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Issue 7 February 2014

In This Issue: Beyond Athens Global Sustainability …….…….……...…….3-8 Scotland ………….……..……….......3-4 Mobile Gardens………...…….....…...4 Great Barrier Reef …………………5 India ………………………………...5-6 Everglades National Park …………..7 Ecuador …………………………….7-8



Sustainable Columbus …………………….. 9-10 Local Sustainability ……………...………… 11-12 Opportunities ……………….……………. 13-14 EcoRep Tips …….………………….……... 15 International Movie Series …...…………….15 Trash Talk ………………………………….16 Call to Sustain Campaign …………………..17-18 Banana Famine? …………………………… 19-20 Carbon offsets ……………………………...20


From the Editor ………………………….....21-22 Expressions ………………………………....23 EcoSkills Workshops ………………………...26

Learn how to get involved with the EcoReps on page13... ...and check out what activities they are currently involved in on page 14!

On The Cover What’s beyond Athens? Check out where we’ve been! Photographer: Tess Phinney


From the Editor Athens is an amazing little bubble of a community; sometimes it seems like we have everything we could ever need right here. We have an incredible variety of local restaurants, businesses, shops and one of the best farmer’s market in the nation. It’s easy to get stuck in the charming little community of Athens and lose sight of the rest of the world, especially when you’re a graduate student with hardly enough time to take a deep breath. I arrived in Athens in late August and I didn’t know a soul, yet I found myself instantaneously a part of a community. Sure, the university pumps a lot of people into this town, but when community members who are also local business owners come to speak to your classes you know you’ve landed somewhere great. I go back home to Columbus now and again for holidays/weekends and it feels like another world — I usually find myself hardly being able to wait to get back to Athens. But I think it is important to recognize the places we’ve been and the places where our peers, friends, and coworkers come from. The places we’ve been can shape who we are, but more importantly, they can shape who we become.

Routes Magazine Editor Tess Phinney / Outreach Coordinator

Contributors John Benson / Writer Liz Emley / Writer Bradford Grant / Writer Megan Graver / Writer Richie Janssen / Writer Katie Lasco / Writer Markie Miller / Writer Alex Slaymaker /Writer Nabanita Talukdar / Writer Leigh Wagner / Writer Catherine Weisbarth / Writer Hallie Zarbakhsh / Writer

Director Annie Laurie Cadmus

Original Layout Created by: Neal Patten

Part of the reason why I think Athens is so great is because everything is accessible and therefore sustainable. Friends that live on the other side of campus are only a bike ride away, an uptown restaurant usually isn’t more than a 15 minute walk away, and $10 will get you on a bus to Columbus or Cincinnati for the weekend. But the truth is, we can’t be a truly sustainable city all by ourselves; we need the ideas and innovation from people that have traveled the state, the country, or even the world to make Athens an even greater place to be. The theme of the issue is “Beyond Athens”. I hope it can offer all of us here in this little community a small glimpse of what’s beyond the Wayne and over the Hocking. I was absolutely amazed to discover the amount of incredible places our office staff has been able to discover. I hope you enjoy reading about their travels as much as I have.

Thanks for reading and we’ll see you next time,

Keep In Touch:

Tess Phinney Office of Sustainability, Outreach Coordinator, Routes Editor 2

Global Sustainability Scotland

Liz Emley

A sustainable adventure I’ll never forget There are only a handful of decisions in life that you look back on and think of as being the “best decision” you ever made. It’s a big statement to make, so you can’t use it lightly. My first best decision was to come to Ohio University. I love everything about this place and everything that has happened as a result of my coming here. My second best decision was to study abroad in Scotland almost two summers ago. Not only was I able to see the world from another point of view, but the friendships I made and the eye-opening experiences I had changed my life forever. Speaking to the sustainable aspects of the trip, everything made me want to pack my things and move to Scotland. Everyone walked everywhere in Edinburgh, and I love walking. Here in America, our world is designed around the cars we live in, so walking is more difficult to do. But in Scotland, the only cars on the road are taxis and public transportation. I’m exaggerating a bit, but honestly I’ve never seen so many people on a sidewalk in my life. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt it, but it’s that feeling of unity, like being a part of something bigger than yourself. That’s what I felt when I walked in that city; connected to every other person there. You don’t feel that unity when driving around in a car by yourself, getting mad at the people in other cars with whom you have no connection and whom you just want off the road so you can have it all to yourself. As I mentioned, public transportation is also really prevalent Scotland. The bus system is so comprehensive and easy to access that there’s no reason to use anything else. My group and I never had any trouble getting anywhere by bus; we could go basically whenever we wanted because they ran so often, and if we ever did get confused about where we were going, there was always an adventure to be had while we figured it out. It was similar to being detectives: One person already knew the city so well they could just feel which way to go, another would try to help the leader by agreeing or disagreeing with their ideas, someone else would make sure

we all had the proper change to get on the next bus, and the rest would make jokes about how smart we are (so much sarcasm) and how this would become a great story to tell the grandkids one day (true story). Traveling by train was similarly feasible in Europe. A few of us took a weekend and traveled to four different cities in England. It was so inexpensive, so fun to joke around with friends, and so beautiful. I’ve never felt so existential looking out of a window and listening to M83 before. When you’re on a train, you see things you would never see when you’re in a car or in a plane thousands of feet above the earth. The landscape takes on a new meaning.

Food choices were healthier in Scotland. There were of course a couple fast food and chain restaurants, but a majority of the food we ate came from locally owned businesses. Our favorite stop was a place called “Flip,” which was considered fast food but was comprised of healthy, locally sourced sandwiches and a colorful man with a dream to start another shop in America one day. Still waiting for that to happen! There are so many different restaurant options and all of them are unique and delicious. When you go to a restaurant in Scotland, you don’t go to get in and out in a second with whatever two dollars will buy you; you go to socialize, have fun, and actually enjoy what you’re eating. 3

There was never a dull moment on that trip. There was so much to do and so much to see in a city with such a rich history. There were night clubs to dance at, museums to visit that were actually very fascinating, dozens of new restaurants to try every day, and beautiful scenery to lose yourself in. In a place that majestic, you understand why people are so much healthier: Who would want to sit inside and watch TV when you could climb Arthur’s Seat and stare at the entire city for hours?

what really affect us, not only in our relationships with other human beings, but also our relationship with the world we live in. Making a small, simple decision to turn off lights or bring a reusable cup with you everywhere can make all the difference in the world. Your impact, although relatively small, can change the mentality that others have, which can domino indefinitely until eventually the whole world has the potential to become a better place.

