Environmental Studies Blog

December 16, 2013

Conservation Leadership Through Learning

Filed under: Announcements — chansen @ 6:36 pm

Conservation Leadership Through Learning (CLTL) is a Master of Science graduate degree through Colorado State University (CSU). CLTL integrates interdisciplinary university education with real-world action. Students learn natural sciences, social sciences, management, and leadership skills both in and out of the classroom. They spend two semesters at CSU, then seven months at a field site in either Belize, Kenya, Peru, and Mexico. The studies include intensive, cohort-based experiences of 20-25 students, allowing for personalized learning.

If you are interested in applying, you can find the CSU Graduate School Application Form online here. The application requires a $50 application fee, GRE scores, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, a resume or CV, and an essay.

Click here for more information!

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December 13, 2013

Brandeis Sustainability Fund Awards

Filed under: Announcements — geneviev @ 6:47 pm
Dear friends of the BSF,

We are excited to announce the following projects have been awarded funding by the Brandeis Sustainability Fund for the 2013-2014 academic year. Congratulations, student project leaders!

And thank you to the BSF Board members for their participation in this year’s project selection process, as well as other staff, faculty and students students who helped shepherd the projects through the application process.

BSF Co-Chair Flora Wang will be working with the Project Leaders to implement their projects this upcoming semester with support from many of you. Details on each project will be posted soon on the BSF website: go.brandeis.edu/bsf. If you have any questions or comments, please direct them to me and Flora (feurekaw@brandeis.edu) or to student project leaders.

Quick, Bike For Shelter!
Project Leader: Nicholas Medina
Awarded Amount: $25,000
To continue to encourage bicycle use as an alternative and healthy form of transportation, this will fund 3 new bike shelters with racks and 2 bicycle self-repair stations. Proposed locations are the Charles River Quad and the Foster Mods. DeisBikes will promote both the use of the shelters and the “fixit” stands, and develop workshops for bicycle maintenance using the “fixit” stations.
Subsidize MBTA Passes
Project Leader: Ameline Limorin
Awarded Amount: $10,000
This pilot project will provide 200 fifty-dollar ($50) MBTA passes to undergraduates as an incentive to use public transportation to travel to and from campus instead of using cars. The goal is to collect information on how to increase public transit use by students and figure out how to scale up the project.
TapBrandeis 2.0
Project Leaders: Sara Taylor, Jeremy Goodman, Emma Balmuth-Loris
Awarded Amount: $10,000
Building on the project from last year to encourage use of reusable bottles and discourage single-use plastic bottles, 4 more bottle filling stations will be installed on campus thanks to this BSF project. Locations to be finalized. Students were also granted funding to purchase reusable water bottles for the entire incoming class of 2014.  
Dual-Flush Toilets
Project Leader: Anna Bessendorf, Nate Shaffer
Awarded Amount: $16,500
100 toilets in five first year residence hall buildings will be retrofitted with Dual-Flush kits that should reduce water use by 30%. Project leaders hope to get first year students comfortable with this new technology from the very start of their time at the University. The Student Union Sustainability Committee will help to complement the project with educational initiatives to ensure proper use.
Little Green Libraries
Project Leader: Jaime Kaiser
Awarded Amount: $425.35
Students will install two Little “Green” Libraries – free book exchanges constructed out of re-purposed materials – to promote the value of recycled, reused, and refurbished products. Locations to be determined.

December 5, 2013

Fall Internship Symposium

Filed under: Announcements — geneviev @ 6:32 pm

This Wednesday, the Environmental Internship Symposium will happen in Heller G1 at 6:30pm! For more information, please view the flyer below.

