Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Week 10 Featured Journal Entries

This week's featured entries come from Louie Knolle, Robbie Ludlum, Kendall Jent, and Will Merck.

Week 10 Journal Prompt

Many of our everyday choices and behaviors affect the livelihoods of people in the developing world, though we may not realize the connection. Consider whether you engage in any of the following behaviors/practices, then watch the video to understand how this activity is tied to development:

  • Coffee drinking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwYl69VstPw
  • Buying jewelry with diamonds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eThlmx7w9r0
  • Buying gold jewelry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbNAtWHhXq4
  • Using (and then disposing of) digital devices: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkpBcFDjk7Y
  • Eating chocolate: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LD85fPzLUjo&playnext=1&list=PLOA_8QHMLBOFAQ8KZWLT2NI40NASFCAMA
  • Buying some types of inexpensive clothing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxppEs_z3Tg

(If you do not participate in any of these activities, let me know and I will help you identify one of your daily behaviors that is tied to livelihoods in developing countries.)

In your journal entry, post the video that you watched and then respond to these questions with 1–3 paragraphs per question (thus 4–12 paragraphs total):

1) Were you aware of the problems documented in the video?
2) Will you change your behavior as a result of the video? Why or why not?
3) As a society, how might we address the problems documented in the video?
4) How likely is it that, as a society, we will take the steps you identified in (3)? Note the factors which may facilitate or impede our efforts in addresses these problems.

Louie's Week 10 Journal Entry

The video I chose to watch was on the fire in the Bangladeshi clothing factory:

1.) Yes and no, I was only slightly aware of the problem presented in the video. Everyone often hears about the deplorable labor conditions in clothing sweat shops in parts of the world, especially in Asia. But the image that activists use the most to really stir people's emotions are small children sitting at looms for long hours each day. The side not mentioned as frequently, as shown in this video, are the adults who also rely on these cheap cloth manufacturing operations for their own livelihood. And because countries wish for foreign textile companies to come to their nations to open production facilities, they have to do things such as have lax safety codes to make it appear more desirable. 

For instance, the fire codes in Bangladesh. When the fire alarms first went off, the managers told their workers to get back to work. That is, until fire swept through the building and hundreds were kept from escaping. From the older appearance of the outside of the building that was burned and the destruction the fire left on the inside, one can infer the building lacked a sprinkler system. Also mentioned by the news correspondent was that most of the fire exits in the building were blocked. I had no idea that such "race to the bottom" tactics existed to such a degree.

2.) Changing my behavior as a result of watching this video is definitely something I want to do, but is easier said than done. The bulk of the clothes I have purchased over the past few years have come from Goodwill and other various thrift shops, for the main reason that they are cheap and are being reused. Of course, at one point in time, most of these clothes I'm sure came from stores mentioned in the video that have at one point in time manufactured clothing in Bangladesh (Wal-mart, J.C. Penny). I have purchased a few "organic cotton", "made in the USA" t-shirts over the past few years, but those make up such a small percentage of my wardrobe they are hardly noteworthy.

Even though I already don't buy clothes from department stores such as though, it is for money reasons mostly, not entirely for ethical purposes. However after having seen this, a lot more thought will go into my future purposes. Namely my online ones. Most of the clothes I do purchase new come from online websites where they are on sale, and I'm sure a good majority of those also come from factories with conditions similar to the one featured in Bangladesh. 

3.) As a society, there are many things we can do to address the problems presented in this video. Foremost, education of the general public is key. Most people I would think do not even consider where the clothes they are purchasing were produced, only if it looks good, is affordable, etc. An example of this is the Wake up Wal-mart campaign that often has television commercials about Wal-Mart obtaining a large percentage of their goods to sell in stores in countries like China. Also, to truly address the problem of textile and clothing manufacturing in developing nations, we have to take a step back and look at our values as a society. The uncomfortable topics, such as labor conditions in part of the world, we either put on the back burner or completely ignore because we feel we do not have the power to stop it. It is this heightened state of apathy that has led to such things going on for as long as they have, with not much being done. Our government by definition has to listen to the will of the people, but if the only people trying to usher in change are in the minority, things will never change.

4.) How likely is it that society will take the steps to change? Not very in my opinion if things continue as they have in recent decades. One major reason these clothes are cheap is the fact that they are produced in developing countries where the regulations on industry are less stringent in hopes more industry will propagate. If the public took a stance against such business practices, perhaps industry would be less motivated by money and move production back to developed nations to help bolster local economies. But I'm sure it'll be a cold day in Hell when a multi-billion corporation changes its practices to in fact make less money. 

Another factor needed for the winds of change to blow is global cooperation. Whether it be sanctions for allowing such factory conditions in the first place, or even requiring companies to have some sort of honor code where if they know the factories their goods are being produced, they are required to pull out from said factories and move elsewhere. Of course, that would have great impacts on developing nations' economies who are only playing catch up to their western brethren, and the global community has to be a little understanding. One hundred some odd years ago, similar situations existed in the US and England as they were first beginning to industrialize. 

Work Cited:
Global National, "The true cost of cheap clothing," uploaded November 28, 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxppEs_z3Tg.

Robbie's Week 10 Journal Entry

1) Were you aware of the problems documented in the video?

