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Apply Today: Campus Garden Manager

February 2nd, 2016

20151111campusgarden10378The Office of Sustainability is seeking a summer Campus Garden Manager. This position coordinates all aspects of garden production, manages volunteers, facilitates participation by multiple service-related groups, and serves as a public face of the garden to the campus community. The ideal candidate is highly motivated to teach and inspire others about sustainable agriculture. The summer Campus Garden manager position is open to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at Wake Forest University. Read the full job description and apply here. Applications are due February 12, 2016.

Update: 12/15/15

December 15th, 2015

During the week of December 21st, a large Red Oak that has died will be removed along Wake Forest Road. The tree is located between the Reynolda Road entrance and the entrance to Byrum Welcome Center. The use of a crane will be required; this may disrupt traffic flow.

 

Propose a Unique Internship

December 7th, 2015
The fall interns for the Office of Sustainability come together for a picture on Monday, October 5th, 2015.

The fall interns for the Office of Sustainability come together for a picture on Monday, October 5th, 2015.

Have a great idea for a sustainability-focused internship? Submit a unique internship proposal. We are always looking for new, innovative ways for students to generate sustainability-focused solutions on campus. Your proposal should include an articulation of the need for the proposed project and the landscape of issues surrounding the project. Proposals are due to sustainability@wfu.edu by January 4th, 2016.

Professors attend Paris climate talks

December 7th, 2015

This article was originally published by the WFU News Center.  

Knox and Catanoso lay out Road to Paris – Photo by Ann Nguyen

Knox and Catanoso lay out Road to Paris – Photo by Ann Nguyen

Wake Forest University Professors John Knox and Justin Catanoso are attending the United Nations conference on climate change in Paris, as representatives from more than 190 countries seek to work out a new international agreement on climate change. 

Known as COP21, the 21st Conference of the Parties is the annual meeting of all countries that want to take action for the climate. The conference started Nov. 30 and continues through Dec. 11. Knox and Catanoso leave this week.

Knox is an internationally recognized expert on human rights law and international environmental law and serves as the UN’s Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment. Catanoso is director of the university’s journalism program and is a veteran journalist supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Both serve as board members for Wake Forest’s Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability and both have been busy raising awareness leading up to COP21 about why the Paris talks are so important.

“What makes it a little bit unusual is that each country will be deciding for itself what it can do,” said Knox. “There will not be a one-size-fits-all type of agreement.”

Before Thanksgiving, Knox and Catanoso hosted “Roadmap to Paris: Your Guide to the International Climate Talks”  on campus, discussing the likely trajectory of these climate talks. They are both encouraged that this year’s talks will result in real impact as the largest countries responsible for carbon dioxide emissions — United States, China, India and the European Union — among others, are on board. A likely agreement will chart a path toward the world’s reduced reliance on coal, oil and gas and expanded use of renewable energy such as wind and solar power.

To review the available coverage and learn more:

  • New York Times article featuring Knox
  • Raleigh News & Observer article by Catanoso featuring Knox, also ran in The Charlotte Observer
  • Greensboro News & Record op-ed piece by Catanoso about how Pope Francis — who will have a delegation in attendance for the first time — may influence climate talks
  • Thought Economics interview with Knox
  • WGHP appearance by Catanoso to discuss climate change and Paris
  • Winston-Salem Journal article featuring Knox and Catanoso

Follow Knox on Twitter @srenvironment and Catanoso @jcatanoso for updates from Paris.

By Bonnie Davis and Lisa Snedeker of the WFU News Center

Update: 12/03/15

December 3rd, 2015

FullSizeRender (1) (1)A portion of the shrubs at the Northwest corner of the practice football fields will be removed on December 3rd. The removal includes Sasanqua Camellias and Burning Bushes. The removal is necessary to facilitate utility work at the site on December 7th.

A full renovation of the practice football fields will require the removal of the current landscaping adjacent to the full length of the current fields. The remainder of the landscaping, including the ‘Nellie Stevens’ Hollies along Wingate Road, will be removed in January 2016.

