Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Majora Carter Announced as Earth Day Keynote Speaker

Majora Carter, urban revitalization strategist and social-enterprise pioneer, will deliver the Campus Earth Week Keynote Address on Wednesday, April 15, at 6pm, in Carroll Hall, room 111. Carter has redefined the field of environmental equality. She started in the South Bronx at the turn of the century and is now a leader in the local economic development movement across the United States. She is a visionary voice in city planning who views urban renewal through an environmental lens and with a focus on historically underserved and minority populations. Carter's confidence, energy and intensely emotional delivery make her talks themselves a force of nature. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Read more »

Make Your Voice Heard: Provide Input to UNC’s Strategic Sustainability Plan

To maintain its role as a national and international leader in sustainability, UNC-Chapel Hill is developing a Strategic Sustainability Plan to build upon the University’s many successful initiatives to date. The goal is to create a cohesive vision for embedding sustainability into the full range of campus activities, including teaching, research, operations, and engagement. The campus community is invited to participate in Town Hall meetings to provide input on current sustainability initiatives and aspirations for the future. Mark your calendar for an opportunity to participate: 

  • Tuesday, March 31: Campus Sustainability Town Hall, 12:30-2:00pm @ Toy Lounge, Dey Hall 
  • Tuesday, March 31: Student Sustainability Town Hall, 6:00-7:30pm @ Student Union, Room 3411
  • Wednesday, April 1: Staff Town Hall, 9:30-11:00am @ Toy Lounge, Dey Hall 
  • Wednesday, April 1: Faculty Town Hall, 12:30-2:00pm @ Toy Lounge, Dey Hall 
  • Town Halls for a mix of students, faculty, and staff interested in specific themes will be held on Tuesday, April 21, from 12:30-2:00 and 3:30-5:00 at a location to be determined and Wednesday, April 22, Earth Day, from 2:30-4:00pm @ Student Union, Room 3206A/B. 
  • An open Earth Day Town Hall for all members of the campus community will be held on Wednesday, April 22, from 11:30am-1:00pm @ Student Union, Room 3206A/B. 

Volunteer opportunities with our world-class consultants are available for students. Two to three students are needed to help with: 

  • Documentation of Sustainability Advisory Committee meeting, on March 18, 3:30-4:30pm in Graham Memorial 035. Photograph the Sustainability Advisory Committee working sessions and outcomes for inclusion in future Sustainability Strategic Plan-related updates and publications. 
  • Participate with consultant team conducting on-campus “intercept interviews,” March 18-19 Shadow consultant team during initial “intercept interviews” gathering student opinion on sustainability at UNC, and be trained to conduct additional interviews independently between 3/19 and 3/31. 

Interested students should contact Amelia Aboff at amelia.aboff@burohappold.com or via text at 917-696-8677. Additional opportunities for involvement will be available in the coming months – for more information as these come up, please contact Cindy Shea at the UNC Sustainability Office at cpshea@email.unc.edu.

To find out the latest on the Strategic Sustainability Plan and upcoming events, read more »

What’s the Big Idea: Food for Thought

The UNC Friday Center presents four lectures on food history, culture, sustainability, and regulation as part of the next What’s the Big Idea? series. UNC-Chapel Hill researchers Marcie Cohen Ferris, Alice Ammerman, and Barry M. Popkin will present research findings, and a special session with UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt will conclude the series with a preview of the new pan-campus theme, “Feeding a Hungry World.” The talks run from April 9-30, from 7-8:30pm at the Friday Center. Each session is $10 or attend the entire series for $30. Read more »

Learn to Lead Staff Sustainability Efforts

“Making the Workplace More Sustainable,” an interactive staff sustainability workshop, helps participants identify, measure and promote sustainable change opportunities in their work areas. Participants learn about sustainability goals and initiatives at UNC, become “green events” certified, and learn how to conduct a Workplace Sustainability Assessment. The upcoming, two-day training will be held Tuesday, May 19, and Thursday, May 21, from 8:30AM – 12:30PM, at the Administrative Office Building on Airport Drive. Register soon through Connect Carolina for “Workplace Sustainability 1,” space is limited. Read more »

Sustainable Speaker Series at CCCC Pittsboro Campus

Students for Sustainability at the CCCC Pittsboro Campus work on environmental conservation and educational events. Learn about the economic and ecological benefits of the Haw River at “The Haw River is Our Home,” on Wednesday at 7 pm, on the Chatham County Campus in Pittsboro. On March 25, learn how NC Waste Awareness and Reduction educates and engages the public on clean energy at “Building People Power for Climate and Energy Justice,” also at 7pm, at the Chatham Community Library Mary Hayes Holmes Conference Room. Read more »

Bill Introduced to Legalize Third-Party Electricity Sales in North Carolina

North Carolina is one of only 5 states that prohibits third-party sales of electricity. Rep. John Szoka, R-Cumberland, has introduced a bill that would allow renewable-energy developers to sell power directly to customers in North Carolina, bypassing the state's utilities. The “Energy Freedom Act” could enhance competition and consumer choice, increase development of renewable energy projects, and make the state an even more attractive place to work and live by contributing to a clean and healthy environment. The bill would take effect July 1. Read more »

North Carolina Wins 9 Good Food Awards

The Good Food Awards honors companies that create delicious and sustainable local food economies. Out of 1,462 entries, 14 different North Carolina products made it into the final round and nine were awarded the top honor. Picklers, cheese-makers, chocolatiers, distillers, brewers, butchers, coffee roasters and farmers across the state work together to make some of the highest quality food products in the nation. Read more »

I-40 Pedestrian Bridge Good for Health and Business

Recent completion of the I-40 bike and pedestrian bridge joined the northern and southern sections of the American Tobacco Trail. Cyclists can now travel the full 21 miles from downtown Durham to Apex without having to share the road with cars. NC State’s Institute for Transportation Research and Education recently found that the trail’s completion contributed to a 133% increase in use. Many people use the trail to get to restaurants, grocery, and retail stores. Though the trail is primarily used for recreation and fitness, it could become an important transportation corridor as Durham grows. Read more »

Trial Treatment of Invasive Plant Proposed in Hillsborough

Hydrilla, an invasive aquatic plant that originally came to the US from Asia as an aquarium accessory, has been an issue for Orange County’s watershed. Hydrilla has several ramifications for ecosystems, including a disease that can infect water fowl. It also out-competes native vegetation, which endangers the habitats of many organisms and water quality. A statewide task force to combat Hydrilla found a chemical solution, which will be tested in a two-year trial with close monitoring before applying it to the rest of the watershed. The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources is reviewing an environmental assessment for toxicity and the effects on humans, plants, and animals. Read more »

The Guardian Launches Climate Change Series

In an effort to find a new narrative for climate change, the UK-based Guardian newspaper has launched a series of podcasts, images, films, and reporting to bring attention to climate change issues and engage and inform the public. The Guardian’s editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger, explains how climate change is the most important story in the world and challenges journalists to engage readers in a new way. Read more »

