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December Newsletter 2019

The Sustainable Coog: Your monthly source for green strides with red pride

 

The Office of Sustainability Presents First-Ever Green Office Awards

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.

The first-ever cohort to obtain Green Office certification included the Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life (Silver), University Career Services (Silver), multiple offices from Campus Recreation (Bronze), and Cullen Performance Hall (Bronze).

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Sustainability in the news

New Catalyst Efficiently Produces Hydrogen from Seawater
Seawater is one of the most abundant resources on earth, offering promise both as a source of hydrogen - desirable as a source of clean energy - and of drinking water in arid climates. But even as water-splitting technologies capable of producing hydrogen from freshwater have become more effective, seawater has remained a challenge.

Researchers from the University of Houston have reported a significant breakthrough with a new oxygen evolution reaction catalyst that, combined with a hydrogen evolution reaction catalyst, achieved current densities capable of supporting industrial demands while requiring relatively low voltage to start seawater electrolysis.

New Hybrid Device Can Both Capture and Store Solar Energy

Researchers from the University of Houston have reported a new device that can both efficiently capture solar energy and store it until it is needed, offering promise for applications ranging from power generation to distillation and desalination.

Unlike solar panels and solar cells, which rely on photovoltaic technology for the direct generation of electricity, the hybrid device captures heat from the sun and stores it as thermal energy. It addresses some of the issues that have stalled wider-scale adoption of solar power, suggesting an avenue for using solar energy around-the-clock, despite limited sunlight hours, cloudy days and other constraints.

Global Climate Change Concerns for Africa's Lake Victoria

Global climate change could cause Africa's Lake Victoria, the world's largest tropical lake and source of the Nile River, to dry up in the next 500 years, according to new findings from a team of researchers led by the University of Houston. Even more imminent, the White Nile - one of the two main tributaries of the Nile - could lose its source waters in just a decade.

Using ancient sediment from outcrops along the edge of the lake, Emily Beverly, assistant professor of sedimentary geology at the UH College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, along with researchers at Baylor University, generated a water-budget model to see how Lake Victoria's levels respond to changes in evaporation, temperature, rainfall and solar energy. Their findings, published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, indicate a rapid lake level decline was very possible tens of thousands of years ago and could happen again in the future.

A Study of Saturn's Largest Moon May Offer Insights for Earth
Scientists studying the weather and climate of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, have reported a significant seasonal variation in its energy budget - that is the amount of solar energy absorbed by the celestial body and the thermal energy it emits.

The findings, reported in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, could lead to new insights about climate on Earth.

 

   Food for Thought

Growing Our Food: Making Agriculture More Sustainable (Podcast)

The massive agriculture industry feeds billions of people but also contributes heavily to climate change. How do we employ more sustainable agricultural practices and maintain our ability to feed 7.7 billion people, plus 2 billion more by 2050? Indigo Agriculture's David Perry and Harvard Business School Professor David Bell discuss the promising opportunities to change the ways in which we grow food.

Most farmers get paid for the bushels of grain that they produce, bushels of corn or bushels of wheat without regard to how that produce is produced. That, of course, removes the incentive for farmers to focus on those things. They get paid for volume, so they invest in methods and technologies that will enable them to produce more, but not in the things that allow them to produce better or in a more sustainable way.

This world map rates countries by the sustainability of their food systems

What we choose to eat can affect climate change, and that means all the factors involved in feeding our growing population-from agriculture to fair trade to food waste to the labor force-can have an impact on how sustainable our food system is. That's a lot of information to track, but it's important to have that big-picture perspective. And now we're closer to it, thanks to a map created by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) that rates food sustainability for different countries around the world.

The map is less about ranking the "most" and "least" sustainable food systems, says Steven Prager, coauthor of the paper on the map published in Nature and a senior scientist at the research nonprofit CIAT. It's more about allowing, finally, for a broad look at food systems around the world so we can compare what different countries are doing, and understand how all the facets of food sustainability are connected to inform the best policy decisions.