Following the renovation of the fields, a 5-foot sidewalk will be constructed along the east side of Wingate Road to increase pedestrian flow. A four to five-foot landscaped area will separate the sidewalk from an eight-foot tall ornamental metal fence.

For information regarding the renovation of the practice football fields, contact Senior Project Manager Wendy Wooten at wootenwr@wfu.edu.

Climate Change Forum: “You must adapt.”

November 23rd, 2015

This article was originally published in the Old Gold & Black on November 12, 2015.

On Nov. 10 evening, Dr. Eban Goodstein, Director of Bard College’s Center for Environmental Policy and the Bard MBA in Sustainability in New York City, introduced students’ roles in climate change mitigation strategies through his presentation, New Rules for Climate Protection: Student and Citizen Action to Change the Future.

Although Goodstein emphasized the importance of student voices in many forums, his presentation focused on the Bard Center for Environmental Policy’s nationwide “Power Dialog” on April 4, 2016, an initiative to mobilize efforts of college students and enable them to have a direct effect on state-level policy.

On Aug. 3, 2015, President Obama announced the Clean Power Plan, a new US Environmental Protection Agency regulation designed to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants by 2030.

By 2030, the Plan calls for a reduction by 32 percent of 2005 levels, which are already much lower than those recorded today; however, Goodstein argued that the CPP was too timid and flexible.

Although power plants account for 40 percent of U.S. global warming pollution emissions, the CPP allows each state to set a different emission goal and “implementation plan” to meet it. Additionally, the 32 percent cuts are only a fraction of what Goodstein argues is necessary: 80 percent by 2050.

The Power Dialogs, which allow faculty at colleges nationwide to take their classes on coordinated field trips to their state capitols, aim to enable 10,000 students in all 50 states to have a face-to-face conversation with policymakers and to have a voice in these state level plans.

Because only 23 states have formed teams, and North Carolina does not yet have any Power Dialog organizers, Goodstein’s presentation was intended not only to equip attendees with updates on global warming that would enable them to better understand the upcoming International Climate Talks in Paris, but also to give interested students information on how to join the initiative.

A series of flight cancellations and delays prevented Goodstein’s arrival on campus and required him to present to the ZSR library auditorium virtually, but the professor engaged the over 50 attendees easily, asking audience members to guess statistics and pose theories, and even jokingly turning Dulles airport’s loudspeaker announcements into metaphors demonstrating the necessity of change.

The tone of his remarks did not detract from his message; in fact, it was the personal nature of the conversation that made Goodstein’s call to action affective.

“This will be the work of your lives,” said Goodstein. “You will adapt.”

That adaptation, which he explained will be a constant part of the lives of today’s students going forward as global warming is found to affect more and more aspects of the climate, demonstrates why students’ informed concern and efforts are imperative.

2014 was the hottest year recorded to date, and 2015 will be hotter still. There is 5 percent more water vapor in the atmosphere than there was 500 years ago, which has brought not only record-breaking floods in England, but unprecedented forest fires in California, demonstrating that the pressure of climate change on the water cycle and other weather patterns is causing a multitude of severe changes.

“If we do our best, the world will still get twice as hot,” Goodstein said.

Goldstein also asked the audience what had previously been the largest source of carbon emissions.

“If we were able to reduce emissions from horse manure by well over 90 percent, simply as a product of time, why can we not confidently say that we will be able to reduce fossil fuel emissions by 90 percent as well?”

Some of the effects of global warming are irreversible, but change is needed to minimize their impact. Although it may seem to students that the change necessary is unachievable, Goodstein maintained that this was not the case.

By Natalie Wilson (’19)

Goodstein Introduces the Power Dialog

November 11th, 2015

Power Dialog2Anticipated speaker Dr. Eban Goodstein of Bard College found himself travel-locked in D.C. on November 10, unable to make his long-awaited appearance at Wake Forest.

The upshot? Goodstein still managed to deliver his message to students loud and clear: it’s now or never for college students to stake their claim in the national climate change conversation.

