Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sustainable Garden Methods--A Discussion with Vincent Simeone

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I'll be having a discussion with Vincent A. Simeone, the Director of Planting Fields Arboretum, about his new book Grow More with Less:  Sustainable Garden Methods, Friday night at 7:30 at Breslin Hall, Room 105 at the Hofstra Campus.

I'll be speaking to him about how we can turn our lawns and gardens into more sustainable places in our suburban landscape.  The lecture is free and open to the public.  Mr. Simeone's book will be available for purchase and signing.

Hope to see you there!  The book is excellent and I recommend it for any gardener.  If you can't come, the book is available on the right in my Nightstand Reading on the right bar.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Weather versus Climate

Squirrel trying to cool down outside Gittleson Hall, July 18, 2013.What a cold winter -and cool spring- we've been having here in the Northeast! But summer is coming. Do you remember ever feeling hot? Look what this poor squirrel was driven to do while trying to cool down outside Gittleson Hall on July 18, 2013:

One effective message I've seen lately to help distinguish weather trends versus climate change is the answer to this question from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research: what do home runs and weather extremes have in common? I find the steroids-in-baseball analogy particularly effective. Do you? I am fascinated by the evidence of climate change contained in statistics of the ratio of record highs to record lows, as referenced in the baseball clip- here is more information on how those statistics were compiled.

Hump Day Humor - GreenTV Shows

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The folks at @Midnight on Comedy Central do a Hashtag Wars segment on their show.  The host puts out a premise like #greentvshows and comedian guests compete for the best answer.  However, the best stuff actually shows up on Twitter.  I never stay up for the show, but catch the jokes on Twitter occasionally.  I thought I would share some of the funniest #greentvshows I ran across this morning.

Law and Order:  Hybrid SUV
Al Gore's Drag Race
The Fracks of Life
Father Quinoas Best
Deadliest Catch and Release
So You Think You Can Dance Around Climate Change?
Game of Low Flush Thrones
The Fresh Prince of Clean Air
One is Enough
Real Housewives of Portland
Who Wants to Be a Windmillionaire?
The Biking Dead
Arrested Redevelopment Contractor
Keeping Up with the Kardashian's CO2 Emissions

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Beatles and Sustainability

As we approach Earth Day, 2014, it's worth taking a trip back in time to 1970 when we had the first Earth Day.  I was still in my first decade.  The Beatles released their final album, Let It Be, in May of that year, just a handful of days after the big Earth Day event.  While the Beatles were not necessarily a group clearly tied to the environmental movement of the 1960's, they were linked by the broad countercultural youth movement.  We have that era to thank for things like the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the US EPA.

Happy Earth Day 2014.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sustainability and Seniors

Giving the webinar.  Photo by Debbi Honorof.
Last week I gave a climate change webinar to residents of Bristal Assisted Living facilities throughout the New York Metro Region.  The event was organized by Hofstra's Continuing Education program.  I spoke to well over 100 residents about the science of climate change, the history of the environmental and sustainability movements, and climate change policy.  It was a great experience!

I always enjoy the question period whenever I give a talk about my work.  After the webinar, the residents asked a number of important questions.  My favorite one was, "What can we do living in an assisted living facility to try to make a difference on climate change."  Wow!

We often think about how the youth of our world are seeking to make the world a better place, but we have to remember that our aging populations have a role to play as stewards of our planet.

The question got me thinking about issues of environment and sustainability for senior communities.  I did a brief exercise trying to find researchers who focus on sustainability and the elderly and there really isn't very much out there on this topic.  Most of the work that I saw focused on transit and trying to ensure that seniors have access to mass transit.  However, there is so much more that could be done.

After my talk, I spoke with Janine Valentiner, the Director of Business Development for Bristal and she is interested in finding ways to build bridges between our sustainability initiatives and their organization.  I would love to have my majors look at the issue of sustainability within assisted living facilities.  There is so much research that could be done.  Just think about it:  energy and water use, food, transportation, building materials, waste disposal, hazardous medical and biological waste, etc. are all important issues we discuss in communities.  However, I've only found a handful of researchers focusing on these issues  in aging populations (see here and here for examples...note these are behind a paywall unless you are on a university network).

A big thanks to Debbi Honorof of Hofstra's Continuing Education department for inviting me to present to the Bristal residents.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Francis Ford Coppola at Hofstra

Now for something completely different....

The great folks at Hofstra's Special Collections office of the Hofstra Library recently posted on Twitter a 2007 interview with Hofstra alum Francis Ford Coppola.  The video includes lots of retrofabulous images of the campus in the 1960's.  The shots of the building of Adams Playhouse are especially interesting.  The campus looks so mature now that it is hard to imagine that the images from the 1950's and 1960's are the same place.  Coppola graduated from Hofstra in the early 1960's.  Other famous alum and attendees include Christopher Walken, Madeline Kahn, Lainie Kazan, and James Caan to name a few from the entertainment world.

I know that some of you interested in historical aspects of college campuses will enjoy the video.  What notable people graduated from your high school or college?