No, I wasn't aware of these problems!  Thank you for this introduction to how chocolate is produced.  I had no idea even that chocolate came from a tree. 

2) Will you change your behavior as a result of the video? Why or why not?

Of course I'll be changing my behavior as a result of this video.  It isn't that big a test for me as I don't have much of a sweet tooth but it's still something to aspire to.  I'm a firm believer that with knowledge comes responsibility.  Otherwise, what's the point of knowing these things about the world?  I'm limited as an individual on what I'm able to accomplish.  My best tool available to me is to vote with my dollar.  It isn't going to save the world but I, as an individual, won't be participating in a system that exploits children.

3) As a society, how might we address the problems documented in the video?

There are a number of things that we can do as a society.  Boycotting these superfluous calories until there is real change in the way that chocolate is produced is one way.  Signing petitions and writing letters to the companies involved as well as our representatives in government, letting them know that this is an issue that we are interested in is another avenue. 
Maybe even charter travel agencies to set up transportation and a work-study so that we, as first-worlders, can see and work the very same places where chocolate is produced.  This will make it very real for the people that visit and work long hours in the hot sun - doing things that they wouldn't do so that they can buy the same product they consume perhaps on a daily basis.  A first-hand experience has the biggest effect on people. 

4) How likely is it that, as a society, we will take the steps you identified in (3)?

It is highly unlikely that any of those things will ever happen.  It was fun to dabble in fantasy though.  People do care about these issues.  But do not care enough to do anything about these things.  There's plenty of problems in their own neighborhood which they don't care enough to do anything about so why would they care enough to do something for people they will never meet an ocean away? 

I'd say that there are thousands of factors and reasons (justifications) that impede society's ability to deal with these kinds of issues.  I'm going to focus on what I feel is the root of the issue and that is the way that society determines esteem.  There are two kinds of people in the world - those that determine that esteem is earned through what you can do for yourself and those that determine that esteem is earned through what you do for others. 

The dominant way esteem is determined in the world today is how much you do for yourself.  "Go and make something of yourself," we're told.  Everyone is out for his or herself because very few others are out there looking out for that individual.  We consider someone successful if they have a nice house, nice car, can go on extravagant vacations, and maybe they're philanthropic to some degree but, that last point is not required.  I would say that Ayn Rand summed it up nicely when she called selfishness a virtue.  And in a point of view from merely our society, one has to agree with her.

The flip side of this is building esteem through actions which benefit other individuals.  I would have to say that this would closely be associated with tribalism or band-level people.  An example to start this off would be how hunts are done by some tribes.  Whomever makes the kill 'owns' the animal.  But not in the sense that you and I 'own' something.  They own it in the sense that it is their right to give it away.  And it is that very 'right to give away' which separates the 'civilized' from the 'savages'.  If they give away the choicest cuts of the animal they've killed, rather than keep it for their own consumption, they're held in high regard. 

Another example that can be used is how people of the Adena culture right here in Ohio would leave elaborate, highly sought after items in the grave of someone that was important to them.  Archaeologists used to believe that the person buried must have been rich since they were buried with so many items.  But when archaeologists finally began talking to Native Americans still living on reservations and still practicing their same religions and burying their dead in the same way that archaeologists were finding in areas that those tribes used to live before being forcibly removed, they saw the bereaved leaving beautiful and expensive items in the grave for the individual who passed. 

With those examples in mind, I hope it is easier to imagine what a world of difference a mere change in esteem can affect an entire society's mindset.  Individuals work for what is best for the group because it is what works best for everyone since there is a real dependence upon the group for the survival of all.  With focus on individual accomplishments at the expense of all others, you have the type of society we live in presently. 

Lastly, I do not see any hope for this society to change its ways, voluntarily, prescriptively, or through any other means of choice.  For the entire world to change its mindset collectively, reframing and re-meme-ing is something beyond the capacity of voluntary will.  A system of education would have to be in place which would have to be holistic - what good is it being in a classroom, being taught about the right thing when every other medium you connect with tells one otherwise. 

Kendall's Week 10 Journal Entry

Chocolate and the Kids


1. For this issue, I was actually not aware of this problem. I think it’s one of those things where you take it for granted that it’s readily available in stores. Every time I go to buy chocolate from a vending machine, I’m definitely not thinking about where the chocolate comes from. When I first saw this issue, I tried to think about problems that it could be, before I even watched the video, and this hardly occurred to me. Obviously I was naiive and just thought, “oh it’s a well known candy so if there were any problems, it would be on my Twitter feed”. But that’s hardly the case, as the video suggests. 60 percent of the world’s cocoa beans are found in those small, remote locations, so obviously big names of chocolate are going to be eating there. I wasn’t aware of this problem, I’m aware that some kids in developing countries are often taken and forced into military service, but to force them to harvest cocoa was a complete shock. I think as an uninformed American, I just assumed that there were plenty of people over there who would love to work that so they can have money, but I was very wrong.

2. It’s hard to say I can make a huge change that’ll greatly affect my self esteem and make the world okay, but I don’t know. I’m not a huge consumer of chocolate, I spend a few bucks every month on it when I’m snacking in between classes, so me not buying chocolate in protest would be kind of silly because it won’t have an impact. What I can do is research. I may not be able to lead a huge protest to free these kids, but the very least I can/will do is look up the different companies I buy candy off of and see where there chocolate comes from. A well to do company of chocolate will certainly be aware of this issue, and will be very forthcoming if they are not involved in these types of trafficking situations. Becoming informed is the very least and the very most I can do at this stage in my life, as I have no resources to fight this and I already spend less money on chocolate but I think I owe it to those kids to at least, buy from companies that don’t partake in this.

