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Let’s make the grass greener for everyone. What you eat

You are what you eat, or so the saying goes. Easier ways to be a vegetarian


Moving Forward The Prius isn’t the only environmentally friendly vehicle on the road



Be green while saving some green with products that help the environment


green guide

2  n  Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Help us help Houston.

The Daily Cougar

Editor’s Note


he fad of becoming more sustainable or green has almost doubled in the past five years and leading the way was former Vice President Al Gore and his documentary, An Inconvient Truth. Since then countries around the world have taken his words to heart and tried to clean up their act. It’s not hard to notice the smoggy air when I drive into school in the morning. There are times when the sky around downtown has almost a grey/brown color. But Houston has stepped up its game recently by requiring residents inside the city limits to use biodegradeable trash bags for yard waste. This month, Houston will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day with various events planned around the city. Later this month, the Natural Science Museum will host a celebration for families as will the zoo. I was given a chance to test drive the new 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, and I have to say I was throughly impressed; it was hard to give back at the end. With the ability to drive more than 700 milies a tank, the Fusion Hybrid is one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the road today. Page 4 has a breakdown of other hybrid vehicles about to be released this year including the much anticipated Chevy Volt. The Daily Cougar’s Queen of Green, Christina Yanascavage, contributes her thoughts on vegans and the different ways you can go green this Earth Day, such as by using the green products we compiled on page 5. For more information about going green and ways to remain sustainable in your everyday life, check out

Last year more than 14,000 volunteers contributed grit and elbow grease to community improvement issues. If you would like to laugh and sweat and work so hard that you forget about time and self, you have to get involved. You have to take part. To volunteer, call (713) 839-8855 or visit

Keep Houston Beautiful is the city’s leading organization in beautification, litter reduction and recycling education.

EDITOR Jarrod Klawinsky

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Christina Yanascavage

COPY EDITORS Ronnie Turner


PRODUCTION Stan Le, Newton Liu

green guide

The Daily Cougar

Wednesday, April 21, 2010  n  3

To be or not to be vegetarian

Meat-based diets Buying organic helps reduce the amounts of chemicals consumed by the animal, meaning fewer chemicals for the consumer. “The greenest meat would need to make sure it’s organically raised,” biology senior Scott Allen said. “Open ranged, grass fed, no antibiotics or hormones … specifically growth hormones …Despite the benefits, buying organic may not fit everyone’s budget. Organic food costs because it cost more to produce it.” The environmental impacts of food products consider the energy required to get the food to the consumer, in addition to the resources to produce the food. This would include transportation from

like feeding cow corn all the time.” Allen said. “It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish as a consumer.” Vegetarian and vegan diets A meatless diet means consuming less fat. “Lower fat intake is the biggest advantage,” UH Wellness Center dietetic intern Elizabeth Welin said. “Saturated fats are the leading causes to a lot of health problems such as blocked arteries … avoiding (them) can have huge advantages.” These benefits do come with some disadvantages. “Avoiding meat can (lead to) some deficiencies,” Welin said. “Same with B12.” Vegans do not eat meat products such as milk or cheese, while vegetarians may eat those products. These diets usually require monitoring and awareness about what is being consumed. “I read labels more now than any other time of my life,” chemical engineering sophomore Cathy



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UH moves forward with sustainability initiatives


Environmentally friendly concepts can be applied to meat, vegetarian or vegan diets. Some considerations when deciding to green your meat or meat-less meals:

the food source to warehouses or supermarkets. Buying local helps minimize the environmental impact of transportation. “Make sure your animals come from where you live,” Allen said. “The main thing is that it costs a lot to transport meat, whether it’s alive or dead. If it’s alive, you have to pay to keep it alive during transport; if it’s dead, you have to pay (to) keep it refrigerated. All those things use a lot of resources.” Produce, meats, or any food that’s made in Texas, has a “Go Texan” emblem or sticker on the product, Allen said. “But that’s also there to promote the Texas economy,” he said. Eating certain meats may impact the food chain. Sustainable food choices help reduce impacts on the ecosystem. “If you buy fish, you can see whether it was farm-raised or wild,” Allen said. Most people prefer wild, but farm-raised does not contribute to over-fishing, Allen said. “(Fish faming) might not be as healthy for the fish … it would be