My trip to Scotland was one of the best decisions I’ve Something that I found especially wonderful was that ever made. Since then, I have made several other imArthur Conan Doyle, the famous writer of Sherlock portant, life altering decisions, and I owe each of them Holmes, went to the medical school at the University of to that trip and the friends I made. I became a new perEdinburgh where we had our classes. A man of many son, someone who wasn’t afraid to take risks and famous quotes, one of my favorites is, “It has long been someone who never wanted to settle for anything less an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the than happiness. If you are thinking about studying most important.” I too believe that the little things are abroad, go for it. You won’t regret it.

Mobile Gardens

Markie Miller

The concept of urban sustainability may challenge our perceptions and stereotypes of cities and sustainability; however, urban ecosystems can greatly contribute to the greater sustainability movement. I was very fortunate to stumble into a study abroad opportunity this past summer in Edinburgh, Scotland. We not only studied the concepts behind sustainable cities, but were able to participate in a lifestyle more dependent on public and active transportation. Left: the mobile gardens in an urban setting. Above: the gar-

While there, I took on a project regarding mobile com- dens can be transported and relocated munity gardens. In a historically industrial area of Edinimpermeable development cover. The citizens of Founburgh, just outside the city center called Fountaintainbridge wanted not only green space, but a place to bridge, the marks of industry have left the much of the rebuild community. Thus, the mobile gardens were land vacant and undesirable for much else than more born! The raised beds sit on wooden pallets that can be somewhat easily relocated when the vacant lots are purchased for development. Not only does this make for better use of the land, but eases the worry of contaminated soil – the legacy left behind by breweries and factories. This concept also showcases to the city and developers how important green infrastructure, such as community gardens, is for building community and creating healthy, livable environments. 4

The Great Barrier Reef

John Benson

Great Barrier Reef Fast Facts: 

Coral reefs live in very clear cut, frail and balanced environments which means that even the slightest change can have a huge impact on the entire coral system.

Although shipping vessel accidents have dropped significantly over the years; there are debris and other foreign objects that enter the waters and stay for years that can pollute the reef.

Tourism crowds drawn every year are unintentional contributors to the general decline in the reef. Transportation of tourists in addition to activities such as reef walking, scuba diving, or even runoff of sun screens can have a negative impact on this ecosystem.

One of the most common threats to the coral reefs on a global scale is climate change.


Picture courtesy of Pixabay

John Benson is an Administrative Intern in the Office of Sustainability and visited the Great Barrier Reef several years ago. His interest in protecting this natural wonder continues today.

Sustainable Investing In October, 2013, research firm Gartner said that India’s green IT and sustainability expenditure in 2013 had touched $29.2 billion; a mighty interesting fact for a country where the Union budget of fiscal year 2013 allocated $760 million for the medical education and research sectors! While there is ample concern over the underlying priorities and related justifications of these expenditures, the point to be pondered here is that the country (India), nowhere in the first 100 in the global sustainability indices, has geared up to recognize and act on investing for the future of this world.

Nabanita Talukdar

to market products with extremely-low-GHG refrigerators. To show how serious the company is about sustainability, they have its own sustainability targets placed in factory’s conference room. Another example is Hindustan Unilever. It has set its sustainability goals like to cut carbon emissions by 22%, water use by 29% and waste by 77% per product manufactured. Similar goals have been seen for Tata Group where their main focus is climate change and waste reduction.

How efficiently, if at all, are developing and developed countries upholding sustainable values? That has yet to Is It is my believe that the controllers of the public and the be tracked holistically. Sustainability is not an isolated private sectors of all countries are subject to an elevated process. It demands a global participation, based on a degree of accountability towards educating and ensuring unanimous realization about the true urgency of matters sustainability measures to every level. Many countries are related to the environment and society. beginning to explore their responsibilities to this conversaResources: tion. For example, in India, Godrej and Boyce has a pro gram called “Good and Green” under which they run sev- eral operations such as developing socially beneficial prod- energy_around_the_world/2013/11/ ucts, supporting educational programs, making energy inefficient air-conditioners. It is one of the first in the world dia_is_polluted_but_the_greenest_country_in_a_national_geographic_society.h tml


Sustainable Investing Advisory Committee Did you know that Ohio University is working to develop a student managed portfolio that embraces Socially Responsible Investing as a core tenet? This program is being proposed, reviewed and developed in an effort to contribute to long-term institutional investments in sustainable business, behaviors and communities. SIAC The Sustainable Investing Advisory Committee (SIAC) is a new organization in FY14 that is supervised by a faculty advisor and supported by a Graduate Assistant in the Office of Sustainability. SIAC will report to the Ohio University Foundation. High-ability and committed students are invited to apply to participate in this prestigious organizations. In partnership with the Student Equity Management Group (SEMG) and the Fixed Income Management Group (SIMG), SIAC will work to develop institutional portfolios relating to Socially Responsible Investing. SIAC will engage in several core activities: 1.) Define "sustainable investing" for the university. This definition is to encompass: sustainability; corporate social responsibility (CSR);environment, social and governance (ESG) responsibility; and, socially responsible investing (SRI). 2.) Specify an investment universe consistent with SRI/sustainability for use by SEMG and FIMG. The universe should generally be inclusive, identifying those companies and securities that are leaders in SRI. 3.) SIAC will accept other responsibilities or execute projects at the request of the OU Vice President for Finance and Administration, OU Foundation, or the SEMG and FIMG. 4.) SIAC will conduct regular training and research to make sure that the group provides advice to SEMG, FIMG, and the OU Foundation that represents professional best practices. 5.) SIAC will be supervised by a faculty sponsor and, for the first year at least, be supported by a graduate assistant selected and advised by the OU Director of Sustainability. 6.) In SIAC's first year of implementation, the Office of Sustainability will work to provide the supplies and meeting space necessary for group members to complete their duties.

