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Student Activism

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A quick look at where the future of student activism is. Interviews with several Middlebury students as well as one professor.

Water Quality

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It is a necessity to protect our resources. Quality water may not be a condition we can guarantee the following American generation. A citizen group, teamed with The Conservation Law Foundation in Vermont is fighting to make that a guarantee. In 2001, a landmark case reshaped the landscape regarding water policy and sustainable development. Lowe’s set an example, one that demonstrates that development does not have to degrade local water resources.

Fishy

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Nutrient pollution has been identified as one of the most harmful types of pollution to America’s waters. Phosphorous and Nitrogen are two of the primary agents responsible for nutrient pollution. Excess nutrients cause rapid plant growth, thereby feeding bacteria that consume oxygen in the water. Water without oxygen cannot support any life at all. Most of nutrient pollutants come from agricultural systems. A smaller still significant portion comes from the water used in our homes. About 15 % of the phosphorous that comes from our home’s water finds its origin in dish detergent. Phosphorous does not even make dishes any cleaner! Next time you buy detergent, check out if it has phosphorous. You will be making a difference.

Burnside, Catie; Mcdowell, William. 2001. Dishwater detergent phosphorus: its contribution to phosphorus load at a municipal wastewater treatment plant. voluntary nutrient reduction  program tri-state water quality council. Sandpoint, Idaho.

What is a Watt?

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Ever wondered how much energy you consume? How about the amount of energy you can produce? And what is a Watt anyway? The average American consumes about 10,000 Watts of energy at any given moment. Given the fact that a human can produce about 100 Watts of power, it would take 100 people working around the clock to support your current high energy lifestyle. It’s easy to forget how valuable energy is.

Sources:
Energy, Environment, and Climate Change (2008) by Richard Wolfson
http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/appliances/index.cfm/mytopic=10040
http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/howmuch.html

Green Your Home and Your Wallet – Weatherize

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For this project we followed Thomas Hand from Hand Energy Service as he weatherized a restored Vermont farm house. Weatherization follows an energy audit in a two step process that can help to make your home more energy efficient. By identifying places where heat can escape in the winter the weatherization process ultimately redefines the house’s thermal boundary. This is the most cost effective way to reduce your carbon footprint. For more information about how you can reduce your energy consumption and your costs visit Hand Energy Services or check out the U.S Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program.

Eating Our Way to a Sustainable Future

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Local food lies at the center of a sustainable way of living. Author and Environmentalist Bill McKibben speaks about the importance of local economies and his own experience eating food solely from the Champlain Valley in Vermont. Eating local not only fights climate change but also reconnects people to their communities and their land.
For more information visit:
http://www.transom.org/tools/beginnings/2006/200602_bill_mckibben/gourmet_article.html
http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/eatlocal/
http://lifecyclesproject.ca/initiatives/food_miles/

Earth’s Ours to Share

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Recycling seems so last-century. In the era of “green” products, it seems easy to forget the little blue bin that signified all things “envrionmental” before it became popular. This video and song celebrates recycling/reuse, still an easy and effective way to reduce your carbon footprint. In 2005 alone, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated that recycling reduced the country’s carbon emissions by 49 million tonnes collectively. But what happens after you toss that bottle into the bin? The Middlebury Recycling Center sorts, prepares, and processes materials before shipment to major recycling facilities.

This video is shot as a lip-dub: a single-shot capture with no edits or cuts set to a song. The best way to get a feel for the genre is to watch a number of examples.

Tick Tock Video

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Human impact on the Earth is undeniable. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today is higher than it was at any time during the last 650,000 years. Greenhouse gases are released through the combustion of fossil fuels to power our cars, heat our houses and create the electricity we use everyday. The trouble is, even if carbon-dioxide emissions were to cease immediately, the extra gases already added to the atmosphere would linger for centuries, causing sea levels to rise and changing other characteristics of the Earth for hundreds of years. Earth’s clock does not run backwards, so we cannot undo the damage we have already wrought. Take a stance and make a change now, while there is still time to stop runaway global warming. For more information, visit www.thebulletin.org.

Screening!

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Join us for our screening! Thursday 1/28, 6:30 and 8:00 pm in Axinn 232

Sustainable TV Poster

Future of Food

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The Future of Food- this post is verrrrry late because I was waiting until I could post to the blog which I now can do!

I was initially surprised by the specificity with which this film portrayed the food industry. Expecting a more broad look at the food that I eat, I found myself getting caught up in the complex science and laws (or lack-thereof) surrounding genetically modified foods. Though some of the graphics and footage seemed a bit dated, and the central narrator was quite one-dimensional, with a voice that could easily lull somebody to sleep, overall I thought the film was effective. The clearly defined narrative and tailored focus around GMOs prevented the film from being all over the place and ensured that it explored a particular facet of the food industry in depth. Touching on the history, the science, the controversy, the law suits surrounding GMOs and the interactions between farmers and corporations like Monsanto, I was able to learn a valuable amount about an issue that I knew relatively little about before. While the science portion of the video was enhanced by graphics, I found the political sections of the film most compelling, mostly because of the powerful information presented. Scary music is played behind 1. Facts about corn bred to contain toxins to kill pests at the genetic level 2. Corporations like Monsanto who are buying up patents for seeds and are essentially “patenting life” with human organs the logical next step 3. Farmers depending on subsidies from the government who are sued by Monsanto for patent infringement are shown having to dispose of massive seed banks 4. Experts explaining that world hunger is not a production but an access problem, that our own IMF grants and immense food production are undercutting local markets

 

It was hard not to be disappointed and frightened about the future of food.

Intents: to scare, to educate

Approaches: animation, interviews/ human interest

What can we learn: It was very visually interesting how often they jumped around, it was never still on a talking head for very long there were a lot of different visuals