3. As a person, you almost want to say take the military and save the day by just raising hell over there and freeing these kids, but realistically the government cannot do that. First off the society should be informed. We see viral videos of trafficked kids in Kony’s military, we need to expand that, then we need to see video of people going over there and doing something. We need options of what to do presented to us. Can I sign up for a task force or something? Can we investigate these chocolate companies, check their imports and question them extensively about it? I think the only way something gets done is for society to get mad. Public opinion these days is a major factor in agenda setting. This issue will probably never be on equal terms with top issues, but at the least we should massively inform society and let society be the cause of what happens next.

4. It is not likely that society will be informed, or presented with this issue, thus it is likely that nothing will be done about it. I think there are so many personal issues that the American public is dealing with that will seemingly trump this issue. It is hard for the public to be able to care about being informed, about a problem happening far away, if they’re still worried if their checks will cover their own bills. I think the agenda on our hands right now is the biggest obstacle. There are so many domestic issues that it’s hard for society to know this problem, much less fix it. 

Will's Week 10 Journal Entry

The Magic Elixir


As soon as I saw that one option for this week was writing about coffee, I knew it had to be done. I am relatively new to the substance, but it is one of my very favorite things. I can count the days on one hand when I have come into EVST without that magical drink. I must say that I am a black, unsweetened coffee man, so there will be as little discussion about foamy drinks as possible. I am writing this introduction before watching the video, so now I'm a little nervous that drinking what my dad calls the "Magic Elixir" will seem cruel. We shall see.

1) Were you aware of the problems documented in the video?

I was actually aware of the growing movement towards fair trade practices in the coffee world, but I didn't know much about the conditions and volatility that existed before that. I found out about Fair Trade during my freshman year at Curry College, where the students put together a petition that the school not serve coffee in the cafeteria unless it was Fair Trade certified. Luckily, the school only has 1500 students, and things can get done quickly. The president made it a rule that all coffee served on campus must be certified as Fair Trade, and there was much rejoicing. I had heard of Fair Trade in passing, but that's when I wanted to learn more about it. I read a little about the issues in Colombia in unrelated situations, and I became pretty familiar with FARC and other groups, but the issues with the crop spraying were new to me. 

2) Will you change your behavior as a result of the video? Why or why not?

I believe I will be more wary of where my coffee comes from, and I will always be looking for that little logo that means that the genuinely appreciative farmers around the world are getting their due. As a New Englander, I don't know if I can totally forego Dunkin' Donuts, but I certainly hope that they are (or will soon be) on the correct side of this discussion. It would be very easy to simply ignore where the Magic Elixir comes from, but this video really puts a face to the process of actually caring about the work. 

3) As a society, how might we address the problems documented in the video?

Since Fair Trade is a good system that addresses a major problem in itself, incremental increases in the floor price would be beneficial to the farmers. As the price of a latte goes from $6 to $7.50, the price that Fair Trade does not dip below goes from $0.07 to $0.075, for example. Incentives for large coffee distributers to get on board with this would be a good idea as well. Also, avoiding places that do not have the seal of Fair Trade, and being willing to pay just a little bit more for the really good stuff would be important changes. Allowing more transparency as to the process of where a cup of coffee comes from would add unseen value for customers, and they may be more willing to change their approaches if they could see the face of a farmer. 

4) How likely is it that, as a society, we will take the steps you identified in (3)? Note the factors which may facilitate or impede our efforts in addresses these problems.

As noted above, a problem in the way of total commitment to Fair Trade is the insatiable appetite for something cheaper. If a cup of coffee from Speedee is cheaper than Starbucks, more people will go for the monetary value as opposed to the societal value. Resistance to raising the pay floor would be another impediment, because companies are willing to pay a premium for the product, but as that premium goes up, that good will tends to diminish. As much as most people would like to see whole-hearted embrace of Fair Trade practices, it will be very hard to convince/educate the wider public who can't be bothered with something happening in Colombia, because it's not next door. 

Coffee is a magical drink, and this video just affirmed its mystique to me. As much as I think that Starbucks is committing highway robbery when they charge me $1.25 to fill my Thermos, I can see where the extra money goes. In the developed world, an automated machine would shake the coffee tree and the "cherries" would fall out and get demolished and there would be many just lost in the process, but this is much more personal. I said in my preface that I was hoping I wouldn't feel horribly guilty about drinking coffee after watching the video, and I had the exact opposite feeling. Instead of being concerned about those extra pennies I pay at the register coming out of my wallet, I can rest assured that they are going to the proper place.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Week 9 Featured Journal Entries

This week's featured entries come from Zoe Doss, Kendall Jent, Sarah Martynowski, and Allen McPherson.

