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By Van Du, Program Associate

Ouack, Pack, and Quack show their supports for Second Nature Carrot For A Cause, so should you!

Okay, so it’s not “Make Way for Ducklings and Carrots” in Mr. Robert McCloskey’s story, but Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack, are up to something lately!

Now that they have mastered swimming and diving lessons, Quack, the youngest duckling, informs me that they currently have an even bigger mission to accomplish: HELPING SECOND NATURE WIN A WEBSITE MAKEOVER OPPORTUNITY!  Why, you might ask? Because once upon a time, the ducklings woud like to learn more about Second Nature’s Affiliate Membership program, but could not locate the information and got rather discouraged with the current SN website layout, which was designed sometime in the 20th century.  Hrm.  Something’s gotta change…And so, since July 23rd, they have marched to the Boston Public Library everyday and casted their votes for Second Naturein the Carrots For A Cause  contest—a website redesign competition for Massachusetts non-profit organizations, hosted by Boston-based website design firm, Jackrabbit Design.

With only 15 more days to go, the ducklings are committed to voting daily for Second Nature through August 12th .  They believe that everyday is a new day and every vote counts.  That’s right.

Eight votes from the duckings give us a great start everyday, but we need all your help as well! So, please vote daily, vote often, and spread the word to anyone you think would like to support Second Nature’s mission!  A new website for Second Nature would go a long way in helping us support and accelerate all of our efforts in creating a sustainable society.

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By Ulli Klein, Director of Operations and Communications

We need to update our website! And with that I mean that we probably need to start from scratch. What looked great in the 90s hasn’t changed a whole lot since then. We have invested our attention and staff time into our initiatives and into their respective websites and we are proud of them. Now it’s time to try to help out the Second Nature website in the Carrots for a Cause contest where we are currently in 3rd place to win a website makeover!

Our Carrots for a Cause took a trip to Faneuil Hall today to check in with John Adams and pitch our case to him.

Pitching our case!

I would like to report back that Sam Adams stated he would MOST DEFINITELY vote for us.

So should you!

So please help us by voting daily, bookmarking the voting page and, just as importantly, spreading the word to anyone you think would like to support Second Nature’s mission.

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Anjali Appadurai, a student at the College of the Atlantic in Maine, addressed the conference on behalf of youth delegates at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done. So, distinguished delegates and governments around the world, governments of the developed world: Deep cuts now. Get it done,” Appadurai says.

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We are pleased to announce that the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative (TCCPI) received the second annual “Partners in Sustainability Award” from the Cornell University President’s Sustainable Campus Committee on Friday.

TCCPI is a multisector collaboration seeking to leverage the climate action commitments made by Cornell University, Ithaca College, Tompkins Cortland Community College, Tompkins County, and the City of Ithaca to mobilize a countywide energy efficiency effort and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy. Launched in June 2008 and generously supported by the Park Foundation, TCCPI is a project of Second Nature, coordinated by Second Nature Senior Fellow Peter Bardaglio.  Learn more about TCCPI at www.tccpi.org.

TCCPI is designed to foster the kind of cross-sector collaboration needed to create a sustainable society.  The Partners in Sustainability Award is a tremendous validation that the approach and the work of all of TCCPI’s members is having a positive impact.

For more on this exciting award, see Cornell’s Media Advisory below, and this article in the Ithaca Journal.

Cornell to present second sustainability award to Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative

ITHACA, N.Y. – In honor of Sustainability Month, the Cornell University President’s Sustainable Campus Committee will present the second annual Partners in Sustainability Award to the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative.

The award recognizes TCCPI for its ongoing partnership in regional carbon reduction strategies. The award ceremony at the Chamber of Commerce will include remarks from Kyu Whang, vice president of Facilities Services and co-chair of the President’s Sustainable Campus Committee; and Peter Bardaglio, TCCPI coordinator.

