desk of OES:

Global leaders come together to discuss climate at COP21 from Nov 30 to Dec 11.

First there was Thanksgiving; then Black Friday and Cyber Monday; now it’s already December 1st. Winter weather is quickly approaching, the holiday season has officially begun, and the fall semester is nearly over! For many, this is the busiest time of the year.
I can only imagine how the organizers of COP21 are feeling right now as leaders from ~150 countries, 40,000 delegates from 195 nations gather for the international conference, COP21. COP stands for Conference of Parties. Paris COP21: also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, will, for the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, aim to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C. Coverage of the event can be found online. You can also join a panel of faculty, students, and staff for a discussion of global policy and climate justice and film screening of This Changes Everything on Monday, December 7 (more below).There is tremendous momentum around sustainability issues globally. Prior to the start of COP21, 200 colleges and universities pledged to #ActonClimate with the White House. President Krislov signed this pledge to emphasize Oberlin’s commitment to climate justice and demonstrate support for international climate action during the negotiations in Paris.

Meanwhile, campus is bustling with events and activities. Did you know OES administers a listserv for event sharing, job and internship opportunity postings, and discussions? It’s called Greenscene. You can subscribe by e-mailing with no subject and only the following command in the body of the email (delete your signature if you have one):subscribe greenscene

At our OES Hangout this month, hosted at the EAARTH House, we discussed coordinating sustainability activities on campus and creating community around these issues. The aim of the OES Hangouts is to do just that: give people a chance to hang out with sustainability-minded folks, learn more, ask questions of OES and others, and pull together various groups and individuals to streamline efforts and create community — all with delicious, free vegan food! If you haven’t made it out to a hangout yet, please join us at one of these monthly gatherings!

I hope you have a majestic December full of love, relaxation, and gratitude with those you love.

A view of last night’s sky humbling me with the beauty I see each day.

– Bridget Flynn, Sustainability Coordinator

News & Announcements:

  • President Signs Climate Pledge: President Krislov signed the American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge this month facilitated by the White House. Over 200 campuses joined to demonstrate support for international action on climate change in advance of the World Climate Summit in Paris. Read more in the White House Press Release.
  • Oberlin Composting Featured: BioCycle Magazine featured the Oberlin College in an article on residential compost program. The Resource Conservation Team (RCT) was interviewed for the article which you can see here.
  • Terracycle Colgate Oral Care Brigade: OES is implementing a new Terracycle recycling brigade on campus that will collect and recycle old toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, floss containers, and more. Terracycle is a company that specializes in recycling hard-to-recycle products and repurposing their components for further use. Keep your eye out for collection bins in all first year residence hall bathrooms and in Wilder. You can also drop materials off at OES in the Service Building 209.
  • Sustainability Symposium: This week Baldwin Wallace University will be hosting the fifth annual sustainability symposium. This two-day conference will cover mega-trends in sustainability. More on the symposium can be found here.

CJ Blair, Green Office Program Intern, poses with a plaque for the Science Library

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.December 1: “Where Do You Get Your Protein?:” A Presentation and Discussion on Plant-Powered Performance @ 7:30PM in Wilder 101: Do vegans get enough protein? How do they fuel their performance without meat, dairy, or eggs? Two plant-powered competitive athletes will discuss their experiences, nutrition myths & facts, and the age-old question of “where do you get your protein?” After the presentation, there will be sufficient time for dialogue and Q&A with presenters. This session spawned from a discussion with co-op athletes as well as wide interest in vegan bodybuilding and weight-lifting. [Facebook] [Calendar]December 4Anti-Pipeline Satirical Folk-Singer Tom Neilson @ 7:30PM @ Peace Community Church: A performance by folk-singer Tom Neilson, famed for his warm, funny political satire and commentary via music. Neilson, frequent IMA (Independent Music Awards) winner for “Song of the Year,” is featured on YouTube with his song “This Pipeline Ain’t Gonna Pass.”  His appearance in Oberlin is sponsored by Communities for Safe and Sustainable Energy.  The concert is free, but a $10 to $25 donation is suggested to support community awareness of the proposed NEXUS pipeline.  All are invited to a potluck supper at 6:00 p.m. before the show. [Calendar]

December 6This Changes Everything: Film Screening & Panel Discussion @ 6PM in Hallock Auditorium: In conjunction with COP21, the Environmental Studies Program, Responsible Investing Organization (RIO), Students for Environmental Justice (SEJ), Committee for Safe and Sustainable Energy (CSSE), and OES

are sponsoring a film screening of This Changes Everything, based on Naomi Klein’s popular book. Free pizza will be served for the movie. Following the film, a community discussion lead by an engaging panel of faculty, staff, and students will cover issues of climate justice, economy, and politics amidst the climate negotiations in Paris. Facebook event and Calendar Event TBA!

December 10Jules Hikes the Appalachian Trail: A Presentation of Photos and Stories from his 2015 Thru-Hike @ 730PM in Craig Lecture Hall: Julian Cranberg ’17 spent last spring and summer hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, which took him five months to complete. Join him for a presentation of photos and stories from his journey. Q&A to follow presentation. [Facebook] [Calendar]

For more info and to see a full list of events, please the Events tab on the OES website:

TONIGHT! Samuel and Bridget from OES discuss plant-based performance.

The holiday season is a time for giving thanks, and spending time with family and loved ones, but how does this time of the year affect our environment? Here’s a look at holiday waste and consumption, presented in numbers.All those brown paper packages tied up with string really add up: Americans generate an extra 25 million tons of garbage over the holiday season, about 1 million extra tons per week. With all those special holiday meals, the volume of food waste increases by 33%, making up a large portion of the increased waste. Another major contributor to this increased waste is paper from shipping materials, gift wrapping, and greeting cards. In fact, Americans send 1.9 billion holiday cards each season, and a huge portion of them end up in the garbage. Not only does this waste cost our environment, it costs people, too, literally: Americans accrue an average of $986 debt during the holiday season. 57% of parents said will be getting into debt for the holidays.
Did you know?
  • Americans consume approximately 45 million turkeys each year on Thanksgiving, and 22 million turkeys each year on Christmas.
  • Today is Giving Tuesday. If you feel so inclined, donate to your favorite charity. A donation on someone else’s behalf is a great gift for those on your list that already have what they need. This gift keeps on giving and leaves you both feeling good!

Green Tips

  • Sustainable Gifting: This holiday season, give the gift of an experience: music lessons, lessons for a new hobby, a massage, a trip to a state park, or tickets to a sporting event or play. This is perfect for friends who want to try something new but aren’t willing to spend the money on themselves. Plus, you don’t have to wrap the gift, and you avoid the environmental impact associated with producing a new gift.
  • Creative Wrapping: Holiday gift wrapping is oftentimes the most wasteful part of a present, but it’s easy to change that! Reusing packaging cartons and shipping containers cuts down on the impact of that packaging. Also, making the wrapping a useful part of the gift (like put cookies in a flower pot or hiding jewelry in a new pair of gloves or socks) is a fun way to reduce packaging waste.
  • Zero-Waste Holiday Party: Hosting a zero-waste party is a great way to celebrate sustainably. Minimize the garbage by asking people to bring their own cups, plates and utensils if you don’t have enough of your own. Use fabric tablecloths and napkins. Then be sure to recycle any post-party cans and bottles and compost food scraps.

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