Erika Bailey-Johnson to present Jan. 14 Brown Bag Luncheon on going green

BEMIDJI, Minn. — Bemidji State University Sustainability Coordinator Erika Bailey-Johnson will discuss the facts and myths about going green during a noon Brown Bag Lunch program Wednesday, Jan. 14, at the Bemidji State University Center for Research and Innovation, located at 3801 Bemidji Avenue North.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a bag lunch for the one-hour session, which is open free to the public.

While the concept of the “green movement” is nearly a half-century old, it has perked renewed interest in recent years as people become more familiar with such terms as greenhouse gasses, global warming and endangered species. Today, goods and services are increasingly scrutinized for their impact on the environment, both immediately and over time.

“The concept of ‘going green’ is everywhere, and sustainability seems to be the new buzzword,” said Bailey-Johnson, the University’s first sustainability coordinator. “Much of what is required to become a more sustainable society is education about the issues, which will hopefully lead to changes in individual behaviors.

“The government can’t mandate that individuals turn the lights off when they leave a room or purchase products with less packaging,” Bailey-Johnson admitted. “This discussion will highlight some of the research behind environmental behaviors and what individuals can do to conserve resources.”

During the session, Bailey-Johnson plans to clarify the definition of sustainability and discuss the motivation to behave in a manner benefitting the natural world. She will confront the common complaint that going green is too expensive by outlining what individuals can do to address their habits, pay attention to waste, reconnect with nature and pursue actions that will save money — as well as those endeavors that will cost money. Other topics on the agenda are vehicle and renewable energy alternatives.

“Anyone can benefit from attending this session as we are all intimately connected to an economy that depends on unsustainable use of natural resources,” she explained.

Bailey-Johnson, who was named Bemidji State’s sustainability coordinator in Aug. 2008, taught in Mexico and Kuwait for five years following her undergraduate work at the University of Minnesota – Morris. She earned her master’s degree in environmental studies at Bemidji State in 2006, and since then she has served as an adjunct instructor at the University.

She currently serves on the Bemidji Area Climate Coalition, where she works on community events to educate and motivate area residents to mitigate the impacts of global climate change. She also is a member of the University’s environmental advisory committee and is a board member of the Minnesota Association for Environmental Education.

The Brown Bag program is part of free training and informational presentations offered by the CRI each month. A full schedule can be found at For more information, contact the Bemidji State University Center for Research and Innovation at (218) 755-4900; toll free, (888) 738-3224; email,; or at

Jan. 14
– noon – Bemidji State University Center for Research and Innovation hosts Brown Bag Luncheon training sesson on “going green.” Presenter: Erika Bailey-Johnson, BSU sustainability coordinator. Location: CRI; 3801 Bemidji Ave. N.; Bemidji, Minn. Cost: free; participants encouraged to bring lunch. For information: (218) 755-4900; (888) 738-3224;