Cornell is proud to recognize TCCPI as an effective partner in the regional effort to conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions, and specifically for the coalition’s achievements in the following areas:

  • Creation of a peer-to-peer mentoring network for leaders from government, education, not-for-profit, faith and business organizations.
  • High quality articles and opinion pieces on energy and climate issues in the local media.
  • Development of a regional strategy for achieving significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Development of financing mechanisms for homeowners and businesses to achieve greenhouse gas reduction targets

“By recognizing groups that partner with higher education institutions to advance sustainability, we build on the successes of research and teaching, and acknowledge that we must also bring together practitioners and leaders throughout the world in support new policies and practices.” – Daniel Roth, Cornell University Sustainability Manager.

Cornell’s Partners in Sustainability Award is given each year to one or more recipients who have made significant contributions to the sustainable development of New York State and the Cornell campus through collaboration with Cornell University. Award winners will be evaluated in four categories: research, regional stewardship, education and public engagement. The 2010 recipient was NYSERDA for its leadership in statewide energy conservation and renewable energy initiatives. http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/April10/NyserdaAward.html

For additional information, visit: www.sustainablecampus.cornell.edu.

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By Steve Muzzy, Senior Associate, Second Nature

(This article appears in the November, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)


The 4th Annual American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) Climate Leadership Summit met October 12-13 in Denver, CO. The nearly 200 participants got right to work sharing challenges and best practices and outlining the future direction of the commitment. Highlights from the Summit follow.

James WoolseyJames Woolsey, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Bill Clinton, provided the opening keynote address. Mr. Woolsey’s presentation focused on the impending threats to national security that are being posed by an increasingly unstable climate. His perspective creatively threaded the current and future social and environmental implications of our reigning energy policy as well as provided some promising existing mechanisms to scale renewable energy production. Note: Mr. Woolsey’s presentation and all Summit presentations will be available on the ACUPCC website soon. (more…)

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By Wendell Brase,  Vice Chancellor University of California-Irvine and Chair  of the University of California Climate Solutions Steering Committee

(This article appears in the October, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)


Every institution has an unfortunate legacy of well-intentioned plans that have died.  Some were announced with great fanfare following a year of committee work, consultant studies, and boardroom proclamations.  Yet, despite the intellectual capital and financial resources invested in these plans, they proved useless — languishing and ignored within a few years, forgotten within half a decade.

Why do some plans transform an institution while others grow stale on the shelf?  Sometimes plans with the most impressive packaging are inherently inadequate, lacking the key ingredients necessary for an organization to move from plan to action:  a goal that is simple and clear, measureable milestones, understandable metrics, and feasible resource expectations.  These fundamentals are even more basic than the best practices highlighted by the Eastern Research Group (in this issue).

Sometimes failure of a plan to prove transformative is not an inherent weakness of the plan, itself, but due to organizational incapacity or resources.  My July column outlined ten critical success factors that predict an organization’s performance.  Item #10 was “Accountability goals and measures that ‘mainstream’ mission-critical problems into annual performance goals and subsequent performance appraisals of line managers.”  This means that any plan, in order to effect change, needs to transition from “staff” to “line.”  This happens when specific, measurable outcomes are written into annual performance objectives of the directors of facilities, construction, parking, transportation, housing, food services, environmental safety, environmental planning, and procurement.  Failure to make the “staff to line” transition negates the value of many plans.

This can affect any plan that aims to be transformative for an institution — including a climate action plan.  CAPs are also under threat because they require a substantial investment extending more than a decade — perhaps decades — at a time when colleges and universities are struggling to survive, or at least not lose ground.

How can we maintain momentum when our governing boards are consumed by concerns about declining revenues, student access and affordability, and looming fiscal nightmares around benefits, investments, and pensions?  They cannot ignore these problems; neither can we.

