Filed under: Green education, Recent news | Tags: berkeley model united nations, converge magazine, higher education, sustainability blog
I’m excited to announce that we’ve been featured by Converge Magazine as one of six must-read higher-education sustainability blogs! Converge covers a variety of stories pertaining to technology in education, and a recent article by Jessica Napier discusses the increasing importance of sustainability in higher education institutions. This blog is among the top six!
I definitely recommend that you check out the other blogs featured on there – there is some pretty interesting content! Thanks to Jessica and Converge magazine for featuring us.
Filed under: Event Planning, Recent news | Tags: berkeley model UN dance, BMUN 57, BMUN dance, going green, jungle
Just a quick note to share with you the exciting news about the delegate dance. This year’s theme is “Welcome to the Jungle!” which fits in well with Berkeley Model United Nation’s 57th session emphasis on going green.
I encourage you all to think creatively and bring a costume! It should be fun There’s going to be a casino and a DJ, and a decorated picture booth. Hope to see you there!
Filed under: Green education, Recent news, Waste diversion, Water | Tags: bay, drains, fruit labels, ocean, plastic
Here’s an interesting story I learned about just recently. You know those little fruit labels stuck on bananas and the other small labels stuck on other packaged foods? Apparently they get washed down home sink drains pretty frequently. Small bits of plastic from the corners of packaged goods also sometimes get washed down. When this happens, they are really hard to filter out of the wastewater system: they get attached to screens and filters, block up pipes, and sometimes, they make it through all the filtration and end up in your local bay. They pollute the ocean and can even kill fish! One thing that makes small bits of plastic more problematic than other things that are rinsed down the drain, for example, is that some plastic neither sinks nor floats, making it hard to capture. Small stickers, big problem.
This is one environmental issue that has a pretty easy solution on our end as consumers. Try to make a conscious effort to remove these stickers from your fruits and veggies before you peel or rinse them in the kitchen sink, and make sure to dispose of all plastics before putting food waste in the sink. Thanks to the UC Berkeley Office of Sustainability for this tip!
Filed under: Green education, Recent news | Tags: berkeley model UN, berkeley model united nations, BMUN, charitable cause, kiva
I am happy to announce that BMUN 57′s charitable cause at this year’s conference will be Kiva!
Kiva is a micro-finance lending platform that connects donors to real individuals in need of funding for projects of economic growth. The money thatwe collect at the conference is going to be divided into three parts, which we will distribute to people in three different countries. We’re going to emphasize individuals who are pursuing sustainability and environmental activities, in coordination with our recent efforts to “go green” this year! Some examples of who we might fund include a rice farmer in Cambodia, a farm supplier in Nicaragua, or a plantation producer on the island of Samoa.
There is a chance that the delegation that your high school is representing may be donating to someone in that very same country! But the very best thing about this year’s charitable cause is that the money you donate will double its impact every year, because the money exists as a “loan” to the entrepreneur to whom we lend, and when the money is paid back to BMUN’s charity account, we get the chance to re-lend it to someone new next year! We chose this organization because of the fusion between sustainability and internationalism.
Be sure to check back to this blog after the conference to learn more about the people to whom we will donate! You will be able to see their pictures, check out their profiles, and learn what they are using the money for. Can’t wait until you know? Check out Kiva.org right now and see what kind of entrepreneurs are out there!
We hope that you’ll consider donating a small amount during the conference in order to support our cause this year. Looking forward to meeting you all soon!
Filed under: Food, Recent news, Sustainable purchases | Tags: carbon footprint, FDA, greenwashing, natural, orange juice, twinkies
Read a cool article on New York Times a couple of days ago about Tropicana (owned by PepsiCo) which recently considered the question, “How much does your morning glass of orange juice contribute to global warming?” They calculated all of the aspects of producing orange juice in a carton – ranging from the growth of the oranges, to their processing, packaging, and shipping. While I was reading, I assumed that the shipping (from growth of the orange to production site to your friendly local grocery store) would be the biggest culprit of emissions. Surprisingly, it found that the orange groves themselves were the largest source. (You’ll have to read the article to find out why!)
