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Sustainability

News Bit: Why Trends in Sustainability Are Good For Business and Education

 

By John Viera, GreenBiz.com, March 30, 2012

“Pick up any newspaper these days and it won’t be long before you find an article that calls out some aspect of our coutnry’s education system in need of fixing. From the daunting numbers that are presented, this coverage, unfortunately, doesn’t seem overblown. .

The U.S. Department of Education’s most recent national assessment of high school seniors determined that 74% lacked proficiency in math, 62% lacked proficiency in reading, and 79% lacked proficiency in science.

In the last round of comparative international exams, American 15-year-olds ranked 25th in  math, 17th in reading and 22nd in science among participating countries. Chinese 15-year-olds ranked first in each subject.

News about higher education isn’t much different. In 1990, the U.S. boasted the highest percentage in the world of 25- to 34-year-olds with college degrees, but had fallen to 12th by 2010. Meanwhile, there’s never been a greater need for college graduates. By 2018, 63 percent of jobs are expected to require at least some colleged education. Again, the numbers don’t tell a positive story; but there may be a silver lining.

When I was in school, specific education around the environment was an afterthought to traditional disciplines. Limited to conservation, education rarely integrated sustainability values with the realities of everyday living. From what I observe of candidates entering the workforce today, and in younger hires across the board, this has changed.

Over the last decade, high school students enrolled in advanced placement environmental science courses has skyrocketed 426 percent nationally, more than four times the average increase of all advanced placement courses. The figures are similar in higher education. On average, the number of academic papers on sustainability has doubled ever 8.3 years since 1974, according to a recent study from Indiana University.”

To read more and see how your education at UWGB is a benefit….click here!

RecycleMania Results: Week 5

Here’s the latest results!

Friday Factoids: Food Waste

  • How much food we throw out:  Vegetables are the most commonly wasted food in the average American home. Each home throws out $92 of fruits and vegetables a year.
  • Why we buy too much: It’s counterintuitive – People tend to overestimate what they need at the store when they are well-stocked at home, research shows.
  • What an average U.S. family of four spends on food each year that ends up in the garbage:  $500 to $2,000.
  • Fruit and juices make up 16% of trash in a home. (trash = avoidable waste)
  • Milk and yogurt make up 13% of trash.
  • Vegetables make up 25% of trash.
  • Grains make up 14% of trash.

Source:  “Leftovers: Tasty or Trash? With Food Prices High, There’s Guilt About Waste But Dread of the Reheated Dinner” by Sarah Nassauer, Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, March 21, 2012.

News Bits: Young People Not So ‘Green’ After All

Interesting article by Martha Irvine, Associate Press National Writer…

“They have a reputation for being environmentally minded do-gooders. But an academic analysis of surveys spanning more than 40 years has found that today’s young Americans are less interested in the environment and in conserving resources – and often less civic-minded overall – than their elders were when they were young.

The findings go against the widespread belief that environmental issues have hit home wih today’s young adults, known as Millennials, who have grown up amid climate change discussion and the mantra ‘reduce, reuse, recycle.’ The environment is often listed among top concerns for young voters.

‘I was shocked ,’ said Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University who is one of the study’s authors. ‘We have the perception that we’re getting through to people. But at least compared to previous eras, we’re not.’

Twenge, author of the book, “Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled – and More Miserable Than Ever Before,” has spent much of her career publishing work that challenges or attempts to explain commonly held beliefs about young people.

This study, published online this month in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, looked at the life goals, concern for others and civic orientation of three young generations – baby boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials.

Based on two longstanding national surveys of high school seniors and college freshmen, Twenge and her colleagues found a decline, over the last four decades, in young people’s trust in others, their interest in government and the time they said they spent thinking about social problems.

Steepest of all was a steady decline in concern about the environment, and taking personal action to save it.

Researches found that, when surveyed decades ago, about a third of young baby boomers said it was important to become personally involved in programs to clean up the environment. In comparison, only a about a quarter of young Gen Xers – and 21 percent of Millennials – said the same.

Meanwhile, 15 percent of Millennials said they had made no effort to help the environment, compared with 8 percent of young Gen Xers and 5 percent of young baby boomers.

