November 10

Swedish food gets carbon labels

If you pick up a fast-food hamburger in Sweden, you may end up knowing more than you bargained for.

The Swedish government’s Nutrition Department is adding a carbon-footprint to its label next to the nutrition facts. While the new addition may be a bit confusing to some — for example, a box of oatmeal reads “Climate declared: .87 kg CO2 per kg of product” — it could introduce a new level of environmental-responsibility to hungry consumers as they consider their diet’s environmental impact.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, “changing one’s diet can be as effective in reducing emissions of climate-changing gases as changing the car one drives or doing away with the clothes dryer.”

“We’re the first to do it, and it’s a new way of thinking for us,” said Ulf Bohman, head of the Nutrition Department at the Swedish National Food Administration, which was given the task last year of creating new food guidelines giving equal weight to climate and health. “We’re used to thinking about safety and nutrition as one thing and environmental as another.”

The article goes on to mention that the Scandinavian organic seal, KRAV, in 2010 will require organic farmers to adopt low-emission farming techniques if they want to display the seal. This may present some problems for organic tomato and carrot farmers as they must be grown in temperature-regulated greenhouses because of Sweden’s climate.

Farmers with high concentrations of peat soil on their property may no longer be able to grow carrots, since plowing peat releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide; to get the organic label, they may have to switch to feed crops that require no plowing, said Johan Cejie, manager of climate issues for KRAV

One thing is certain, climate change is affecting the way people shop and eat.

November 3

North Texas recognizes green movement

Randy Loftis, Dallas Morning News ‘ environmental investigative reporter, explores how the green movement is impacting and changing North Texas from highway infrastructure to university curriculum. (Loftis leads a graduate-level environmental reporting class at UNT and is the voice of environmental justice for many in North Texas with his watchdog-journalism stories about Dallas-Fort Worth’s environmental state.)

Dr. Todd Spinks, director of UNT’s Office of Sustainability agrees:

“I think we’re at the beginning of a new era in the North Central Texas region — looking collectively at how to improve this entire urban area,” Spinks told DMN.

According to the according to the landmark 1987 U.N. report “Our Common Future,” as quoted in Loftis’ article, sustainable development is meeting “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

“In short, running the economy without degrading the environment,” Loftis writes.

The article sites a 2001 study of Houston’s ozone by Harvard School of Public Health. It estimated that for every .51 parts per billion in ozone that is reduced, society saves about $10 per person per year — totaling in nearly $63 million for the North Texas metroplex. When that same formula is applied to North Texas, reducing ozone by the estimated 25 percent to reach Obama’s standard, the region can potentially save up to $2.6 billion a year in health and related costs, according to the article.

If cleaner air lures employers, keeps people healthy and spares unneeded health expenses, Murphy said, saving energy as part of a more sustainable North Texas makes economic sense.

“One of the ways to continue that is to embrace green, sustainable development as a region,” he said.

“If that attitude – and it’s a big if – if that attitude can be embraced here, if we embrace green business all the way from Austin to Dallas and Fort Worth, and we get the universities involved, the investment banking community involved, that is a game changer.

“You can get clean air out of that.”

For the entire article, click here.


October 27

Free, micro-finance course starts Monday

UNT Students for a Future Without Poverty club in co-operation with Brian Weinberg, Co-Founder of the site http://www.mficonnect.com/, are proud to be hosting a course on Microfinance.

When: Monday nights weekly from 6:00pm-8:30pm(October 26 until December 7th)

Where: UNT -Terrill Hall room 120

If you are interested in enrolling and for more information, please send an email to Miguel Juanez, at miguel@fwop.org to register and show up for class this Monday (October 26).  This course is being taught from the UC Berkeley Haas MBA program by venture capitalist Sean Foote to 47 Universities across the nation virtually (including SMU & Austin College as well as 13 of the top 20 MBA programs).

Microfinance is a Nobel Prize winning approach to combating poverty that empowers people out of poverty through small loans that they in turn use towards developing their businesses.  With high repayment rates and immediate success in improving conditions for millions of people, a high number of them being women, Microfinance has gained wide support and being implemented in many parts of the world.

However, we as University students are not far behind as we also lead in the number of clubs and organizations aimed at developing microfinance programs – such as our very own “Turn Phones into Loans” program and “Chiapas Project” initiatives many of you are familiar with around campus.  With nearly half of the world’s families living on less than two dollars a day, families look for opportunities to make a better living but are often stifled by a myriad of problems perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

Therefore, it’s imperative we do something to promote awareness of the issues and also provide tangible solutions.  This is one of the ways to do so and provide you with a free opportunity to learn, or expand on your current knowledge. Not to mention with the 47 Universities on board, allow networking and collaboration with other likeminded students from all over the Nation.  So take action and sign up, and bring your friends to our microfinance class. You won’t be disappointed.