By Christina Yanascavage Green Guide

By Jarrod Klawinsky The Green Guide In recognition of Earth Day, Sameer Kapileshawari, the director of Utilities and Technical Systems, shared the University’s challenges and successes when it comes to going green and sustainability. JK: In 2009, UH made a lot of strides regarding sustainability. What new initiatives will be implemented in 2010? SK: In 2009, we completed a significant amount of work in the area of sustainability. However, we believe there are still enormous opportunity and a lot to be accomplished in 2010. Retrocommissioning of existing buildings saves 7 percent to 30 percent in energy. We plan to continue the success of this program and the momentum gained by implementing this program in some more of our existing campus buildings. This will also be the first year in which we take this program to some of our auxiliaries. We are also pursuing energy conservation grants that would assist us in funding some of the energy savings measures. In addition, the recycling program will continue to grow this year. And with the completion of the carbon footprint calculations, our efforts are going to focus on a greenhouse gas reduction plan for the campus. JK: What is one major thing that students, faculty and staff can do to help UH stay green?




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SK: I can think of multiple ways we see SUSTAINABLE, page 5

4  n  Wednesday, April 21, 2010

green guide

Moving >>

The Daily Cougar

>> Forward Ford Fusion Hybrid

• 41 MPG and up to 700 miles per tank, the only car in its class with that ability • Hybrid Powertrain, drive electric only or electric and gas combined • starting MSRP $28,675 Expires May 31, 2010

Lexus HS 250h

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green guide

The Daily Cougar


Wednesday, April 21, 2010  n  5

earthweek &beyond THURSDAY, april 22 UH Earth Day featuring environmentally friendly activities from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Education, games and environmentally related discussions are some of the event’s highlights.

Biodegradeable Pots $24 Most often made from grains and other fibers, the biodegradeable pots from Green Garden Store is a great alternative to the plastic ones sold in stores.

Eco-brellas $21 iPhone Applications Free-$3 Applications such as GreeYou help calculate your carbon footprint and develop plans for reducing them. Kill-O-Watts will summarize the amount energy applicances consume, and iLocavore helps find locally grown produce, meat and cheese.

Resuable grocery bags $1 and up Popular among Whole Foods customers, the resuable grocery bag is now available in most stores.

VEGETARIAN continued from page 3

Cortez-Lambert said. “I’ve become more aware of what I put in my body.” “From a vegetarian perspective, when eating plants you are getting fewer toxins, in theory,” biochemistry sophomore Julian Martinez said. Growing vegetables or fruits out-of-season may require additional resources to grow them or to transport them from far away places. Vegetables and fruits may be abundant in season, which could lead to lower costs.

SUSTAINABLE continued from page 3

can help UH stay green. However, if I have to select one major thing, I would like to target commuting. Our carbon footprint calculations indicate that buildings and commuting have the biggest impact on UH carbon footprint. Our administration is committed to help make our buildings more efficient however; we must rely on our campus community to help us with the commuting. Car-pooling or using mass transportation at least once every week will certainly help us significantly in this area. JK: What is one of the bigger

Biodegradeable trash bags $6-$8 It is now mandatory to use biodegradeable trash bags for yard waste in Houston. So stock up.

Resources to raise plants and animals differ. Growing a person’s vegetables requires fewer resources than raising animals on the same amount of land, Martinez said. Students and faculty with diet and meal planning related questions are invited to visit the UH Wellness Center. The Wellness Center offers free counseling to students and faculty and can help with meal planning, sample menus and recommendations, according to Welin. This service helps teach students “how to get a variety (of foods) while still getting nutrients,” Welin said.

challenges UH has dealt with regarding sustainability, and how have we overcome it? SK: Until 2008 the lack of unified approach and consolidated focus on sustainability issues facing the campus had been our greatest challenge. In my opinion, establishing the Sustainability Task Force Committee in 2008 helped us overcome this challenge. We now have a way to pull together all our resources from faculty, staff, student government, and student organization groups under one umbrella. We have been able to reach a much larger audience and share the benefits and accomplishments of UH being green and sustainable.

Made with 70 percent recycled material, the umbrella by Totes is made from recycled plastic bottles, while the rest is made up of recycles aluminum, bamboo and waxed hemp.

Climate Change Petitions will be organized by the Environmental Club in addition to the organization’s Earth Day activities.

FRIDAY, april 23 Recycling Saturdays, Discovery Green Every Saturday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Saturday, april 24

The Future of Energy Conference raising awareness on emerging energy initiatives, research and teaching will be held at UH Main Campus from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. The event is free but advanced registration is required. The event is organized by the UH Faculty Senate.

