Green Acres

Green Acres

From a "green" summit to a residence hall dedicated to environmental awareness to state-of-the-art construction, the Colby community is collaborating to understand and confront environmental issues.

By Stephen Collins '74


 
#greenhouse#right#35%#Mitchell Family Professor of Economics Thomas Tietenberg, one of the architects of the concept of emissions trading as a pollution mitigation strategy, led off. Despite all the discouraging scientific evidence about the nature and especially the rate of climate change, Tietenberg and other speakers Saturday morning found reasons for cautious optimism. With oil prices above $55 a barrel, and with gasoline at more than $2 a gallon in the U.S., conservation and alternative energy solutions were growing increasingly attractive. And despite inaction at the federal level in the U.S., regional coalitions—including one encompassing New England states and Atlantic Canada provinces—were setting their own goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Beth Nagusky, director of energy independence in the Office of the Governor of Maine, said she saw an unlikely coalition forming between neo-conservatives and environmental activists in Maine as energy prices rose. She talked about the promise of technologies like biodiesel and capturing methane from landfills to heat greenhouses, whose produce would replace foods now being trucked to Maine from Central America or the southern U.S.

"Good science and national argument has never convinced those holding power of anything. Political action, on the other hand, has accomplished many great things in a number of areas over the years."
David Coon, policy director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick
David Coon, policy director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, told students, "Good science and national argument has never convinced those holding power of anything. Political action, on the other hand, has accomplished many great things in a number of areas over the years.—

May echoed that sentiment Saturday evening, when she began by saying, "Youth activism on campuses in the U.S. is one of the things that gives me more hope than anything else.—

In afternoon sessions representatives of the 10 colleges and universities swapped best practices for campus greening initiatives. Allison Stewart '05, one of the organizers of the conference, said, "It was really valuable to learn what's possible and get more ideas about what to do.— Though Colby has an ambitious approach to campus greening, Canadian schools set the standards for recycling, since their provinces have mandatory recycling programs and manage to recycle 75 percent or more of the waste stream. At one college there are no trash cans in rooms; instead there's a label by the door saying where the nearest recycling bins are, Stewart reported.

Networks were established, and residents of next year's environmental Green House at Colby have e-mail addresses of students in a similar theme house at Mt. Allison University, a top Canadian liberal arts college in New Brunswick.

Careful to ensure that the conference itself didn't contribute to environmental degradation, planners insisted on green practices wherever possible during the weekend. And when it was over they purchased "Green Tags— (a payment toward costs of production of environmentally friendly energy) to offset emissions from the vans that brought students to Mayflower Hill.

A contradance Saturday night went until 1 a.m. and, because of the change to Daylight Saving Time, conferees lost an hour of sleep between then and the 8 a.m. workshops on Sunday. "The biggest crisis we had was the fair-trade coffee ran out,— Stewart said.

Then on Sunday afternoon the Canadian guests headed east and lost another hour crossing into the Atlantic time zone.
#grantinggreen#center#100%#