Interested in joining or learning more? Email us:! 6

Everglades National Park

Tess Phinney

I had the opportunity to visit the Everglades National Park in South Florida this past December. It was my first time visiting the park and I was beyond excited about the opportunity because I had learned and read so much about the park in my environmental science classes over the years. If you get the chance to visit, one of the first stops you’ll need to make is at the visitor station. The park rangers will give you a map of the park and most of them are eager to entertain any questions you have. From my visit and a quick read through the National Park Service website, I learned that long before the Spanish first discovered Florida, the Everglades covered much of the land south of Tampa. This land was initially left blank on maps because the impenetrable nature of the swampy ecosystem was undesirable for early explorers. Early settlers and colonial developers looked at the ecosystem as worthless land that must be reclaimed for farming and development purposes.

Did you know? The Everglades is the only place on earth where alligators & crocodiles live in the same ecosystem. This national park is also the only place in the US where crocodiles can be found! (source:

amounts to only 25% of the original size of the Everglades. Luckily a large amount of species of plants and animals alike have been preserved and are readily available for the common tourist to explore. The park offers a network of trails that can be accessed by one main road that stretches from one end of the park to the other. You can also venture out into the swampy wetlands on a canoe if you’re feeling adventurous – just remember to pack your bug spray! My favorite sights to see in the park are the mangrove forests. These incredible, intertwining trees are quite resilient.

There are 3 different types of mangrove trees: red, black, and white. The red mangroves grow mostly in the flooded areas whereas the white mangroves grow mostly on land. The black mangroves grow in the area between the two on the salt-rich By the early 1900’s, drainage of the Everglades began. The dam- soils of the marshes. The mangrove forests serve an extremely age to the ecosystem and species that depend on that system valuable role in the ecology of Southern Florida because they was catastrophic. The Everglades National Park was established provide a natural buffer to environmentally devastating events in 1947 in order to preserve the remaining portion of the Ever- such as Hurricanes. They also recycle nutrients and provide valuglades that was yet to be developed at the time; this land able habitats for birds, insects, and reptiles. My favorite part of these forests is being able to hike through them because they provide a nice canopy and great places to spot unusual birds or insects. If you are traveling to South Florida in the near future, I recommend you make the trip out to the park to see some of this incredible ecosystem that is sure to be far different from any other you have experienced in the past. Admission is inexpensive ($10 per car, valid for 7 consecutive days) and the location is convenient (about 30 minutes from Miami). Sources: This picture, and the picture above are common sights throughout the park



Katie Lasco

Thoughts on oil drilling politics in the Ecuadorian Amazon Situated on the western border of the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador, Puyo is a small city of 30,000 people that make a living from their natural heritage. Natives from seven different indigenous tribes mix with the mestizo population, and in town one can find shops selling hand-woven baskets from the Waorani tribe, travel agencies offering rainforest treks, and a bustling marketplace filled with freshly grown fruits and touristy trinkets. Ecotourism is a primary stimulus for the local economy, with travelers converging from all continents to discover the culture surrounding one of the most biodiverse places on Earth. Not far from Puyo lies the entrance to Yasuni National Park, which in one hectare contains 100,000 insect species and more tree types than exist in the entire continental U.S. The services provided by this amount of biodiversity are innumerable, especially for the indigenous tribes within the park, some of which still live in relative isolation. But beneath the park’s forest is a goldmine of petroleum, a vast reserve of oil that oil corporations have been coveting for years. Until recently, the Ecuadorian government has been promoting the “Yasuni ITT Initiative”, a unique model for environmental protection that asks other world governments and independent donors to compensate for the country’s loss in revenue by refraining from drilling. While an interesting idea, the initiative has only raised a fraction of the amount needed in the past 6 years. In response to the failure, President Rafael Correa announced the abandonment of the initiative and gave permission for oil exploration in certain parts of the park this past August . Citizen backing for this decision is mixed; many are opposed, but a governmental campaign advertising that the revenue generated will be used for social programs and infrastructure improvements has recently garnered more support. This benefit to the people, however, is misleading. There is an economic problem called “Dutch Disease”, named from the negative effects of high resource extraction in the Netherlands in the 1970s. If Ecuador becomes reliant on the export of oil, there will naturally be a large inflow of foreign investments which will cause the Ecuadorian dollar to strengthen in value compared to other currencies. In effect, this can actually hurt export businesses in other sectors like manufacturing and agriculture, whose prices now appear high to foreign buyers. Furthermore, the decision to drill is widely neglectful of the cultural and natural wealth provided by Yasuni. Real Ecuadorian communities like Puyo are dependent on these resources for their main economic activities, not on the extraction and exportation of petroleum. A better solution would be to invest in developing the ecotourism industry, allowing Ecuadorians to better

their own quality of life through sustainably capitalizing on resources. Increased revenues from ecotourism can then be fed into improvements in education systems, infrastructure, and social programs, while still preserving this beautiful region’s natural heritage.

Katie Lasco works in the Office of Sustainability as the Lead Undergraduate and Implementation Manager. She visited Ecuador in the summer of 2013.


Sustainable Columbus

Tess Phinney

Pictures Courtesy of Pixabay

When you think of a sustainable city in the United States you probably don’t think of Columbus, Ohio right away, but says you should give the city a little more credit. According to, Columbus is the 15th most sustainable city in the United States. The majority of the cities on the list are closer to the western coast such as Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco, but Columbus is being recognized for recent efforts to increase bike friendliness as well as other sustainable initiatives.

Phoenix Methane Plant Quasar Biodigester


Since 1987, the O'Shaughnessy Dam on the Scioto River has not only been a source of drinking water, but has also been generating renewable energy. There are fiver megawatt turbines below the dam that generate electricity. In one year, the hydroelectric plant has the capacity to produce 6,500 megawatts of electricity, which can prevent The mayor of Columbus, Michael Coleman, recently estab5,300 metric tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. lished the Get Green Columbus initiative, which includes several key components. One of the key initiatives is renewable energy. Renewable energy can come from several processes; the three processes that the city of Columbus is focusing on are biogas, hydroelectric, and solar.