Week 9 Journal Prompt

In 2010, UC implemented the All Recycling program. Investigate this program. Find at least four secondary sources that provide information about the program and the 2010 switch. (Secondary sources include press releases, websites, news articles, policy documents, and similar resources. Talk to me if you have questions about whether a resource is a secondary source.) Also talk to at least two individuals who were involved in the program’s implementation. These individuals can include UC’s sustainability coordinator and staff at UC Facilities Management, but they also can include office staff in various UC departments and UC faculty members. These latter individuals are responsible for emptying their desk-side recycling containers into nearby All Recycling containers. You also may interview students who were on campus when the university switched to All Recycling, since the program’s implementation required students to know about and use the new recycling containers.

Implementation questions you may investigate, both when analyzing secondary sources and in interviews, may include: How widely available are All Recycling bins? Do staff and faculty members know that they are supposed to use them? Do students? Do people appear to understand what they can and cannot put in the bins? Is the program an improvement over previous recycling efforts? If so, how and why? If not, why not? Use what you have learned about U.S. environmental policy implementation to inform your analysis of the UC program. Document your findings in a 6–12 paragraph narrative. Cite your secondary and primary (interview) sources per the citation guidelines noted at the beginning of this document.

Zoe's Week 9 Journal Entry
Recycling began at UC in 1991, and it has come a long way since then (Sweigart). Yesterday I interviewed two people on this topic: Claire Sweigart and Marli Morris. Claire is the director for UC Sustainability, and Marli, a senior, is the co-president of Leaders for Environmental Awareness and Protection (LEAP), a student group on campus.

Before 2008, there were only spotty pilot recycling efforts in residence halls (Morris). There were some efforts to ramp up recycling after the university signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve sustainability ("Sustainability Committee"). In 2010, 534 UC students signed a petition to increase recycling at the University of Cincinnati main and satellite campuses. When UC implemented All Recycling that year, the major goals of the petition had been met and it was ended (Care2). That year, 2010 UC recycled 4,600 tons, a 23% increase from 2009 ("Recycling Grows at UC--By Tons at a Time").

The All Recycling program now provides recycling bins in every building on campus (Sweigart). Marli said: "I am able to dispose of my recycling almost everywhere I would find a trash can." The university also partners with the Cincinnati Zoo to offer collection boxes cell phone recycling on the main, Blue Ash, and Clermont campuses ("Eco-Cell Recycling"). In addition UC offers contact information for disposing of more unusual recyclables not accepted in the All Recycling bins ("Recycling and Waste").

Even with bins in every building, not having trash and recycling bins always together is an issue, because "people just throw trash in the nearest receptacle" (Sweigart). Both Sweigart and Morris said that while student and faculty knowledge is often high, the problem is "that people know, but don't care" (Morris). In offices and residence halls, individuals have to empty their personal bins into the larger bins in trash rooms, and the extra effort often does not happen (Sweigart).

Marli cited the hiring of UC Sustainability student advocates, who work to recycle at sporting and other special events, as a major increase in the recycling success. There is also the Recyclemania competition that UC has participated in for the past several years (Morris). Anyone can request that recycling be provided at their special event ("Recycling and Waste").

Overall, driven by the university's sustainability committees, the University of Cincinnati has made huge strides from its initial site-specific recycling. It has really made the effort to accept as many recyclables as possible. Knowledge of people on campus isn't too much of a problem--but in the future we should try to devise efforts to increase motivation to actually recycle, perhaps by giving people information not just on what is recyclable, but about the negative consequences when waste is not diverted from landfills. While having trash and recycling bins together also seems important, motivation may be the bigger problem.

Care2. “Expand UC’s Recycling Program!” February 1, 2010. Accessed March 8, 2013. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/expand-uc39s-recycling-program/

Morris, Marli. Interview by Zoe Doss. Personal interview via email. March 7, 2013.

Sweigart, Claire. Interview by Zoe Doss. Personal interview via email. March 7, 2013.

University of Cincinnati Planning + Design + Construction. “Eco-Cell Recycling.” 2012. Accessed March 8, 2013.

University of Cincinnati Planning + Design + Construction. “Recycling and Waste.” 2012. Accessed March 8, 2013. http://www.uc.edu/af/pdc/sustainability/campus_initiatives/recycling_and_waste.html

University of Cincinnati Planning + Design + Construction. “Sustainability Committee.” 2011. March 8, 2013. http://www.uc.edu/af/pdc/sustainability/about/sustainability_committee.html

University of Cincinnati. “Recycling Grows at UC--by Tons at a Time.” April 4, 2011. Accessed March 8, 2013. http://www.uc.edu/news/NR.aspx?id=13485.

Kendall's Week 9 Journal Entry

All Recycling Program 

Recycling Go or No
The University of Cincinnati in 2010, switched to the All Recycling Program, in an attempt to prompt recycling changes campus wide. Although the number of recyclables increased dramatically, did it have the impact that it was meant to, and was it easier for students to participate in than previous recycling attempts? I wanted to look into whether or not this program makes an impact, based on total recycled numbers, and from a student’s perspective on how they engage in recycling and if the program changed their attitudes about recycling. 

If we want to look at recycling strictly by the numbers then UC’s new All Recycling Program has more than doubled it’s totaled recycled tons before and after implementation. According to numbers provided by the University of Cincinnati’s website, total recycled material grew from 5.4 tons to 10.2 tons between 2009 and 2011 ("Bearcat Recyclin”). According to the page this was due in large part to the number of places that recycling became available. During the 09-10 school year, recycling was only available at six football games, and three special events. A year later after the All Recycling Program had been launched, recycling was available at fifty nine athletic events and eleven special events. These numbers show us that clearly, through sheer, available events, and the All Recycling Programs, recycling has increased by tons, literally.