Register Now for Environmental LCA Workshop

Environmental life cycle analysis (LCA) is used in industry and commerce for gauging the environmental impact of a service or product. A hands-on workshop at NC State will provide attendees with an overview of LCA, and students will learn methodologies and commercial software. The workshop will be held from August 3-7, and registration is $1900. Space is limited. Read more »

Carolina in the News

Check out the recent media mentions of sustainability-related programs, practices, and people at UNC:

Startup Led by UNC Grad Brings Solar Services to Rooftops
A California startup co-founded by UNC-Chapel Hill graduate Alec Guettel is expanding to North Carolina. Sungevity is launching solar services for residential homeowners in partnership with Lowe's. The company offers solar equipment and related services, including proprietary estimating technology. Sungevity is a venture capital-backed startup and raised $125 million from investors in 2013. Read more » 

New Discovery Could Change Sea Level Rise Predictions
Dr. Mike Willis of the Department of Geological Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill noticed something surprising while combing through satellite and GPS data: a hole twice the size of Central Park in a small Greenland ice cap. Willis and his colleagues determined that meltwater had been collecting in a subglacial lake until the whole thing blew out, sending the water out to sea and causing the ice above it to slump downward. The discovery suggests that water does not flow quickly between ice and rock and out to sea. Instead, it pauses on its rush to the ocean and heats the ice. This process could be important in understanding how Greenland will respond to climate change and contribute to the already 8 inches of global sea level rise since 1900. Greenland holds enough ice to raise global sea levels by 24 feet and its glaciers melt could affect projections of future sea level rise. Read more » 

Study Suggests that Dense Development Would Harm Air in NC’s Triangle
New research from UNC-Chapel Hill challenges the idea that dense urban development is better for the health of residents. The study, published in the December issue of Risk Analysis, found that denser development would slightly reduce the Triangle’s air pollution on a regional level, but at a more local level, it would expose a greater number of citizens to “hotspots” of particulate matter, a harmful pollutant. “Our suggestion is not necessarily that density is wrong,” said Daniel Rodriguez, a professor at UNC’s department of city and regional planning and a coauthor of the study, “but that in itself, in isolation, it’s probably not going to be beneficial for people.” Theodore Mansfield, the study’s lead author and a Ph.D. student at UNC, discussed the costs and benefits of city living. “There are a lot of great things that cities do,” he said. “But at the same time, the concentration of all those activities in a small space can have some negative health impacts.” Read more »

Lawsuits Challenge Agricultural Pollution
Federal lawsuits, supported by studies that link hog farming with air and water pollution, are challenging the livestock industry to change its ways. "Pork is cheap and cheap to produce in large factories because they don't pay for cleaning up water supply, and they don't pay for the asthma neighbors get. They don't pay for polluting downstream water that used to be potable, and they don't pay for the loss of property values," said Steve Wing, a UNC-Chapel Hill epidemiologist. In North Carolina, 10 million hogs produce as much fecal waste in a day as 100 million people, and Duplin County is the nation's top county for hog production. Read more »

Thanks to UNC News Services for finding these great stories! You can find more UNC media coverage and stories online at uncnews.unc.edu.

Green Tip

Spring is just around the corner! Consider starting it green. Mix your own natural cleaning products from water, vinegar, tea tree oil, and lavender oil. Plant the garden you’ve always wanted. Or start a compost bin for organic waste. Learn how at the Composting Workshop at the Carolina Campus Community Garden on March 18 (more details in the news section). Read more green tips »

UNC-Chapel Hill Sustainability Office – Multiple Internships Available – NC

UNC-Chapel Hill Environmental Finance Center – Environmental Finance Data Analyst – NC

North Carolina Coastal Reserve – Summer Stewardship and Research Assistant – NC

TS Designs – Marketing and PR Manager – NC

NC FIELD – Lead Coordinator – NC

City of Lenoir – Stormwater Management Administrator – NC

Town of Kernersville – Sustainability Specialist – NC

Alamance County – Parks Superintendent – NC

Camp Sea Gull – Environmental Discovery Educator – NC

The Sustainability Institute at Penn State – Education Program Associate – PA

University of Dayton – Post-Doctoral Assistant in Sustainability (Posting # S00685P) – OH

National Outdoor Leadership School – Sustainability Coordinator – WY

Jacksonville University – Sustainability Coordinator – FL

Florida Institute of Technology – Sustainability Officer – FL

Messiah College – Director of Sustainability – PA

St. Mary’s College – Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies – MD

University of Nevada, Las Vegas – Energy and Utility Manager – NV

Nutrition Science Initiative – Director of Research – CA

Indiana University – Director, Office of Sustainability (Job #13090) – IN

University of Oregon – Program Manager, Sustainable Cities Initiative – OR

Central College – Coordinator of Sustainability Education – IA

Kalu Yala – International Sustainability Internship – Panama

Sustainability Office Internships for Summer 2015

The Sustainability Office at UNC-Chapel Hill works with the campus community to catalyze the development and implementation of sustainable policies, practices, curricula, and behaviors. Interns will become familiar with the many sustainability practices and policies at UNC while receiving hands-on experience developing communication tools, supporting initiatives, and assessing sustainable practices. There are four internship positions available and all require an in-person interview. Apply by Monday, March 30. Read more »

Conserve Water and Energy on Campus, Win a Solar Umbrella

Throughout March, UNC’s residential communities will compete in a Utility War to reduce energy and water consumption. The community to reduce the most will win a solar umbrella charging station that can be used to charge personal electronics while sitting outside. The contest is sponsored by the Renewable Energy Special Projects Committee and the Residence Hall Association. Read more »

Composting Workshop, Wednesday, March 18

A free composting workshop will be held on Wednesday, March 18th from 3 - 4:30pm at the Carolina Campus Community Garden. Muriel Williman, Orange County waste management educator, will cover composting basics and how to start vermicomposting with worms. The class will be held rain or shine and parking is available across from the garden. Read more »

Innovation Lab Offers Design Thinking Workshop, Thursday, March 19

ABAN, Ten Thousand Villages, and Tech Talent South will share insight and methodologies for business solutions on Thursday, March 19, from 6-8pm, at the 1789 Venture Lab on Franklin Street. The hands-on, interactive event is open to all.

