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Archive for 2011

Nov 28

Green Your Holiday!


Published in 2011

Make sure for the holidays this year, you shop as local as you can! Support your local economy!

Here are some places in Bemidji to check out:
Yellow Umbrella

Red Umbrella

Books N More

KD Floral & Gardens

Glazed & Amused

McKenzie Place

Ben Franklin

Chocolates Plus

Kat’s Book Nook

The Glass Shack

Morell’s Chippewa Trading Post

The Old Schoolhouse

Grandma’s Attic Antique Mall

Nov 14

US delays Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to look at new routes in Nebraska


Published in 2011

Good News!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/industries/us-orders-new-route-for-keystone-xl-oil-pipeline-from-canada/2011/11/10/gIQAGx5C9M_story.html

 

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Nov 2

Sustainability Office hosts New Green Corps Member!


Published in 2011

[gallery]

Last spring, BSU’s Sustainability Office applied to be a host site for the Minnesota GreenCorps, a program of AmeriCorps. This October, BSU was selected as one of 26 sites across the state.

“Launched in 2009, Minnesota GreenCorps is a statewide initiative to help preserve and protect Minnesota’s environment while training a new generation of environmental professionals. This program places AmeriCorps members with local governments, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations around Minnesota, where they will serve for 11 months on focused environmental projects. The program is coordinated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.”[i]

Bemidji’s GreenCorps member, Brett Cease, began his work on Monday, October 17th and has begun to focus on several areas outlined below:

“The goal of this project will be to integrate sustainable practices into local businesses, schools, and government entities.  The GreenCorps member will provide education regarding more sustainable practices and assist in implementing these practices.”

One objective of this project will be to assist the City of Bemidji, Bemidji State University, and Rail River Folk School with the marketing, maintenance, and utilization of community gardens.  All three institutions have implemented large garden projects within the past two
years and there exists ample opportunity to educate the community on the benefits of local foods.

A second objective will be to assist the City of Bemidji with the GreenStep Cities program.  The City is interested in the program, but would like more detail regarding the commitments and cost of the program.  Brett will work with the City of Bemidji Sustainability Committee to investigate the opportunities and value this program would bring to the City.

One other objective of Brett’s position is to educate the campus and Bemidji community on ways to reduce waste and conserve water and energy. Bemidji businesses and organizations will be contacted and have the opportunity to request the assistance of the GreenCorps member to
identify ways to save electricity, use less water, and/or produce less waste.

Brett has already been working with the office and the larger community on a variety of fronts related to sustainability in the past year and the office is very excited about this opportunity to work together with Brett and broaden our outreach!

In the months ahead, everyone is invited to stop by the Sustainability Office to meet Brett and provide any ideas, comments, or suggestions you have on how to utilize his position to benefit the university and Bemidji in any efforts related to sustainability and green living.

Welcome Brett!


[i] (http://www.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/topics/preventing-waste-and-pollution/sustainability/minnesota-greencorps/minnesota-greencorps.html):

 

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Oct 28

4th Annual Waste Audit!


Published in 2011

Curious to know how much people on the BSU campus  throw away? Wondering how much stuff in that garbage is actually recyclable or even compostable?

Well you can finally find out by helping the Sustainability Office with their waste audit happening October 31st through November 4th from 1-3pm in the Sustainability Office!

Stop in, we’ll provide the gloves (and possibly a face mask!), and let the digging begin!

Just in case you’re wondering, here are the results from previous years.

 

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Oct 10

"Pipeline? We don’t need no stinkin’ pipeline"


Published in 2011

Lester Brown (a United States environmental analyst, founder of the Worldwatch Institute, and founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute, a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C. BBC Radio commentator Peter Day calls him “one of the great pioneer environmentalists.”) wrote an article on the Alberta Tar Sands.

 

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Oct 10

Gitigaan


Published in 2011

Gitigaan

Early this summer the Sustainability Office with help from the summer People in the Environment class created a campus community garden on the corner of Birch Lane and 16th street on the BSU campus. The project included removing the sod from the 99ft X 59ft space that was to become the garden, hauling in compost, tilling the compost into the soil, putting up the fence, sectioning off the plots, planting and finally watching it grow. The building of the garden took about 1.5 months to complete. The project was initially delayed because of a late snow fall and wet conditions. Plots were rented out at $5 a year to students and staff. There are 28 plots rented out by 19 people. The project had its share of obstacles, mainly digging bricks out of post holes, but all were overcome or worked out best as possible. Over all, the garden project is considered to be a huge success. The name Gitigaan means garden in Ojibwe.