The All Recycling Program, described on it’s webpage as a “commingle recycling program” that provides a greater opportunity for students, staff and visitors to participate in recycling a broader range of materials” ("Recycling @UC" ). The program is designed to educate students about what can be recycled and try to actively engage them. A downloadable list describes what students and faculty can recycle from pizza boxes to steel cans, and can’t recycle such as dairy tubs or produce("Announcing: All Recycling" ). This program was meant to both engage the students and create goals for UC’s recycling for now and the future. As reported in an UC news article, “Rick Wiggins, director of UC Facilities Management, UC currently diverts 65 percent of its waste stream into recycling, with the goal of taking that figure to 70 percent by 2019” (Reilly ). So we know that the program is creating changes for recycling but does it really have a lasting effect on students?

I asked two students about their recycling habits and if the change in recycling programs helped encouraged these habits. The first student Brandon Addis, was a freshman during the 09-10 recycling change, and is now a senior. He described his recycling before the event as little to none, and didn’t see any change even after the recycling program. “I see more bins to recycle in, but they’re often out of the way and I’m not exactly sure what to recycle” (sluder et al. ) The second student I interviewed Tyler Sluder, a fifth year senior, actually believed that recycling was more accessible and he increased his recycling a lot, “seeing a campus wide initiative like this really made me want to at the very least throw in my pop bottles, and help out.” 

It seems that the recycling program didn’t really create quite the buzz among students. Students that recycled before continued to do so, and students that didn’t, still didn’t. These two students were different in the recycling schemes before the change, so the program just symbolized those mixed results.

Overall, the All Recycling Program had mixed results. On one hand, the recycling benefits were exciting, and recycling doubled in just sporting events alone. On the other hand, in a very, very small sample, it didn’t seem like there was great result in getting students to want to recycle. The two students interviewed seem to echo the student body in that it didn’t encourage students to recycle or not, it just provided a little bit more access to.

University of Cincinnati , "Bearcat Recycling." Last modified http://www.uc.edu/af/pdc/sustainability/campus_initiatives/recycling_and_waste/bearcat_recycling.html. Accessed March 8, 2013.

University of Cincinnati , "Recycling @UC." Accessed March 8, 2013. http://www.uc.edu/af/facilities/services/recycling.html.

University of Cincinnati , "Announcing: All Recycling." Accessed March 8, 2013.http://www.uc.edu/content/dam/uc/af/facilities/recycling/all_recycling.pdf.

Reilly, M.B. "Recycling Grows at UC – By Tons at a Time ." . http://www.uc.edu/news/NR.aspx?id=13485 (accessed March 8, 2013).
Interview Citation
sluder, tyler, and brandon Addis. "Recycling Go or No." by Kendall Jent . .

Sarah's Week 9 Journal Entry
In 2010 The University of Cincinnati initiated an All Recycling program. The All Recycling program was not the first recycling program at the university; students and faculty have been recycling since 1991. Therefore, the implementation of the All Recycling program was met with little criticism. In interviewing multiple students, faculty, and staff I found that everyone agreed with the program and some individuals even provided ideas for the program to continue to excel.

(Photo from uc.edu/af/facilities/services/recycling.html)

The interviews with individuals affiliated with the University of Cincinnati held no disagreement with the All Recycling program. "It saves money and reduces waste" says Claire Sweigart, Director of Sustainability for the University of Cincinnati. Claire Sweigart adds "I have not heard any criticisms about starting the program. Implementing the program did of course require negotiating with the union representing UC's Housekeeping staff because it significantly impacts their assigned duties." Thinking Claire Sweigart might be biased, I decided to consult other staff members, not associated with UC Sustainability.

The lack of affiliation to the UC Sustainability program had no impact on staff member's views. Positive views were provided by all the staff members interviewed. Main comments included the simplicity of the program as well as the comment 'recycling is always great'. In addition to staff members I wanted to see how the implementation of the All Recycling program at the University of Cincinnati affected the students enrolled at the university.

Students provided positive light on the program as well! Students from sustainability groups commented on the cost of the program. The All Recycling program as well as other recycling programs at UC usually earn the university money or are at least cost neutral. The students provided ideas they would like to see implemented by UC Sustainability. The ideas included more signage or education of what can be placed in the green recycling bins as well as knowledge of where the recycled materials end up.

I directed students' responses and suggestions to Claire Sweigart, the Director of Sustainability for the University of Cincinnati. The following is the response I received from her:

Thanks for the feedback from students. That’s good to know that they feel that more 

education about what is and is not recyclable is needed. As for where recycled 

materials from the green bins go, they go the same place recyclables from our homes 

go – Rumpke’s recycling facility. Housekeeping takes them to the green recycling 
dumpsters located all over campus, and these dumpsters are emptied by Rumpke twice 
a week.

Interviews aside, let us take a look at the numbers. In 2010 UC's diversion rate was at 65%. Since then the percentage of waste diverted from landfills has been steadily increasing. President Santa Ono's UC2019 strategic plan calls for a 70% diversion rate!