Monday, February 9, 2015

February 9, 2015
CCCC will host Sustainable Speaker Series

PITTSBORO — The Central Carolina Community College Sustainable Speaker Series this spring includes the programs “Building People Power for Climate and Energy Justice” and “The Haw River Is Our Home.” In addition, there will be a screening of the movie, “Growing Cities.”
CCCC’s Students for Sustainability sponsors the series, which is free and open to the public.
Laura Lauffer, Sustainability Coordinator and Lead Instructor for CCCC’s Sustainable Technologies programs, says the Students for Sustainability are engaged in what is happening in the community — sustainability beyond the classroom.
“These topics are important to them. It is great that we have so many talented speakers who can help increase awareness about the challenges and opportunities in energy and the environment and our agricultural resources,” said Lauffer.
“Building People Power for Climate and Energy Justice” will be presented at 7 p.m. Feb. 18 at the Chatham Community Library Mary Hayes Holmes Conference Room on the CCCC Chatham County Campus in Pittsboro. NC Waste Awareness and Reduction (NC WARN) will present the program.
“The Haw River is Our Home” will be presented at 7 p.m. March 18 on the Chatham County Campus in Pittsboro. Join Joe Jacobs of the Haw River Canoe and Kayak Company and Elaine Chiosso of the Haw River Assembly as they share the story of one of Chatham County’s beauties.
A film screening of “Growing Cities” will be presented at 7 p.m. April 15 on the Chatham County Campus in Pittsboro. This documentary film examines the role of urban farming in America. After the film, join a discussion with CCCC faculty and students to learn about growing your own food in any space available.
Calvin Megginson is one of the students who organized the event. “I believe that the Sustainable Speaker Series is important because it provides an avenue for the community to come and be involved and educated in sustainability,” he said. “This type of two-way communication is vital for creating a feedback loop so that we stay on the cutting edge of technology and industry.”
“These speakers are looking at the frontiers of these major changes — they inform and they inspire,” said student Danielle DuClos. “There is so much we can do together. An informed and inspired community is a great starting point for that. Students for Sustainability and the Sustainable Speakers Series can be a bridge to sharing this knowledge with the larger community and connecting our motivation so we can unite forces to bring great and much needed transformation locally and globally.”
DuClos added, “If we don't change the way we relate to the world, the world won't end — it will keep changing. What we are talking about with sustainability isn't saving the planet — it's keeping it habitable for us and for other living creatures.”
For those who would like dinner before the Sustainable Speaker Series programs, the college’s Natural Chef Café will be open from 6 to 7 p.m. on the Chatham County Campus. All dinners are $14. The Natural Chef Café features sustainable meals prepared by students enrolled in the CCCC Culinary Arts Continuing Education and Curriculum programs. Reservations are encouraged. For reservations, please call 919-545-8076.
CCCC offers a variety of spring sustainable program classes, as well as the Sustainable Living Series. The Series prepares members of the community to live a resource efficient lifestyle. Local experts will share their skills in green building, smart home design, and developing a vibrant local economy.
For more information on CCCC's sustainability programs, visit www.cccc.edu, call Laura Lauffer at 919-545-8032 or email llauffer@cccc.edu.

Laura Lauffer, LEED GA
Sustainability Coordinator & Lead Instructor
Sustainable Technologies Program
Central Carolina Community College
Pittsboro, NC 27312
919 545 8032

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Green Tip

It’s not too late to add a new year’s resolution. Why not make it a green one? Resolve to develop more environmentally-friendly habits: walk or bicycle instead of taking the car to do at least one errand per week; write or call decision makers to let them know how you feel about environmental, social, and economic issues; use biodegradable laundry soap; or compost. Read more green tips to stay sustainable throughout the year »

Carolina in the News

Check out the recent media mentions of sustainability-related programs, practices, and people at UNC:

UNC Dining Halls Consider Local, Sustainable Suppliers
An ongoing movement toward offering more local, sustainable food options is a priority for Carolina Dining Services (CDS) as it tries to meet the standards of the Real Food Challenge. The challenge encourages universities to serve less food from industrial farms. It was brought to UNC by Fair, Local, Organic Food (FLO), a UNC student organization asking that CDS be more sustainable in its food purchases. “I think CDS continues to show their interest in expanding the amount of real food served,” said FLO member Alexandria Huber. Read more »

Residential Solar Panels Still a Great Investment
Jordan Kern, post-doctoral researcher at the Institute for the Environment writes about residential solar projects as a viable financial investment opportunity. Currently, for an average household in the Duke Energy Carolinas service area, investing in a 4-kilowatt solar panel system over 25 years can be just as good as investing in a savings bond earning 8.9 percent interest. Duke Energy’s proposed net metering reduction rate would reduce this equivalent interest rate by only about 0.1 percent. A much greater threat to the financial viability of the residential solar market in North Carolina is the expiration of state and federal Investment Tax Credits (ITCs), which collectively allow homeowners to recoup more than 50 percent of the solar panels’ original cost. The state ITC is set to expire at the end of 2015, and the federal ITC is slated to expire at the end of 2016. Expiration of either tax credit, assuming the current costs of solar power stay the same, would make purchasing solar panels a poor financial investment for most homeowners in North Carolina. Read more »

Thanks to UNC News Services for finding these stories! You can find more UNC media coverage and stories online at uncnews.unc.edu.

Carolina Ranks 12th in the World for Sustainability

The Universitas Indonesia’s annual GreenMetric report rates campus sustainability programs worldwide. Carolina ranked 12th in the world and fifth in the United States out of 360 universities. Campuses were evaluated in six categories: setting and infrastructure; energy and climate change; waste management; water usage; transportation; and education. The University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom ranked first, and four other U.S. universities — University of California Davis, University of Connecticut, University of California Berkeley, and Northeastern — made the top ten list. To see complete rankings and specific scores, Read More »

UNC Kenan-Flagler Prepares Students for the Business of Energy

A new MBA Energy Concentration and Energy Center at the Kenan-Flagler Business School will prepare graduates to assume energy-related leadership roles that power the global economy. In the full-time MBA Energy Concentration, students will explore every aspect of the energy value chain, including oil, gas, and renewables. Courses will focus on day-to-day business and economic challenges in the energy industry. The new Energy Center will examine energy public policy, conduct research, and support students in education and career opportunities. It will also be a forum for finding answers to critical energy questions. Read more »

Sign up for EcoReps Training

EcoReps are Carolina’s trained peer-to-peer sustainability outreach team. Learn about campus sustainability initiatives that advance ecological integrity, economic prosperity, and societal well being. Then learn the skills needed to effectively engage other students. The only full day spring semester training will occur Saturday, January 31, from 10AM – 3PM in Dey Hall, room 208, and counts as a Public Service Scholars Skills Training. Register now »

Learn to Lead Staff Sustainability Efforts

“Making the Workplace More Sustainable,” an interactive staff sustainability workshop, helps participants identify, measure and promote sustainable change opportunities in their work areas. Participants learn about sustainability goals and initiatives at UNC, become “green events” certified, and learn how to conduct a Workplace Sustainability Assessment. The upcoming, two-day training will be held Tuesday, February 24, and Thursday, February 26, from 8:30AM – 12:30PM, at the Administrative Office Building on Airport Drive. Register soon through Connect Carolina for “Workplace Sustainability 1”, space is limited. Read more »

UNC-Chapel Hill Hosts Student Research Symposium

The UNC Curriculum for the Environment and Ecology (CEE) invites all students interested in ecology and the environment to present their research work at the annual CEE Student Research Symposium. This inter-institutional event brings together students and faculty from across the Triangle. The Symposium will be held on Saturday, February 21, from 9AM – 2PM at the North Carolina Botanical Garden. Registration is free and open until Friday, January 30. Register now »

Sustainability Investments and the UNC Endowment

In fall 2014, the UNC Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution requesting “that UNC Management Company research targeted investments for the University’s endowment assets that advance environmentally friendly clean energy strategies consistent with applicable asset allocation and investment objective policies.” Join Jon King, President and CEO of UNC Management Company, and Matt Fajack, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, on Monday, February 23, from 2 – 3:30PM, in Toy Lounge of Dey Hall, to learn about the sustainability strategies employed and investments made by the managers of UNC’s $2.1 billion endowment. Read more »

Help Carolina Win the Student Commute Challenge

Help UNC beat Duke, NC State, and Wake Tech by tracking your commutes! The Student Commute Challenge is a friendly student competition to see who can bus, bike, walk or carpool the most by February 20. Each commute earns points, and weekly challenges earn extra points. Track trips for great prizes, including gift cards to UNC Student Stores or an iPad Mini. Sign up and start logging your commutes today! 
Note: The website is having trouble working with UNC email addresses. We recommend signing up for the challenge with a non-UNC email address, like Gmail or Yahoo!