For more information Contact:

Miguel Juanez

Campus Coordinator

UNT Students for a Future Without Poverty

817.897.4213

Free, micro-finance course starts Monday

UNT Students for a Future Without Poverty club in co-operation with Brian Weinberg, Co-Founder of the site http://www.mficonnect.com/, are proud to be hosting a course on Microfinance.

When: Monday nights weekly from 6:00pm-8:30pm(October 26 until December 7th)

Where: UNT -Terrill Hall room 120

If you are interested in enrolling and for more information, please send an email to Miguel Juanez, at miguel@fwop.org to register and show up for class this Monday (October 26).  This course is being taught from the UC Berkeley Haas MBA program by venture capitalist Sean Foote to 47 Universities across the nation virtually (including SMU & Austin College as well as 13 of the top 20 MBA programs).

Microfinance is a Nobel Prize winning approach to combating poverty that empowers people out of poverty through small loans that they in turn use towards developing their businesses.  With high repayment rates and immediate success in improving conditions for millions of people, a high number of them being women, Microfinance has gained wide support and being implemented in many parts of the world.

However, we as University students are not far behind as we also lead in the number of clubs and organizations aimed at developing microfinance programs – such as our very own “Turn Phones into Loans” program and “Chiapas Project” initiatives many of you are familiar with around campus.  With nearly half of the world’s families living on less than two dollars a day, families look for opportunities to make a better living but are often stifled by a myriad of problems perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

Therefore, it’s imperative we do something to promote awareness of the issues and also provide tangible solutions.  This is one of the ways to do so and provide you with a free opportunity to learn, or expand on your current knowledge. Not to mention with the 47 Universities on board, allow networking and collaboration with other likeminded students from all over the Nation.  So take action and sign up, and bring your friends to our microfinance class. You won’t be disappointed.

For more information Contact:

Miguel Juanez

Campus Coordinator

UNT Students for a Future Without Poverty

817.897.4213

October 20

It’s official: UNT Slow Food is the First!

courtesy of Slow Food UNT

courtesy of Slow Food UNT

The former president of North Texas Energy and Environment Club raised an interesting question at the Office of Sustainability’s last staff meeting: Who had the first university Slow Food group?

After a little research, turns out UNT is the first Texas University tro have a convivium. Le Cordon Bleu Institute of Culinary Arts-Dallas has a group, but UNT isn’t a food institute, so there ya go.

Check the Slow Food UNT blog here!

October 16

Mean Green Tailgating and Event Updates

Volunteer opportunities still available to students interested in helping with Homecoming events. Promote sustainability by participating with the recycling crew at Tradiditions’ Mean Green Village. Hour long shifts are available, if you want to volunteer for longer, the recycling crew would love the company. Contact gogreen@unt.edu for more information. (Free goodies, t-shirts, and volunteer hours for participators!)

Recent rains rotted the sweet potatoes UNT’s Slow Food Group planned to glean on Oct. 24.

If you’re interested in gaining hands-on experience about the city’s role in sustainability, check out the Denton Career Shadowing & Mentoring Program. Students can sign up for 5 or 10 hour programs lasting the entire semester.

emilymoore1988@yahoo.com

October 15

Preview: Mountaintop Removal Roadshow

The is the last event in Sustainability Week, The Mountaintop Removal Roadshow, goes from 1 p.m. to 2:30 tomorrow in the Silver Eagle Suite of the University Union. Charlee Tidrick, of the Philosophy and Religion Department, presents the adverse effects and destructive practices of mountaintop removal in the Appalachian Mountains.

Recap with Jeff Goodell

Jeff Goodell, author and contributing writer/editor to Rolling Stone and New York Times Magazine graced UNT with his presence and knowledge on Tuesday, October 6, during Sustainability Week.

His book, Big Coal: The Dirty Secret behind America’s Energy Future was the UNT One Book One Community choice this year. Many conversations and debates this semester focus on energy in America and its environmental impacts.

During an intimate Q and A with Goodell, students asked big questions to a man who practically has seen it all when it comes to coal. They were not disappointed. Students and faculty received educated answers to tough inquiries: What will happen to the company’s whose infrastructure is dependent on coal and other fossil fuels? Is there any such thing as “clean coal”? What will energy policy in America look like in the future and how much will it cost us?

Goodell was down to earth and enjoyed being connected with the students who will soon shape the way America looks at energy and the policies that will follow. When asked what individuals can do to solve this seemingly overwhelming problem, Goodell responded that one should simply think for his or herself. There is no one way to fix our energy problem, but with everyone collectively thinking about this issue, we can find a way to solve it.

-By Nicole Cocco