Houston Museum of Natural Science Earth Day Celebration featuring environmentally friendly fun and educational activities for the entire family from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Urban Harvest Farmers Market, Discovery Green Every Sunday 12-4 p.m.

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Earth Day at the Houston Zoo April 24 – 25, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Saturday, may 15 Houston Nature Challenge, Discovery Green May 15, 1-4 p.m.

Earth Day celebrates 40 years By Christina Yanascavage Green Guide Eco-friendly activities green the month of April as Houston celebrates the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Earth Day Houston helped kick off this month’s events. Starting with a 5K run and walk, attendees enjoyed a fun filled day of music, games, education and outreach to help raise awareness of the earth and the environment. “People learn things about sustainable practices,” Air Alliance Houston Board Member Greg Broyles said. “How they pollute the world …” A wide range of exhibitors ranged from ocean conservation to solar panel installations. Air, soil and water were some of the education zones.  Large soil displays demonstrated the composting process, and trees were offered to attendees for planting, while available.   The air quality zone had educational material and air quality monitoring equipment on display.  Air Alliance Houston, a major organizer of the event, strives to “reduce air pollution in the Houston region to protect public health and environmental integrity …” according to the organization’s Web site.  Broyles discusses potential lung damage and how Earth Day

education might help. In addition to education and entertainment, the event features ways and technology for not contaminating the environment, Broyles said.  Many of these eco-friendly technologies and products displayed have special features to help minimize impacts on the environment or to reduce waste. Earth Day Houston was only the beginning of an entire month of environmentally focused events around Houston and at UH.  This year’s UH Earth Day Carnival will host events such as composting and recycled paper demos, a free-cycling station, car-share vehicles, and of course, birthday cake. Green safety, eco-tours and garden activities are among many other activities organized. Biochemistry sophomore Julian Martinez plans to attend. “It’s the kind of event I would go to,” he

said. Martinez participated in the UH Recycle Mania’s Olympic Games recently. “I think (the games) are good to bring people out to play, then to enjoy them,” Martinez said.  “I did.” Skee-ball, horseshoe and bowling were some games offered at Recycle Mania Olympics.  UH Earth Day Carnival helps students learn more about green efforts at UH. “I like Earth Day because I want to learn about green activities on campus and I like to show my support by being there as well,” Martinez said.  Students have the chance to learn about existing and upcoming green programs such as the UH car-share and paper recycling program. Many UH organizations and departments will participate in the event, highlighting their green efforts and projects. There is more to Earth Day than education, activities and games. Earth Day is a day to bring the community together. “It’s always nice to get together with a group of people that share the same values and believe in the same causes that I do,” Martinez said. The UH Earth Day Carnival takes place from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday. See for more details.

green guide

6  n  Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Daily Cougar

By the Numbers gg

Our everyday life has a severe impact on the environment


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Hours a TV could run off of the energy savings by recycling one aluminum can.


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Trees are saved for every 2,000 pounds of paper recycled.

Million trees a year are consumed to make paper cups.

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Unique species of trees are lost and 3,800 acres of tropical forest have been lost every single hour in the last 200 years which amounts to about half of the world’s rainforests.


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green guide

The Daily Cougar

Wednesday, April 21, 2010  n  7

Ride your way to a greener tomorrow

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Added water-conserving landscaping including numerous native & drought tolerant species. Collecting & reusing condensate water that would ordinarily go to waste. Participates in campus sustainability task force, carbon footprint calculations, & Greenhouse gas reduction plan. Reduced amount of hazardous waste shipped off campus by increased bulking of compatible chemical waste. UH has increased in both student population and building space, yet annual energy reduced by 2% every year since 2005. UH recycles 20 to 30% of its waste. Reduced silver & other wastes from photo labs. Building energy management controls & energy conservation through retro-commissioning save UH $3M to $4M annually. Commissioning is now a requirement on all capital & major renovation projects. CenterPoint issued UH a special plaque for successfully implementing energy saving measures. All Plant Ops personal printers will be consolidated so each department uses centralized printers with scanning and double-sided printing capabilities. Current irrigation system uses a sophisticated controller which responds to weather forecasts, current soil moisture, seasonal conditions & monitors flow rate. One-third of the campus is green space. Campus Framework Plan proposes to convert many interior roads to landscaped pedestrian corridors. UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON


Pride in Service.

8  n  Wednesday, April 21, 2010


eArTh dAy CArnivAl

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For a schedule of events, visit


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The Daily Cougar

75.135-042110-Green Guide  

The official student newspaper of the University of Houston presents the Green Guide

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