Join Carolina’s Environmental Honors Fraternity

Interested in the environment? Love being outdoors and volunteering? Join Epsilon Eta (Ep Eta), the nation's first environmental honors fraternity. Ep Eta is a co-ed fraternity that recognizes outstanding students, creates a social network of friends and support, and offers environmental service and education to the community. Potential applicants must attend three rush events by February 7th. Applications for membership are due by Monday, February 9th. Read more »

Waste Reduction and Recycling Spotlight: Residential Composting Program Expands!

Morrison and Manning West will join Ehringhaus, Manning East, Ram Village, Hinton James, Connor, and Cobb as communities enrolled in the residential composting program. Residents in these communities may check out a personal compost bin via the Residence Hall Association (RHA) Enhancements program. Residents are responsible for emptying their personal bins into the green community collection cart at the designated outdoor dumpster site. The food scraps are transported to the Carolina Campus Community Garden (CCCG). CCCG volunteers mix it, turn it, and transform it into compost, a nutrient-rich soil amendment used on the garden’s crops. CCCG produce is later distributed to UNC Housekeepers. CCCG hosts volunteer workdays on Sundays and Wednesdays, 3 PM to 5 PM.
Last semester, the six enrolled communities diverted 978 lbs of food waste from the landfill! The residential composting pilot program began in Spring 2014 with four residential communities. The Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling (OWRR) works with RHA and the Department of Housing and Residential Education to incrementally enroll additional communities each semester. Read more »

Apply Now for Sherpa Fellowship

The Mingma Norbu Sherpa Fellowship provides $1,250 to support study and research at environmental field sites, preferably abroad. Preference will be given to Buckley Public Service Scholars program participants who are majoring in business, environmental or economics disciplines. Apply by February 9th. Read more »

Sustainability Shorts Film Competition

UNC-Greensboro is accepting short film submissions for its 6th annual Sustainability Film and Discussion Series. Entries will be screened at the Weatherspoon Art Museum on Thursday, April 23, at 6:30PM, and winners will receive a cash prize of up to $300. The competition is open to all. Films must be under 10 minutes and focused on sustainability. Entries are due by March 27th. Read more »

Compete in the 2015 MIT Clean Energy Prize

The NSTAR MIT Clean Energy Prize (CEP) is the nation's largest student run energy entrepreneurship competition. Over $400K in prizes are available to cutting-edge startups from universities. Winners will receive $35K in funding and all participants are paired with entrepreneurial mentors. Apply by February 8th. Read more »

Vote Now for the SECU Prize for Innovation

The State Employees Credit Union (SECU) Prize for Innovation challenges students to develop new and innovative ways to address North Carolina’s challenges and future economic well-being. Four student groups have made it to the final round in the “Fan Favorite” category. Cast your vote here to help two teams win $10,000. Read more »

Triangle Transportation Requests Proposals

The Triangle Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Program of the Triangle J Council of Governments requests grant applications for projects and programs to reduce traffic and air pollution. The Triangle TDM Program promotes alternative commuting options, such as carpooling, vanpooling, biking, walking, and teleworking. Apply by March 11th. Read more »

New York Times Covers North Carolina’s Flourishing Food Sisterhood

In a traditionally male-dominated industry, women lead North Carolina’s local-food movement and top-flight restaurants. Women have succeeded by helping one another along the way, stretching beyond restaurants, into pig farming, flour milling and pickling. Women run the state’s pre-eminent pasture-raised meat and organic produce distribution businesses and preside over its farmers’ markets. They influence food policy and lead the state’s academic food studies. And each fall, the state hosts the nation’s only retreat for women in the meat business. Read more »

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Kansas State University – NSF Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates – KS

Colby College – Summer Interdisciplinary Research – Ethiopia

Michigan State University’s Kellogg Biological Station – Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates – MI

Harvard Forest – Summer Research Program in Ecology – MA

Huyck Preserve – Odum Summer Undergraduate Internship in Field Ecology – NY

UC San Diego – Engineers for Exploration REU – CA

Green Business Informatics Tool – Internship – NC

Firsthand Foods – Summer Apprenticeship – NC

Student Action with Farmworkers – ITF Internship – NC

Center for Environmental Farming Systems – Summer Internship – NC

Don Lee Center – Seasonal Environmental Educator and Challenge Course Facilitator – NC

Cape Fear Botanical Garden – Environmental Education Coordinator – NC

East Coast Greenway – Communications Coordinator – NC

City of Raleigh – Manager of Office of Sustainability – NC

AmeriCorps VISTA – Community Outreach Coordinator – NC

AmeriCorps VISTA – Local Food Access Ambassador – NC

Clemson University – Water Resources Extension Agent – SC

Harvard Law School CHLPI – Summer Internships – MA

The University of Alabama at Birmingham – Program Administrator for Sustainability – AL

Job ID #35447BR Read more »

Monday, November 24, 2014

Carolina Earns “Bicycle Friendly” Status

UNC is now one of 100 Bicycle Friendly Universities, earning a silver-level distinction from the League of American Bicyclists. The Bicycle Friendly America Program recognizes communities and universities that actively support bicycling. Carolina has been developing a Bike Master Plan to improve bicycle circulation, infrastructure, and parking on campus. Tar Heel Bikes, the university’s first bicycle share program, provides 30 bikes for free, short-term loan, and plans to expand. 

Tar Heels Partner with Sustainable Textile Manufacturer to Support Recycling

With a goal of driving recycling awareness and education among fans, UNC Athletics is the first collegiate athletics program to join REPREVE's #TurnItGreen™ movement. REPREVE, a leading recycled-fiber brand, is made from recyclable materials, including plastic bottles. On December 3, Tar Heels and REPREVE will turn the Dean Dome green by recycling more than 45,000 plastic bottles into REPREVE-based items. “Working with REPREVE gives us the opportunity to show how green our students and fan base can be, and I'm confident they will rise to the challenge,” said Roy Williams, head men's basketball coach at UNC. "Recycling really does make a significant impact, and we want everyone to take what they learn in the stands and put it into action, so that the entire campus community will recycle even more than we do currently.” 