Two hours before the Republican debate kicked off in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Goodstein settled in at Wake Forest via webcam to stress students’ role in mobilizing climate change initiatives despite the politicized efforts to keep the conversation off the table. Spearheading a new campaign called the Power Dialog, Goodstein is calling for students to engage in face-to-face discourse with climate legislators in all fifty states.

“There are lots of ways for students to offer their perspective on this,” said Goodstein. “And by sparking this discussion in all fifty states collectively, we’ll create a media platform. Presidential candidates will see that students want to have a voice in the matter.”

State-level climate change conversations were forced after President Obama unveiled his Clean Power Plan in August 2015. With the goal of reducing national carbon emissions from power plants by 32% by 2030, the Clean Power Plan requires each state to come up with an implementation program to meet specific emission reduction targets within fifteen years.

As the EPA’s pressure on states to enact policy changes reached beyond partisan tensions, Goodstein sought the opportunity to recruit educated young people who will witness the long-term impacts of today’s decisions.

“While countless industries weigh in on these matters, lawmakers aren’t connecting with students,” said Goodstein. “You’re the ones who will be alive to feel the effects of these measures in 2050, and your children will the ones reaping the consequences of our action or inaction in 2100.”

In creating the Power Dialog, Goodstein provides students with a voice in measures that will not only determine their future, but the future of the planet.

The Dialog is working now to organize a meeting with five hundred college students in every state capital during the week of April 4, 2016. These students will get a policy-making update from their state legislators and will be able to give input in the process.

In Raleigh, Governor McCroy and his advisors are currently devising a strategy to cut its emission rate from the power sector by at least 40% in the next fifteen years.  While this conversation ensues, students from North Carolina have yet to join the 23 states already on board with the Dialog.

“It’s not an ordinary day out there and it’s not going to be an ordinary day for the rest of your lives,” said Goodstein. “You’re either going to change the future or you’re not.”

Looking to get involved? Learn more about the Power Dialog here and contact us at sustainability@wfu.edu to be part of the movement.

–By Taylor Olson, ’16

WFU Recognized as Sustainability Leader

October 21st, 2015

AASHE_RGB_72Wake Forest University has been recognized as a sustainability leader in the 2015 Sustainable Campus Index. The 2015 Sustainable Campus Index highlights top-performing colleges and universities in 17 areas, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS).

Wake Forest earned 100 percent of points available in the Coordination and Planning subcategory, which recognizes institutions that are dedicating resources to sustainability coordination, developing plans to move toward sustainability, and engaging the campus community in governance.

Transportation Fair – October 21st

October 19th, 2015

Transportation FairStop by the WFU Transportation Fair from 11:30am-2:00pm outside of Benson to learn more about many of the transportation options that yield better air quality and increase wellbeing. Whether you need a bike tune-up, want to check out electric vehicle options, or want to find a fun hiking and biking trail, a variety of resources will be available. The fair is co-hosted by the Office of Sustainability and Parking and Transportation.

Packer Presents “Lions in the Balance”

October 19th, 2015

Packer_Lions-1-e1441813293898Conflict between predators and people have existed as long as we have. Most large predators were eradicated from North America and Europe over the past few hundred years. And even as we have cemented ourselves securely atop the global food web we still sometimes find our lives and even our livelihoods at odds with top predators.

On September 28, Craig Packer, a preeminent ecologist at the University of Minnesota, traveled to Wake Forest to discuss one such case. Across much of Southeastern Africa, lions and people regularly come into conflict. Livestock and, all too often, people become prey to lions. This conflict has led to extensive culling of lions across the region and has created the very real possibility of a future without lions.

Craig Packer has spent the last 4 decades researching the African savannahs, the intricate ecological connections which make them work, and the role that lions play in that system. He has seen firsthand the decline in lion ranges and populations as human populations have expanded and sought to tame the wild. This naturally led him to a growing focus on conservation along with his basic research. The challenges faced, though, are deeply challenging, with corrupt governments, overly idealistic conservationists, and local populations uninterested in conservation all standing in the way.

Packer reminds us that facing these challenges and saving lions will not be easy or cheap but it can be done. The only real barrier to conservation is our unwillingness to take meaningful action.

By Max Messinger (BS ’13, MS ’15)