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Sep 14

It's been a while...


Published in 2011

The office has been super busy, we haven’t been able to blog in a while. There are so many things going on!

Tonight (September 14th, 2011) in the AIRC (American Indian Resource Center) starting at 7pm, there will be a presentation on Solar Energy. Jason Edens, founder of RREAL (Rural Renewable Energy Alliance) and Pat Welle, BSU professor in Economics and Environmental Studies, will be talking about the benefits of solar energy and the harms of fossil fuels.  This will be a great discussion!

3 employees in the Sustainability Office just finished a beautiful shed for the campus garden! If you haven’t seen the garden yet, go check it out!

The FreeStore is always in high demand! So there’s always work to be done on that.

The Sustainability Office was recently apart of some great community events as well. We had a booth at the Community Appreciation day and at the Women’s Expo. Those we both great opportunities for us to get the message out about Sustainabilty!

Last, but not least, we have another Traditional Skills Workshop planned! On Sept. 29th at 7pm in the Sustainability Office, you will have the opportunity to learn how to preserve your food. Everything from canning to drying to freezing your food will be discussed! This event is free for students and $7 for everyone else. Hope you can make it!

That’s all for now. Stop on in, there’s always something going on!

Hannah Hutchins

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Sep 14

Are Bikes taking over the world?


Published in 2011

I was given this article by a fellow bike-lover and I wanted to share it with everyone.

http://www.midwestenergynews.com/2011/09/13/bikes-boom-in-minneapolis-but-remain-a-political-target/

Enjoy and be inspired!

Hannah Hutchins

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Aug 23

Welcome Back!


Published in 2011

Hey everybody!
Hope your summer went well and you enjoyed the beautiful summer days!

The summer staff worked extremely hard preparing for this fall and the campus garden. Make sure to check it out before winter comes. It’s located across the street from the library and next to the Laurel House.

Everyone here is really excited for this year! We already have events planned and many things to do. So please stop by and say Hello!

Hope to see ya around,
Hannah Hutchins

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Jun 9

BSU named one of top Eco Schools in the country by the Princeton Review!


Published in 2011

Check out this site to learn more or to download the document:

http://www.princetonreview.com/green-guide.aspx

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Jun 9

Eight "Rules of the Road" for bike safety


Published in 2011

* Bicyclists may ride on all Minnesota roads, except where restricted - such as interstates.

* Bicyclists should ride on the road, and must ride in the same direction as traffic.

* Motorists must at all times maintain a three-foot clearance when passing a bicyclist.

* Bicyclists must obey all traffic control signs and signals, just as motorists.

* Motorists and bicyclists must yield the right of way to each other.

* Bicyclists must signal their turns and should ride in a predictable manner.

* Bicyclists must use a headlight and rear reflectors when it’s dark.

* Bicyclists should always wear helmets and bright reflective gear.

DPS reports each that year an average of eight bicyclists are killed and more than 950 are injured in crashes with vehicles. Most bicycle crashes occur during afternoon rush hours. People under age 25 represent more than half of all bicyclists injured annually.

For information about MnDOT’s “Share the Road” bicycle safety education program visit http://www.sharetheroadmn.org/index.html.

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May 2

Green Expo


Published in 2011

Hey everyone,

Hope finals are going well! Wanted to let everyone know of the Green Expo that’s going on May 7th and 8th at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds!

http://www.livinggreenexpo.mn/

There’s going to be a lot of great booths, speakers, events going on there!

Have a wonderful summer,

Hannah Hutchins

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Apr 13

Earth Week Celebration!!


Published in 2011

Hey Everybody!

So starting this Friday (15th) with the Energy Panel,  Students for the Environment and the Sustainability Office will be celebrating Earth Day with week long events. Here is what will be happening:

MONDAY (April 18th)
11am - 1pm: (Scandinavian Room in Lower Union) Learn gardening tips from a Master Gardener
5pm: (Meet at Diamond Point Park) Bike around Bemidji Lake! Helmets required; bikes and helmets available if needed
7pm: (Bemidji City Hall) Come to the Bemidji City Council Meeting; Will the Sanford Center have solar panels? Show your support!