Conservation Tips for a Sustainable Holiday Season

As we look forward to time away from campus, please remember that our building systems continue to operate during the break. With your efforts, we can reduce our environmental impact and costs over the holidays. Before leaving for any extended period, please: 

  • Shut down desktop and laptop computers unless instructed otherwise by IT or administrative staff. If your computer, speakers, phone charger, etc., are all on one power strip, turn off the power strip after shutting down your computer.
  • Unplug nonessential equipment that draws “phantom load”. Copiers, fax machines, printers, scanners, and chargers often use electricity even when turned off or in sleep mode. Warm transformers, chargers, and equipment are an indication that the device is using power. 
  • Unplug appliances, including coffee makers, microwaves, televisions, and radios. Like office equipment, many appliances use electricity even when turned off. 
  • Adjust the thermostat to 65 degrees or less. 
  • Turn off office lights and as much public lighting as possible in hallways, bathrooms, break rooms, and conference rooms. 
  • Check windows to make sure they are tightly closed and locked. 
  • Check faucets in bathrooms and break rooms to make sure they are completely turned off and not dripping. 
  • If you work in a lab with variable air volume fume hoods, shut the sash completely (just as you should any time the hood is not in use). 
  • Call in any leaks or maintenance issues to your Facilities Services team (962-3456 or www.fac.unc.edu) or Housing Support team if you live in the residence halls (966-2471 or Fix My Room).  
These tips will help keep your building safe and energy-efficient. They also apply at home. Post this information to share with colleagues, suitemates, and fellow building occupants.
Read more »

Carolina Ranks 32nd Among World’s Top Research Universities

According to the U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Global Universities,” Carolina ranks 32nd among the world’s top 500 research universities and 24th among national research universities. “As a leading global public research university, Carolina inspires research, scholarship, and service on some of the most pressing international issues of our time,” said Chancellor Carol Folt. An inventory of university research that incorporates sustainability themes or addresses sustainability-related challenges can be found on the Sustainability Office website

New “Global Impacts on American Waters” Seminar Course

A new interdisciplinary seminar course on planning sustainable solutions for port communities will be offered this spring. The course explores global impacts on American waters including: water quality and availability; transportation by water, rail, and pipeline; and climate change impacts including sea-level rise, storm, and drought severity. AMST 498 with Professor Rachel Willis is for advanced undergraduates and graduate students, and will meet on Mondays from 3:35-6:25pm. 

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Divert 32,940 Pounds of Trash from Landfill

A district-wide composting and waste education effort, funded by cost-savings from decreased trash removal, has led to an 87% reduction in cafeteria landfill waste. Schools took the first step by transitioning from Styrofoam to compostable cafeteria trays with assistance from local organization Every Tray Counts. More than 8,000 students from elementary and middle schools separate compostable, recyclable, and landfill waste in cafeterias across the district. 

Orange County Public Vehicles recognized as NC Smart Fleet

The NC Smart Fleet initiative, a new, statewide program led by the NC Clean Energy Technology Center, recognizes the efficiency efforts of public vehicle fleets. Orange County was recognized as having a NC Smart Fleet for reducing dependence on petroleum by reducing fuel load and adopting more fuel-conserving driving habits. The town of Chapel Hill received a champion level award for reducing emissions over the past three years.
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State Funding Announced for Clean Water Projects

North Carolina’s waterways, wildlife habitat, and water quality will get a boost thanks to $1.9 million in grant funding for projects that protect and improve ecosystem health and quality. Projects supported by the Environmental Enhancement Grant Program have resulted in the closure of 223 animal waste lagoons, the restoration or conservation of more than 20,700 acres of natural areas and wildlife habitat, and environmental education and research initiatives. 

Clinton Global Initiative University

The Clinton Global Initiative University engages the next generation of leaders to develop innovative solutions to global challenges. The 2015 conference will take place at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, from March 6-8, 2015. The final application deadline is December 1, 2014.
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Apply Now for the EPA P3 Competition

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking proposals to research and develop solutions to real world challenges. The People, Prosperity, and Planet Program (P3) will award up to $90K for teams to implement proposals in the field and marketplace. Last cycle award winners include projects on low-cost water quality monitoring, an air conditioning system that runs on solar power, and a campus recycling program for Styrofoam packaging. Submit proposals by December 16. 

Environmental Magazine Call for Submissions

Let the environment inspire you to create and share. eno is run by students in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University to encourage and publish artistic expression that inspires a deeper engagement with the environment. Submissions of writing or art are being accepted until November 26th.

Carolina in the News

Check out recent media mentions of sustainability-related programs, practices, and people at UNC: 

15 Years of Leadership in Sustainable Enterprise 
UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School was one of the first business schools to offer a comprehensive curriculum in sustainable enterprise that includes experiential learning, enrichment activities, and career development. Today more than 550 MBA students have graduated with a concentration in sustainable enterprise and are pursuing a wide range of careers. “Sustainable enterprise is a strategic strength for UNC Kenan-Flagler,” said Al Segars, faculty director of the School’s Center for Sustainable Enterprise. The school's sustainability initiatives include the Sustainability Leadership Capstone course, a unique model of experiential learning; the Investing for Impact Competition, in which students assess socially and environmentally sustainable firms; and the MBA and undergraduate Net Impact clubs, which have received gold chapter standing for the last three years. 

Thanks to UNC News Services for finding these great stories! You can find more UNC media coverage and stories online at uncnews.unc.edu.

Green Tip

Consider wasting less this Thanksgiving. Plan ahead and practice portion control. After the meal, donate your leftovers to a nearby food bank and don’t forget to compost your food scraps. 

The Water Institute at UNC – Director for Research – NC

City of Raleigh Stormwater Management - Senior Project Engineer – NC

Centralina Council of Governments (CCOG) – Senior Planner-Sustainability – NC

Southern Energy Management – Director of First Impressions – NC

NC Division of Air Quality – Environmental Program Consultant – NC

AmeriCorps VISTA – Community Outreach Coordinator and Local Food Access Ambassador – NC

Interpretation and Education Assistant – NC Parks and Recreation – NC

Alliance for Climate Education – Program Associate – NC

Triangle J Council of Governments – Planner II - Energy, Environment and Transportation – NC

Western Carolina University – Coastal Research Scientist – NC

National Parks Business Plan Internship for Graduate Students – Multiple Locations

University of Richmond – Director of Sustainability – VA

University of California – Office of the Chief Investment Officer – Sustainability Director and Sustainability Officer – CA

Pomona College – Energy Manager – CA

Friday, September 26, 2014

UNC Board of Trustees Adopts Proposal to Invest in Clean Energy

The UNC Board of Trustees unanimously adopted the Sierra Student Coalition’s proposal to target clean energy in future investments for the University’s $2.1 billion endowment. The Board resolution encourages the UNC Management Company, which handles the endowment funds, to research investments that advance environmentally-friendly, clean energy strategies. The resolution will not affect current investments in coal-related energy companies. The Sierra Student Coalition led a coal divestment campaign last year that was supported by 77% of voting students. 

New Rankings Showcase Sustainability Initiatives at Carolina

The Sierra Club’s 2014 “Cool Schools” annual sustainability report ranked Carolina 15th out of 173 participating colleges and universities. Carolina was recognized for water reduction and energy savings, and overall, placed first in the state. The University of California Irvine was rated the Number 1 coolest school in the country thanks to its water-recycling program, on-site solar power projects, and summer institute for sustainability leadership. The “Cool Schools” ranking serves as a guide for prospective students to compare schools' commitment to sustainability. 