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November 20, 2013

Brandeis Garden Week

Filed under: Events — chansen @ 5:38 pm
Brandeis Garden Week, a week full of plants and volunteering, is ending today. Brandeis Garden Week is a campus-wide initiative to increase awareness of urban agriculture and garden education.
This past week, there have been indoor garden displays in the Shapiro Campus Center atrium, the Shapiro Science Center lobby, and Goldfarb Library. The displays were a successful hit for students, and they show that even in the cold weather, we can garden inside!
About a week and a half ago, there was a bike tour of Waltham gardens, ending at Waltham Fields Community Farm where there was a bicycle-powered cider press! The event was sponsored by DeisBikes and was a great opportunity for students to enjoy the fall weather and be outside.
Last Wednesday, students went to the Waltham Fields Community Farm to spend the morning working outside in the community.
Today is Brandeis Garden Week’s final event, which is a cooking event with Sodexo cosponsored by HSSP and Brandeis Pluralism Alliance. The event is free for the students who are meal plans and $10 otherwise. If you would like to attend, it is not too late! The event is from 4:30 to 6:00 pm and you can sign up here.
As Brandeis Garden Week is ending, we are reminded not only how important and healthy it is to have locally grown foods, but also how much fun it is!

November 18, 2013

Russia’s Arctic Oil Rig

Filed under: News — chansen @ 6:00 pm

The Russian government and the Greenpeace organization are arguing over the Prirazlomnaya oil rig in the Arctic. The rig is owned by Gazprom, a Russian state-owned company. The base of the rig is so heavy that it cannot be moved, and it sits about 20 meters (66 feet) deep on a seabed.

The issue with the rig is not its structure. Instead, it is the possibility of a spill in the Arctic waters. Campaigners say that “the nature here is unique,” as the animals, such as polar bears, walruses, and narwhals, have nowhere else to go if there is a spill. The arctic ocean has two narrow entrances to the remaining oceans: one by Iceland and the other by Alaska. Therefore, there is little mixing with other seas, causing oil spills to stay in the Arctic. Also, an oil spill would be catastrophic because of the low temperatures in the north. In tropical waters, oil becomes absorbed readily by bacteria and other microorganisms. These microorganisms do not live in cold waters, so the oil would stay in the Arctic for about 100 years. Companies also do not have the technology to collect spilled oil under ice.

Gazprom claims that they have extremely safe measures intact. The rig is in shallow water, enabling the wellhead to be inside the rig. There is also a cut-off system  that offloads the oil into tanks. There are detections on the tanks to detect movement, and if there is too much movement by a factor such as ice, oil stops flowing. The company also claims that they could clean up a spill under the ice by using icebreakers. Two icebreakers are near the rig, which would enable skimmers to enter the water and clean oil if needed.

The safety measurements are not enough for Greenpeace activists, who repeatedly attempt to climb the rig in protest. By climbing the rig, the activists are creating risk to the rig’s possibility of spilling. Workers have even started to spray the rig with fire hoses while the activists attempt to climb up, but the activists claim that the use of inflatable boats and lightweight ropes deters them from being a threat.

This year, when 30 Greenpeace activists attempted to climb the rig, the FSB, Russia’s federal security service, pulled the activists off, pointed guns at them, and opened fire onto the water. The activists are now in jail with charges of “piracy as part of an organized group.” The Netherlands, where the Greenpeace ship that went to the Arctic is registered, is currently challenging the arrests with an argument of the “Convention of the Law of the Sea.”

View the full article here.

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November 13, 2013

The Not-So-Hidden Cause Behind the ADHD Epidemic, from The New York Times

Filed under: News — chansen @ 5:57 pm

The diagnosis of ADHD has skyrocketed over the past few decades, causing a shortage in low-dose generic medications. A large percentage of people diagnosed with the disorder likely have no neurological problems at all, and the common diagnosis is likely because of sociological factors. Parents expect more from their children which causes children to need to focus more intently.

A study was done at Michigan State University to find a genetic basis of the disorder. Using both fraternal and identical twins, researchers concluded that traits of hyperactivity and inattentiveness are highly inheritable. There are different regions of the brain where ADHD genes affect neuronal circuitry, showing that there is a physiological feature of the disorder.

