Friday, October 26, 2007

UW-Madison sustainability grade: B+?

From the Daily Cardinal today:
UW-Madison ranks among the top-10 public and private universities for maintaining green practices, earning a “B+” grade from the Sustainable Endowments Institute’s 2008 College Sustainability Report Card, released Wednesday.

The report ranked the 200 public and private universities with the largest endowments and graded activities on campus and investment practices.

Only six schools received higher than a “B+,” putting UW-Madison “right up there at the top,” according to Mark Orlowski, executive director of the institute. Improving from last year’s overall “B” grade, UW-Madison ranked higher in food and recycling and made strides in green building design, according to the university’s individual report card.

The university scored an “A” in transportation, a new category this year, for providing alternative modes of transportation for faculty, staff and students who all receive a free bus pass. Other attributes in the report include the university’s biodiesel and electric vehicles, a bicycle sharing program and extensive pedestrian and bicycle paths.

However, UW-Madison did not improve from its “B” grade in the climate change and energy or administration categories, Orlowski said.

UW-Madison senior business lecturer Thomas Eggert said the construction of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified buildings would help continue the university’s sustainability efforts.

He noted the business department would seek LEED building certification for Grainger Hall, including the new addition, starting next semester. Eggert also said student involvement has been and will continue to be successful in “going green.”

“There’s certainly a lot of student interest born out both by the classes that are offered and also by the student groups that have developed,” Eggert said.

Eggert mentioned We Conserve, a UW-Madison campaign devoted to reducing campus energy consumption per square foot by 20 percent by the year 2010. Another positive factor in UW’s report was its high grade in endowment transparency, with investment holdings accessible on the Internet. The UW System Trust Funds consider social responsibility criteria in voting shareholder proxy proposals and seek student and public comment on issues of social concert, the report said. “Overall, the trend has been really positive for the university,” Orlowski said.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tales from Planet Earth

The October 17 issue of Wisconsin Week has an article about the upcoming film festival, "Tales from Planet Earth," that Gregg Mitman and the Center for Culture, History, and Environment (CHE) have organized for November 2-4.  Admission is free, and it's a wonderful opportunity to view a fabulous set of environmental films in a large-screen theatrical space.  See for more information.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Recycling IT

"E-Wasting Away in China," by Terry J. Allen, is a thoughtful and disturbing article on America's practice of shipping unwanted "electronic waste," like computers, to China. It was published yesterday by

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Great Government Source of Information

For some amazing pictures (that you helped pay for!) of global warming at work, see the Scientific Visualization Studio of the Goddard Space Center at