Best College Rankings published an online list of “100 Colleges Doing Green Right,” which showcases how sustainability-focused college websites communicate with students. The report recognized Carolina’s interactive sustainability map and Climate Action Plan as notable campus sustainability initiatives. 

SaveOnEnergy.com reviewed the sustainability efforts of top football universities, with Carolina ranking 6th out of 25. The review highlights the Rameses Recycles Program for providing recycling to tailgaters, educating fans, composting food waste, and separating trash and recyclables during clean-up.

Learn to Lead Staff Sustainability Efforts

“Making the Workplace More Sustainable,” an interactive staff sustainability workshop, helps participants identify, measure and promote sustainable change opportunities in their work areas. Participants learn about sustainability goals and initiatives at UNC, become “green events” certified, and learn how to conduct a Workplace Sustainability Assessment. The upcoming, two-day training will be held Tuesday, October 14, and Thursday, October 16, from 8:30 am - 12:30 pm, at the Administrative Office Building on Airport Drive. Register soon, space is limited. 

UNC-Led Team Receives $2.2 Million to Develop Water Strategies for Southeast

The Southeastern United States, an area generally accustomed to abundant water supply, faces unprecedented water scarcity caused by global climate change, population growth, and limited new sources. An interdisciplinary team led by Greg Characklis, professor of environmental sciences and engineering at the Gillings School of Global Public Health and director of the Center for Watershed Science and Management at the UNC Institute for the Environment, was recently awarded a $2.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Characklis and his team will develop innovative, sustainable strategies for meeting future water demands in the Southeastern United States.

Carolina Recognizes Planning Professor

Daniel A. Rodriguez has been named Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Community Design in the Department of City and Regional Planning and will also join the UNC Institute for the Environment as the director of the Center for Sustainable Community Design. His research focuses on transportation planning and policy, public transit, and the relationship between transportation and the built environment. The professorship was established to support cutting-edge research in sustainable development.

Register Now for “Future Vision: Survival Tactics for Our Changing Environment”

Throughout October, UNC-Chapel Hill researchers will present their findings on urbanization, climate change, water supply, flood protection, and environmental stewardship. The “What’s the Big Idea?” lecture series will be held every Thursday evening in October from 7–8:30 pm at the Friday Center. Each course is $10, or you can register for all four lectures for only $30.

Volunteer Abroad for Sustainability Projects

Help international communities drive sustainable change while earning academic credit with Growth International Volunteer Excursions (GIVE). UNC students can volunteer abroad in Northern Thailand, Nicaragua, and Tanzania for service learning in education, sustainable infrastructure projects, and environmental conservation.

Northside Elementary Becomes NC’s First LEED Platinum Elementary School

Northside Elementary School in Chapel Hill, NC, has earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification. The three-story, 100,000-square-foot school opened in the fall of 2013. The design incorporates a garden roof area, a comprehensive stormwater management plan, permeable pavers, porous playground surfaces, and light shelves to maximize daylight in classrooms and reduce the energy spent for lighting. Northside Elementary is one of only twenty LEED Platinum public schools in the nation, and one of only four elementary schools.

New Community for Student Sustainability Leaders

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) recently launched the EcoLeaders Initiative – an online community for student sustainability leaders to create personal profiles, share current projects, and connect with other student leaders. NWF Campus Ecology works with students to create greener campuses and communities. 

Federal Funding for Carolinas to Gauge Offshore Sand

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the Carolinas are receiving $400,000 from the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management to evaluate offshore sand deposits. Knowing the locations of sand deposits will help state and local communities maintain their beaches and recover after storms. "The results of this study will help sustain our unique coastline and help to support the substantial positive economic impact the coastline has on the state," said Ken Rentiers, the deputy director of the Land, Water and Conservation Division of South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

Fixing Climate Change May Add No Cost, Report Says

The New York Times 
A new report casts doubt on the costliness of tackling climate change, claiming that necessary fixes could wind up being effectively free. The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate found that measures to limit emissions would cost approximately $4 trillion over the next 15 years, an increase of roughly 5 percent over the amount that would likely be spent anyway on new power plants, transit systems and other infrastructure. When the secondary benefits of greener policies — like lower fuel costs, fewer premature deaths from air pollution and reduced medical bills — are taken into account, the changes might help save money. “We are proposing a way to have the same or even more economic growth, and at the same time have environmental responsibility,” said the chairman of the commission, Felipe Calderón, the former president of Mexico and an economist. “We need to fix this problem of climate change, because it’s affecting all of us.” 

Carolina in the News

Check out the recent media mentions of sustainability-related programs, practices, and people at UNC:

UNC Researchers Discover “Burping Estuaries”  
Public Radio East 
Large bodies of water absorb and store carbon dioxide. Dr. Hans Paerl, Professor of Marine Sciences at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, and Dr. Joey Crosswell, postdoctoral researcher, discovered that tropical storms and hurricanes can cause stored carbon dioxide to be released all at one time. “Burping estuaries” could be a significant source of CO2 emissions. The only way to lessen the effect is to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that humans introduce into the environment. “And so that means controlling emissions, like agricultural emissions,” says Dr. Paerl, “which generate quite a bit of CO2.” 

Kenan-Flagler Business School Honored for Course Innovation 
The Entrepreneurship Division of the Academy of Management and McGraw-Hill selected Lisa Jones Christensen, assistant professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, to receive the 2014 Innovation in Entrepreneurship Pedagogy Award. Christensen’s Sustainability Leadership Capstone course uses entrepreneurship to advance leadership skills and students’ knowledge of sustainable business practices through a framework that compares local and international sustainability issues. “They leave the formal classroom behind and join partners to co-create solutions to entrepreneurial challenges using a sustainability lens,” said Jones Christensen.

UNC Student Research Prepares Duplin County for Waste-to-Energy Facilities 
The Herald Sun 
A new plant to capture gas from hog waste and turn it into usable energy has been proposed for Duplin County, NC. As part of the N.C. Strategic Economic Growth initiative, recent UNC graduate Carolyn Fryberger researched fifteen communities with waste-to-energy facilities to help officials understand the potential impacts of hog waste energy generation and address concerns about potential odors. Fryberger reports that the odors can be reduced and controlled. The N.C. Strategic Economic Growth initiative works to help distressed areas by pairing UNC-Chapel Hill MBA students with private company leaders to create economic development plans for communities. 

College Campuses Commit to the Real Food Challenge
UNC Chapel Hill is one of 140 universities participating in the Real Food Challenge. An online calculator helps campuses measure and report on sustainably-produced food served to students. Using the Real Food Calculator, UNC is shifting university food spending away from industrial agriculture and empty calories and towards local, fair, ecologically sound, and humanely produced food. Last semester, student researchers at Carolina found that 26% of food served on campus in February was “Real Food.” Over 600 student researchers across the U.S. have used the online tool to review 84,297 products and $71 million worth of campus food purchases. 

