Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Emily Pokorny

Margo Edge

 

Sun, Fun, and None

From fun in the sun to working and doing homework, Edgewood students recover from a week off from tests, papers, and lecture.

Students from the geoscience excursion course traveled to the Gulf of Mexico to investigate the oil spill. The students received college credit and participants did research prior to the trip. Freshman Abby Heuring, who researched the oil drilling policies said, “Students are going to learn about the oil spill and how it affected people, animals, and nature. “

The men and women’s tennis team went to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  Senior Brittany Storhoff shared her plans for the break, saying, “We stayed at a beach house, played lots of tennis, and soaked up some warm sunshine!”  While the men weren’t able to come home with a win; the womens won two of their four matches.

Edgewood offered two alternative spring break trips.  The trips provide service opportunities for students outside of the Edgewood and Madison communities.  One trip this year was to the David School in David, Kentucky.  The David School is an alternative high school serving at risk teenagers and high school drop-outs.  Ten selected students and two advisors assisted the school for a week.

The other alternative break was partnered with Habitat for Humanity in Jackson, Tennessee.  Ten students and two advisors were to spend week helping to build a house.  Five days before the students were suppose to leave for their trip, an email was sent to notify the students that the trip was canceled.  Due to economic problems and under-staffing, the organization was unable to allow Edgewood students the opportunity to volunteer their time.

For many, Spring Break just means relaxing and spending time with family.  Junior Dacy Swansby said, “I have no plans of going somewhere warm, even though I wish that were the case. I’m just planning on earning some cash and hanging out with my family, who I don’t see very often.” Jennah DeVoll said, “I’m going home to spend quality time with my family”.

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Laura Green

 

CSAs have been bringing fresh produce to Madisonians for years now, and a Madison Environmental Group event informed attendees of what CSA actually stands for.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a rising trend that’s good for the environment, good for farmers, and good for one’s health. Kay Jensen, co-owner of JenEhr farms in Sun Prairie, explained how CSAs work and the pros and cons of CSAs. Members of CSA purchase a share of a farm’s harvest, which to Jensen means “sharing the risk and sharing the bounty.” Participants pay a fee to the farmer upfront at the beginning of the growing season in exchange for the produce the farm will produce throughout the season. Therefore consumers are taking a bit of a gamble because they pay before receiving anything. What they get for their money depends on how well the crops do that season.

CSAs form a reliable link between grower and consumer. The farm sets a schedule to distribute produce to members, usually once a week. At a location that is ideally convenient for both grower and consumer, members pick up a share of produce from the farmer. Jensen explained that a share of their CSA consists of a box of 7 to 12 different produce items. A list of the produce items in that week’s share is included to assist members in figuring out how to use all of the produce in the share.

A four-year CSA member and MACSAC (Madison Area CSA Coalition) representative was also present at the event to give a member’s perspective of CSAs. She said that this list of produce can be useful because members might receive something they’ve never heard of before, like sun chokes. People new to CSA might have to figure out what to do with these new vegetables, but the CSA member offered this advice: if you don’t like it, share it with someone who does.

While CSAs tend to focus on vegetables, some CSAs offer fruit shares in addition to the basic share. Jensen informed us that this fruit may not be local. She explained that in Wisconsin it’s hard to grow most types of fruit, especially on an organic farm like hers. According to Jensen, there are only two organic apple orchards in all of Wisconsin because the conditions for growing apples organically just don’t exist in this area. So, if farmers can’t grow the fruit themselves, they source it directly from another farm that can to ensure that members are still directly supporting the growers.

After explaining how CSA works, Jensen and the MACSAC representative discussed the benefits of this method of going local. The event consisted of about 15 people, including a noticeable representation of Edgewood students. The casual setting of Madison Environment’s home-like sitting space encouraged discussion and questions by audience members. Some wondered why a person wouldn’t just go to the farmer’s market if they wanted to eat fresh, local produce. Jensen felt that CSAs offer a much stronger connection between consumer, producer, and the food. “It’s not only about the food, it’s about the people raising it.” With members picking up produce directly from the farmer once a week or every other week, they develop a relationship with the person who grows their food. Members could get a true sense of how the produce was grown and know that the person growing it is getting paid a fair price.

Unlike purchasing food at a farmer’s market, CSA offers support to the farmer before any of their produce is grown. Some farmers would not be able to grow as much food if they had to wait until harvest to receive money for their work. CSA members offer the support needed for growers to get the season started and ensure that growers have a steady source of income. For a grower, CSA can be crucial in continuing to raise a variety of food. For a member, food from their CSA share keeps them healthy. According to the CSA member, some health insurance companies even subsidize CSA shares because of the known health benefits of eating fresh local food.

Jensen started the discussion at this event by asking how much local food the audience typically ate during the summer. Most of those who answered the question held up four fingers or less, indicating that the most local food anyone ate was 40 percent. Jensen then asked how much local food everyone would like to eat during the summer. All who responded held up more fingers than they did for the first question. While participants might not currently eat much local food, they wanted to try to include more local food in their diet. Jensen said that thinking about this issue will allow everyone there to improve. Events such as this one not only inform people of how to make the environmental and health changes they wish to make, but they give the audience the motivation and encouragement needed to make these changes.

