31 October 2009

ben harper: ecoist

Ben Harper on the cultural imperative of U.S. environmental activists:

29 October 2009

28 October 2009

kerry washington: ecoist

I found this video while late-night surfing on Hulu. Kerry Washington is quite thoughtful here.

26 October 2009

spelman's green dorm receives leed-certification


Spelman College's green dorm, The Suites, is officially leed-certified, making it the first hbcu with a leed-certified residence hall. The Suites received a silver rating.

Click below for a video tour of The Suites:
Eco-Change At Spelman

24 October 2009

350.org's international day of climate action


24 October is 350.org's International Day of Climate Action. People are gathering in 180+ countries at 5,200+ events to show their commitment to environmental activism.

Check out 350.org's website to find events near you and for photos and videos from around the world that will be uploaded throughout the day.


Photo of activists in Addis Ababa.

22 October 2009

hampton's 2010 green report card take 2


The 2010 Green Report Card has a new feature: online availability of survey responses completed by schools. Here are some highlights from the Hampton University surveys:

1. President William R. Harvey has not signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment.

2. The HU Green Committee is the principal group focusing on sustainability initiatives.

3. Hampton plans to convert to geothermal systems and has approved a green purchasing policy.

4. Hampton has installed highly efficient HVAC systems in new and renovated buildings.

5. There are signs on every light switch that state: Hampton University Goes Green, Please Turn Off the Lights.

6. Aluminum, cardboard, glass, paper and all plastics are recycled.

7. Strategies for Ecology, Education, Development & Sustainability, a student organization, focuses on energy conservation, recycling, beautification and ecological concerns.

8. The alternative-fuel vehicles include hybrid cars, electric vehicles and biodiesel trucks and buses.

9. There is a marine and environmental science major and minor, and an environmental science concentration in the biology and chemistry graduate programs.

hampton university's 2010 green report card


The Sustainable Endowments Institute released its 2010 Green Report Card on 7 October. Hampton University received a grade of "D+". (Hampton received a "D+" in 2009. It was not graded in 2007 and 2008.)

The overall grade was calculated from the individual grades listed in the following categories:

1. Administration--Examines sustainability policies and commitments by school administrators and trustees. "D"

2. Climate Change & Energy--Looks at energy efficiency, conservation, commitment to emissions reductions and use of renewable energy on campus. "D"

3. Food & Recycling--Evaluates dining services policies including recycling and composting programs. "C"

4. Green Building--Recognizes campus-wide green building guidelines and green building design for new and existing buildings. "F"

5. Student Involvement--Looks at student participation in sustainability initiatives and support for these activities by school administrators. "D"
"
6. Transportation--Focuses on alternative transportation for students, faculty and staff, as well as alternative fuel or hybrid technology for campus fleets. "C"

7. Endowment Transparency--Addresses accessibility to endowment investment information and shareholder proxy voting records. "D"

8. Investment Priorities--Considers prioritization of return on investment, investment in renewable energy funds, and investment in community development loan funds. "B"

9. Shareholder Engagement--Looks at shareholder proxy voting practices, including opportunities for student, faculty, and alumni participation. "F"

Hampton University, Howard University and Spelman College are the only hbcus graded by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, which evaluates the 300 colleges and universities in the U.S. & Canada with the largest endowments, as well as 32 additional schools that applied for inclusion.

Big apologies to Hampton University for erroneously stating in earlier posts that Howard University and Spelman College are the only hbcus graded by the Sustainable Endowments Institute.


Photo from Hampton University Admissions Facebook page.

21 October 2009

solar power in northern ethiopia

I just found this video.



Now I want to become a solar technician like Mena Himicheal!

19 October 2009

♫wind and wave together♫

CleanTechnica.com made a puzzling comparison between race and energy:

Somewhere in the U.S. there is a justice of the peace who still refuses to perform inter-racial marriages, but Principle Power, Inc. has no such backward looking qualms when it comes [to] marrying two different forms of sustainable energy.

hmmm....

While chocolate & arugula loves to find examples of the interplay between black & green in popular culture and, thus, is happy for the content, I am surprised by this comparative reference.

Tina Casey, the author, probably thought that this was simply a clever way to bridge two news bits. However, I think it reflects something deeper: the belief that energy technologies have identities which are rendered non-political by sustainability. That sustainability is a site where difference doesn't matter unlike the differences of race, gender and sexuality in human technologies such as the law, in which a white justice of the peace refuses to marry a white woman and a black man or when primarily heterosexual members of Congress refuse to work to enact civil laws that allow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals to marry.

But before we start singing ♫wind and wave together♫--freedom song style--we must remember that the deployment of sustainable energy technologies is not divorced from politics, especially in our post-Katrina moment.

16 October 2009

national museum of african american history & culture gets greener


The National Museum of African American History & Culture, which will be the Smithsonian Institution's first LEED-certified museum, will receive $10 million toward its capital campaign from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The construction phase begins in 2012 and completion is expected in 2015.

