College Green

Exploring environmental news in Southeast Ohio

College Green has a new web address

Posted by collegegreenou on January 31, 2010

Hello College Green readers,

I want to thank you all for your support and readership and the wonderful comments you have been leaving us. Over the year we have been working on improving our web site. We are still in this process so the design is not entirely complete. However, we are still publishing many new stories. Our new web address is

We hope you like the changes we’re making!

Sincerely, Katherine


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Long-awaited Copenhagen talks yield uncertain results

Posted by collegegreenou on December 20, 2009

By Swati Ramanathan
CG Commentary

The 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference was held Dec 7-18 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The days leading up to the Copenhagen talks had all the usual ingredients for high drama: hacked E-mails that purportedly throw climate change into question, protests from individuals demanding tangible results, and last minute announcements by various world leaders that they would attend. The hopes were high as well as the stakes. Despite the United States and BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, China) nations agreeing to the Copenhagen Accord, clichés abound in world press of the talks being “a lot of hot air.” The denouement, many claim, was somewhat of a letdown, as there is nothing binding about the accord, which will only be formalized sometime during the next year.

Background Information

To recap some of the background surrounding this issue, greenhouse gases such as CO2 trap heat and raise surface temperatures. Although there is much debate over what exactly causes climate change, there is consensus that a considerable amount of climate change is a result of human actions, mainly in the form of post-industrial revolution development. Infrastructure, transportation, industry and a high reliance on electrical appliances and electronics are the hallmarks of development. Activities crucial to development also lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore global temperatures. Rising temperatures bring with them the threat of rising sea levels, which puts the very existence of low lying island nations at risk. Ironically, these nations typically have small economies and low emission rates themselves and charge the biggest polluters (China and the United States) with the responsibility of curbing emissions to prevent further rises in temperature.

Per capita emissions are very high in the developed world and are steadily rising in the developing world, where carbon emissions are still comparatively low but haven’t peaked yet. Economic growth follows industrialization, so the Kyoto Protocol sought to combat climate change while being equitable to all nations in its specific strategy. The Kyoto Protocol is the protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change, which was adopted in 1997 and came into force in 2005. It places binding targets on the reduction of greenhouse gases by 37 industrialized nations (known as Annex 1) and general commitments to reduce emissions by all other signatories. It allows emissions trading between Annex 1 and non-Annex 1 nations in a Cap-and-Trade arrangement. The Kyoto protocol is almost universally accepted, with 187 countries having ratified it with the significant exception of the United States, which at the time wanted binding targets and timetables for emission reductions for the developing world.

Following the Kyoto Protocol, the America’s Climate Security Act of 2007 was proposed to bring the United States in line with Kyoto objectives. It was killed in 2008 over economic concerns.

Northeastern states in the U.S. started Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative with their own local cap and trade program. California is now in line with Kyoto, and several U.S. cities participate in cap and trade programs. This list includes several Ohio cities such as Akron, Canton, Columbus and Zanesville.

The Recent Conference

The objective of the Copenhagen talks was to create a mutually agreed-upon framework to tackle climate change. The European Union had already committed to binding legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond Kyoto requirements. Most countries announced moderate emission cuts, with industrialized nations targeting cuts of around 20 percent below 1990 emission levels. The United States announced a cut of 17 percent below 2005 levels, which translates to a 1.3 percent cut below 1990 emission levels.

With most world leaders in Copenhagen, significantly President Barack Obama, who decided in the last minute to be present during a more meaningful phase of the discussions, it was hoped that a legally binding agreement could be reached. This, however, was thwarted by a leaked document that caused a rift between the rich and poor world, that G77 nations (and China) claimed was not previously negotiated and was imbalanced in favor of developed nations.

The talks, which went on until early Saturday, were not a complete failure. The United States and BASIC countries reached a non-legally binding accord that is yet to be signed. The U.S. and other developed countries have promised $30 billion over the next three years to developing nations and another $100 billion in 2020. It isn’t clear yet where the money will come from.