Biogas Biogas is produced from the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. Wastewater treatment plants and landfill sites produce byproducts that, when broken down, produce methane. When methane, hydrogen, and carbon monoxide are combusted or oxidized with oxygen, the resulting energy release allows biogas to be used as a fuel. Some of the biogas production locations in Columbus include: Jackson Pike Waste Water Treatment Plant Franklin County Landfill

Solar Solar panels can be found at several locations around Columbus. Bicentennial Park on the Scioto Mile, for example, installed several panels on the rooftop and restrooms buildings in 2011. Parking meters around the city are also 9

being replaced with machines that operate on solar power. In May of 2013, a large-scale solar panel energy system was installed on top of the Columbus Division of Fleet Management buildings. The 2,650 panels have the potential to generate 800,000 kWh of electricity annually, which can power 85 homes a year. Sources:

Want to check out some more sustainable places in the capital city?

Columbus Commons is a 7-acre park right in the heart of downtown. The commons has taken the place of what used to be the City Center Mall. The mall was taken down in 2009 and a large effort was made to recycle as much of the building materials as possible. The park has a variety of features that make it a great addition to the community. There is an outdoor reading room, a carousel, gardens maintained by Franklin Park Conservatory, cafes, and a large stage. Check out the Columbus Commons events calendar for the next time you’re in the area.

Scioto Mile Bicentennial Park is a 4.66 acre park featuring a fountain, restaurant and a performance pavilion. The fountain covers 15,000 square feet and has over 1,000 jets of water that are transformed to an exciting water park for children in the hot summer months. The restaurant, Milestone 229, is glass-enclosed and offers panoramic views of the fountain and riverfront.

Scioto Audubon Metro Park sits on 120 acres of land in downtown Columbus. The park has about 5 acres of wetlands, which offer visitors an opportunity for bird watching. One of the main features of the park is the climbing wall, which measures 35 feet tall and holds the record for the largest free outdoor climbing wall in the United States. 10

Local Sustainability Sustainable Athens Athens, Ohio offers more than a historic college town and a location along the Hocking River. One way Athens County is enhancing sustainability is by promoting sustainable food systems. With farmers’ markets and organizations promoting local sustainability, it is safe to say there are many ways you can indulge in sustainability in Athens! Athens’ nationally recognized year-round Farmer’s Market is located in the parking lot of the Market on State and occurs every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. (and Wednesdays, April-December). Farmer’s Market venders sell locally-grown and produced foods, plants, and products.

Catherine Weisbarth

The Village Bakery and Café sells local products as well as food items baked on-site. Or, if you’re looking for a heavier meal option, grab a seat at Casa Nueva which specializes in using local organic produce in their food. Some other sustainable businesses in Athens range from Crumb’s Bakery, Big Chimney Baking Company, Integration Acres, Far Corner Farm, Dutch Creek Farm and more. Appalachia Ohio Alliance, Athens Area Sustainability Festival and Rural Action are some other local organizations to check out that offer educational events and non-profit project management services.

Looking for a snack or meal that uses organic products Now that it’s a new year; make your resolution to enand healthier options? Check out The Farmacy on West Stimson Avenue . This natural foods market carries a vari- hance your own vision of sustainability! Whether it’s attending the Farmer’s Market or looking into a new susety of products not found in the average supermarket! tainable organization, every step counts! Are you an Ohio University student or employee interested in growing your own organic food on campus? As of 2012, the Ohio Ecohouse offers a community garden program that allows students a faculty to adopt one of the ten garden plots on the Ecohouse property (located at 8133 Dairy Lane). All food is grown chemical-free and in an environmentally sensitive fashion. For more information on the Ecohouse garden, how to adopt a plot, and gardening tips, go to the Ecohouse website and click on the Ecohouse Garden link in the sidebar.



OU Southern

Megan Graver

OHIO pride in sustainability spreads much further than the edge of the Athens campus. Over an hour and a half southwest of the main campus, OU-Southern (OUS) boasts many unique sustainable features of their own. The Office of Sustainability is striving to create a stronger relationship with regional campuses. This past year, staff members at the Office of Sustainability have visited the OUS campus to discover the campus’ sustainable initiatives. Quick highlights around campus include: 

OUS became the first of OHIO’s campuses to install a pervious concrete system in a campus parking lot in August 2012. Check out page 17 in OHIO’s Annual Sus-  tainability report for more info OUS installed an underground stormwater retention area which, in addition to decreasing the amount of flooding from run-off during storms, allows the campus to collect and utilize non-potable water. Learn  more about this and what potable water is on page 16 A student sustainability liaison was appointed in 2013 from OUS and was able to join Office of Sustainability staff at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference in Nashville, TN at the end of October. Attendance al-

lowed this liaison to further her knowledge on sustainability efforts around the country. Due to efforts of former OUS student, Jana Riggs, the campus teamed up with the community recycling program to offer a location for two recycle drop-off bins on OUS property for the surrounding areas of Hanging Rock and South Webster. Learn more about it here OUS is a proud participant in OHIO’s RecycleMania contest, ranking 52nd out of 273 schools in the Competition Division with a recycling rate of 42.85% during the competition in 2013, according to the official RecycleMania results. This year, the OUS Sustainability Liaison will be planning a series of exciting RecycleMania events for OUS students, faculty and staff!

Announcing: Earth Day 2014 Sustainability Recognition Program! Are you (or your friends or professors) doing great work to advance sustainability at Ohio University and beyond? Then, consider nominating yourself or another for a Sustainability Award! Winners will receive gift certificates ($100) at local food establishments. Office of Sustainability will host the inaugural sustainability recognition awards program on April 22, 2014 (Earth Day) in Walter Hall Rotunda. The event will feature educational displays, award presentations and a “mocktail” reception. The festivities are free and open to all university faculty, staff and students and will be done in conjunction with ReUse Industries.

More information and Award Nomination Forms are available online at: 12


Office of Sustainability

Below are just a few of the many student and community organizations that focus on sustainability, the environment, and awareness. For a full list of student organizations, visit the Directory of Student Organizations on the Division of Student Affairs website. SOUL is a group comprised of faculty, staff, and students who are working to implement the university’s Sustainability Plan and Climate Action Plan. If you are passionate about making a difference and spreading sustainability attend one of their weekly meetings held on Wednesday from 3:305pm in Baker 236.

