Monthly Archives: March 2014

Disappearing Seasons

By: Sarah Pomerenke, Environmental Educator, LIU Post

My birthday is August 3rd, and, growing up, I used to think that it was the best day of the year for a birthday because during the first week of August it was usually guaranteed to be hot, sunny and beautiful. I absolutely love the hot weather, and, growing up in Austria, we did not have very long summers. However, starting on my 16th birthday, August 3rd became a pretty cold and rainy day. I thought it was an exception. Yet, to my disappointment the next year was the same. After a few years, I realized that the weather had changed, and my predictable hot August 3rd had become rather unpredictable. However, that was not the only weather problem I observed growing up in Austria.

Austria-flag-image

During my childhood, summers would usually start around June and would last until September. The first snow always fell between October and November and would not melt until March or sometimes even April. When I became older though things started to change. Hot summer days started in May, and the first snow sometimes did not appear until January. Furthermore, the seasons began to “mix.” For example, we had periods of freezing cold temperatures around June or July. One year, I even remember that we had snow in June. To me, it was highly obvious that our climate was changing; yet, personally, I did not think about it in a way that concerned me.

Onedayhot-onedaycoldLater on in my life though, I moved to the United States. I realized that uneven weather patterns existed here as well. During my first two years in the United States, I experienced exactly what people had told me regarding the weather in New York: summer was from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and winter was the other half of the year. I remember the weather very clearly because I enjoyed the summer very much, and I disliked the fall and the spring. However, I did not feel that way for very long.

us-flagTo me, it felt as if the seasons started to disappear. For example, in 2010, the first hot days were in the beginning of March, just about to cool down again in May and June. Another extreme example was the winter of 2011 to 2012 – where we had snow for only about two days and for the rest of the winter the temperature did not drop below 50 degrees. This seemed kind of scary to me considering that I lived in New York and it felt more like San Diego.

itshotIn 2012, the weather again continued to be erratic. It started with an extreme heat wave on Memorial Day weekend and then cooled down for the whole month of June before warming up again in the beginning of July. We are supposed to live in an area that experiences four seasons, and we used to have those seasons. But at this point, I gradually started to see them disappear and what is left seems to be just a “mix” of warm and cold weather at any given time of the year. This “mix” of seasons makes it more than obvious – the climate is changing!

Cartoon_GW_vs_Climate_ChangeIn the past, I never thought much about the connection between disappearing seasons and climate change. Only after I read Jill Carpenter’s story “Black Spring” in Thoreau’s Legacy did I realize that one thing effects the other. Carpenter’s story is somewhat similar to mine; yet, her story does not end at the fact that seasons are disappearing. She closely monitors the effects of disappearing seasons on nature and wildlife. The changes she found that were caused by these abnormal weather patterns was significant. This made me remember my own findings in the summer of 2012 following an extremely mild winter – my finding being a large amount of unpleasant bugs.

More bugs than I have ever experienced in my life…

Every day that I would spend time outside after sunset, I ran the risk of getting tons of bug bites all over my body. It literally got to the point that even bug spray did not help. One day, I even counted all the bug bites over my body and I came up with a number above forty.

thoreauAgain, after reading different essays in Thoreau’s Legacy, I was able to connect them to my own experiences and climate change. I realized that my personal experiences with climate change were much more convincing than the news that the media tends to bombard you with such as icecaps melting or polar bears dying.

In the present day, most of the population is aware of global climate change. However, most of the things that the general public knows about it is intangible. Whether distance wise, like Antarctica, or time wise, such as the future consequences of climate change, it seems beyond our reach. This is one reason for peoples’ passivity towards climate change. However, if the broader population would recognize the changes of global warming that are happening now in our own backyards, then people would be much more active in trying to reduce the impacts of climate change.

So, what I say is that we need to make people more aware of the problems that we face on a day-to-day basis related to global climate change. We need to make them realize that the many problems we do face are indeed related to global climate change. Only until we all work together to reduce the impact of global warming, will we have a chance of carrying on, to our children, the luxury of this planet that we now get to enjoy.

Quotation-Barack-Obama-world-work-children-today-Meetville-Quotes-53800together

Karen Miller: Survivor, Leader, Inspiration

By: William Achnitz III, Sustainability Coordinator, LIU Post

HBCACOn Monday, March 3rd, 2014, students in Professor Scott Carlin’s Sustainable Land Use and Transportation class were treated to a very inspirational guest speaker, Mrs. Karen Miller, President and Founder of the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition.