Four architectural firms teamed up to compete for and win the design competition: Freelon Group, Adjaye Associates, David Brody Bond & SmithGroup. The latter architectural firm will manage the LEED-certification process.


Photo from designbuild-network.com.

15 October 2009

african american studies & critical animal studies take 2

Just two days after (re)viewing Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep and engaging w/ Nijah Cunningham about Stan's culpability as a sheep killer, I start reading Richard W. Bulliett's Hunters, Herders & Hamburgers, as a virtual participant in the London Animal Studies Reading Group. His epigraph is a poem by Philip Levine titled, "Not This Pig", which includes a reference to the "pudgy white fingers" of a human pig killer. And then while blogging about Dead Prez, I came across their "Animal in Man" video, in which (male) pigs and (male) humans become (phenotypically) interchangeable. Chk out the Dead Prez video and Philip Levine poem below. I'd love to hear how you think these pieces are in dialogue.



Animals Are Passing From Our Lives

It's wonderful how I jog
on four honed-down ivory toes
my massive buttocks slipping
like oiled parts with each light step.

I'm to market. I can smell
the sour, grooved block, I can smell
the blade that opens the hole
and the pudgy white fingers

that shake out the intestines
like a hankie. In my dreams
the snouts drool on the marble,
suffering children, suffering flies,

suffering the consumers
who won't meet their steady eyes
for fear they could see. The boy
who drives me along believes

that any moment I'll fall
on my side and drum my toes
like a typewriter or squeal
and shit like a new housewife

discovering television,
or that I'll turn like a beast
cleverly to hook his teeth
with my teeth. No. Not this pig.


The poem is available in a book with the same title, published by Wesleyan Poetry Program.

14 October 2009

university of puerto rico @ solar decathlon

The University of Puerto Rico is representing the Caribbean in the 2009 Solar Decathlon on the National Mall in Washington, DC with CASH--Caribbean Affordable Solar House.



The competition began on 8 October and the public is free to view the houses through 18 October.



See video below to learn more about the CASH team.

CASH (Caribbean Affordable Solar House) from Maximum DC on Vimeo.

10 October 2009

chocolate & arugula @greenfestival dc

My diy chocolate & arugula t-shirt was a big hit at the green festival yesterday. (The wrinkles stretch out when I wear it!) Here are some photo highlights from the Green Festival and from the Blacks in Green dinner Friday night at Busboys & Poets.

Pandora Thomas, Global Exchange; her sister, Carla Thomas, left & Naomi Davis, Blacks in Green, right

Busboys & Poets, 5th & K, DC, Friday 9 October 2009

Cornel West. I wish I had also gotten a photo of the sister doing sign language interpretation. Can you imagine having to sign for Cornel West?!

Green Festival, DC, Sunday 11 October 2009

Lauren Von Der Pool, Chef

Green Festival, DC, Sunday 11 October 2009

Elijah Joy, the organic soul chef & Tracye McQuirter, byanygreensnecessary

Green Festival, DC, Saturday 10 October 2009

photos by Marya A. McQuirter. feel free to use!

08 October 2009

dead prez & majora carter @ power shift canada

@majoracarter tweeted that she will share the stage with Dead Prez at PowerShift Canada 2009 on Friday 23 October. She is excited because "these are the bridges that we need to build...." I wonder if Dead Prez will help her build a bridge to veganism. It is my understanding that Carter (like Al Gore, Van Jones & Obama) ignores the inconvenient truth that the animals-as-products industries generate more greenhouses gas emissions and contribute more to global warming than every mode of global transportation combined.



photo from wikipedia

07 October 2009

spelman's 2010 green report card take 2


The 2010 Green Report Card has a new feature: online availability of survey responses completed by schools. Here are some highlights from the Spelman surveys:

1. The Suites, pictured above, is the college's 1st green dorm, LEED certification pending.

2. President Beverly Daniel Tatum has not signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.

3. There is a sustainability component in the strategic plan.

4. Sustainable Spelman is the committee that advises on/implements sustainability initiatives.

5. Recycles aluminum, cardboard, computers, glass, light bulbs, paper, printer cartridges & all plastics.

6. Sustainability Task Force is a student run organization.

7. There is an organic garden on campus.

8. Composting bins are available in dining halls.

9. Environmental Science and Studies major & minor.



photo from http://www.spelman.edu/administration/business/fms/greenbuilding.shtml

lower 9th ward's new floating house


A resident of the Lower 9th Ward, displaced by Hurricane Katrina (and federal neglect), will soon live in the country's 1st (legit) floating house. A collaboration between Brad Pitt's Make it Right Foundation and Tom Mayne's Morphosis Architects, the FLOAT house was designed with several goals in mind: to float in case of a hurricane, to reflect the pre-Katrina architecture of the Lower 9th Ward, to be affordable, sustainable and easily replicable. Read about how they did it and listen to an NPR interview with Tom Mayne.

spelman college's 2010 green report card


The Sustainable Endowments Institute just released its 2010 Green Report Card. Spelman College received a grade of "D". (Spelman received a "D-" in 2008 and 2009. It was not graded in 2007.)