Why Environmental Rankings Should Include Social Impact 
The Guardian 
While everybody loves a good top-10 list, sustainability rankings often fail to include social metrics that provide a more complete picture of a company's societal impact. Carol Hee, director of the Center for Sustainable Enterprise at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, says that if we define sustainability as the “triple bottom line” – measuring business performance in terms of its effects on people, the planet and profit –corporate executives and stakeholders are provided with a comprehensive lens through which to assess sustainability. To determine whether a company is authentically sustainable, Hee seeks information on the management team, the firm’s corporate governance and the culture. “I’d also want to know whether the firm was socially responsible,” she said. “How does the firm treat its employees, retirees and job applicants? Does the firm have non-discriminatory practices, pay a fair wage, offer safe working conditions and benefits like health care and paid time off?” Hee argues that social responsibility stretches beyond a company’s walls, extending to its interactions with overseas workers and the local community. 
Read more »

Thanks to UNC News Services for finding these great stories AND compiling the summaries! You can find more UNC media coverage and stories online at uncnews.unc.edu.

Green Tip

September is National Wilderness Month. Consider taking a day trip to one of North Carolina’s beautiful and historic wilderness areas. Be sure to stay on designated paths, pack-in, pack-out, and bring plenty of water. Read more »

Environment America – Undergraduate Internships – Nationwide

The Water Institute at UNC – Multiple Positions – NC

SEEDS – Multiple Positions – NC

AmeriCorps VISTA – Multiple Positions – NC

Department of Environment & Natural Resource – Multiple Positions – NC

Southern Energy Management – Solar PV Technician – NC

Learning Outside – Outdoor Educator – NC

Yadkin Riverkeeper – Riverkeeper Position – NC

Wesleyan University – Grounds Manager – CT

Waterkeeper Alliance – Multiple Positions – NY

The Post-Landfill Action Network – Director of Development – NH

Second Nature, Inc. – Administrative Assistant – MA

Tufts University – Program Administrator, Institute of the Environment – MA

Concordia College – Sustainability Coordinator – MN

University of California, Santa Barbara – Events Manager, Sustainability Conference – CA

California State University, Chico – Sustainability Coordinator – CA

Monday, July 28, 2014

Carolina in the News

Check out the recent media mentions of sustainability-related programs, practices, and people at UNC:

Oyster Reefs Grow Faster than Sea-Level Rise
Phys Org (Research and Technology News)
Rising sea levels due to climate change and ice melt are threatening coastal ecosystems. Oyster reefs are particularly sensitive to additional habitat loss. Ninety-five percent of oyster reefs on the East Coast have already been lost due to habitat degradation and overfishing. Biologists Tony Rodriguez and Joel Fodrie at The University of North Carolina Marine Science Institute are studying how oyster reefs respond to sea-level rise and how shoreline restoration improves their chance of survival. They discovered that oyster reefs can grow up to ten times faster than previous estimates, fast enough to outpace even the most extreme predictions of sea-level rise. Their work provides guidance to produce the biggest and healthiest reef. Read more » 

Water Conservation and Financial Stability
National Geographic
Pricing is a powerful tool for shaping behavior, including water use. More water utilities are adopting water rates designed to encourage customers to conserve. This is great news from a conservation standpoint, but the unintended result can be unexpected reductions in revenue for water utilities. The Environmental Finance Center at The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill developed a tool to help water systems anticipate revenue risks. The Water Utility Revenue Risk Assessment Tool allows users to compare two different rate structures and to assess which one offers greater revenue resiliency. Read more » 

Air Pollution Controls Lower NC Death Rates
Newsobserver.com; Nature
Researchers at Stanford University found that climate change is leading to global air stagnation, which worsens air quality by trapping pollution in the lower atmosphere. “This study shows how widespread the effects of air stagnation will be,” says Jason West, an environmental scientist at UNC Chapel Hill. Poor air quality results in more cases of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and respiratory diseases. Over the past few decades, policies in response to legislation such as the Clean Air Act and North Carolina’s 2002 Clean Smokestacks Act have improved NC’s air quality. Sulfur dioxide emissions in NC have dropped 92 percent since 2005, and half of NC’s aging coal plants have shut down. In order to determine whether stricter pollution controls have affected public health in North Carolina, researchers at Duke University combined environmental and health-related data from 1993 to 2010. The study found a correlation between air pollution control and a substantial decline in deaths from respiratory illnesses such as asthma and emphysema. Read more » 

Scientists Map Sea Floor for Wind Energy
Newsobserver.com; UNC-TV
North Carolina’s coastline boasts some of the strongest and steadiest winds in the nation. To determine appropriate locations for offshore wind turbines, marine science researchers at UNC are working to map and explore North Carolina’s sea floor. Avery Paxton, a graduate student in Biology at the UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, studies the rocky reefs off of North Carolina’s coast. Paxton identifies important reefs that must be protected from wind turbine construction. To identify ideal wind turbine locations, researchers at UNC Chapel Hill’s Institute of Marine Sciences deployed two buoys between Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras to collect information on water and atmospheric conditions in the Atlantic. Researchers at UNC are part of a joint research effort to map the sea floor for wind energy, led by The National Ocean Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, UNC and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Only 7 percent of the Southeast’s sea floor has been mapped with modern sonars and hydrographical surveys. Read more » 

UNC Creates a Renewable Energy Future
Rocky Mountain Institute
The oldest public university in the nation is embracing modern technologies to fulfill its commitment to the state’s environmental health and the efficient use of energy. The University of North Carolina recently sent a team to Rocky Mountain Institute’s eLab Accelerator to learn how it can employ more renewable energy on its 17 campuses. The team focused on solar photovoltaics as a potentially valuable source of energy for the UNC system. The team learned that the North Carolina utility and regulatory environment presents challenges to emerging renewable energy business models, and that solar energy as a grid resource is largely undervalued. Also, given the current tax‐credit business models and the UNC system’s capital availability, building and financing large‐scale renewable energy resources will require external sources of funding. During Accelerator, the UNC team developed a list of funding options, identified primary team members, met and built relationships with utility representatives, further developed their project vision, and came up with a plan for next steps. The team is developing techniques that will benefit North Carolina in the future. UNC currently spends about $1,000 per student per year on energy. Its financial goal is to save the state $1 billion over 20 years. Read more » 

Discovering New N.C. Plants in the 21st Century
In North Carolina, two or three new plant species are described and given scientific names each year. For 25 years, Alan Weakley, director of the UNC Herbarium, has been writing “The Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States,” an ever-growing book that now describes 7,000 plant species. The most recent draft is available online at the UNC Herbarium website, and Weakley’s work will soon be available as an app called FloraQuest. Read more »

Thanks to UNC News Services for finding these great stories AND compiling the summaries! You can find more UNC media coverage and stories online at http://uncnews.unc.edu.

Green Tip

Fresh produce is easy to come by this time of year. Try pickling fresh cucumbers and other vegetables while they are in season. Pickles stay eco-friendly year-round. Read more »

UNC Earns Gold in National Sustainability Assessment

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) is a comprehensive, objective, and transparent reporting tool that measures sustainability performance of colleges and universities nationwide. STARS participants pursue credits and earn points to achieve a STARS Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum rating.

The Sustainability Office is proud to announce that UNC Chapel Hill has earned a gold rating in STARS 2.0. This achievement recognizes the University's progress and opportunities for improvement in all areas of education, research, operations, planning, administration, engagement, and innovation.