Overall, the All Recycling program implemented on the University of Cincinnati's campus in 2010 received positive views. Very few complaints were argued against the program. The All Recycling Program has shown great success in the three years it has been running, and it is projected to have an even greater impact in the future.

Claire Sweigart, (Director of Sustainability at the University of Cincinnati), interview by Sarah Martynowski, emailMarch 5, 2013.

Janet Wolf, (Manager, MainStreet Connection Center), interview by Sarah Martynowski, In personMarch 8, 2013.

Stover, Dottie. The University of Cincinnati, "Recycling Grows at UC – By Tons at a Time." Last modified 4/20/2011. Accessed March 8, 2013. http://www.uc.edu/news/NR.aspx?id=13485.

The University of Cincinnati, "Recycling @ UC." Last modified 2012. Accessed March 8, 2013. http://www.uc.edu/af/facilities/services/recycling.html.

Allen's Week 9 Journal Entry

2010 was a great year for recycling at the University of Cincinnati. UC began a campus wide program called the All Recycling Program in which they were able to expand their current recycling program. This new program has been successful in decreasing the amount of trash sent to landfills (http://www.uc.edu/af/facilities/services/recycling.html).

On the homepage of the recycling program, the leaders posted information about the program. The first main step was to put recycling bins in all the major buildings on campus. This included all of the dorms. The bins had labels on them that showed the students the recycling was for the All Recycling Program. The site also contains a list of all the acceptable recyclable materials. Contact information is located at the bottom in case there are questions or concerns regarding the program (http://www.uc.edu/af/facilities/services/recycling.html).

This next website contains general information about UC and recycling. It gives statistics about how the recycling program has grown, leading up the the All Recycling program. Recycling efforts used to be limited to tailgaters, but now has spread to 57 sporting events each year. The amount recycled has grown as well. In 2007, there was .3 tons recycled. However, in 2012 there was 10.3 tons recycled. The events where recycling is occurring has grown tremendously as well. This website was very useful to see how recycling at UC has evolved over the years (http://www.uc.edu/af/pdc/sustainability/campus_initiatives/recycling_and_waste/bearcat_recycling.html).

This news article explains a more in depth look at the All Recycling program. It was written in 2011, after the program had only been in place for a few months. It tells how recycling went up 23% with the implementation of the program. It mentions how the containers have been placed in 68 locations, with the total number of 900 bins. There were also 37 recycling dumpsters placed on campus. At the end, the article explains some special events that large amounts of recycling occur (Reilly).

This final news article discusses the ongoing construction at UC that occurred in 2010. This was when recycling became a large issue and a main focus for the construction. The article touches on the plan for the All Recycling program because it was written before the implementation occurred. The plan was to have the numerous recycling bins greet the students who were coming back for the fall of 2010. There had been small pilot programs run in two of the dorm halls to see how students would react to the recycling bins. After this was seen as a success, the idea was to have 40 bins placed in each dorm (Reilly).

To understand the program from a student perspective, I talked to two seniors about their thoughts on the All Recycling Program. Senior Kyle Phillips stated, "I definitely noticed the large amounts of recycling bins when I returned to campus for my second year." He went on to discuss how he thought on problem was that some students never knew what to recycle, or thought of it as an inconvenience. Another senior, Heather Muellor claimed that she was unaware of how large the program was. She said, "I knew they added something with recycling but I never really knew how successful it was or what changes were made." She went on to say that she would like to recycle but she usually doesn't throw things away on campus.

I believe the implementation of this program was an overall success. While some students would be unaware of the changes, I think a majority did notice the change. One major problem with the students is the lack of knowing what to recycle. In the one article, it showed an image of the label on the bin and it had no list of items that could be recycled. I think this could be an improvement to the program. If students knew where they could put their recyclable materials, I think it could increase even more. It seems that the bins are widely available, which is a large factor. This is a major reason why the program has been so successful in my opinion. Convenience is a major issue, and this seems to have solved that problem. The program has been a improvement over the past recycling programs as seen in the second website. The amount of tons recycled has increased by 10 tons, and the events at which recycling is occurring has increased by a large amount as well. This program seems to be one of the more successful programs I have heard about. 

Works Cited
"Bearcat Recycling," UC Sustainability, March 6, 2013, http://www.uc.edu/af/pdc/sustainability/campus_initiatives/recycling_and_waste/bearcat_recycling.html.

Heather Muellor (UC Senior) in discussion with Allen McPherson, March 2013.

Kyle Phillips (UC Senior) in discussion with Allen McPherson, March 2013. 

M.B. Reilly, "Going Green Part of Recycling, Renovation, Campus Construction," UC News, September 10, 2010, March 6, 2013, http://www.uc.edu/news/NR.aspx?id=12315.

M.B. Reilly, "Recycling Grows at UC-By Tons at a Time," UC News, April 20, 2011, March 6, 2013, http://www.uc.edu/news/NR.aspx?id=13485.

"Recycling @ UC," Facilities Management, March 6, 2013, http://www.uc.edu/af/facilities/services/recycling.html.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Week 8 Featured Journal Entries

This week's featured entries come from Zoe Doss, Cheyenne Hassan, and Jeff Uckotter.