One thing we can do is concentrate on carbon-reducing actions that are practically cost-free, or self-financing.  This list includes a number of grass-roots changes in institutional culture that can constructively engage students during a time when major investments may have to wait:

  • Eliminate hot water in non-residential lavatories
  • Eliminate hot water from laundromat facilities
  • Label food entrees low/moderate/high carbon at point-of-service
  • Energy Star and EPEAT procurement policies
  • Eliminate sale of bottled water
  • Install thermal barriers for open food coolers
  • Weigh and display dining waste
  • Data center energy audit
  • Enable all computer and office machine sleep features
  • Raise data center(s) thermostat and monitor inlet air temperatures at top-of-rack components
  • Persuade laboratory users to close fume hoods when not in use
  • Disaggregate parking fees embedded in housing rents (providing substantial discounts to those who forego a car on campus)
  • Year-end donation program to avoid dumpsters heading to landfills when students move out
  • Community gardens near where students live and eat
  • Charge extra for non-Energy Star residential refrigerators
  • Eliminate ice dispensed for beverages
  • Extend energy-awareness programs to water awareness — showering, shaving, laundry, dishwashing, etc.
  • Cooking classes to shift students away from microwave products, fast foods, vending machines, etc.
  • Print official documents double-sided on recycled, recyclable paper
  • Charge for disposable beverage cups or offer a discount to those who carry a cup
  • Replace 28-32 watt fluorescent lamps with 25 watt low-mercury tubes (all fixtures with suitable ballasts)
  • Change the culture that results in new buildings while the Friday class schedule is a fraction of the M-TH schedule
  • Change the student life environment that results in a weekend exodus, underutilizing the campus while students drive home
  • Change the culture that favors building new space in order to avoid sharing space, and that favors new construction over re-purposing existing space
  • No-idle policy for all campus-operated vehicles
  • Flow-restrictors on all lavatory faucets
  • Tray-less dining
  • Replace all stairway lighting fixtures with low-wattage bilevel fixtures
  • Replace all parking structure lighting with bilevel fixtures

Finally, during this period when the only positive fiscal news is the low cost of capital, expand campus housing by taking advantage of low financing and construction costs.  Converting commuters to residents will make a big dent on your campus’ carbon footprint.  And speed up your energy retrofit program in order to complete projects before the cost of capital increases from current favorable levels.

An important strategy to keep in mind during this fiscally-constrained period is to manage expectations for the next phase of your climate action plan, when major investments will be required.  Since many CAPs focus on conservation, efficiency, and behavioral actions as initial priorities, large-scale renewable energy, offsets, and other high-investment actions will characterize later stages of implementation.  We need to manage this expectation.

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By Michelle Dyer,  Chief Operating Officer, Second Nature

(This article appears in the October, 2010 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)


After the ACUPCC Climate Leadership Summit in Denver I will be stepping out of my role as Chief Operating Officer of Second Nature, to join Intersection Partners, a private equity investment firm that builds sustainable businesses, as Principal.  I joined Second Nature to support Tony Cortese and the Second Nature team through a time of significant growth and to build the organizational capacity to advance its mission.  With the excellent team now have in place, and the phenomenal success of the ACUPCC and the Advancing Green Building in Higher Education Initiative, the time has come for me to move forward.

This opportunity came quite unexpectedly as I was conducting early research into potential next steps in my career path.  I knew it would be rare to find an investment company with the supportive atmosphere and committed team I have enjoyed during my tenure at Second Nature, not to mention difficult to make a transition given the current state of the economy.  I was blessed to connect with my new partners, who understand sustainability deeply and feel a vocation to create meaningful, positive businesses.

I deeply appreciate the experience I have had at Second Nature.  The relationships I have gained, the meaningful work in which I have been engaged, and the mentorship I have received has been incredible.  I thank Tony for his faith in me and for providing me with the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.  In addition, I am humbled and moved by the work into which you all have stepped.  The transition to a sustainable society and economy is an immense challenge, and your leadership will be remembered for generations to come.  I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work with such inspired and committed people, and hope our paths will cross in the future.

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