November 6, 2013 – UC Santa Barbara Recognized for ‘Remarkable’ Student-Led Water Conservation Efforts
What do stormwater management, whale migration, and inner peace have in common? They’re the subjects of a few of the newest interpretive signs around the UC Santa Barbara campus. Eight new interpretive signs now exist to inform visitors and answer common questions as they travel through different parts of the campus designated as natural areas.
The sun was a-shining, the sunscreen was being a-rubbed-in, and the Isla-Vistans were a-munching—munching sustainable food, that is. The Isla Vista Food Co-op celebrated its 40th anniversary on May 4, complete with a street fair, organic food vendors, and a Grateful Dead cover band.
The Isla Vista Food Co-op is known for providing nutritious, local, organic, and sustainably-grown food products to the local community, mostly composed of the college students that attend the University of California, Santa Barbara. This past fall they fought to buy and save their “co-op by the sea,” raising over $200,000 in one month. This weekend was a cheer to the heritage and growth of the last 40 years, and a hurrah to the years to come.
Vendors ranged from in-house and home-made peanut, almond, and cashew butter creations; cork-succulent plant containers; vegan treats; tie-dye made from beets; and much more!
May 6, 2013 – Registration Open for Statewide Sustainability Conference at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB PA&C)
Hoping to bring greening into greater consciousness by sharing strategies for effective storytelling around such efforts, the 2013 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference will bear the theme, “Communicating Sustainability.”
The conference highlights cutting-edge research, as well as case studies with proven successes in curriculum development, operational programs, and community partnerships. Bringing together representatives from UC, CSU, and California Community College campuses, and from the state’s independent and private colleges, this unique event fosters dialogue across institutions. Some 1,000 attendees –– from approximately 90 campuses –– are expected to participate.
May 1, 2013 – UCSB Institute for Energy Efficiency’s Summit Focuses on a Sustainable Future (UCSB PA&C)
Some of the best and brightest minds in the field of energy efficiency gathered in Santa Barbara Wednesday morning to share ideas and discuss the newest developments in what has become a mutual goal for science, technology, industry, and public policy at the UC Santa Barbara Summit on Energy Efficiency.
“We’ve seen a lot of progress in our country in becoming energy efficient and we’re in a much better position than we were five years ago,” said John Bowers, founding director of the campus’s Institute for Energy Efficiency (IEE), in his introduction to the two-day summit. “Our goal is a future where energy is used efficiently and waste is minimized; a future where conflicts over scarce energy resources do not dominate the political climate; and a future in which we live in equilibrium with the natural resources of our planet and ensure that they are available for subsequent generations.”
April 17, 2013 – Climate Change Effects on Ocean Species: An Issue of Food Security (The Bottom Line)
Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery in Tillamook, Oregon, provides oyster seed to 75 percent of the independent shellfish farms up and down the West Coast. So in 2007, when hundreds of millions of the hatchery’s baby oysters mysteriously turned up dead, the implications for the $111 million shellfish industry in Washington, Oregon, and California were serious. What was killing all these oysters? And whatever it was, what did it mean for the future?
About 970 miles south, University of California, Santa Barbara researchers Gretchen Hofmann and Steven Gaines have been studying shifts in the ocean resulting from climate change in an effort to find answers to questions such as the ones raised in Tillamook. Today we know that Whiskey Creek’s oysters were dying because increased levels of acid in the ocean were inhibiting the shellfish’s ability to produce their shells.
But the problem isn’t restricted to the waters off the Oregon Coast, or even just to shellfish. Many ocean species—including phytoplankton and coral—take dissolved carbonate out of the water to create their hard exterior. As greenhouse gas emissions increase and the ocean absorbs more and more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, acidity levels rise and the water’s pH levels go down. This, in turn, makes carbonate scarce. Further, carbonate shells that are already formed begin to dissolve. The results are potentially catastrophic.
It’s the premier document of its kind in the University of California system, and now UC Santa Barbara’s recently unveiled water conservation plan has notched another first: a Best Practices Award from the 2013 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference.
The UCSB Water Action Plan bested its cross-UC competition for water efficiency and site water quality practices in the contest that typically lauds one UC and one CSU campus in each category. Santa Barbara was the only water section winner.
All the awardees, announced by the UC Office of the President, will be honored during the sustainability conference set for June 23–27. With the theme “Communicating Sustainability,” the event this year will be hosted by UCSB –– the place where it all began. Registration will open in late April.
Six graduate students are changing the way water is used at UC Santa Barbara and their project is making waves across the state. It started as a class project at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management to create a plan to conserve water on campus. “Taking into account increases in campus population growth and infrastructure growth and planning water accordingly,” said Katie Cole, one of the members of the student group.
Everyone at the university uses water in some way, from toilets to the sinks. On a given day there can be up to 26,000 students and family on campus. That means a lot of water going down the drain.
February 6, 2013 – Nanotechnology Center Receives California’s Highest Environmental Honor: UCSB-Bren Faculty Play Leading Roles in Research That is Leading to Safety Policies (The Bottom Line)
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