Week 8 Journal Prompt

Profile a collaborative environmental management effort in Cincinnati, your hometown, or someplace in Ohio. Use a combination of media, including (but not necessarily limited to) videos, photos, sketches, and links to news articles and relevant websites, to create a holistic snapshot of the problem the effort confronts and the effort’s mission, activities, accomplishments, and challenges. Supplement these materials with your own narrative as necessary to introduce and tie together each media element. Cite materials not your own as appropriate. This profile must contain at least three different types of media (e.g., photos, news articles, and a video; or news articles, organizational website screen shots, and photos) and have 2–6 paragraphs of narrative in total.

Zoe's Week 8 Journal Entry

Ohio Clean Lakes Initiative 2012

The stated goal of the Ohio Clean Lakes Initiative is to reduce algae blooms (pictured below) in the Western Lake Erie Basin. The effort brings together stakeholders in a voluntary and participatory fashion "with a goal of educating and training farmers and other interested parties on agricultural nutrient management and stewardship" (Clean Lakes Initiative 2012). (The initiative also deals with Grand Lake St. Mary's to a lesser extent, but here I will focus on Erie.) The agencies involved are the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Ohio EPA, and Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

All Things Great Lakes 2012, http://allthingsgreatlakes.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/scientists-smaller-algae-blooms-on-lake-erie-this-summer/.

The effort focuses exclusively on agriculture to reduce Nitrogen and Phosphorus loads reaching the lake. This may be a wise strategy, because as noted by Layzer, CEG can get to have too many elements and it may be most effective to address solely the source with the biggest contribution (Layzer 2012). The initiative's programs mainly deal with encouraging farmers to employ best management practices. The following video goes into some detail about their suggestions, including controlled drainage systems and planting of cover crops. More information on the specific actions can be found at: http://www.nutrientstewardship.com.

Ohio Department of Agriculture 2012, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbsCrFzQyY0.
While I was able to find news about the work being done (screenshots below), I was not able to find any assessment of the initiative in regards to its actual impact on water quality. While the EPA monitors Erie, as we discussed in class it is difficult to attribute the conditions to specific programs. 

Ohio Environmental Law Blog 2012, http://www.ohioenvironmentallawblog.com/2012/12/articles/water/ohio-continues-its-efforts-to-address-algal-blooms-in-lake-erie/.

Voice of America 2012, http://www.voanews.com/content/us-farmers-work-to-curb-lake-erie-pollution/1474453.html.

The articles here speak to the bridge between science and agriculture being made. Going through the news, I didn't find anything about resistance to the program, but it may exist somewhere in agribusiness. 
Ohio Farm Bureau 2012: http://ofbf.org/news-and-events/news/2705/.

Ohio AgriBusiness Association 2012, http://www.oaba.net/aws/OABA/pt/sd/news_article/61481/_PARENT/layout_details/false.

UsAgNet.com 2012, http://www.usagnet.com/state_headlines/state_story.php?tble=OH2012&ID=986.

One accomplishment of the Ohio Clean Lakes Initiative is the establishment of the Healthy Lake Erie Fund. The three million dollars is to be used to "monitor the condition of Lake Erie, provide testing for the soil in the Western Lake Erie Basin and support pilot project to help determine the most effective action to combat the growing algae crisis in Lake Erie" (Ohio Clean Lakes Initiative 2012). 

Overall, I would commend the effort for its focus. Its funding seems like a success, but it seems to early to assess the environmental outcomes of its best management practices programs. Perhaps through these voluntary CEG efforts we will be able to see nutrient loads and algae blooms in Lake Erie lessen.


Layzer, Judith A. The Environmental Case (D.C.: CQ Press, 2012), 478.

Ohio Clean Lakes Initiative. "General Information." 2012. Accessed March 1, 2013.

Ohio Clean Lakes Initiative. "Healthy Lake Erie Fund." 2012. Accessed March 1, 2013.

Cheyenne's Week 8 Journal Entry

The University of Cincinnati's Sustainability group through the years has set up a "UC Garden", one of the gardens that has prospered the most is the Soiled Hands Learning Garden which is a collaborative effort between The Civic Garden Center and the UC Early Learning Center. These two organizations bring both individuals with a green thumb and young children whom are willing to learn about the art of seeding, growing, and reaping the benefits of an urban garden.

This collaborative effort between these two helpful organizations promises a future for both urban gardens and increasing green space in the city of Cincinnati, as well as in the University of Cincinnati's grounds, but also promises future adults that will have experience in urban gardening and a better respect for the environment within Cincinnati. This is a wonderful idea because it promises a future in environmental education, not through books, but through hard work which hopefully will be carried out generation to generation. Teaching children and young adults this skill will allow for a greener Cincinnati and also the support of locally grown produce.

The above photo is a screen shot of the Earth Week calendar for the University of Cincinnati, where there will be an event occurring within the Soiled Hands Learning Garden.

The two pictures above show individuals working in the Soiled Hands Learning Garden, the left most shows children learning to plant and better understand how gardening works, and the right most shows young adults that are affiliated with UC Sustainability tending to the gardens.

This article was produced by Amanda Amsel which talks about The Civic Garden Center's efforts to strengthen urban gardening efforts within Cincinnati and the types of events put on to raise public awareness and involvement within the community.

