Over the last year, people around the world have been navigating the challenging landscape of COVID-19 precautions. Looking at the news, most of what is shown relates to the frustrations of these measures: uncomfortable masks, tricky zoom calls, social distancing, etc. However, simultaneously, there has been a silent revolution going on in Houston transit of which telecommuting is only a small part. In fact, this revolution is possibly one of the most substantial shifts towards sustainable transit Houston has ever seen. All one needs to do to begin to grasp the shifting bedrock is try to visit a local bike shop.
Throughout the spring and summer, local climate action groups have not let the uncertain times curtail their efforts to keep up the fight against climate change. In fact, many groups like the Climate Action Team (CAT) at Unitarian Universalist Church see the world’s response to COVID as a kind of “pop quiz” for the coming hurdles of addressing climate change. To fully unpack the connections, they invited Gabriel Durham, UH Sustainability Coordinator, as a discussion moderator and presenter for their monthly teleconference.
On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Houston published its strategy to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The Houston Climate Plan is the result of a year’s worth of collaboration between business, academia, non-profits, students, and communities. As the report makes clear, carbon neutrality entails nothing less than the total restructuring of the city.
The events of the past weeks have the world changing in many unprecedented ways. It is a challenging and uncertain time to say the least, but one thing is certain: people all over the world are trying to make the best out of the unique daily challenges they are now faced with. How to get food, how to work, how to educate ourselves, all of these aspects of life are being met with new strategies and ingenuity. Interestingly enough, many of these adaptations have been studied by sustainability experts for years and have positive effects beyond virus containment. So, to help find the silver lining amongst all the challenges, here are five aspects of quarantine that are actually benefiting sustainability and might help individuals and society rethink basic habits.
This past Valentine's Day, UH came together to plant hundreds of trees to show their love for campus green space. Teams of volunteers from multiple campus departments, as well as community partners reforested areas of the Technology Bridge, Cougar Woods, and around the newly built Elgin street garage.
Each spring semester, the UH Office of Sustainability facilitates RecycleMania, a friendly recycling competition for universities to promote waste reduction to their campus communities. Along with auditing recycling information, the Office of Sustainability also holds weekly events to help fellow coogs be better recyclers, or just get started in the first place. Below is a list of all the events you can take part in this coming spring. The more events you attend, the better your chances are of winning awesome zero waste prizes!
Last month, the University of Houston Office of Sustainability gave out the first ever Green Office Awards to campus offices that have made efforts to cut waste, reduce consumption, and generally make their offices more sustainable. Now, to kick off 2020 right, the UH Student Center has become the first ever GOLD ranked UH Green Office.
Spring is a time of renewal. It is the season of blooming flowers and budding trees. Want to take Nature’s lead? Here are all the ways this Spring you can make the campus and yourself more sustainable.
Houston, Jan. 10, 2020 – Every year, at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters, University of Houston students, faculty and staff have the opportunity to help reduce plastic waste and win prizes by participating in the Office of Sustainability’s #UHBYOBottle social media campaign.
The Office of Sustainability recently held its first-ever Green Office Awards. The inaugural event served to officially certify and honor university offices involved with the Green Office Program, which is sponsored by the Office of Sustainability.
This October, the University of Houston Office of Sustainability returned to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) national conference and expo to present two posters detailing campus sustainability. With approximately 2,000 participants, AASHE’s annual conference is the largest stage in North America to exchange effective models, policies, research, collaborations and transformative actions that advance sustainability in higher education and surrounding communities.
On Thursday September 12th, the University of Houston Office of Sustainability hosted Texas Central as the first guest in the Fall 2019 Sustainability Meetup Series. Texas Central is the company undertaking the development, design, construction, finance, and operation of the innovative new high-speed passenger train to be built in Texas. Based on the “bullet trains” of Japan, this “Texas Sized” Shinkansen will be able to take you from Houston to Dallas in less than 90 minutes.
The University of Houston is devoted to advancing sustainability on all fronts and every 3 years, the significance of these efforts is proven by high scores in the AASHE STARS report. This year, the University earned a rank of GOLD (the second highest ranking in the report) for the second reporting period in a row - additionally raising its overall score.
The Office of Sustainability recently had the opportunity to attend the 2019 Greater Houston Environmental Summit. The conference was hosted by the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition (CEC), a cohort of nearly 150 environmentally-focused organizations in the Houston-Gulf Coast region, and sought to showcase how Houston has been working towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).