TUESDAY (April 19th)
9am: Garden Project, meet at Berg Property (South of Laurel House by parking meters)
6:30 - 8:30pm: Traditional Skills Workshop in Linden Hall. Learn how to make homemade soymilk, flatbread, and noodles. Sign up in the Sustainability Office

WEDNESDAY (April 20th) EARTH DAY CELEBRATION (Volunteer opportunities)
5 - 8pm: (In front of lower union)
Henna Tattoos
FREE buffalo burgers & food for all students (with show of I.D.), $3 for non-students
Games, Free Bike Tune-ups
Live music!
Farmers Market, IEN, GREN booths
THURSDAY (April 21st)
7pm: Movie in Ed Arts 115, “Green Fire”, Green Fire explores Leopold’s personal journey of obser-vation and understanding and reveals how his ideas resonate today with people across the entire American landscape

FRIDAY (April 22nd)
Honor the Earth Celebration

MONDAY (April 25th) (volunteer opportunity)
5-7pm: Lake-Shore Clean-up
Meet at Diamond Point Park or Paul and Babe (your choice) to make Bemidji a better place! (Trash bags and gloves provided)
Picture will be taken after the clean-up!

Hope to see you there, Hannah Hutchins

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Apr 11

Car parts made out of mushrooms will—wait, what?


Published in 2011

Hey everyone!

Found this article on a company called Ecovative who discovered a way to make car parts, Styrofoam and plastic out of mushrooms!! Check out the article (there’s other articles on the subject under “Straight to the Source”)

http://www.grist.org/list/2011-04-08-car-parts-made-out-of-mushrooms-will-wait-what

Hannah Hutchins

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Apr 4

TOMS one day without shoes


Published in 2011

Hi everyone! Just wanted to share this article that I found on MSN about the fourth annual global campaign that TOMS sponsors. The whole idea is that people go one day without shoes, that day being tomorrow April 5th, in order to start conversation amongst peoples and get them aware about the health risks for kids who cannot afford a pair of shoes. For every pair of shoes sold, TOMS and its nonprofit subsidiary companions will donate a pair of shoes to a child in need. Please read the article and if you are able to take part by not wearing shoes tomorrow!

 

http://entertainment.msn.com/one-day-without-shoes/?gt1=34148

 

Emily Johnson

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Mar 31

Linden Hall is Winner of Do It In the Dark


Published in 2011

This year, Linden Hall won the energy saving competition called Do It In the Dark. For the month of February, they saved 8,572.48 kwh, which comes to $557.21!

There will be a party for them held in the Linden Hall front lobby on April 13th, from 7-8pm. Thanks to the Dining Services there will be cake and drinks provided and thanks to Residential Life, they will get $300 in congratulations.  Also, Students for the Environment will be giving away five individual prizes to students that signed up for the competition before February.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the competition. You’re efforts saved the campus 10,814.05 kwh, which comes to $702.91 for the month of February!

Hannah Hutchins

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Mar 28

Plastic, not fantastic. Bottled water and you.


Published in 2011

Since last spring, the Sustainability Office has been working on a project to reduce the amount of plastic consumed on campus. There are several reasons why we are dedicating our time and energy to this. Plastic does not serve well as a disposable item because it takes up to 500-1,000 years for it to degrade in a landfill. We found the following list of items and their time to biodegrade on a lesson plan for the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.

Banana 3-4 weeks
Paper bag 1 month
Cotton rag 5 months
Wool sock 1 year
Cigarette butt 2-5 years
Leather boot (or shoe) 40-50 years
Rubber sole of leather boot (or shoe) 50-80 years
Tin can 80-100 years
Aluminum can 200-500 years
Plastic 6-pack rings 450 years
Plastic jug 1 million years
Styrofoam cup Unknown? Forever?
Glass bottle Unknown? Forever?
(info from nevadarecycles.gov/doc/curriculum/lesson%204%20master.pdf)

However, if left in sunshine with oxygen will break down faster, but that can be unhealthy because of that releases harmful chemicals into the air, soil, and water. Actually, plastic releases dangerous chemicals throughout its life-cycle. According to Eureka Recycling, benzene and vinyl chloride are released during production, which cause cancer; carcinogens within the plastic can contaminate food or liquids when the container is heated or damaged, and dioxin is released from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) when burned or produced. Dioxin is one of the most toxic chemicals that humans know of. These risks are dependent on the type of plastic. Some are better for food than others, but all plastics may be harmful if they wear out or heated. Plastic type “1″ and “2″ are regarded to be safer while those numbered “6″ and “7″ should be avoided. Check out this article for more information:http://www.infobarrel.com/EPA_Rethinks_Plastic_Bottle_Safety%3A_How_to_Identify_Types_of_Plastics_You_Use