However, many of the accord’s agreements did not meet earlier expectations. The accord limits temperature rise to 2˚C instead of the 1.5˚C that was hoped for. It also dropped earlier proposals to cut CO2 emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050. It does, however, include a plan to combat deforestation.

Uncertain Results for Southeast Ohio

The effect of the Copenhagen talks on the Southeast Ohio region may not be immediately apparent, or even direct, but just as the Kyoto Protocol encouraged some states and cities to voluntarily adopt it on a local basis, the Copenhagen Accord might spur further action on the issue of climate change. This might include general encouragement of green initiatives, and possibly some form of a cap and trade emissions system. With no binding agreements at this point, it is hard to gauge what the local ramifications will be without being speculative. The local interest (which mirrors global interest) in the Copenhagen talks would at the very least raise awareness on this issue of growing importance.

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Butternut squash soup – Fall recipe a good idea for the holidays

Posted by collegegreenou on December 20, 2009

Butternut squash soup. Photo provided by Elyse McConnell

By Elyse McConnell
CG Commentary

There are hundreds of butternut squash recipes, but this particular one is my favorite. It became a family recipe, so much that we were unable to find it in any of our cookbooks — the only copy of it now is written on the back of a receipt, covered in squash. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Commentary, Lifestyles and People | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Reclaiming Starry Nights: A local campaign to reduce light pollution

Posted by collegegreenou on December 11, 2009

By Swati Ramanathan
CG Commentary

One of the unique and enduring pleasures of humankind is the ability to gaze up at the night sky in rapt wonder. Astronomy was the television of its day, with the stars and moon providing most of the night-light required by our ancestors. Read the rest of this entry »

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Green Culture: Ways to Stop Energy Waste

Posted by collegegreenou on December 4, 2009

By Sierra Legrier
CG Commentary

The issue of everyday electronic devises and their impact on energy consumption has evolved from a small round table discussion into a massive movement for conservation. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Commentary, Lifestyles and People | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Buying Secondhand: Good for the Wallet and the Environment

Posted by collegegreenou on November 27, 2009

By Elyse McConnell
CG Commentary

In the world of fashion, one day you’re “in.” And the next day… You’re in a landfill.  Every year, each American sends 68 pounds of clothing to a landfill. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Commentary, Lifestyles and People | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Bluegrass: Raising the Voice to Lower the Footprint

Posted by collegegreenou on November 20, 2009

By Alex Snyder

By Becca Cochran
CG Lifestyles and People

If you walk into Casa Cantina any Monday night, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a crowd of Birkenstock-clad, lively folks. Some are students, and some are Athens residents, but all are groovin’ to the sounds of Athens’ own Rattletrap Stringband. As you sit enjoying your food and beverage from the bodega, sounds of the fiddle, banjo, guitar and bass waft over the restaurant. Read the rest of this entry »

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Forest Carnivore returns to Southeast Ohio

Posted by collegegreenou on November 13, 2009

bobcat wilds

The larger, more asymmetric track was made by a bobcat's front foot. The more round and slightly smaller track was made by the rear foot. Photo by Joe Brehm

By Audrey Rabalais
CG Science

A small predator stalks its way through the night in Wayne National Forest, spotting a turkey feather on a tree and further enticed by the scent of beaver castor oil and catnip. It approaches the alluring trap, relieving an itch against blunt nails under the feather. With two quick camera flashes, the bobcat disappears, leaving only a few stray hairs and its picture on the film. Read the rest of this entry »

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Commentary: A Walk along the Great Hopewell Road

Posted by collegegreenou on November 6, 2009

By Joe Brehm

Following the Footsteps of the Ancients
On Oct. 10, about 30 people set out to do something that had not been done in hundreds of years. They began a 7-day, 70-mile walk from Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Chillicothe to the Octagon Earthworks in Newark. Read the rest of this entry »

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Students waste more food during no-tray meal

Posted by collegegreenou on October 30, 2009

By Gabriel Weinstein
CG News Staff

While results from the Oct. 5-8 Nelson Dining Hall food audits showed that student waste habits have slightly improved, the results from the “no-tray” meal at Nelson Dining Hall last night did not reflect this trend.

Read the rest of this entry »

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