A survivor of breast cancer herself, Karen formed the coalition about 27 years ago as a means not only to focus on prevention methods but also to actively help those who are faced with a positive diagnosis. Essentially, the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition (HBCAC) strives to promote community-oriented programs focused on Breast Cancer Education, Precaution, and Prevention.

Karen-Miller

One such initiative was a GIS study led by HBCAC and Professor Scott Carlin of LIU Post that mapped instances of breast cancer within the Town of Huntington. A result of over 600 volunteers collecting over 23,000 surveys over a span of 8 years led to one of the most comprehensive mapping studies of breast cancer in the country, something that was unprecedented for Long Island. Not only has this study opened residents’ eyes to the prevalence of breast cancer on Long Island, but it has also brought the topic of breast cancer to the forefront of discussion in our region.

breast_cancermap

Huntington Breast Health Survey Results

“I’m proud of Long Island because the women here brought breast cancer to the forefront,” said Karen Miller during the introduction of her presentation. “These are the people that want to know why there is so much cancer. We have an obligation to get them answers.”

That same mission and mindset is exactly what still drives Karen to this day as well as the organization that she leads. She emphasizes the importance of partnerships and building relationships through grassroots activism.

“You need to connect with people in your community now!” she said. “As more and more of us band together, things can happen.”

And certainly things will happen. For me, Karen Miller is an inspiration and it was a privilege to hear her speak in one of my classes. She’s a role model and she is the epitome of what it means to work towards what you believe in.

To learn more about HBCAC, please check out their website here.

Residence Life Recycles 381 Pounds of Material

From February 24th to March 2nd, the Office of Residence Life held their own version of RecycleMania as part of the annual Cereal Bowl Competition. Which residence hall could collect the most recyclables?

During that week, residents, RAs and RHDs from each residence hall collected paper, cardboard, bottles, and cans in hopes of becoming the victor of RecycleMania. At the end of the week, members of the LIU Post Recycling Program weighed all of the materials and in total, the 6 buildings collectively recycled 381 pounds of recyclable material.

The competition was judged on a per capita basis rather than a total amount collected that way it would place every building, both big and small, on an even playing field. So, with a weight of .977 pounds per resident, Nassau Hall claimed their first RecycleMania victory, recycling 83.5 pounds of material in total.

“As a whole, we encourage our building to recycle as much as possible,” said Arianna Livreri, Residence Hall Director of Nassau Hall.

“Not only did RecycleMania provide us with a great opportunity to educate our residents about recycling and the benefits of being sustainable, but the competition also got residents more aware of their environmental impacts. Now, recycling has become a trend in our building.”

And certainly it has become a trend all across campus.

LIU Post is now recycling more than ever and it all stems from the hard work and efforts displayed by people the likes of the residents of Nassau Hall.

Nassau Hall

Residence Life Staff of Nassau Hall

LIU Post Begins Diverting Air Filters From Landfills

Thanks to the technology developed and patented by Delta M Incorporated, LIU Post will pilot a new Air Filter recycling program in Mullarkey Hall and Winnick House.

7acd47d0a811ee75a58e22bef143ddc2The pilot program, which features the world’s first and only line of completely reusable and recyclable commercial air filters, will reduce costs, improve indoor air quality, and result in 100% waste diversion from HVAC operations. In fact, Delta M estimates that LIU Post can expect to see a minimum cost savings of 40% based on the cost of current filter usage in Mullarkey Hall and Winnick House.

So, how does it work? Well, the process is actually very simple.

First, Delta M delivers the ordered filters to LIU Post. Then, staff from the Department of Facilities Services installs the new purECOgreen filters just like they would with any other filters. And then when the filters reach the end of their service life, they are sent back to Delta M’s refurbishment site, free of charge, where each filter will be returned to a pristine pre-use state. Not to mention, LIU Post will receive a rebate for each undamaged filter that is sent back to Delta M, thus lowering the cost of the filters even more.

With this new partnership, LIU Post is supporting one of the most innovative and sustainable companies in the world, a company most recently recognized by Earth Charter US with a Sustainable Business Award for Innovation.

EA-Award-171kb2

Delta M doesn’t just manufacture a sustainable product; sustainability is at the core of their company. For instance, Delta M Inc. manufactures all of their products in North America using locally-sourced raw materials. They also internally re-use as much as possible from turning castoff filter media into packaging to filtering and reusing their wastewater. Their products are also much more efficient as they last 25 to 30% longer than conventional cardboard filters.

Delta M is committed to helping their customers become more sustainable and LIU Post is excited to begin this new partnership.