Category Archives: Academics

Scott Carlin on Clean Energy, Education, and Climate Change

By: William Achnitz III, Campus Life Coordinator

Professor Scott Carlin came to LIU Post in 2006 from Southampton College. There, he served as the co-director of LIU’s Institute for Sustainable Development from 1997 to 2005. At LIU Post, he wasted no time starting the sustainability conversation, essentially kicking off our own version of the sustainability movement. I would go so far as to dub him the Father of Sustainability at LIU Post. Now, 10 years later, he is still pushing his mission of sustainability forward not just by educating students in the classroom but by educating others outside of the classroom as well.

Professor Carlin is an Associate Professor in the Earth & Environmental Science Department at LIU Post. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate students. Personally, I’ve had the pleasure of being in 4 of his classes, all during my time in the Environmental Sustainability Master’s program. In addition, Professor Carlin has served as the committee chair for Sustainable Post, a committee of students, faculty, and staff that meet monthly to discuss campus sustainability initiatives. Professor Carlin has been one of the biggest advocates, if not the biggest advocate, for campus sustainability at LIU Post and I have been blessed to have him as my mentor.

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In a way, I’ve stood by his side as somewhat of a Number 2, a right-hand man if you will. The man that once said he would paint his body red and go shouting in the streets on my behalf has been my #1 supporter here at LIU Post and he’s definitely pushed me to be the best that I could possibly be. Without that, I don’t know who I am today.

In his spare time, Professor Carlin likes to moonlight as an NGO Representative to the United Nations for the International Society of Doctors for the Environment.

Please check out this recent video he did with Bill Miller of South-Side News.

Do You Know Your Carbon Footprint?

By: Bessie Weisman, Sustainability Coordinator, LIU Post
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a nifty tool on its website to calculate your household’s carbon footprint. A carbon footprint is simply a quantification of CO2 emissions from a person, product, or, in the case of this calculator, a home.

I was reluctant at first, because I didn’t want to face how high my household emissions may be, albeit very curious to use this tool. So, I went through the steps of the EPA’s calculator and discovered some useful information about my family’s stats and what we could do to cut our annual CO2 output.

Carbon Calculator 
To really get the most out of this exercise, you need some information that might not come off the top of your head. For example, I researched the average gas mileage of my car in addition to the amount of money spent on electricity and gas in my house per month. For all of these stats, the EPA also gives you figures for the average American household; this was nice because I felt like less of a heathen when comparing my house’s output to the average.

My favorite part about this exercise was looking at the ways that the EPA suggested lowering your emissions. Some of the actions they recommended were simpler and more doable than I expected. Regularly maintaining your car, using cold water to wash your clothes, and utilizing your computer’s power-saving features are easy ways to reduce emissions. Of course, recycling is also one of the most effective and achievable actions your household could (and definitely should) take as well.

Seeing these calculations with EPA’s tool made my household’s CO2 emissions a more tangible concept. I always understood the idea of a carbon footprint, but seeing the numbers and figures on my screen made them digestible. This exercise is something that will use in introductory classes in the future, and no doubt students will be able to benefit from its interactive and constructive nature.

Interested in calculating your household’s carbon footprint, click HERE.

Let us know you discovered on social media here, here, and here.

LIU Post Hosts Faculty Panel On Climate Change

By: Melissa Colleary, Sustainability Coordinator, LIU Post

On November 10, 2014, LIU Post held a Climate Change Faculty Panel. The documentary Disruption was shown and each faculty member answered questions that were either unanswered by the film, or that students were interested in.

The faculty panel consisted of Dr. Magee from Philosophy, Dr. DiVenere from Earth Science and Dr. Jennifer Brown from Sociology.

Climate Change FlyerThe majority of the conversation focused on what we could do as a country to fix the global warming problem that is becoming increasingly more evident. Dr. Brown suggested that people needed to be mobilized in order to create enough pressure on the government to make a long term change. Dr. Divenere, stemming from that idea, suggested that people need to spend more money upfront in order to reduce environmental impact. Dr. Magee responded to both professors by claiming that the majority of people are the cause of the problem we’re facing, and for the problem to be solved, the wants of the majority must be put aside.