With this information, we decided to focus on bottled water because it has an obvious substitute: the tap! Although, all plastic containers should be held under the same scrutiny and avoided where possible. Some interesting things about bottled water is that it has the perception to be more pure and regulated than tap water, but this is false. Read this excerpt from the Reader’s Digest article “Bottled Water Vs. Tap Water” at http://www.rd.com/health/rethink-what-you-drink/

“Bottled water is regulated for safety, but it’s a tricky thing. The EPA regulates tap water, while the FDA oversees bottled. Yet FDA oversight doesn’t apply to water packaged and sold within the same state, leaving some 60 to 70 percent of bottled water, including the contents of watercooler jugs, free of FDA regulation, according to the NRDC’s report. In this case, testing depends on the states, but the NRDC found that they often don’t have adequate resources to oversee bottled water, in some cases lacking even one full-time person for an entire state.”

Plastic is also more difficult to recycle than other materials, like glass and aluminum. Because there are so so many types of plastic, sorting it at recycling stations can be time and labor intensive. In Bemidji, the only plastics that can be recycled are those marked with a “1″ or a “2″ with necks. (So any juice bottles, shampoo bottles, milk jugs, etc.) All else is incinerated. Because of these issues, we are encouraging people to avoid buying bottled water especially and plastic in general. To promote this goal, the Sustainability Office has teamed with Students for the Environment and the Psychology of Sustainability Class to raise awareness and educate students and faculty about the drawbacks of plastic. We are promoting: less purchasing of plastic products and plastic packaging, proper recycling of plastics that do need to get purchased (rinsing and recycling containers, and throwing away lids), and use of reusable beverage and food containers made out of glass or metal. The Psychology of Sustainability class will be doing a presentation on their findings on Student Achievement day. The title of their presentation is: “Avoiding the Bottle: How to Reduce Plastic Consumption on Campus.” Let us know if you have other questions or comments!

Crystal Rayamajhi

Mar 22

Gasland: Can you light your water on fire?


Published in 2011

Hey everybody!

This wednesday, March 23rd at 7:30pm at the Rail River Folk School (303 Railroad St. SW), GASLAND, a documentary, will be shown.

“The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of ‘fracking’ or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a “Saudi Arabia of natural gas” just beneath us. But is fracking safe? When filmmaker Josh fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called GASLAND. Part verite travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, part showdown.”

This event is sponsored by the Indigenous Environmental Network

Sounds really interesting! Check this out!

Hannah Hutchins

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Mar 15

How to not buy anything ever again


Published in 2011

Hey everyone!

I found this article from the Grist Magazine. Grist is a great resource for sustainable related news. They also offer great advice on how to live more sustainably. This article was one that caught my eye :-)

http://www.grist.org/article/2011-03-09-how-to-not-buy-anything-ever-again

Enjoy!

Hannah Hutchins

Feb 28

The constant battle between EPA and "Big Coal"


Published in 2011

I just wanted to share this article that I found on commondreams.org about what is currently happening with coal.  Legislators Are Going to Unbelievable Lengths to Gouge Clean Water Laws and Cozy Up to Big Coal

Emily Johnson

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Feb 15

The Official Welcome of the Sustainability Website!


Published in 2011

Boozhoo and Welcome to the Sustainability Website!

Everyone here at the office hopes everybody is having a great semester and getting ready for the beautiful spring weather!

We just launched our website and want everybody to check it out!

We have a lot of great resources on here and many opportunities for students, faculty, and staff. The yellow box on the right of the front page shows our big events coming up, so pay attention to those. Under the yellow box, we have BSU’s electricity use, water usage and waste generation month by month. On the left of our front page, we have our facebook link and our youtube channel.

The various tabs on the left side of the page (ex: About, Get Involved, Photo Gallery, etc) can lead you to other areas of our office. We tell you everything that the campus and the community can offer in regards to sustainability.

So, there are the basics of our website. Please take the time to look around, and we’re always open for suggestions for improvement! Don’t be afraid to come into the office to ask questions or just to say Hi! We’re located in the Lower Student Union near the bookstore and the C3 store. If this helps, we’re in the same location as the old OPC office.

Miigwech and Hope to see you around!

Hannah Hutchins

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"The Environment is everything that disappears when you close your eyes."
~ SuperForest