Earth Week

BGSU taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University is in it for the long haul when it comes to sustainability. Under the terms of the American University and College Presidents’ Climate Commitment, which BGSU president Mary Ellen Mazey signed with almost 700 of her peers, the university will work to reduce its carbon footprint by an average of 4 percent a year, leading to being carbon neutral by 2040. Monday marked the kickoff for Earth Week activities on campus. A short ceremony to mark the occasion was held outside McFall Center with those gathered moving to place green pinwheels outside the student union. The theme is “Action Today, Better Tomorrow.” Nick Hennessey, BGSU’s sustainability manager, said Monday that the university is close to reducing its carbon footprint by 4 percent annually, but hasn’t done so yet. “We’re working on it. We’re taking a big chunk of it. We’re right where we want to be.” He’s looking forward to finalizing the university’s greenhouse gas analysis. “The most change has occurred in the last year,” he said. Renovation of buildings helps, Mazey said. She’s proud of the number that have earned LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – Certification. When the Harshman Quad, the Family and Consumer Science building, and West Hall come down this summer that will have “a major impact on our energy consumption,” Mazey said. Hennessey said the effort to reduce the carbon footprint also got a boost from the city. Now 40 percent of the electricity supplied to BGSU comes from renewable sources. Mazey praised the Friday Nights Lights Out program through which student…


Earth Week opens with Creation Care Celebration

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Creation Care Celebration, which marked the beginning of Earth Week activities in Bowling Green, focused on the possibilities. Honored by the Black Swamp Green Team, the event’s sponsors, were those who were already making a difference locally, and statewide. The keynote speaker spoke about what churches could do to preserve the environment. And a series of workshops were offered on household options for taking action. Stumbling blocks were mentioned – the state’s renewable energy standards are on hold. But the two state legislators in attendance State Senator Randy Gardner and State Representative Tim Brown, both Republicans said they were in favor of lifting the hold on them and letting them take effect. The keynote speaker Greg Hitzhusen of Ohio State University’s School of Environment & Natural Resources, spoke of a pastor in Idaho who took the initiative to put saving the environment at the center of his church’s mission. He discovered, Hitzhusen said, less resistance than he expected. Now 10 years later he’s experiencing fierce backlash to his efforts. “How do we overcome these obstacles?” Hitzhusen wondered. The speaker, who is involved in the Interfaith Light and Power movement, focused his talk on what works. “Build on your strengths,” he said. That means finding what expertise is within the congregation that can spearhead efforts. The United Church of Christ in Sylvania used the expertise of Al Compaan, a leading researcher in photovoltaics, to initiate a solar project. “Do what makes sense for your community,” he said. Even simple measure can help. Saving money on energy can help a church keep its doors open…