Although what Dr. Magee was suggesting may seem extreme, it really is not too much to ask when one really thinks about it. Is it too much for us to pass up fast food in favor of preparing our own meals to enjoy at home with our families? Do we need to be eating our meals in gas guzzling SUVs because the kids are going to be late for soccer practice? Do we really need to use plastic bags to carry our groceries, or drive to our friend’s house that’s just down the street? The answer to all of these questions is no. We don’t need to do any of those things.

Climate Change Panel

If you talk to anyone who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, they’ll tell you that they don’t remember people carrying plastic bottles with them everywhere they went and that grocery stores didn’t have nearly as many options as they do today. These are things that we lived without before, but now we’re provided with so many options that we don’t know what to do with them all. We’re overwhelmed by choices and decisions, and instead of improving our lives, they’re actually killing us. Overconsumption causes health problems and it harms the environment, but no one is willing to even slightly inconvenience themselves in favor of the longevity of our environment as we know it.

We’re in the middle of one of the most major extinction events that the world has ever seen, and it’s caused by us and our need to obsessively produce and consume. The average American uses as many resources as 270 Ethiopians, yet we still complain that we don’t have enough.

To me, Dr. Magee is right. The needs of the majority do need to be put aside to make the planet more sustainable. So, next time you’re bagging with plastic or driving a short distance, think about how your actions are effecting the environment. Chances are, you’ll want to make a change.

Watch the film Disruption below:

College 101 Students Establish Their Roots

By: Dr. Lauren Sassenoff, Professor of English, LIU Post

All teachers who value the significance of education want to see their students flourish and gradually learn to trust their own sense of self. As an English professor and a College 101 professor, I have seen students thrive in the classroom and utilize the tools and resources they have developed in this environment of enrichment. However, this semester, I have had the privilege of observing my College 101 students further their sense of awareness and their independence by establishing their roots outside the classroom.

From the beginning of the semester, my College 101 class—comprised of the students, our amazing peer mentor, Stephanie Frobin, and myself—wanted our Service Learning Project to be something that is both original and create a sense of fulfillment. Thus, my brilliant peer mentor asked me a seemingly simple yet intelligent question: “Is there a way we can plant a tree?” Once we asked students for their input, they were enthusiastic to not only this idea but to rediscover the joy of the outdoors. Moreover, I realized that in order to better understand the environment and Sustainability, we must be in the most natural setting for such a project. Since we live in a digital age where most people go online in order to learn about issues involving our environment, our class decided to spread environmental awareness the old fashioned way: go outside and become one with nature. This was now becoming a metaphorically empowering project and a bold statement for the students as well as Stephanie and I: we are carving out our own path, and we are united on this quest to promote environmental awareness.

Tree Planting

Breaking Ground

On November 25th 2014, our College 101 class set out near Suffolk Hall to plant our tree. I use the pronoun “our” because this tree is as much a part of me as this symbol of environmental enrichment is a part of Stephanie and every student in this class. Each student would dig and help to put the tree in its proper place. Additionally, we had a team of experts and LIU Post workers so committed to our goal of creating roots. Without them, this would all be for naught. Therefore, we thank them for their time, expertise, and kindness. What started out as such a seemingly impossible and small idea took us on a journey of awareness and unification for Sustainability.

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Planting a crepe myrtle

I find myself in a very interesting and rewarding position. I have been a member of the LIU Post community for eleven years, as a student and now as a professor. Yet, it was not until this project came along that I truly felt I had put down roots. These roots are not only mine and Stephanie’s roots, but they belong to every single freshman we had the privilege of working with in College 101 this semester. Even though the semester is coming to an end, this project marks the beginning of everyone’s journey as well as everyone’s involvement with Sustainability.

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Finished Product

Coming Fall 2014: Environmental Philosophy

PHI 28 Flyer FINAL-page-001For more information, contact Professor Glenn Magee at glenn.magee@liu.edu, or call the Philosophy Department at 516-299-2341.