Millennials also were the least likely to say they’d made an effort to conserve electricity and fuel used to heat their homes.

In the case of heating fuel, 78 percent of young baby boomers and 71 percent of young Gen Xers said they cut back, compared with 56 percent of Millennials.

It is important to note that most of the survey data available for Millennials was collected before the country’s most recent recession hit.

Even so, those working in the environmental field – including some Millennials themselves – aren’t that surprised by the findings.”

The article continues HERE.

Are you surprised by these findings?? Add a comment…

To read the full scientific article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology CLICK HERE.

Go Green: Careers & Job Opportunities

If you aren’t graduating this May, or even if you are, one option to consider is looking for a summer internship experience. Some internships are paid, others are not, but both give you an opportunity to apply your skills and knowledge while learning something new AND building your resume.

Here are some website to visit for internships in various ‘green’ fields. Greenbiz.com and treehugger.com also offer job boards that you can sift through for internships. Good luck!

http://www.internships.com/summerinternships/program

http://globalgreen.org/jobs/

http://jobsinsustainability.jobamatic.com/a/jobs/find-jobs/sb-pd/fjt-internship

RecycleMania Results: Week 4

Here are the results for Week 4 of RecycleMania – half way through the competition!

Test Your IQ in the Eco-Challenge – Win an iPad! NEW NEWS: The order is in for an iPad 3!

Go to http://www.NewEraOnline.org/Sustainability and take the Eco-Challenge quiz! You’ll automatically be entered to win an iPad when you complete the challenge! The challenge runs from March 5 – March 26 – good luck!

News Bit: Austin Passes Bag Restriction Law

For those of you who picked up your free usable bag last week at the Union, you’re in good shape if you decide to move to Austin!

“Austin, Texas, has passed a law restricting plastic and paper retail carryout bags. The law, which will take effect March 1, 2013, allows for three options: paper or plastic bag of thicker construction with handles, or reusable linen or woven bags, says Bob Gedert, director of Austin Resource Recovery, in an interview. Because of the replacement options, the city is characterizing it as a bag regulation, not ban.

The new law differs from what Austin City Council proposed in December, which involved a 52-cent interim fee for single-use bags. Gedert says administrative challenges, retail relationship to challenges and being accountable to the public made that “too difficult a path to take.”

Read more about this interesting and controversial step, HERE.

Source:  Waste360.com 

RecycleMania Results: Week 3

Here’s the results for Week 3 – we’re improving in our waste minimization efforts!

And here’s some of the items posted on the “Pledges to Save the Planet” wall at the Union last week:

  • Educate others on how to live simply & sustainably!
  • I will bring my recyclable grocery bag in the store when I shop.
  • Bike instead of drive!
  • Refilling my water bottle instead of buying new.
  • Using reusable bags, making “greener” choices when purchasing food, and car pooling more often.
  • Eat ogranic and buy loal. No plastic and natural products.
  • Educating myself on important environmental issue and following through with solutions.
  • Riding the bus more and reducing my meat consumption.
  • Volunteering for sustainable causes, planting trees, reusing, reducing and spreading the word.
  • Dedicating mindful effort constantly to reduce my negative impact & to encourage health, growth & education.
     

News Bit: Building a Sustainable Future Requires More than Science

“Contrary to popular belief, humans have failed to address the earth’s worsening emergencies of climate change, species’ extinction and resource overconsumption not because of a lack of information, but because of a lack of imagination, social scientists and artists say.

At a conference of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Vancouver, British Columbia, experts argues that the path to a truly sustainable future is through the muddy waters of emotions, values, ethics, and most importantly, imagination.

Humans’ perceptions of reality are filtered by personal experiences and values, said David Maggs, a concert pianist and PhD student at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

As a result, the education and communication paradigm of “if we only knew better, we’d do better” is not working. Maggs told attendees at the world’s largest general science meeting. ‘We don’t live in the real world, but live only in the world we imagine.’”

Want to learn more about reality or the lack thereof? Read more HERE.

Source:  TriplePundit.com