A Sustainable Yard

Sarah Myers

Summer is nearly here and many of us spend our time outside working and enjoying our yards or gardens.  Although it is a space engineered by humans, yards help connect us with nature even in the middle of suburbia.  Despite this connection, our yards are actually a sizeable source of pollution and waste of natural resources that contribute to general environmental degradation.  Here are just 5 ways to help curb this problem while still maintaining an enjoyable outdoor space:

Grow food, not grass
yardOver half of the water we use at home goes towards landscaping. … Read the rest

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ACUPCC Releases 2012 Annual Report

by Beth Gray

2012 Annual ReportLast year, the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) and Second Nature released a report, “Celebrating Five Years of Climate Leadership,” documenting the success of the initiative in its first five years.  The ACUPCC and Second Nature used that publication as a way to highlight success stories and highlight best practices.  American Public University System (APUS) was included in that report in the section devoted to “Opportunity.”  APUS’ online platform allows the school to educate a tremendous volume of students from all around the world (we have students studying in all 50 states and more than 100 countries) leaving great opportunities for promoting sustainability education. … Read the rest

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Exploring the Psychology of Behavior Change

by Beth Gray

Behavior change can be one of the most difficult elements of any initiative but particularly for one like sustainability which has only in the last decade or so come to the forefront of strategic planning initiatives for businesses and universities.  In 2009, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency commissioned a report titled, “The Psychology of Sustainable Behavior: Tips for Empowering People to Take Environmentally Positive Action.”  Author Christie Manning explores ways in which we can “make sustainability the social default” in order to make significant progress in our sustainability efforts. … Read the rest

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Hydro-Fracturing News

by Dr. Molly Whitworth
Faculty Member, Environmental Science at American Public University

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just recently announced that it believes the methane found in drinking water in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale communities is not from the controversial practice of hydraulic  fracturing, or “fracking”.  In this region, famous for complaints of methane- tainted drinking water, the EPA reports that the methane contamination is likely from naturally high levels in the soils and underground aquifers, not from nearby fracking activities.… Read the rest

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Hazardous Waste Management and Liability

by Krystle McClain
Faculty Member, Environmental Science at American Public University

In the wake of tragic accidents such as the recent West Fertilizer Plant explosion in Texas, the media initiated conversations about the environmental, health, and safety (EHS) community. News stories use key phrases such as risk management, hazard and safety violations, and environmental compliance, thereby enabling the public to become familiar with EHS topics.

When one mentions hazardous waste management and liability, what are the first images that come to mind?… Read the rest

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APUS Celebrates Earth Day and Wellness

In the last five or six years, the prevalence of workplace wellness programs and sustainability initiatives has increased tremendously.  A 2012 RAND report sponsored by the US Department of Labor and the US Department of Health and Human Services notes that “92 percent of employers with 200 or more employees reported offering [health and wellness programs] in 2009.”  A 2011 KPMG report notes that “sustainability has moved up the corporate agenda over the past three years.”  According to the report, “sixty-two percent of companies surveyed have a strategy for corporate sustainability, up from just over half in February 2008…”  The American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) now has nearly 700 signatories (including APUS), indicating the increasing environmental consciousness within the educational community. … Read the rest

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College Campuses Celebrate Earth Day

By Kelly Wenner

As we celebrate Earth Day 2013 this week, it is only natural (no pun intended!) to showcase how college campuses are participating in the festivities. Here are some highlights from campus celebrations around the nation:

• At Baylor University in Waco, TX, students use the Earth Day holiday to promote how spirituality impacts activities such as organic farming and recycling;
• Bellevue College in Washington State offers a farmer’s market and a fashion show using garments made from only second-hand materials;
• Elmhurst College in Illinois offers its “Recycling Extravaganza” where students can donate electronics, clothing and appliances to local non-profit organizations;
• A Sustainability Carnival is held at Fordham University in New York City.  … Read the rest

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Voices of Sustainability at APUS: Green Living in Everyday Life

APUS Sustainability Committee member and German native, Gabi Gimbel, shares practical information to help us be more sustainable in our everyday lives in the podcast below.  From composting to recycling and beyond, Gabi lives sustainably everyday!  There is great information here – check it out!

Green Living in Everyday Life by APUSRead the rest

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A Special Earth Day Project: Maintaining Green Roofs

by Dr. Carol Pollio
Program Director, Environmental Science at American Public University

Earth Day-groupEarth Day in Washington, D.C. this year started out a chilly 41 degrees. But the weather did not stop eighteen motivated folks from doing a service project to recognize the significance of the day. At 9 a.m., recent APU graduate Laura (Stopper) Batts led a team of National Park Service staff members, including APU student Tonya Watts, and me in weeding the Office of Natural Resources and Science’s green roof. … Read the rest

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Images of Sustainability at APUS – Telecommuting

telecommutingAs a fully online university, American Public University System (APUS) is able to keep its carbon footprint comparatively low.  Because students are able to study from anywhere around the world, they are never required to travel to our campus in Charles Town, West Virginia.  By the same token, APUS has a telecommuting program for most employees.  Many of our employees work from home at least once a week and some, depending on their job functions, work exclusively from home.  Just as our 100,000 students are studying in all 50 states and more than 100 countries, our faculty are also working remotely. … Read the rest

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