EcoReps is a student organization devoted to helping students learn how to “go green”. Activities involve participating in and helping the Office of Sustainability with various energy challenges across campus. The goal of the EcoReps is to educate students about sustainability in a fun and creative way. To join, attend a meeting, or just learn more about them, email

The Zero Waste Initiative is an organization coordinated by Rural Action. AOZWI is focused on increasing rural access to recycling and education while working to improve recycling infrastructure. AOZWI also helps organize and give a voice to community members. To become a part of the action or learn more about he internships offered visit http:// or email The OHIO Ecohouse offers a unique off-campus livinglearning experience for undergraduate or graduate students interested in learning about living a sustainable lifestyle. The house is located at 8133 Dairy Lane and is equip with technology such as solar and solar thermal panels. most appliances are Energy Star rated and/or manufactured in Ohio. If you are a student looking for a sustainable living experience, apply to live in the Ecohouse here. You can also schedule a tour of the house here.


EcoReps in Action

a garden fork or hands to get them out of the ground. Hands were the tool of choice because stuSunday, October 20th ,2013: On a beautiful and sundents were worried about stabbing the food waiting ny afternoon, five EcoReppers arrived at the West patiently underground. Almost an hour later with State Street Gardens eager to work. The garden’s dirty hands and black nails; the day’s job was comcaretaker, Professor Art Trese, was already hard at plete. The EcoReppers had harvested three boxes of work for the day in the research garden. Earlier in potatoes for donation. Before leaving the gardens the week when a student asked if they could harProfessor Trese also donated a few butternut vest some of the surplus vegetables and donate squash from the fence line. The following Wednesthem to Community Food Initiatives (CFI); he was day, EcoReps delivered the produce to CFI’s donaexcited about the proposal and quickly signed off. tion stand at the farmers market . The total produce Today, the members of EcoReps were here to dig up donated weighed 97 pounds! potatoes. Professor Trese showed the students were potatoes were planted, and said to use either By: Alex Slaymaker

Routes Issue 8 Sneak Peek The next issue of Routes will be focused a little closer to home and be all about bicycling! If you have an idea for an article or would like to contribute please email ideas and submissions to the Office of Sustainability at Picture a courtesy of Pixabay


Tips for Moving Beyond Athens

(Liz Emley)

1. Study abroad! It looks great on a resume and gives you class credit, not to mention an experience you’ll never forget.

4. Find an internship in another city or state. Get the experience that shows you aren’t afraid to take on a challenge.

2. Go to a new city for vacation. Don’t got to Myrtle Beach for the 10th time; plan a random trip to Portland or Quebec.

5. Join a group or student organization that focuses on important nation-wide or worldwide topics, such as sustainability, education reform, or journalism. See the world in a new perspective that takes you out of your comfort zone.

3. Take a train! Not only are they one of the most fuel-efficient means of travel, you also get to see so much more of the country that you would nev- 6. Graduating Seniors: Extend the geographical er see on the road or in an airplane. boundaries of your job search!

Eco Reps is a student organization devoted to educating students about ways to “go green.” They put on residence hall programs, help the Office of Sustainability with RecycleMania and Energy Challenge, and participate in various Earth Month events.

To Learn More, Contact: Liz Emley - President

International Movie Series

Tess Phinney

Check out the 41st annual Athens film and video festival! The event will be held from March 11-March 17, 2014 and will be held at the Athena Cinema located right on Court Street. The festival was founded in 1974 and is sponsored by the Athens Center from Film and Video, a project of the College of Fine Arts at Ohio University. Film categories in the past have included: short documentary, feature narrative, experimental, and animation, just to name a few. Check out their schedule or submit your own film here, the due date for submissions is February 15th, 2014. 15

Trash Talk: How to Close the Loop

Alex Slaymaker

As we all learn in early education, the Earth has many important cycles; the carbon, nitrogen, and water cycles just to name a few. Natural systems waste no nutrients or minerals; creating the 100% sustainable system we call Earth.

designed an innovative line of boots, water shoes, and every day footwear called ‘Nike Considered’. This line utilizes cutting edge sustainability methods of local sourcing, clean production, and material recycling. Shoes are made of resources found primarily within 200 miles of the production factory from environmentally benign So why have businesses denied bio-mimicry and shifted materials. When the shoe has reached the end of its away from this natural, logically cyclical method to a linear usefulness as footwear, the materials can be easily path which landfills usable resources and potential recycled through Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program into useful revenue? It’s actually an ingenious money-making products like turf. scheme. Firms create single-use, disposable, and easily breakable products so we have to buy more. Technological Imagine a system of product design, development, and products are an even larger concern because consumers disposal which doesn’t send a single broken lamp or don’t even wait for their iPhone to break before replacing totaled car to the landfill. Imagine you helped create this it with the newest model. Apple knows you can’t resist, system; simultaneously making a hefty profit and and they capitalize on it. Consumers get the newest decreasing the ecological footprint of our species. No trendiest phone on the market, Apple makes its billion, matter if you are an engineer, business major, and the Earth bears this burden. Apple is not the sole communications student, politician, urban planner, PR antagonist of this waste story book; in fact, the majority of specialist, journalist, teacher, scientist, or economist… you companies externalize environmental costs and focus can make a difference in your field and in the world. solely on maximizing profit. Before deciding never to buy Design, study, support, and promote a sustainable anything again because of corrupt big corporations, economy which considers equally economics, equity, and consider a world where iPhone, cars, and blenders can be the environment. bought and sold with minimal waste generation. Imagine a To learn more about this type of design check out these car similar in appearance, high performing, and safemade from recycled materials and capable of being links: recycled itself. Welcome to the future. Innovative entrepreneurs, intellectuals, and companies have already started to create this future. ‘Business as usual’ is no longer a competitive mentality in this changing world facing threats of climate change and limited resources. Even Nike is jumping on board this new movement and

Open forums to be held for Sustainability Specialist position! Ohio University’s Office of Sustainability has announced that the top three candidates for the newly created Sustainability Specialist position will be invited onto the Athens campus for final interviews Feb. 10-13. All students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to attend the Campus Forum portion of each candidate’s interview which will be held from 1-2pm in Baker 231 on February 10, 12 and 13. More information about these forums is available from the Ohio University’s news publication, Compass:


Call to Sustain Campaign

Tess Phinney and Brad Grant

That’s a pretty hard definition to remember off the top of your head, so the campaign is challenging students, faculty members, staff, and Bobcat fans to think of one thing they can pledge in order to help their lives become a little more sustainable. Here’s what we do: We ‘roll’ around campus We bring our “I Pledge To:” whiteboard And we ask people to make a pledge

Was that a giant globe I just saw rolling around campus? Yes, yes it was. That globe is the symbol of a new promotional campaign being launched by the Office of Sustainability! The campaign is aimed at increasing sustainability literacy across campus.

