Thursday, August 28, 2014

On 180,000 Words

I recently finished the first draft of a 180,000 word book project.  While there is much editing to do, the hardest part is over.  I worked on this project on and off for the last two years, but completed a big push to get it done this summer.

There are many people and organizations to thank, but I'll save that for the front pages of the book.  You know who you are (Mario, Hofstra, National Center for Suburban Studies, students, faculty, colleagues, Oxford University, John Wiley and Sons, and many others).

One of the things that happened to me while writing in a very concentrated way over the summer was that I became a bit obsessive and superstitious about my writing activities.  I always had word goals for the day and I would find myself repeating the goal over and over in my head until I had it done.  4000 was an odd mantra and companion.  While I could write anywhere (and did), I found myself truly productive in libraries.

All of that writing also led to other writing.  Over the summer, I wrote or finished up 4 articles that will go out for peer review and several opinion pieces.  After I finished the draft earlier this week, I found myself missing the activity of writing and wrote this for Huffingtonpost.  I feel like I am on a writing train that won't stop and I am really okay with being on board.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Field Guide to Sustainabillies

Check out my latest Huffingtonpost piece:  A Field Guide to Sustainabillies here.

New US Climate Rules Give Hope and New Leaked IPCC Report Spells Trouble

Click for photo credit.
Two interesting news items on the climate change front today.  First, this article from the New York Times reviews President Obama's attempt to forge a new international agreement on climate change.

As you know, almost all of the nations of the world signed onto the Kyoto Protocol, which sought an international agreement on climate change.  The U.S. never ratified the treaty.  In many ways, it was a bad treaty in that it didn't limit the greenhouse gas emissions of major polluters in the developing world.  However, because the U.S. never agreed to the treaty, the U.S. became the "bad guy" in the climate change discourse, even though we are now no longer the #1 polluter.  It sounds like the new agreement includes some broader assessment of all major polluters, not just those in the developed world.

The second article from the Huffingtonopost reports on the leaked IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) that summarizes previous reports.  The article notes that their is widespread agreement in the scientific community that climate change is occurring and causing dangerous conditions in various parts of the world.  With time, conditions are expected to worsen.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Florida Environmental Hero Roger Stewart Dead at 89

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The State of Florida has some of the best environmental rules and regulations in the United States (except when they don't to paraphrase Yogi Berra).  The state's rules are managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.  This organization is responsible for ensuring that the state complies with national environmental rules and also manages special guidelines established by the state of Florida.  Due to the unique issues environmental issues associated with Tampa Bay, the state created a special agency in Hillsborough County (home to Tampa) called the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) in 1967.  The first head of the agency was Roger Stewart.  He served in this role until his retirement in 2000.  You can read his obituary here.

I met Stewart several times.  He was a legend in the area.  He had a reputation as a no-holds barred advocate for the environment.  With the Tampa Bay area doubling in population every 10 years during his time as head of the organization, he had to deal with issues like air pollution, wetlands protection, storm water pollution, and sewage treatment.  It wasn't an easy job.  He got fired after appearing on 60 Minutes, but was reinstated when it was clear that his firing was politically motivated.  He called out politicians for their hypocrisy and shed light on bad practices.  He was strident in the application of the rules established by local, state, and federal agencies.  Many developers and polluters hated him for stopping projects or fining their polluting activities.  However, everyone respected him.  While many people were misusing the land during the boom years of the second half of the 20th century, Stewart was there trying to protect the area as best he could.  

Stewart serves as a reminder to us that one person can make the world a better place--or at least keep it from being destroyed.  

Friday, August 22, 2014

National Parks Turn 98 and You Get a Gift

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The National Park Service turns 98 on August 25th.  To celebrate, the NPS is offering free entry to any of the national parks.  For more information see this link.

Thanks to all of you who work for the NPS for keeping our parks beautiful.

Also, in case you missed any of my posts on the national parks, I have a series of open access photo essays of all national parks from A-Z underway.  Right now, I am up to the M's.  Click on the links below to virtually travel to the parks if you cannot visit on the 25th.

Lassen Volcanic National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park
Mesa Verde National Park

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Start of the Semester Approaches

The semester starts at Hofstra in just a few days.  It is always bittersweet when this time of year comes around.  This was one of the most enjoyable and productive summers of my career so it is hard to say goodbye to days of writing in the library and half days on campus.  It's time to roll up the sleeves and get back into the schedule of the semester.

Many of us in the teaching profession spend long hours on campus.  It is not unusual for us to work 14 hour days that end up being a blur of meetings, teaching, grading, class prep, and writing time.  It is easy to forget to eat or to grab unhealthy food on campus.  For some of us, it feels like we get up in September and go to bed in December.

That is why I am grateful that Treehugger provided this reminder of healthy snacks to prepare for work.      My office, unfortunately, is next to an Au Bon Pain so I have plenty of unhealthy snack options right outside my door.

This post is a reminder to all of us to treat ourselves well this coming year.  As we all know, we should get plenty of rest, exercise, eat well, and avoid stress. 


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

People's Climate March--Long Island Attendee Information

The route of the People's Climate March.  It will end around
34th Street.
In one month, delegates from around the world will gather in New York City to discuss climate change at the United Nations.  Coinciding with this event is the People's Climate March on Sunday, September 21st, which will be the largest march or rally on climate change to ever take place.  You can read about the march here.  

If you are on Long Island, the Sierra Club is offering reduced-rate tickets on the Long Island Railroad to get into NYC to take part in the march.  Due to the crowds that are expected, organizations are encouraged to take the train and avoid driving into the city in cars or chartered buses.  You can follow up with the news on this from the Sierra Club here.

I will be organizing students and faculty at Hofstra University to attend and will be posting that information soon on the Sustainability Studies Facebook page here.  

If any of my friends or family from outside of Long Island are coming into town for the march, let me know.  I have a some space and I am sure we can find space for sleeping somewhere on the island or the city if we fill up.