Works Cited

Right Photo: http://www.uc.edu/content/dam/uc/af/pdc/sustainability/images/sustainability%20rotator/Rotator%20-%204.21.2012%20Garden%20Day%2017.JPG

Left Photo: http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/c0.86.843.403/p843x403/318216_10151443638619287_1789118655_n.jpg

"UC Garden." UC Sustainability. University of Cincinnati. Web. 28 Feb 2013. <http://www.uc.edu/af/pdc/sustainability/campus_initiatives/landscape/uc_garden.html>.

Amsel, Amanda. "Going Green Gets Easier." City Beat. 17 Aug 2011: Web. 28 Feb. 2013. <http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/article-23917-going-green-gets-eas.html>.

"Earth Week." UC Sustainability. University of Cincinnati. Web. Web. 28 Feb. 2013. <http://www.uc.edu/af/pdc/sustainability/get_involved/programming_outreach/earth_week.html>

Jeff's Week 8 Journal Entry.

Acid Water + Limestone Doser = Fishies

My collaborative environmental management effort resides near Athens, Ohio in Southeastern Ohio. During my time as a wee little Freshman at Ohio University, I was lucky enough to take a field trip to the Hewitt Fork in Raccoon Creek. The class was actually an environmental geography class which fits perfectly into my curriculum now; it’s interesting how my coursework has come full circle. 

Anyway, this site is home to the mouth of an abandoned coal-mine which is one of many in this region of the United States which is Appalachia. Coal is salient to the public due to the negative effects it can have on air quality in terms of the EPA’s six NAAQS source pollutants. But, what is not so salient is the unabated daily 24/7/365 discharge of polluted abandoned-mine water that discharges out of these mines. Of course the problem with the water is its PH, or how acidic or alkaline it is.
Apparently, the mines in southeast Ohio are particularly known for their acidity. According to a study titled, Selected Abandoned Mined Land Reclamation Projects and Passive Treatment in Ohio by Mitchell Farley and Paul Ziemkiewicz, “ The Conemaugh and Monongahela groups of Eastern and Northeastern Ohio may produce acid or alkaline mine drainage, but there effects are much less pronounced than the strong acid mine drainage produced in the Allegheny and Pottsville groups of Southeastern Ohio. The Hocking River and Raccoon Creek drainages are particularly troublesome restoration areas (Farley et al, 1).” So, this is a serious problem. According to the same publication, over 1300 miles of steams are polluted by mine drainage in Ohio (Farley et al, 1).

Map (1)

So, why is this a big deal? Who cares if the streams are a little bit acidic. Right? Well, the wildlife cares. As some trees do not like acidic soil, aquatic life does not like water that is too much acidity or alkalinity. How would you like to swim in water that is probably more acidic than lemon juice? I know I wouldn’t… According to the publication listed above, “High flow discharges from an abandoned underground mines rendered Hewett Fork virtually lifeless for miles downstream and periodically impacted Raccoon Creek at low flow. An anaerobic wetland was installed by ODNR at the site in 1991. Performance of the wetland became unsatisfactory over time. After consultation with the Maryland Bureau of Mines, ODNR installed an AquaFix water wheel type doser in late 2003 (Farley et al. 4).” Incidentally, this is where the described field trip occurred. During this field trip, we viewed the doser. What it basically does is inserts crushed lime into the infected [acidic] water. Limestone of course is a basic or alkaline substance. Alkaline + Acidic = a more leveled PH’ed water, which allows wildlife to frequent the once-infected water. This doser site was rather rudimentary, but it seemed to lower the PH of the water father downstream and we viewed signs of life in the water roughly a mile away from the doser. Unfortunately, this is not the only point source that affects this water-way. But, for length considerations of this journal, this was one step to curb PH pollution in the Hewitt Fork watershed. In due time, fish returned to the once affected waters. It was interesting, in the other publication that I found on this issue, it dealt with the idea of the Carbondale doser being shut down for a week, and unsurprisingly, the results showed negative affects on a aquatic lives.
Image (2)

This issue is being tackled by a number of stakeholders including academic institutions like Ohio University and state agencies like the ODNR. According to the publication listed above, " Since 1994, a partnership of agencies and citizens groups have been organizing watershed restoration projects in some of the most profoundly polluted stream systems. Partnerships often include Watershed Coordinators, their staff and citizen members, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OPEA, the Office of Surface Mining (OSMRE, Colleges and Universities, local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, the US Forest Service and others (Farlet et al., 1)." This is clearly an example of collaborative governance.

The Youtube clip below from :50 - 6:50 describes a very similar situation with acidic mine drainage in an WV stream. It is from the official WV Department of Environmental Protection Youtube Channel. While the doser they use in this clip isn't the same as the one at Carbondale in Ohio, it's the same sort of idea. It's actually an interesting watch if you have the time.

Works Cited

1. Kruse Et Al. "When Dosers Turn Off: A Case Study in Raccoon Creek, Ohio." Ohio University, 2011. Web.http://www.imwa.info/docs/imwa_2011/IMWA2011_Kruse_267.pdf.

2. Mitchell E. Farley, and Paul Ziemkiewicz. "Selected Abandoned Mined Land Reclamation Projects and Passive Treatment in." N.p., n.d. Web. <http://wvmdtaskforce.com/proceedings/05/Farley.pdf>.