Sustainability

Calculate Your Carbon Footprint

Today is Earth Day 2020, the 50th Earth Day! Don’t forget to head over to EarthDay.org and EarthDayAtHome with NASA to check out all the activities.

For our Earth Week exploration today, we’re looking at one suggested climate action—reducing our carbon footprint. We hear a lot about carbon footprint, but what is it exactly and what can we do about it?

Carbon is an element that exists in all living things, with humans being 18% carbon and plants 45%. Dead plants and animals, over millions of years, have been heated and pressurized in the earth, producing coal, oil, and natural gas—fossil fuels. When fossils fuels are burned, the carbon is released and combines with oxygen in the air to form carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas which traps heat close to Earth and keeps the planet warm. Without it, the Sun’s energy would leak back out to space. So, we definitely need carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases for our planet to be habitable. But, fossils fuels that were created over millions of years have been released back into the atmosphere over just a couple hundred years. This has led to too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, trapping too much heat, making the planet warmer and warmer.

We need for there to be less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, trapping less heat. We looked at one way for this to happen yesterday when we talked about needing more trees on the planet, since plants remove carbon dioxide from the air. But that’s not enough. We also need to produce fewer greenhouse gases. This brings us to a way to measure how much greenhouse gas is released into the atmosphere by human activity, or carbon footprint.

Different activities, directly or indirectly, result in different amounts of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. Burning fossil fuels releases the most, so travel adds quite a lot to our carbon footprint. But even things like eating do as well, since farms produce methane, another greenhouse gas. We’ll look at foods more closely tomorrow.

Knowing what the carbon footprint is for a person, household, business or even country and what goes into that carbon footprint makes us more aware of ways to possibly reduce that carbon footprint. There are carbon footprint calculators that help us figure this out. Here’s a good one to try. It looks at your travel, home, food consumption, and shopping. You may even want to try it twice—once for your regular life activities and once for right now while staying home for an extended period. Read more about how social distancing is shrinking our carbon footprint:

Coronavirus Shrinks Carbon Footprints, But Can We Keep It Up?

To find out more about human activity and its affect on the planet check out these MVCC Library resources.

Calculate Your Carbon Footprint Read More »

Trees for Life

“When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and hope.” –Wangari Maathai

Earth Day 2016 was all about trees. With a theme of “Trees for Life: Let’s Get Planting”, the goal was to plant 7.8 billion trees, one for every person, by this year’s 50th Earth Day. People around the world have been hard at work doing just that. Ethiopia holds the record by planting over 353 million trees in just 12 hours this past July.

Trees are vital to the health of the planet. Trees clean our air and produce oxygen. Among other pollutants, they absorb carbon dioxide which is a contributor to the greenhouse effect. Deforestation across the globe has contributed to rising temperatures. Rising temperatures have contributed to increased wildfires. Wildfires increase carbon emissions by releasing the carbon stored in trees and soil. Fires are not the only thing contributing to the Earth’s diminishing tree cover to be sure, but there is a vicious cycle involved here. Fewer trees have led to higher temperatures, which have led to even fewer trees.

There are lots of actions that should be taken to combat climate change. Planting trees can part of the solution. In addition to planting a tree yourself, there are many ways to be a part the tree planting effort. At the Arbor Day Foundation, you can take a quiz to see how many trees to plant to offset your carbon footprint. (We’ll talk more about carbon footprints tomorrow.) Some other tree planting organizations are: 8 Billion Trees, One Tree Planted, The National Forest Foundation, Trees for the Future, and the Green Belt Movement, just to name a few. The Green Belt Movement is an interesting one. The indigenous, grassroots organization was founded in Nairobi in 1977 by Wangari Maathai. She was the first women to earn a PhD in Eastern Africa and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her work with the Green Belt Movement.

Learn more about trees, forest fires, and rain forests using the Library Catalog or the Library Databases.

Trees for Life Read More »

Earth Day @ 50

Earth Day is April 22nd and this year marks the 50th Earth Day celebration. The first Earth Day was the brainchild of Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson who became inspired to create a grassroots movement after a 1969 oil spill. On that first Earth Day in 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets to protest pollution. This led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency that same year. Later, Earth Day support led to amending the Clean Air Act and to passage of the Clean Water Act (1972) and the Endangered Species Act (1973). In 1990, Earth Day became a global effort with 200 million people celebrating in 114 countries. Earth Day 2010 saw the launching of a campaign to plant a billion trees. In 2016, it was on Earth Day that the Paris Climate Agreement opened for signature. It has now been ratified by 189 parties.

This year, due COVID-19, Earth Day is going digital. The theme this year is climate action. There are lots of ways to get involved. Visit the official website earthday.org to find out about Earth Challenge 2020, a global citizen science effort, and Earthrise, three days of planet activism. Also at the site, you can find pandemic specific information and much more:

11 Actions for the Planet During a Pandemic

Feeling Powerless? Switch to Green Power

Plant-Based Recipes to Try During the Coronavirus Pandemic

5 Ways to Compost During the Coronavirus Pandemic

9 Books That Bring the Outdoors In During a Stay-at-Home Order

Women’s Empowerment is Key To Reducing Climate Change

12 Songs for Your Climate Strike Playlist

Another site you may want to checkout is NASA. They have lots Earth Day activities planned for NASA TV and social media including videos and interactions with astronauts on the International Space Station. They’ll be showing how the science they are carrying out there relates back to Earth.

Of course, you can find all sorts of Earth and climate information at the MVCC library. Use the library catalog to look for books, ebooks, and videos on everything from climate change, and plant-based eating, to pollution and green energy and much more. You might also want to look for articles in our specialized database Greenfile. It focuses on the relationship between human beings and the environment.