Pledges can be almost anything! Some people have pledged to conserve either water or electricity, other people have pledged to make a commitment to become more personally sustainable by pledging to quit smoking. So far the campaign has made several appearances at the Baker Center and one appearance at a tail-

Do you know what sustainability is? If not, you’re not alone. The majority of students, faculty, and staff on OHIOs campuses have no idea what sustainability is, but that’s okay because we’re here to help change that... Ohio University defines sustainability as the power to endure: an economy; an environment; as individuals; and, as a community. Healthy bodies, minds and spirits are fostered at Ohio University and individuals are provided with the resources and support needed to build collaborative communities that contribute to a vibrant economy and a healthy, thriving environment. This is done in a way that provides future generations with the ability to enjoy the same valuable experiences as the current generation. Sustainability is about being mindful of how we utilize resources; it allows us to critically analyze our own views of "needs" versus "wants" without diminishing quality of life now or into the future. Find out more here!


Here’s what you can do: If you see the giant globes on campus, don’t be shy,

come on over and check ‘em out! Make a pledge and do what you can to stick to it Spread the word to your friends and tell them about

the campaign and what you pledge to do We try our very best to post the pictures of people and their pledges; check out our Facebook page to see the latest pledges and make one of your very own!

gate event. As of December 2013, over 100 individuals and groups had made a pledge. According to the Ohio University Sustainability plan, OU is expected to meet carbon neutrality by 2075. this will be a difficult goal to achieve if all stewards of the university, students, faculty, and fans alike, are not willing to contribute. We need your help to meet this goal!

Want to get involved? If you would like programming, team building, or outreach experience join our team! We would love some extra help. Want the campaign to come to you? Our giant globes could roll on over to your office or next student organization meeting to help your group make a pledge! Contact for more information on how to get involved or take the pledge. Left: students and university employees make pledges. Below: Office of Sustainability staff and volunteers pledge to spread the word about sustainability at the zero waste tailgate event held earlier this year

Photos by the Office of Sustainability and Pixaby 18

Banana Famine?

(Alex Slaymaker)

We love bananas. We dress up like bananas at Halloween and make them the subject of pop music- remember Gwen Stefani? Americans eat more Cavendish bananas than any other fruit; billions and billions of pounds a year. Bananas are eaten as whole fruit, cereal additives, creamy smoothies, ice cream sundaes, and baked goods. These seedless and sex-less fruits are genetically identical which increases their vulnerability to threats. Many bananas in the world are grown in Southeast Asia; but, this area is under attack. An incurable fungus called Panama disease can destroy an entire plantation in a few years. The deadly fungus only takes one muddy boot from a contaminated area to kill a whole crop.

November of 2013 over 80% of the country’s plantations had been affected. Although not a large banana producing country, this pattern shows the disease has started to spread. Although the Cavendish replaced the once gorged Gros Michel after its annihilation; it is now the threatened variety. With no way to defeat the fungus after its unwelcome arrival; companies have turned up their defenses. It may seem like a pessimistic prediction; but, the chances of infinitely avoiding contamination in the globalized world of 2014 are grim. To make matters worse, Costa Rica declared a ‘banana emergency’ in December of 2013 due to an insect invasion rendering bananas too visually unappealing for export (although edible). The country blames climate change Fifty years ago a similar fungal strain destroyed the Gros for exacerbating the pest problem and resorted to pestith Michel banana species introduced in the late 19 centucides in a weak attempt to combat the problem. ry. Yes, there are many varieties of bananas; around 1,000 to be exact. Red bananas, foot-long bananas, and So, what to do? In the short run you have choices. Do green bananas have different flavor profiles, appearanc- you want to eat chemical ridden Cavendish, pay high es, and growing requirements. We have embraced this prices for organic, experiment with different banana diversity in apples and grapes; but not yet bananas. We varieties, or give up on bananas all together? Australia expect pure yellow bananas free of blemishes, bruises, Below: The variety of bananas available to the people of Sri and imperfections. The industry’s infrastructure and Lanka is much greater than what can be found in the typical marketing is set up for providing massive amounts of one kind of banana, the Cavendish. Growing and selling American grocery store. only one variety ensures they all ripen at the same time, creating an economy of scale maintaining low prices. Companies like Chiquita started exploring other varieties due to this fungus; but the general monoculture business model relies on chemical controls. Organic Cavendish bananas free of these chemicals can only be grown in specific environments of high altitude and low temperatures. So, the fungal attack has been threatening the Cavendish for a few years now; but, the dining halls and grocery stores are still stocked with enough bananas to make even Curious George grin. Central America, the origin of most bananas in the states, has not yet met the merciless Panama disease. Recently, the disease spread beyond Southeast Asia and Australia to Jordan. In 19

has embraced the non-oxidizing Goldfinger, resistant to both the Panama disease and Black Sigatoka (a destructive burrowing nematode). The Red Dacca, Blue Java, Karat, and Burro not only have interesting and exotic names, but may turn into your next fruit love affair. When asked about the diversity of bananas back home, international student Praveen Gopallawa proclaimed, “Bananas are the best! I love that Sri Lanka has many varieties of bananas, because then I can experience difference tastes every other day!” If all this sounds too

Carbon Offsets

crazy, consider switching from bananas to a more local, sustainable option endemic to the area, or at least the United States. For now, no decisive choices are necessary. But when the dreadful day comes that Shively and Kroger no longer have the bright yellow bananas you love so dearly, a new era of fruit will be forced upon us. In the words of Stefani, “This ****is bananas.” Information sourced from NPR, the Huffington Post, Scientific American, ScienceDaily, and MSNnews

Hallie Zarbakhsh veloping countries and the fact that the US alone produces over 6,000 million metric tons of carbon per year, a credit seems more valuable. A developed nation could also choose to fund sustainable energy or afforestation in third world nations and claim their emission reductions. All trading in the “carbon market” must be certified and monitored by the UNFCCC, but the program is criticized for allowing trade-offs rather than putting environmental responsibility on first world nations. Weight is measured in pounds and kilograms, time is measured in hours and days, and life is measured in parking tickets and coffee. But what is pollution measured in –rate of biodiversity loss, media reports, casualties? In terms of the number one polluter of the atmosphere and cause of global warming, carbon dioxide, pollution is measured in metric tons. Since the mid2000s, international organizations, countries, and even individual people have been buying and selling carbon dioxide.