It’s interesting that PepsiCo would choose to embark on calculations of these sort, but not surprising. The author of this article suggests that with growing consumer awareness about “green” products, there will be rising demand for ads that emphasize a low “carbon footprint.” But how to tell the difference between factual calculations, and false claims of sustainability, commonly known as “greenwashing” – which I’ve blogged about in a previous post? It’s a tough line to draw! Think about it.
How often do you see products that claim they are green, or help to improve the environment? Ever seen the word “natural” used on a food product – and did you know it means exactly nothing? It’s a claim that virtually ANY food (including Twinkies!) is allowed by the FDA to declare, since if you trace an ingredient back, eventually it came from a “natural” source. So think twice the next time you see a label that promises it is “all-natural,” and think harder about where your food comes from and how it got to you.
Filed under: Green education, Recent news | Tags: cell phone, Center for Biological Diversity, endangered species, ringtone
Thought to share with you a cool article I recently read about cell phone ringtones. What does this have to do with sustainability?Well, the ringtones sound the “call of the wild” of a particular endangered species once you download it. The tones are made possible by the Center for Biological Diversity, a cool non-profit that does work to protect at-risk species across the globe. Check out their site and you can read about all kinds of fascinating animals (from the Andrew’s dune scarab beetle to the Xantus’s murrelet and everything in between) and why they’re endangered. A couple of them are pictured in this blog, too. You can donate to support their mission on their website. I’m not clear on whether the ringtone profits are actually donated directly to support the specific animals you choose to screech or bellow on your cell, but in any case, what a cool way to raise awareness about endangered species!
Filed under: Green education, Recent news | Tags: Commission on Sustainable Development, U.N. leadership, U.N. reform, United Nations, world government
I came across an article on UN reform, the economic crisis, and the environmental issues that future leaders of world government will need to address on the New York Times web page recently. I wrote about it for BMUN’s Commission on Sustainable Development (of which I am the head chair) and realized it’s a pretty relevant subject to sustainability as well. I’ve pasted some of what I wrote on the CSD blog below:
The author states that emerging nations like “China, India, Brazil and Indonesia now account for most of the world’s economic growth,”and notes that China is in fact the United States’ biggest creditor currently. And yet the Security Council and other major facets of world government continue to reflect countries whose power may have been at a peak 50 years ago. What do you think the leadership in the U.N. should reflect?
One of the most interesting parts of the article is about the 6th paragraph down, regarding the changes that globalization has had on the international economy, and the serious economic and environmental issues (like climate change, world poverty, energy sources, and nuclear proliferation) that future leaders of these countries will need to address. To what extent can sustainability and concern for the environment be fused with a need for economic growth?
Just a little something to think about!
Filed under: Green education, Recent news | Tags: energy efficiency, going green, Security Council, sustainability, United Nations headquarters
Hey everyone, I came across this article a few weeks ago, and am really excited to share with you the news: The U.N. headquarters in New York are going green! The building, which apparently is one of the most visited in New York City, is undergoing a five-year and nearly two billion dollar reconstruction that will make structural revisions to the aging building.
They will be making major changes to almost all aspects of the complex. Besides retrofitting old windows and walls to conserve heat more efficiently, they’ll also be incorporating photovoltaic cells into the glass windows to turn sunlight into energy, putting in energy-efficient lighting, and installing a heating system that comes from the floor rather than the ceiling. All of these changes are intended to improve energy-efficiency a total of 44% – that’s almost half of their energy costs!
While I won’t be so presumptuous as to suggest that BMUN played a role in the decision, I am very excited about this development, because it shows that the importance of sustainability is finally permeating into major institutions at the top level. It is so important to consider the ways that you can reduce your own consumption, whether at home, in your business, or anywhere else you spend your time, and it’s great that the U.N. headquarters are choosing to lead the way in their sustainably minded-retrofits.
Check out the article here. And if you read through the 2nd page of the article, you’ll find a side-note on potential architectural changes to the Security Council (shown in the picture above). If you’re aware of the debate that is ongoing about reforming its membership, you might find it pretty interesting.