The overall grade was calculated from the individual grades listed in the following categories:

1. Administration--Examines sustainability policies and commitments by school administrators and trustees. "C"

2. Climate Change & Energy--Looks at energy efficiency, conservation, commitment to emissions reductions and use of renewable energy on campus. "F"

3. Food & Recycling--Evaluates dining services policies including recycling and composting programs. "D"

4. Green Building--Recognizes campus-wide green building guidelines and green building design for new and existing buildings. "F"

5. Student Involvement--Looks at student participation in sustainability initiatives and support for these activities by school administrators. "D"
"
6. Transportation--Focuses on alternative transportation for students, faculty and staff, as well as alternative fuel or hybrid technology for campus fleets. "C"

7. Endowment Transparency--Addresses accessibility to endowment investment information and shareholder proxy voting records. "F"

8. Investment Priorities--Considers prioritization of return on investment, investment in renewable energy funds, and investment in community development loan funds. "C"

9. Shareholder Engagement--Looks at shareholder proxy voting practices, including opportunities for student, faculty, and alumni participation. "F"

Spelman College and Howard University are the only hbcus graded by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, which evaluates the 300 colleges and universities in the U.S. & Canada with the largest endowments, as well as 32 additional schools that applied for inclusion.

Photo from Spelman College Admissions Facebook page.

howard university's 2010 green report card


The Sustainable Endowments Institute just released its 2010 Green Report Card. Howard University received a grade of "D-". (Howard received an "F" in 2008 and 2009. It was not graded in 2007.)

The overall grade was calculated from the individual grades listed in the following categories:

1. Administration--Examines sustainability policies and commitments by school administrators and trustees. "F"

2. Climate Change & Energy--Looks at energy efficiency, conservation, commitment to emissions reductions and use of renewable energy on campus. "F"

3. Food & Recycling--Evaluates dining services policies including recycling and composting programs. "F"

4. Green Building--Recognizes campus-wide green building guidelines and green building design for new and existing buildings. "F"

5. Student Involvement--Looks at student participation in sustainability initiatives and support for these activities by school administrators. "F"

6. Transportation--Focuses on alternative transportation for students, faculty and staff, as well as alternative fuel or hybrid technology for campus fleets."D"

7. Endowment Transparency--Addresses accessibility to endowment investment information and shareholder proxy voting records. "F"

8. Investment Priorities--Considers prioritization of return on investment, investment in renewable energy funds, and investment in community development loan funds. "C"

9. Shareholder Engagement--Looks at shareholder proxy voting practices, including opportunities for student, faculty, and alumni participation. "F"

Howard University and Spelman College are the only hbcus graded by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, which evaluates the 300 colleges and universities in the U.S. & Canada with the largest endowments, as well as 32 additional schools that applied for inclusion.


Photo by David Nomack at Wikipedia.

06 October 2009

obama's executive order on federal sustainability


President Obama signed the Executive Order on Federal Sustainability yesterday. The executive order gives federal agencies 90 days to set a 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target.

"As the largest consumer of energy in the U.S. economy, the Federal government can and should lead by example when it comes to creating innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, conserve water, reduce waste, and use environmentally-responsible products and technologies," said President Obama.

Read the press release and the full executive order here.

Photo by Pete Souza

04 October 2009

african american studies & critical animal studies

Yesterday, I attended the Dialogues on Animality conference at the Slought Foundation in Philadelphia to hear Nijah Cunningham, a 2nd year PhD student in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, present on animality in Charles Burnett's Killer of Sheep.

In his presentation, Nijah shared that while he initially assumed that the sheep were merely allegorical or a sign post for the senseless violence that blacks experienced in 1970s Watts, a deeper reading of Killer of Sheep suggests that the encounter between blackness and animality coalesces into a discourse of the human.

After the conference, I interviewed Nijah for my upcoming podcast on African American Studies and Critical Animal Studies, which will be a series of interviews with scholars working in both fields.

So go and get the movie. I was able to borrow it from the Silver Spring library!

Once the podcast hits, we can continue to dialogue here. We can also tweet about it under the hash tag #aascas. I'm @maryamcquirter.

Photo is a still from Killer of Sheep.

who's a green american? take 2

Back in August, I blogged about Green America's new t-shirt, "I Am a Green American."


I received a comment from a Green America member, who had bought the t-shirt, and wondered whether the folks at Green America had read or heard about the post.

They had!

Today, at the Dupont Circle farmers market, Green America staff member, Dana, was wearing the t-shirt and handing out flyers about the upcoming DC Green Festival. I told Dana that I had blogged about the t-shirt. And she asked me was my blog, chocolate & arugula! I was floored.

and excited that they had read it. let's see if the marketing folks take note.

01 October 2009

majora carter interviews wyclef jean



Vibing on the theme of restoration from the Bronx to Haiti, Carter will talk with Wyclef Jean about his YĆ©le Haiti foundation, through which he engages in humanitarian work.

View the live video webcast at Carter's The Promised Land NPR show or at The Greene Space at 6pm tonight.


Photo by Seher Sikandar for rehes creative.