And stay tuned. This whole week is Earth Week. So with the theme of climate action in mind, each day this week I’ll focus on a different topic and activity related to climate change.

Earth Day @ 50 Read More »

24 Hours of Reality: A Climate Conversation

As part of a global event, “24 Hours of Reality” Moraine Valley Community College is presenting a panel discussion on the global climate challenges we face, and how we can begin to solve them. Listen and learn about the science and the psychology behind this current climate reality.

24 Hours of Reality: A Climate Conversation Read More »

What’s New Wednesdays: Environmental Theme

This week’s new book recommendations have an environmental theme; the photos alone in “Plastic Soup” will tug at the heartstrings.

  • Plastic Soup : an Atlas of Ocean Pollution / by Michiel Roscam Abbing. “A beautifully-illustrated survey of the plastics clogging our seas, their impacts on wildlife and people around the world, and inspirational initiatives designed to tackle the problem.”–Publisher description.
  • How to Give Up Plastic : a Guide to Changing the World, One Plastic Bottle at a Time / by Will McCallum. “An accessible guide to the changes we can all make–small and large–to rid our lives of disposable plastic and clean up the world’s oceans. It takes 450 years for a plastic bottle to fully biodegrade, and there are around 12.7 million tons of plastic entering the ocean each year. At our current pace, in the year 2050 there could be more plastic in the oceans than fish, by weight.”–Publisher description.
  • The Conscious Closet : the Revolutionary Guide to Looking Good While Doing Good / by Elizabeth L. Cline. “‘The Conscious Closet’ is not just a style guide. It is a call to action to transform one of the most polluting industries on earth–fashion–into a force for good. Readers will learn where and how their clothes are made, before connecting to a passionate global community of stylish fashion revolutionaries.”–Publisher description.

All of these books are currently available on our New Arrivals shelves in the Library Lounge. Enjoy!

If you have trouble finding any of these books, don’t hesitate to “Ask a Librarian” for help. They can also place any of these books on hold if interested.

What’s New Wednesdays: Environmental Theme Read More »

Climate Change and the Mechanics of Skepticism: How Can we KNOW Better? (video)

To some, climate change is a simple scientific question to be answered with data while to others climate change is a misguided hoax that could cost our country jobs and hurt out economy. The question is why do some people end up on one side of this debate and others end up on the other? This talk by Librarian Troy Swanson will focus on climate change but also ask participants to think about how they make decisions about other charged topics. What processes are at work and how can we step in and make better decisions? This event is part of MVCC’s Earth Month Celebration. ?

Climate Change and the Mechanics of Skepticism: How Can we KNOW Better?

The audio of this discussion is available below:

Climate Change and the Mechanics of Skepticism: How Can we KNOW Better? (video) Read More »

The Impacts of Factory Farming (video)

Special guest Stephanie Domingo, Chicago Director of the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition discusses the ecological and public health impacts of industrial agriculture, and the power of our food choices. This event is part of MVCC’s Earth Month Celebration and is organized by the MVCC Center for Sustainability and the Earth Science Department.

The Impacts of Factory Farming

The audio of this discussion is available below:

The Impacts of Factory Farming (video) Read More »

Energy for a Sustainable Future: What is it? How do we make it happen?

Energy is a multidisciplinary subject touching each of our daily lives, yet its governing concepts remain abstract to most. This presentation will promote energy literacy to a wide audience. We will discuss the credibility of information about energy and communicate about energy and energy use in meaningful ways. This knowledge will allow us to make informed decisions based on an understanding of impacts and consequences. This will provide the audience a greater understanding why we need to thoroughly understand our current energy systems to cope with the sustainability issues we are facing. This event is organized by the MVCC Center for Sustainability.

Dr. Jin Ho Jo is Associate Professor of Technology at Illinois State University, teaching in the Renewable Energy program. As the Associate Director of the Center for Renewable Energy, he also leads the Solar Power Research Group. His research, which has been widely published, focuses on the use of renewable energy systems and sustainable building strategies to reduce negative impacts of urbanization. His 2010 Ph.D. from Arizona State University was the nation’s first in sustainability.

Energy for a Sustainable Future: What is it? How do we make it happen?

The audio of this discussion is available below:

Energy for a Sustainable Future: What is it? How do we make it happen? Read More »

Real Talk: Climate & Advocacy (video)

Dr. Jim Angel, Illinois State Climatologist will present the real science and facts about climate change and its impacts on the Chicagoland region. Lincoln Cohen will speak about his experience in the Climate Reality Project, an intensive advocacy and awareness training program first developed by Al Gore. He will also discuss opportunities for the audience to engage in climate policy advocacy. This event is sponsored by the MVCC Center for Sustainability.

Real Talk: Climate & Advocacy

The audio of this discussion is available below:

Real Talk: Climate & Advocacy (video) Read More »

Upcoming Event: Real Talk: Climate & Advocacy

Dr. Jim Angel, Illinois State Climatologist will present the real science and facts about climate change and its impacts on the Chicagoland region.

Real Talk: Climate & Advocacy
Wednesday, April 18th , 11am-11:50am, noon-12:50pm, Building L, Library Lounge
Dr. Jim Angel, Illinois State Climatologist will present the real science and facts about climate change and its impacts on the Chicagoland region. Lincoln Cohen will speak about his experience in the Climate Reality Project, an intensive advocacy and awareness training program first developed by Al Gore. He will also discuss opportunities for the audience to engage in climate policy advocacy. Both will be available for more questions and discussion following the 12 PM. Refreshments will be provided after the 12PM presentation in the Library Cafe.

Upcoming Event: Real Talk: Climate & Advocacy Read More »

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com