Category Archives: GHG inventory progress

Saving Sustainability at St. Louis Community College

Spring 2012 semester gallops forward and I am just catching my breath to write.  Twenty students signed up to take my morphed Think Tank capstone featuring greenhouse gas inventory training.  I am teaching this class with Rene Dulle, former Meramec student and intern for the Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the City of St. Louis.  Our students seem jazzed about climate issues and the training that can translate to green career value.

RecycleMania has begun across the district with the Green Team Elves planning “Waste-less Wednesdays” programs like a clothing exchange at Meramec and “Trash Tally” surprise audits and a Recycling Fashion Show  at Cosand Center.  Later in the semester, the college will again offer electronic recycling at no fee.  On Saturday, March 31, 2012, Meramec campus and Midwest Recycling Center will collaborate again with Hands On Kirkwood to collect electronics and appliances.  On Sunday April 22, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., the college joins with St. Louis Earth Day and 15 recycling vendors for the second annual St. Louis Earth Day Recycling Extravaganza held at the Forest Park campus (http://www.stlouisearthday.org/2011/12/earth-day-recycling-extravaganza/).  Start saving your hard-to-recycle items now!

My goal this semester is to keep wonderful programs and alliances in place that raise awareness about waste and recycling.  More than that, I want to leave a legacy when my 3 year position as sustainability coordinator ends this summer.  This past 3 years has shown the region that St Louis Community College (STLCC) is serious and committed to sustainability by advancing green career pathways, infusing systemic thinking into curriculum and greening operations through energy efficiencies, carbon mitigation and reduced paper use.  Fellow schools in the St. Louis Regional Higher Education Sustainability Consortium look to the college as a role-model as we have paved the way in innovation and leadership.

To sustain sustainability at the college, I am working to create a strategic plan that colleagues and campus leadership can follow should the college not be able to create a sustainability position past this 3 year pilot.  On Friday January 27, 2012, campus leaders gathered for a “Conversation for Sustainability.” Twenty leaders across the 4 campuses and Cosand, including Presidents Marcia Pfeiffer of Florissant Valley campus and Pam McIntyre of Wildwood campus. I presented a very brief overview of our successes and raised trigger questions to address the challenges ahead(www.stlcc.edu/green/presentations). Everyone generated fantastic strategies and I am synthesizing them into a hopefully “living” document–one that grows and shows sustainability as a journey.  My next blog will develop this work and it is my hope that readers who were not present will add their ideas as well.

Brazil inspires by example

I wanted to start this new year with more thoughts on carbon auditing.  I read the speech by Brazil’s President Lula Da Silva presented at the Copenhagen Summit on Global Warming in December, 2009.  He said:

Developed countries can no longer avoid sharing in the costs and sacrifices. Brazil believes that developing countries should equally be part of the solution. We have therefore made a significant offer at the negotiating table in COP15: an ambitious proposal to reduce by 2020 national CO2 emissions by between 36.1 percent and 38.9 percent. We have also committed to cutting deforestation in the Amazon by 80 percent over the same period. This year alone deforestation of the Amazon dropped 45.7 percent by comparison to 2008, a testament to Brazil’s earnestness. These proposed reductions in emissions from deforestation alone will be larger than those offered by many developing countries in Copenhagen. Such glaring disparities will have to be ironed out during negotiations.  (http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2009/1215/Brazil-s-President-Lula-on-global-warming-No-delay-at-Copenhagen/(page)/2)

What I am learning about our GHG audit is that what to measure and how to calculate is a matter of choice.  We are using the Clear Air-Cool Planet inventory.  It is a spreadsheet consisting of 108 columns to input data PER year.  We are trying to gather data back to 2001 because we made some serious improvements in our emissions sources (heating systems).  Many of those columns don’t apply to our campus (we are not an agriculture school with animals).  But just working on this one campus, I can see why cities and nations balk at this task of measuring.

What I admire the most about President Lula da Silva‘s comments is his inclusiveness–rich and developing countries must work together.  It is one planet.  If Brazil can set astounding goals of reducing deforestation by 80%, how can we here in the US and Missouri be inspired to set our own goals?  Once the FV audit is complete (deadline is now May 15th 2010), and we know where our emissions are, we can begin our own energy summit. Then we can set inspiring targets and take our place in the responsibility we all share to make a healthier world for future generations.  My goals are to operate with more renewable energy, like Brazil. We need you to help with this process.  To participate, please join Brian Bozek and the FV Campus Sustainability Committee (bbozek@stlcc.edu).  I call out to the district to form committees on each campus so that we can collaborate with each other.  I look forward to hearing from those interested. Let’s make 2010 energizing!