178 nations ratified the Kyoto Protocol, excluding the second largest carbon emitter, the United States. Next to China’s 23% of the world’s emissions, the US pulls out 19% as a single nation. China and India were excluded from reduction as they were considered developing nations in need of a growing infrastructure, but first world countries were held to a stricter commitment. The treaty did not meet its goal, but has extended the treaty to begin again in 2015. Canada, Japan, New Zealand and Russia did not re-ratify the treaty, and the US still has not signed.

Carbon offsets are not over. Many companies are emerging in the market of selling to business and individuals who are conscious about their carbon footprint. The setup is basically the same as with governmental carbon trading, but each person can pay so much money towards renewable energy, carbon sinks and sustainable agriculture. Most websites of these companies Well, not necessarily carbon dioxide; it’s actually the lack of it. even offer carbon footprint calculators that factor in the offsets Every one metric ton of carbon dioxide prevented from polluting you buy. Although these companies stress reducing your own the atmosphere, or a “carbon credit”, is used as a unit of trade. emissions as much as possible, the critique of the personal marSince the Kyoto Protocol in 2005, the brainchild of the United ket is the same as that of the Kyoto Protocol. It gives wealthy Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and middle class persons an out to “feel good,” without actually nations around the world are being held to the promise of reputting in the effort or sacrifice of reducing their own footprint. ducing their carbon footprint. Each nation’s reduction percentStill, it does have a positive effect on reducing carbon emissions age was based on its total carbon emissions compared to data while simultaneously creating a new profitable market. What’s from 1900. Between 2008-2012, the goal was to reach a 5% your stance on carbon offsets? global reduction of carbon and other gasses around the world. If a nation was struggling to meet its projected goal, it had a few options to “offset” its emissions. Carbon offsets involve the buying, selling, and rearranging of carbon credits between nations. If a third world nation was under its limit, it could sell its “extra” credits, thereby offsetting the emissions of the buying nation. Each credit is worth about 3 to 8 $US, which may seem overly cheap. But when considering the monetary conversions in de-


From the Editor

Tess Phinney

Issue 6 Correction We apologize to the Chesterhill Produce Auction for publishing an incorrect seasonal produce list. The list that was published (in issue 6) and referred to as the list of items seasonally available at the auction was not necessarily a comprehensive list. Contrary to the listed items, the Chesterhill Produce Auction does not auction meat products. The graphic to the right is an accurate chart of seasonal goods that would likely be found at the auction, the chart was provided by Rural Action, an organization that has been an integral part of making the auction possible since it’s creation in 2005.

Interested in Contributing to Routes? We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help write, design and photograph for the next publication of Routes. Tap into your creative abilities and get involved with the Office of Sustainability by contacting editor Tess Phinney at If your area of interest lies elsewhere, there are a variety of different opportunities available to students. Develop valuable skills for your future career and help the Office of Sustainability achieve its mission. To learn more, email with a description of your area(s) of interest.

The Common Experience Project on Sustainability launches its Spring Semester Sustainability Film series on Wednesday, January 29, 7 pm at the Athena Cinema Uptown. The series offers a global, cultural, and environmental exploration of sustainability. All films are free admission. The Athens and university community are warmly invited to attend. The Common Experience Project on Sustainability is multi-disciplined, encouraging collaboration between and partnerships with University College, Alden Library, the Office of Sustainability, Environmental Studies, Residence Life, The Athena Cinema, and many academic programs and departments. The goal of the multi-year effort for Ohio University’s Common Experience Project on Sustainability is to create a common learning experience for Ohio University students through integrated curricular and cocurricular activities, with the goal that participating students should acquire a deep understanding of the principle concepts and issues related to sustainability and ecological literacy.




Richie Janssen

Canning — A Family Tradition For as long as I can remember, my parents have had a garden. Who doesn’t love the flavor of fresh produce in the middle of summer? This garden is one thing that I credit with my fascination with the natural world. The idea that beautiful and delicious things can spring up out of the ground still amazes me. The stewardship of that garden has fallen to me in recent years, and we still share in the harvest each year. Along with the tradition of having a garden comes that of figuring out what to do with the short term abundance one inevitably faces. No matter how diligent we are about scheduling, plants simply proceed according to their own sometimes, bearing fruit in large batches to take advantage of our care. This year the bumper crop was 5 or 6 varieties of peppers ranging from mild to scalding. This has often been the case and we are well prepared.

up to 3 or 4 years, although they usually are devoured before then. The same procedure for sealing jars may be used for anything preserved. Once all this is done you will probably have a lot of seeds left over on the cutting board. I take these and scrape them onto a paper towel to dry and plant next season. The brine may also be saved, as it will have absorbed some of the heat from the peppers, and used like hot sauce. Same with the oil from finished jars. By putting in a little (very little) work we are able to turn 1 into 4. I’d like to see Wall Street beat that math!

The best way to learn how to can and preserve is to attend a workshop so that you can watch and participate in the steps with some guidance. I refrain from giving exact measurement for anything because, frankly, it doesn’t matter. What it comes down to is how large your pepper crop is, the size of the jars you My mother has always stocked our basement shelf with her spe- are using, and your own taste preferences. Exercise some creativity and remember that this recipe is basically fool-proof! cialty Giardinera, or marinated hot peppers preserved in olive oil. There have been whole cabinets dedicated to this stuff in our Apart from eating the end product, my favorite part about going house, its that good. The flavor comes partially from the marithrough all this is that its a traditional method that has been nade, a characteristic mix of oregano, basil, and apple cider vine- used for centuries. History tells us that its an obviously sustainagar (salt may be added to taste), but also from the fact that we ble practice, and one that connects people; to the land, to each grow, process, and eat everything together. I have vivid and still other, to their food. evolving memories of an enormous bowl of sliced peppers Below: With the help of Richie, OHIO Ecohouse residents floating in brine emitting an aroma that literally makes my followed his canning expertise this fall and created their mouth water. Even the thought of it is making me salivate as I write this. After a day in the brine, the peppers are drained and own batch of Giardinera! packed into pint wide mouth Ball or Kerr Jars that have been sterilized with boiling water. The jars are filled to within ¾ inch of the lip and the sterilized seal caps are put on immediately and as tight as humanly possible. The capped jars are then submerged in water and boiled for 10-20 minutes. It is important to note here that water should not be boiling before submerging the jars. Doing so may break the glass. After the allotted time, remove a test jar from the boiling water. Within 5 minutes you should hear the characteristic “POP!”, this indicates that the jar is sealed properly and you may remove the rest of the jars. Be sure to check each jar for proper sealing, as this will allow you to store the jars for

