Composting and Waste-Free Lunches at Western Trails Elementary School, Carol Stream, IL

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Western Trails is a public elementary school in Carol Stream, IL, Community Consolidated School District 93, serving 386 students during the 2016-2017 school year. With assistance from the environmental education non-profit SCARCE, Western Trails completed a waste audit in February 2015. The results showed that food scraps comprised 82% of the school’s waste stream. With this statistic in hand, the school decided to begin composting to reduce the amount of food scraps being sent to landfill.

Webinar: Green Cleaning for Improved Health: The Return on Investment of Green Cleaning in Schools

Thu, Jun 22, 2017 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM CDT
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Webinar: Teaching Systems Thinking to Fill the Climate Literacy Gap

Thu, Jun 1, 2017 12:15 PM – 1:45 PM CDT
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What will it take to produce a workforce that understands the relationships between environmental, social, and business factors so we can better address the risks of climate change in the coming years? A number of interrelating systems comprise each factor so incorporating systems thinking into the public and private educational systems should result in graduates better prepared to understand the interrelationships and make or contribute to better climate decisions and policies.

In this 90 minute webinar join leaders from education, business and philanthropy as they discuss:

  1. The validity of the climate literacy gap and its impact on the workforce
  2. Existing and emerging ways to teach systems thinking about climate disruptions, mitigation, adaptation and risk management
  3. Concepts for developing the national/international capacity to support climate literacy
  4. The role of philanthropy in accelerating deployment
  5. How community colleges can be at the center of better preparing the workforce for climate risk decisions

Webinar: Rethinking Thinking about Sustainability Curriculum

June 7 from 2:00-3:00 pm CDT
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If a snap of the fingers could reverse the environmental destruction of the past 400 years, we would start repeating our mistakes tomorrow, unless we have changed. The environmental crisis is a symptom of human thinking and we need to think differently to resolve it. Split brain science is explained from major findings of “The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World” (2009, Yale University Press), by psychiatrist and clinical psychologist Iain McGilchrist, which provides profound insight into the workings of the human brain from combining clinical research in split brain science with its evidence in western history and philosophy. This remarkable book explains how dominant thinking has deluded society into its current predicament, warns of the dangers involved and what Einstein meant. Christopher Haines will discuss implementing these insights into higher education curriculum on sustainable development, with examples from the author’s experience. This session will be interesting to anyone concerned with environmental curriculum that will effectively address problems.


College Dorms May Contain High Levels of Toxins

Read the full story in R&D Magazine.

Parents have enough to worry about when sending their 18-year-old freshman off to college, but a new study shows some dormitories may contain high levels of toxic flame retardants.

The Silent Spring study, which looked at two U.S. college campuses in the northeast, showed that dust samples taken in dorms contain carcinogens, hormone disruptors and chemicals from dozens of flame retardants.

Nitrogen Pollution: An Emerging Focus of Campus Sustainability Efforts

Read the full story in the Huffington Post.

Many colleges and universities are working to transition toward sustainability in their academic programs, operations and engagement with communities. A major emphasis of their efforts has been reducing the environmental harms associated with campus operations. Typical initiatives include reducing emissions of climate changing greenhouse gases; reducing consumption of energy, water and other resources; building ‘green’ buildings; purchasing ecologically and socially preferable food and other products; and reducing waste generation and disposal in landfills.

While many of these initiatives can and do reduce nitrogen pollution, this has not been a significant or deliberate focus of college and university sustainability programs. That may be changing.

Volunteers flip this corner of campus for a ‘natural’ makeover

Read the full story at the ISTC Blog.

After two years a project to invigorate 22 acres near Windsor and Lincoln at the University of Illinois is bringing the plot closer to its “natural” state.

This high profile territory had become a thicket of brambles, invasive species, and dead plants. “I became disgusted,” said John Marlin, a research associate at Illinois Sustainable Technology Center who leads the project. “I drive by it every day on the way home. The honeysuckle was so thick that it was difficult to see more than five feet into the woods.  The understory was shaded to the point that virtually nothing grew at ground level.”