We’ve probably all heard it before. We need to find renewable fuel sources that can keep up with the energy demands of our twenty-first century lifestyles. Coal, oil, and natural gas are not considered sustainable; once we burn them, they’re gone. It is predicted that the earth contains enough fossil fuels to last us hundreds of years, but once the fossil fuels they run out, our energy source is depleted. It may seem like we have plenty of time to develop better energy solutions. But what about the raising average temperature of the earth, melting ice caps, rising sea levels, and changing weather and climate?
Submitted by Amanda Schaefer on July 28, 2016 - 11:10am
Water. Everybody needs it to survive. We even found it on Mars. Water covers roughly 71 percent of the earth’s surface, but the amount of potable water that is safe for human consumption is at risk due to water shortages and poor water quality around the world. As a result, water scarcity affects over one billion people worldwide. For various reasons such as water overuse, pollution, drought, war, or distance, people cannot get the water they need. It affects places on every continent from developing countries to the United States, including Flint, Michigan, which has had lead-contaminated water, and even the Atlanta metro area has recently entered a severe drought. With the problem in our backyard, the Living Building Challenge urges us to respect water as a precious resource and redefines how we treat our water sources.
Submitted by Amanda Schaefer on July 20, 2016 - 12:27pm
Place is the first of seven Petals, or categories, that comprise the Living Building Challenge, and rightly so. All of the elements required for a self-sustaining building are dependent on its location. The climate, region, and natural topography of the project site must be taken into careful consideration because the built environment should seamlessly coexist with its natural surroundings. A living building must be well adapted for its environment so that it can generate energy, capture and treat water, and grow food in the most efficient way.
Submitted by Amanda Schaefer on July 14, 2016 - 10:58am
Meatless Monday is a sustainability movement that helps the environment and the health of it’s participants. Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. It can also help reduce our carbon footprint and save precious resources like fossil fuels and fresh water. I have decided to participate in Meatless Monday for a month and document my experiences.
Breakfast was easy. A piece of fruit and a toaster waffle and I’m out the door. Lunch was harder. Having class during the day, I typically grab lunch at the student center. I found myself quickly realizing that there are less vegetarian and meatless options than I originally expected. Chic-fil-a basically serves chicken sandwiches only, so that was out. Maybe I could have found a bean only options at Taco Bell but I wasn’t interested. Subway seems healthy, but I always order turkey sandwiches so what could I order there? I remember seeing their veggie patties there and decided against it.
For the next week I am going to make a few small changes in my lifestyle to try and reduce unnecessary energy usage. One source of waste is merely leaving on lights and electronics that I am not using. Another source is phantom energy. This term refers to energy used by electronics and appliances that draw energy from a power outlet even when they are turned off. Some of the biggest uses of phantom energy are TV’s, electronics chargers, and game consoles. The best way to prevent yourself from using phantom energy is to unplug these things when they are not being used.