If you are a student, faculty or staff member and are interested in having your work featured, send a biography, and jpgs or word documents featuring your work to 23

ReUse Industries and Ohio University’s Voinovich School launch a ReUse Competition with $3,000 in cash prizes Reuse Industries, an Athens-based non-profit organization, recently launched a ReUse Competition in partnership with Ohio University’s School of Leadership and Public Affairs.

“Americans throw away a lot of materials that could be given a new life by creative people,” says Reuse Executive Director, Zachary Holl. “In our region, including our university communities, there are so many skilled and creative people. With growth in the deThe competition is open to resiThe competition offers a total of mand for upcycled products, we aim dents from any of the 32 counties in $3,000 in cash prizes for the best artisto do everything we can to help creaAppalachian Ohio. Both individuals tic and functional products made from tive people turn waste into wealth. and teams can enter, in two particiat least 75% recycled or re-used The competition is just one way to pant age categories. The top three promote that vision.” materials. prizes in each category will be $400, $200, and $150. The Awards will be Lauren McCullough, a second-year given along with an exhibition in conjunction with the graduate student at the Voinovich School of Leadership Ohio University Office of Sustainability’s Earth Day Recep- and Public Affairs and a ReUse Board member, played a tion on April 22. For more information about the Earth lead role in developing the competition based on models Day Reception and the Ohio University Sustainability she researched from throughout the United States. “The Awards Program, visit competition creates an opportunity to bring together various individuals and groups throughout the region,” says McCullough, “to highlight the vital role of creative talent in producing a zero waste community and economy.” Faith Knutsen, Associate Director of Operations at the Voinovich School’s TechGROWTH Ohio and ReUse Board Secretary, lauds the competition as an exciting opportunity for regional children, local artists and local tinkerers to show off what they do at home on a daily basis: “We all like throwing together the odd piece of yard art, or something useable from something used up,” she notes. “It’s our native talent, we’re proud of it, and now there’s a chance to show it off and maybe win a little extra cash to boot!” The competition is sponsored by the Athens Foundation, the Sugar Bush Foundation, Rural Action, and the Appalachian Ohio Zero Waste Initiative. Those interested in entering the competition must submit an “Intent to Enter” form by March 14, with competition submissions due on April 1. The intent to enter form and more details on the competition can be found here.


For Rent: OHIO Ecohouse

8133 Dairy Lane, Athens: This rustic, fully-furnished 3-bedroom house situated on The Ridges is the ideal setting for any undergraduate or graduate student interested in learning about sustainable living. Residents of the house enroll in a one-credit Ecohouse Seminar each semester to enhance the experience and support students in their interest with sustainable projects. Residents are encouraged to participate in professional and personal development activities during their time in the house. Residents develop strong leadership & communication skills, explore professional development opportunities, become better prepared for a job search and gain valuable personal and professional skills.

House Features: No • Solar Panels • Solar Thermal ap w ac c pli • Large yard cat epti ng 20 i • Close to campus 15 ons -20 for • Storage shed 1 6! • Fully-furnished • Front porch • Access to hiking trails • Compost bin and vermi-composter • Rain barrel and grey water systems • Free Community Garden plot for each resident • Large kitchen (appliances and utensils provided!)

Easy Online Application:

$425/mo* - utilities included *subject to change prior to signing of lease 25

EcoSkills Workshops

Leigh Wagner

on campus can easily access such as, sugar, honey, and vinegar. All ingredients are chemical free and healthy for the body and environment. Simple ingredients are also used to make the foods for the Sustainable ResHall Food Options. This workshop teaches residential students about different, sustainable options for snacking while living in the residence hall. The workshop stresses the importance of proper nourishment for students who sometimes neglect healthy eating during their busy weeks. The main goal was to teach students that they can still have quick portable foods while eliminated packaging and harmful ingredients. The students are taught how to make overnight oatmeal in a mason jar which made it portable, easily made ahead to grab on the go, and best of all it was made with all organic ingredients. The EcoSkills workshops prove to be a great way for the office to reach out to students on campus and share the During the fall semester, the OHIO Office of Sustainabil- skills that they know about sustainable living. Food and ity expanded multiple EcoSkills workshops to students hygiene are probably two of the more important ason campus and had the opportunity to share what they pects of a college student’s life that sometimes tend to get neglected. The workshops offer the opportunity for know about sustainability. Many people do not know students to gain a little bit of knowledge about their what EcoSkills are. In short, they are a set of practices or behaviors that you can implement into your daily life current lifestyles and how they can change some habits for the better. to achieve your vision for sustainability. These workshops help both employees and students on campus increase their knowledge of various sustainable practices in their lives. Two of our most popular workshops last semester were the Natural Beauty Workshop and the Sustainable ResHall Food Options Workshop. The Natural Beauty Workshop focuses on finding your natural beauty and harnessing natural products to be used for cosmetics. Participants learn about the negative environmental impacts of traditional cosmetics, discuss the toxins found in many products and explore natural, healthy alternatives to store-bought products. This is a great opportunity to open the eyes of students on campus to the dangers in many of the chemical ingredients found in the products they typically use. After a short discussion, students are able to spend time creating their own naturally beauty products. They are instructed on how to make sugar lip scrub, honey face cleanser, scented shower gel, and volume hairspray. The products used to make these natural cosmetics are made with various ingredients that students

Top Left: natural ingredients are used in lieu of chemicals that can be toxic and environmentally unfriendly. Above: the finished product is a great alternative to excessive packaging and unhealthy snacks 26

“I Want To Change The World... But I Don’t Know How.” Connect with the Ohio University Office of Sustainability! Visit Our Website


Routes issue7  

Routes is the e-zine of Ohio University's Office of sustainability

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