STARS is a valuable tool to help Carolina measure its progress in achieving environmental quality, economic prosperity, and societal well‐being in the campus community and beyond. Comparing Carolina’s first AASHE STARS report, which received a silver rating in 2011, to this recent report, highlights improvement:

  • Energy use is down 33% per square foot since 2003 and potable water use is down 60% per square foot since 2000. 
  • More than 400 researchers, or 15% of the faculty, are engaged in sustainability research.
  • More than 11% of classes incorporate sustainability themes or address sustainability challenges. 

The STARS process is a collaborative, campus-wide effort in assessing and reporting the integration of sustainability into Carolina’s policies, practices, curriculum, research and behaviors. "We are proud to be a charter STARS participant and to attain a STARS Gold rating. Sustainability is a core value at Carolina and we are committed to advancing sustainability in all our endeavors," stated UNC Chancellor Carol Folt in submitting the University's STARS report. The University's complete AASHE STARS report is now publicly available online at https://stars.aashe.org/institutions/university-of-north-carolina-chapel-hill-nc/report/2014-07-18/

Federal Funding to Expand Solar Energy Research at UNC

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Basic Energy Sciences has granted $10.8 million in research funding to the Energy Frontier Research Center for Solar Fuels (EFRC) at UNC Chapel Hill. This award, part of a $100 million per year initiative from the Department of Energy, will be used for research to develop devices with earth-abundant materials that generate and store solar fuels for long durations at low cost. “We are delighted with the news of continued support by the Department of Energy for our leading edge research on a new approach to solar energy conversion and storage,” said Thomas J. Meyer, Arey Professor of Chemistry. The EFRC for Solar Fuels collaborates with researchers from the University of Florida, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Research Triangle Institute and receives strong institutional support from UNC. Read more »

Staff Sustainability Training, Tuesday, October 14, and Thursday, October 16

Sustainability is a core value and top-level priority at Carolina. Success depends on each of us taking an active role. Be the leader in your workplace by learning practical steps to become more economically, environmentally, and socially responsible. This workshop will help participants identify, measure, and promote sustainable change opportunities in their areas. Participants will learn about sustainability goals and initiatives at UNC, become “green events” certified, and learn how to conduct a Workplace Sustainability Assessment. The upcoming two-day training will be held Tuesday, October 14, and Thursday, October 16, from 8:30 am - 12:30 pm, at the Administrative Office Building on Airport Drive. Register soon, space is limited. Read more »

Carolina-Led Global Health Consortium Awarded $180 Million

The Carolina Population Center has received a five-year, $180 million award from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for its Monitoring and Evaluation to Assess and Use Results (MEASURE) Evaluation project. MEASURE evaluates public health programs around the world to ensure that government funds are used effectively and support improvements in health and nutrition. This is the second-largest award ever received by UNC Chapel Hill. Read more »

Researchers Ponder Power from Pig Methane

Eastern North Carolina is home to the densest industrial swine farming activity in the world. High concentrations of swine waste affect environmental quality, public health and property values in neighboring communities. The Kenan Institute at UNC-Chapel Hill, in close partnership with the Department of City and Regional Planning and Duke University’s Carbon Offsets Initiative, is investigating the potential to utilize swine waste for electricity production and other uses. Swine waste-to-energy development can mitigate community impacts while creating new forms of revenue from on-farm electricity production. Read more »

EPA Awards $2 Million to Environmental Finance Center at UNC

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded $2 million to the Environmental Finance Center (EFC) to improve the nation’s smallest water systems. Housed in UNC’s School of Government, the EFC will team up with the Environmental Finance Center Network and the American Water Works Association to improve water system management. “Small water systems comprise more than 94 percent of the nation’s 157,000 public water systems and struggle much more to meet clean drinking water standards than their larger counterparts,” said Glenn Barnes, senior project director of the UNC EFC. Twenty-five percent of the nation’s smallest water systems violated health-based standards in 2011. Read more »

Environmental Finance Applied Abroad

A three-week Applied International Environmental Finance program in Quito, Ecuador, brings students, researchers and environmental professionals together to discuss environmental projects and services financing. The Environmental Finance Center at UNC, in collaboration with TripleSalto, sponsors this course in response to growing interest in applied international environmental finance among public administration, public health, and environmental engineering masters students at Carolina. Students enrolled in the course plan to share findings with governmental officials and local non-profits to establish a sustainable funding mechanism for environmental programs. Read more »

May and June Were Hottest on Record

The world experienced record heat throughout the last two months. May and June 2014 were the warmest globally since records began in 1880, with temperature averages 1.3°F higher than the averages for both months. The average global temperature in May was 59.9°F, and the average global temperature in June was 61.2°F. Research suggests that the timing and intensity of the next El Niño will determine whether or not 2014 becomes the hottest year on record. Read more »

UNC Asheville Announces New Sustainability Institute

The McCullough Institute for Conservation, Land Use and Environmental Resiliency at the University of North Carolina at Asheville will be a national model for blending environmental study with business and sustainable economic growth. Students will study data analytics and mapping, environmental and administrative law, new technology applications, and critical ecosystem preservation. “There has never been a greater demand for graduates with expertise in managing the urban, environmental and agricultural challenges that are changing the way businesses plan for the future,” said Chancellor Anne Ponder. Read more »

N.C. Solar Center Changes its Name to N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center

The N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University has changed its name to the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center to reflect the progress of the clean energy industry. The Center serves as a resource for innovative, clean energy technologies through demonstration, technical assistance, outreach and training. Over the past 25 years, The Center has been at the forefront of North Carolina’s growth and authority in clean energy technologies. Today, North Carolina supports more than 15,000 direct jobs at more than 1,000 companies in the clean energy sector. Read more »

New Initiatives Support National Climate Agenda

The New York Times
The White House announces a new series of climate change initiatives to guard the electricity supply, improve local planning for floods, storms and erosion, and enhance landslide risk predictions. Federal actions include a $236.3 million award to advance electricity infrastructure in the rural areas of eight states and a $10 million program to train Native American tribes on climate change adaptations. Read more »

EPA Proposes HFC Ban

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), chemicals used for refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, contribute to global temperature increases. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a ban on HFCs where climate-friendly alternatives are available. The EPA estimates that carbon dioxide pollution in the Earth’s atmosphere would be reduced by 42 million metric tons within five years if legislation passes. Read more »

Water Institute Hosts Worldwide Competition

The Future Technologies for Water competition aims to identify breakthrough technologies for safe water with a sustainable business plan. A first-place prize of $15,000 and a second-place prize of $5,000, sponsored by the Takata Corporation, will be awarded to the two top finalists. Applications are due by July 31, 2014. Read more »

Global Food Security Student Fellowship

The Kirchner Food Fellowship Program fosters the development of practical skills and knowledge to make effective investments in emerging agricultural technologies and sustainable global food security. Fellows receive mentoring from investors and engage in face-to-face and on-line education experiences throughout the 16 week program. Applications are due by July 28. Read more »

Mountains to the Sea AmeriCorps Program – Full-Time Service Positions – NC

N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center – Clean Power and Industrial Efficiency Project Coordinator – NC

N.C. Zoo – Children’s Play Leader – NC