Friday, January 18, 2008
Campus Sustainability: A Local Response to Global Warming and Peak Oil
Dept. of Physics, Harvey Mudd College
The American public has become increasingly aware of the rising levels of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere and the rising average global temperature. These trends have compounded environmental concerns over the depletion of fossil fuels, the availability of clean water, threats to biodiversity, and the earth’s growing human population. In an attempt to generate local solutions to these global challenges, the communities of both Cal Poly Pomona and the Claremont Colleges have launched studies of the environmental sustainability of their respective campuses.
I will begin with a brief review of the fundamental science underlying these environmental issues, and then describe the findings of a campus sustainability audit of the Claremont Colleges performed this past summer 2007. The auditing team was comprised of about 20 students and faculty, and they enjoyed strong support from the facilities and maintenance staff across the Claremont campuses. We documented the historical consumption of natural gas, electricity, and water, and noted potential areas for conservation. We also examined emissions, waste, and recycling, and constructed a preliminary carbon footprint for the colleges. Some of our results are surprising, with striking similarities to those of Cal Poly Pomona, and nearly all of them are sobering. We conclude that the goal of carbon neutrality is a very ambitious one, and the sooner we adopt alternative technologies utilizing renewable energy sources, the better!
Refreshments at 4:00 PM. Seminar begins at 4:10 PM.
Building 8, Room 241
For further information, please call (909) 869-4014