 



UPCOMING EVENTS

SAVE THE DATE:

Ribbon Cutting & Holiday Open House
Date: Wednesday, Dec 11
Time: 6 - 8:30 pm
Location: 2520 Caroline Street, Suite 100, Houston, Texas 77003
The Houston Green Book Discussion Group
Date: Thursday, Dec 12
Time: 12 - 1 pm
Location: Downtown Main Library 500 McKinney St Houston, TX 77002 USA

Design Thinking for Social Impact: Creating Impactful Change in Houston
Date: Wednesday, Nov 20 Time: 5:30 - 7 pm
Location: Station Houston 1301 Fannin St. Suite 2440, Houston, Texas 77002

Familia Lorenzo Folk Art from Guerrero, Mexico
Date: Nov 14 - Dec 13
Time: Follow link for specific dates and times
Location: 4506 Caroline St, Houston, TX 77004

The Four Freedoms: Franklin D. Roosevelt's Vision of America
Date: Thursday, Dec 19
Time: 6:30 - 7:30 pm
Location: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 1001 Bissonnet Street

GET OUTSIDE

Weekly Vegan Cafe Pop-Up
Date: Wednesday, Dec 11
Time: 7 - 10 pm
Location: The Flat 1701 Commonwealth St, Houston, Texas 77006

Master Gardeners in the City
Date: Saturday, Dec 14
Time: 9 am - 12 pm
Location: McGovern Centennial Gardens 1500 Hermann Dr, Houston, Texas 77004
Free Farm Tours: Explore your Food
Date: Saturday, Dec 14
Time: 9:30 - 11:30 am
Location: Finca Tres Robles 257 N Greenwood St, Houston, Texas 77011
Namaste Sundays: Free Outdoor Yoga
Date: Sunday, Dec 15
Time: 10 - 11 am
Location: The West End - A Public House 5320 Westheimer Rd, Houston, Texas 77056
Volunteer Day on the Farm
Date: Saturday, Dec 21
Time: 10:30 am
Location: Finca Tres Robles 257 N Greenwood St, Houston, Texas 77011

Farmers Markets
Rice University Farmers Market
Date: Every Tuesday
Time: 3:30 - 6:30 PM
Location: 5600 Greenbriar Dr.
Houston, TX 77005
City Hall Farmers Market
Date: Every Wednesday
Time: 11 - 1:30 PM
Location: City Hall
901 Bagby St.
Houston, TX 77002
Central City Co-Op Farmers Market
Date: Every Wednesday
Time: 9 - 6 PM
Location: 2515 Waugh Dr.
Houston, TX 77006
Urban Harvest Eastside Farmers Market
Date: Every Saturday
Time: 8 AM - 12 PM
Location: 3000 Richmond Ave.
Houston, TX 77098
Memorial Villages Market
Date: Every Saturday
Time: 9 AM - 1 PM
Location: 10840 Beinhorn Road
Houston, TX 77024
The Woodlands Farmers Market at Grogan's Mill
Date: Every Saturday
Time: 8 AM - 12 PM
Location: 7 Switchbud Pl.
The Woodlands, TX 77380

For more information on ongoing Farmers Markets or new, upcoming ones, check out the sites below:

Campus Community Garden

Learn more about our Campus Community Garden and our mission. Email us to schedule a time to volunteer.
Like us on Facebook for weekly garden updates!

Scholarships & Opportunities

Global Water Crisis Solution Scholarship
To participate in this scholarship, you just have to select a topic from our site to write 1000-1500 words. You have to submit it along with your require information on our email address scholarship@theinsidehome.com or you can simply submit on our site. After checking out the quality of your content, we will announce the winner. Keep in mind winner will be selected as per the above-mentioned qualities.

Deadline: January 10, 2020

2020 Environmental Fellows Program
The Environmental Fellows Program is a nationally competitive summer fellowship program for masters and doctoral students that seeks to place students traditionally underrepresented in the environmental field and those committed to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in summer fellowships with environmental foundations and their grantees.

Deadline: February 1, 2020

Impact on the Community Scholarship
If you've made a positive impact on your community, we'd like to hear your story. We believe there are many ways to make an impact, because even the smallest actions can make a difference. Whether that is starting a community garden, volunteering at an animal shelter, helping kids with their homework or donating supplies to a homeless shelter.

Deadline: June 30, 2020

Green Jobs

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