‘A systems approach to sustainability’

Joseph Fiksel, head of Ohio State’s Center for Resilience, speaks today at 3:30 p.m., part of the School of Environment and Natural Resources’ winter seminar series. (Free; all are welcome.) Details. He’s co-founder of the consulting firm Eco-Nomics LLC, which specializes in sustainable business practices, and is the author of Design for Environment: A Guide to Sustainable Product Development. He writes on defining “the s-word” here. Check out his bio here (pdf).

Can religion and the environment mix?

Cal DeWitt, a leading Christian environmentalist, speaks five times in Wooster and Columbus later this week, sponsored four of those times by parts of our college. He’s a professor with the University of Wisconsin’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the author of Earth-wise: A Biblical Response to Environmental Issues, and as the elected town chair of Dunn, Wisc., helped develop an innovative, award-winning land use plan. None other than Bill McKibben (The End of Nature) has written, “I have a lot of heroes, but Cal DeWitt is high on the list.”

Student sustainability projects a ‘win-win’ for OSU

For the past two quarters, my students in ENR 567, “Communicating Environment and Natural Resources Information,” have focused their group research projects on sustainability at Ohio State, in connection with OSU’s One Framework Plan and the university’s sustainability plans.
Projects in this pilot effort have ranged from examining options for renewable energy at OSU and infrastructure and ecosystem services planning, to sociological strategies and educational opportunities to help implement sustainable projects around campus.

Topics have included green roofs, reflective roofing, campus composting, solar power, bus commuting, algae fuels for OSU CABS buses, Olentangy River corridor restoration, avian diversity, permeable pavement, sequestering carbon on off-campus OSU properties, an urban forestry initiative for the Columbus campus, emerald ash borer management at the Waterman Farm woodlot, and communicating environmental education themes.
For a listing of project titles, download flyers from the classes by clicking here: Winter2011, Spring2011.

Greg Hitzhusen

Greg Hitzhusen, School of Environment and Natural Resources

Some of these projects have already led to further inquiry around the university, with the possibility in some cases that OSU will implement some aspect of the student project plans. OSU Framework Plan administrators and decision-makers have been incredibly supportive of this student work, providing feedback and working with the students during their research and presentations, resulting in a win-win project for both the students and for OSU.
For more information about projects from Spring 2011, watch this blog for the students’ reports on what they’ve learned.