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A team of students and faculty from Alfred State College pose with electric car at AASHE 2011.*

The 2011 AASHE Conference, held in Pittsburgh Oct. 9-12, was a great success.  Second Nature was very involved, delivering plenary talks, panel sessions, and more, that highlighted our work supporting the ACUPCC.

The following members of the Second Nature staff, fellows and board were in attendance: Peter Bardaglio, Sarah Brylinsky, Tony Cortese, Georges Dyer, Bill Johnson, Nilda Mesa, Steve Muzzy, Toni Nelson, Andrea Putman, and Mitchell Thomashow.  As were our friends from the following ACUPCC Sponsor organizations: Organica, Siemens, Trane, Waste ManagementGreenerU and the American Meteorological Society.

Below are brief summaries of Second Nature’s main activities at the conference.  And here are links to presentations from some of Second Nature’s sessions:

Sunday, Oct. 9

Student Summit: The 2011 AASHE Student Summit hosted more than 600 attendees with a keynote from Bill McKibben founder of 350.org, and several motivating peer-to-peer presentation sessions.  Sarah Brylinsky represented the Second Nature team by facilitating breakout discussion groups for networking and action planning with the students, and provided an overview of the ACUPCC to students interested in climate action and sustainability education work on campus. Sarah also led a breakout networking session Tuesday evening with Steve Muzzy and members of the AASHE team for 30-40 students, focused explicitly on connecting students working on similar issues, including signing the ACUPCC and regional climate action.

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By Melissa McDonald, Business Development, Organica Water and Jonathan Lanciani, President & CEO, Organica Water
(This article appears in the August, 2011 issue of The ACUPCC Implementer)

The ACUPCC

Signatories of the ACUPCC recognize that global warming is a real issue and have created substantial progress in the energy arena. Another crisis looms: the quality and quantity of water. Water and energy are interdependent and interrelated, and the vast majority of energy produced today relies on water. Extracting oil, natural gas and generating electricity are all water intensive processes. At the same time, treating and distributing water is energy intensive. In many cities, the distribution of water is the largest user of energy. In order to make a significant impact on lowering energy, we must look at how we use water. Since campuses are some of the largest consumers of water and energy within communities, we are eager to help with this mission.

Organica is pledging to construct and operate several $1.5 million BlueHouse pilot projects, valued at $1.5 million, for ACUPCC institutions which will provide immediate cost savings on campus. These projects, which require no upfront capital, focus on issues surrounding water reclamation, reuse and energy problems associated with sustainable water management.

Organica plant in Shenzhen, China

The average college campus uses more than 80 million gallons of potable water per year for HVAC, irrigation, and sanitary needs, much of which can be supplemented by non-potable water sources. As the population rises and water demand grows, freshwater supplies are becoming an increasingly scarce and expensive resource. The emerging issues associated with climate change compounds the water problem for many areas across the United States. We face groundwater shortages, coastal erosion, saline intrusion into aquifers, and extended periods of drought. Until recently, the US has had relatively little exposure to water crises. However, we have the opportunity to learn from places like China where water scarcity has impacted health, quality of life and economic growth. (more…)

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By Steve Muzzy, Senior Associate, Second Nature

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

The ACUPCC

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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