 

More Information:

Madison Area CSA Coalition(MACSAC) http://www.csacoalition.org/

MACSAC aims to connect consumers to CSA farms. People interested in becoming part of a CSA can search the list of local farms participating in MACSAC. The program’s website also offers a variety of CSA- related resources: information on health insurance rebates, funding for low-income families to purchase a CSA share, and links to recipes.

Events:

~ MACSAC’s Annual CSA Open House

Sunday, March 13th 1:00 to 4:00 at Monona Terrace

~ Winter Farmer’s Market

Madison Senior Center 8:00am to 12:00pm

Saturdays until April 9th

~ First 2011 Outdoor Farmer’s Market

April 16th Capitol square

 

 

Home of the Young Eagle

Posted: December 14, 2010 in Environment, Heritage

Brianna Fiene

The Edgewood campus has been a place of community for centuries, and the evidence is in the dirt.

Woodland peoples built conical and effigy mounds all over the grounds for hundreds of years.  The purpose of these sacred mounds wasn’t only for burials but to gather for spiritual ceremonies as well.

This is proof of the rich Native American culture that once thrived on this very campus.  In fact, the word Sinsinawa–as in the Sinsinawa Dominicans who founded the college–can be translated from a Winnebago word meaning “home of the young eagle.”  This can be linked to our own Eddy Eagle mascot.  The image is depicted in one of the most prominent mounds on campus.  The bird mound is located between the library and DeRicci Hall.  The Woodland tribes believed the bird, specifically the eagle, was a representation of the sky spirit.

Map of eagle mound on campus

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Laura Green

“You’re killing trees!”  How many times have you heard those words in response to someone who’s using a lot of paper?

Such a smarty-pants statement has some truth to it, though.  In fact, we’re all tree killers whether we like it or not.  Most Americans se hundreds of pounds of paper each year, which adds up to a 100-foot tall tree’s worth of paper per person, according to the American Forest and Paper Association.

Our lives depend on paper, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t find ways to use less of it.

That may be hard to believe, but take a moment to think about all of the paper you use.  There are the obvious examples, like the notebooks you use for class or the copy of On the Edge you pick up.  Then there are times when you use paper without even wanting to.  When you eat a can of soup or take a piece of gum from its package, you probably don’t think about the label or the wrapper.  Our lives depend on paper, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t find ways to use less of it.

Paper use may not seem like that big of a deal, especially if you recycle.  If one is concerned about the environment, aren’t there bigger problems to address like global climate change?  There may be bigger problems, but paper contributes to them.  One of the biggest contributors to climate change is cutting down trees.  Approximately 20 percent of carbon emissions worldwide come from deforestation.  Over 40 percent of trees cut down are used for paper, meaning the paper industry  is one of the main factors fueling deforestation.

The paper industry is one of the top wanter and energy users in the US among manufacturers.

Paper also plays a role in the pollution of our environment.  The paper production process creates a considerable amount of carbon emissions as well as sulfur dioxide and nitric oxide emissions that cause acid rain.  The paper industry is one of the top wanter and energy users in the US among manufacturers.  The use of chlorine for bleaching paper creates byproducts that can harm the immune system and even cause cancer.

Recycling paper can reduce some of these effects, but according to Environmental Protection Agency data, paper that’s recycled isn’t often made into new paper.

Between deforestation and pollution, paper use is actually a pretty big environmental problem. Don’t fear, for it’s pretty easy to use less paper if you  follow these easy tips:

  • Print two-sided: If you think you’ll forget, make a reminder note where you’ll see it before yo print.
  • Take it easy with the slides: Don’t print out those Powerpoint slides.  They don’t really help anyway.  If you must, though, print multiple per page.
  • Ditch the Post-Its: If you like to write notes, save old assignments, fliers, and other scrap paper with a blank back.  Cut it up to make notepaper instead of buying Post-Its or a notepad.
  • Put the paper plates away: Invest in a real plate.  Set it on top of the paper plates so it takes more effort to use paper.
  • Textbooks are tree-eaters: Buy them used or rent them.  It’s better for the environment, and it’ll save you money.
  • Recycle it: If you can’t reuse it, recycle it.  Everything from old assignments, paper bags, and that paper edition of On the Edge.

Laura Green

Though Phil’s may not be your favorite place to eat, the Phil’s dining experience is becoming better for the environment than the average restaurant.

In October 2008, Phil’s took its first steps in becoming a Certified Green Restaurant.  The Green Restaurant Association issued its certification in June 2009.  Jaime Franke, dining services manager, explained some of the actions  Phil’s took to receive this certification, including eliminating bottled water, installing low-flow faucets, and composting kitchen waste from food preparation, like vegetable peels.

Perhaps the most important green aspect of a restaurant is not how it’s run but where the food comes from.  Wisconsin produces plenty of food, but most of the food served isn’t from the state.  The average food item travels 1,500 miles to get from the farm to the consumer.  Franke is working on changing that.

Student Bud Andrews is pleased with locally grown options

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