Spring Back into Sustainability!
The fall of 2018 saw lots of activity for the Office of Sustainability. Starting with the hiring of a new sustainability coordinator, the semester was marked by ramped up programming and outreach. Monthly sustainability education events
were held, posters were given at conferences
, and BCycle stations
were installed. Each of these efforts move UH steps closer to being a more sustainable university. But what is in store for the coming spring?
First to look forward to is the Spring BYOB competition! During the first two weeks of each semester, students are encouraged to tag themselves (#UHBYOBottle) in a selfie on social media using reusable water bottles. The winner will then be randomly selected to win prizes like a full zero waste starter kit.
Spring is also a time for Recyclemania! Each February and March, the University takes part in this competition comparing recycling rates across universities. The number one way to participate is to make extra effort to recycle throughout the contest, but you can help make a larger impact by attending scheduled recycling events listed on the official contest page.
Sustainability in the news
Lean Electrolyte Design is a Game-Changer for Magnesium Batteries
Researchers from the University of Houston and the Toyota Research Institute of America have discovered a promising new version of high-energy magnesium batteries, with potential applications ranging from electric vehicles to battery storage for renewable energy systems.
The battery, reported Dec. 21 in Joule, is the first reported to operate with limited electrolytes while using an organic electrode, a change the researchers said allows it to store and discharge far more energy than earlier magnesium batteries. They used a chloride-free electrolyte, another change from the traditional electrolyte used by magnesium batteries, which enabled the discovery.
Rice, UH team preps for massive Antarctic glacier study
A team of scientists from Rice University, the University of Houston, the University of Alabama and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory will participate in an ambitious $25 million study aimed at determining how quickly Antarctica's massive Thwaites Glacier could collapse.
The Thwaites research program, a joint undertaking of the National Science Foundation and the United Kingdom's Natural Environment Research Council, was announced today. U.S. and U.K. officials say the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC) is the largest joint project undertaken by their nations in Antarctica since the mapping of the Antarctic Peninsula more than 70 years ago.
H-GAC Updates Regional Demographic Snapshot
The Socioeconomic Modeling team at H-GAC updated the Regional Demographic Snapshot tool with recently released US Census American Community Survey Data (2013-2017 5-year estimate). The tool provides easy access to demographic data at different geographic levels including counties, cities, independent school districts, census tracts, Zip codes, and Census Block Groups.
Native Knowledge: What Ecologists Are Learning from Indigenous People
While he was interviewing Inuit elders in Alaska to find out more about their knowledge of beluga whales and how the mammals might respond to the changing Arctic, researcher Henry Huntington lost track of the conversation as the hunters suddenly switched from the subject of belugas to beavers. It turned out though, that the hunters were still really talking about whales. There had been an increase in beaver populations, they explained, which had reduced spawning habitat for salmon and other fish, which meant less prey for the belugas and so fewer whales.