Although ADHD is physiological, many patients that have the medication do not have the disorder. Policies such as the Individuals With Disabilities Education act in 1991 and the Food and Drug Administration Act in 1997 allow drug companies to market to the public. The rates of diagnosis in eastern America are also higher than the rates in the western part of the country, giving more evidence of the sociological influences that cause ADHD diagnosis.

When President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act, diagnoses began to skyrocket even more. The diagnosis is on the rise because the way our societies define disorder continues to change. Schools used to punish kids who wouldn’t sit still, but now schools support these children with medications and therapy. As Joel Nigg says in the article, “When people don’t fit in, we react by giving their behavior a label, either medicalizing, criminalizing it or moralizing it.”

Medications can hurt people as well as help them, and the increasing diagnosis of ADHD may do both.

See Original Article Here


October 7, 2013

Special Update on the Pumpkin Roast!

Filed under: Events — chansen @ 4:58 pm

The Meet the Majors Pumpkin Roast is coming up this Wednesday, and you may be wondering what will actually be roasted. It has recently been leaked that one pumpkin will be roasted with quinoa and one with cheese, apples, and bread! So whether you are vegan, gluten-free, or neither, you will have something delicious to eat. Come over to SCC 313 from 5-6 pm this Wednesday to have your pick of one or both of the stuffed pumpkins while hanging out with students and faculty in the Environmental Studies program! Other snacks and juice will be provided!



September 30, 2013

Environmental Studies Meet the Majors Pumpkin Roast

Filed under: Events — chansen @ 5:22 pm

The Environmental Studies UDRs, Adam Krebs and Esther Mann, are hosting an Environmental Studies Meet the Majors Pumpkin Roast on Wednesday, October 9 at 5 PM in SCC 313. It will be a unique opportunity for students to learn more about the area of study and celebrate the fall by eating roasted stuffed pumpkins. Vegan and Gluten-Free options are available so that everyone can enjoy the delicious foods, and anyone who is interested is more than welcome to come by.

Faculty members Dan Perlman and Brian Donahue will be attending as well as URDs Adam Krebs and Esther Mann. They are asking for RSVPs, but drop-ins are welcome. If you have any questions or concerns about the event, the major, or the minor, send one of the UDRs an e-mail and they would be more than happy to help you out!


Adam Krebs, akrebs@brandeis.edu
Esther Mann, emann@brandeis.edu


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September 9, 2013

Brandeis-India Science Scholars Program – still accepting applications

Filed under: Announcements — geneviev @ 4:04 pm

In collaboration with the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India, the Office of Study Abroad and the Division of Science, Brandeis is offering an exchange opportunity for students interested in studying biology, chemistry, physics, math, materials, environmental science and computer science beginning in spring 2014.  The undergraduate program offers many courses that will fulfill Brandeis major/minor requirements and a number of elective courses not offered at Brandeis that would complement any science curriculum.

The IISc is a vibrant campus with an active undergraduate student body and is a “living laboratory” for students interested in biology and environmental science.  Students will live on campus with their Indian classmates and along with classes taught in English by Indian faculty, will have the opportunity to collaborate in research projects in one of the many labs on campus.  Bangalore is a growing metropolitan city located in southern India and is known as the Silicon Valley of India, making it a unique destination for students in the sciences.

Following the spring semester program, select students from the IISc will come to Brandeis to participate in summer research projects with Brandeis faculty.
Applications will be accepted on a space available basis until October 15th!  For more information visit the program website here or contact Amber Thacher in the Office of Study Abroad.

May 7, 2013

*NEW* Wetlands Course – Fall 2013

Filed under: Announcements — chansen @ 6:08 pm

Check out this great opportunity to learn more about our ecosystem and get credit!
Topics in Ecology,BIOL134

Considers the physical, chemical, and biological processes that make wetland ecosystems critically important to human welfare and biodiversity.  Focuses on New England wetlands, including their natural history, management, and conservation. Field trips are an integral part of the course. Weds, 9-11:50am.  See course listing for further detail. Limited to 25 students.

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