Blog Archives

Universities Lead Battle to Reverse Climate Change

The University Network
By Peter Corrigan

2017.09.22-NewsFeed-TUN Campus Climate Change-IMAGE

Two years ago, at the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, 193 member states adopted the Sustainable Development Goals—17 distinct goals designed to eradicate poverty, address climate change, and build peaceful, inclusive societies for all by 2030. With the U.S. pulling out of the Paris Agreement and the recent record-breaking hurricane damage this year, climate change and sustainability will be a hot topic this week at the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly.

In July this year, the UN issued a report noting that progress to date “is insufficient to fully meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets by 2030.” It also added a warning: “Time is therefore of the essence.” The report went on to note that in 2016, planetary warming set a record temperature of about 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial period, and the extent of global sea ice fell to the second lowest on record.

But it is not all doom and gloom. While the world is certainly heating up, so are the efforts taking place at university campuses to tackle climate change and make the world more sustainable. If you want to see the progress on reversing climate change and making the world more sustainable, look at our universities where sustainability advancements are made every day.

In this article, we highlight the key areas in which universities are leading the battle to reverse climate change—from their unwavering commitment, to the cutting-edge research that will help us win this battle.

Campus Recycling

A big part of reversing climate change is recycling. The more we recycle, the less energy is consumed in making new things that contribute directly to climate change. This is an area where universities have made dramatic changes and continue to improve upon, so much so that it would behoove local governments to learn from local universities around them how best to improve their own programs.

Here are some examples of recycling efforts made by universities:

  • Making Recycling a Competitive Sport.  “RecycleMania” is a green movement that started in 2001, whereby colleges compete against each other in an effort to promote recycling and waste reduction. During the competition, the participating schools report on their weekly recycling/trash volumes, and are ranked in various categories based on their recycling efforts. Since RecycleMania’s inception, millions of students from over 1,000 universities have recycled and composted roughly 730 million pounds of material, thereby preventing the release of nearly 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (equivalent to removing 7 million cars from the road for one year).

Read the full story here.

Scott Jenkins of Mercedes-Benz Stadium & Chair of the Green Sports Alliance to speak at Compost2018

Construction & Demolition Recycling
by CDR Staff


Komptech Americas a supplier of machinery and systems for the mechanical and mechanical-biological treatment of solid waste and for the treatment of biomass as a renewable energy source headquartered in Westminster, Colorado, has committed to become the headline sponsor at the 26th Annual U.S. Composting Council (USCC) Conference and Tradeshow. Komptech was one of the original demonstrators of equipment for USCC’s equipment and demonstration days.

USCC’s Compost2018, titled Game On! Building Sustainable Communities, will be held Jan. 22 to 25, 2018, at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Atlanta. The conference routinely attracts 1,000 attendees and includes four days of workshops, expo, sessions as well as an off-site live demonstration of compost manufacturing equipment. Scott Jenkins of the Atlanta Falcons and Chair of the Green Sports Alliance will be a keynote speaker.

“We support the U.S. Composting Council and its goal to significantly impact the compost industry. With our headline sponsorship, we are solidifying not only our commitment to the council and the conference, but to the entire composting industry,” says Brandon Lapsys, general manager of Komptech Americas.

Learn more here.

Earth Matters: The Zero-Waste House That Jeter Built

by Susan Hellauer

Birds-eye view of the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Starting with recycled steel and concrete, and diversion of construction waste, the home of the Yankees has become one of Major League Baseball`s greenest operations. Photo courtesy The New York Yankees.

Birds-eye view of the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. Starting with recycled steel and concrete, and diversion of construction waste, the home of the Yankees has become one of Major League Baseball`s greenest operations. Photo courtesy The New York Yankees.

It was the hottest ticket in town and I—Yankee fan from my Bronx birth—had snagged one in the left field main deck, thanks to my old friend Wendy, who had a ticket to spare. It was May 14th, Derek Jeter night, and the Yankees honored the 42-year-old former captain and future Hall of Famer by retiring his number (2) and unveiling his Monument Park plaque. The pre-game ceremony—for which all remained standing—was filled with career-spanning clutch-play highlights, Jeter-era Yankee greats, and a Wagner opera’s worth of heroic fanfares.

When the emotional hour-long event was over, the ever-considerate Wendy took all the snack boxes, cups and food wrappers up to discard them. She returned after a long absence looking puzzled: there wasn’t a garbage can to be found anywhere. Finally, she spied a maintenance man pushing a cart, and tossed in the trash.

But that trash in her hands wasn’t trash at all. Rather, it was destined for diversion—to be recycled or composted, never to see a landfill. The new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009 across the street from the now-demolished 1923 House that Ruth Built, was designed from the get-go as a sustainable, zero-waste oasis, and not a daily avalanche of food-related garbage, like most stadiums.

Green from the ground up

Thanks to organizations like the 384-member (and growing) Green Sports Alliance, teams and stadiums of all kinds are making strides toward zero waste. The shift is sparing landfills millions of cubic feet of garbage each year, reducing energy and water use, and cutting down on carbon emissions. And the Bronx’s 47,422-seat Yankee Stadium is one of Major League Baseball’s greenest operations.

There was no need to convert the new stadium to a more sustainable profile: it was all baked in, right from the recycled structural steel and concrete aggregate used in its construction.The 31,000 square-foot Great Hall, through which most guests arrive, is built with massive open-air archways that allow for natural cooling and ventilation: no air conditioning required. The energy savings per game from this alone equals about 125 New York City apartments shutting off their air-conditioning for a summer day.

The savings don’t stop there. The stadium’s ultra-efficient plumbing fixtures spare about 3.1 million gallons of water each year, reducing water use by 22 percent. And automated building controls are calibrated to reduce power consumption of lighting and ventilation systems when not in use.

Read the full post here.

To learn more about Green Sports Alliance membership, contact rahul@greensportsalliance.org