Archive for September, 2008

stumbling towards a green infrastructure

A lovely and much-anticipated bike rack arrived at the off-site space today, made of recycled plastic (not only ecological but unattractive to scrap metal thieves).

Unfortunately there’s no way to park a bike on it. Our bike commuters couldn’t wrangle an angle that would get a U-lock around the bike and the rack.

Facilities is on the case and hopefully we’ll soon have something that functions. Our parameters are somewhat limited at the off-site space since the owners of the building are not on board with the University-wide green initiatives. They are content to devote resources to car parking but don’t give a hoot about cyclists.

Until then we’re left wondering — what’s the deal with manufacturers who make bike racks that don’t fit bikes? This is a wider problem that discourages cycling. Take a look sometime at bike parking around campus and you’ll see scores of bikes falling over, being damaged, crammed into inappropriate racks. Because, um, the bike racks don’t fit bikes.

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What’s that in the sky?

When the Northridge earthquake caused the loss of electrical power in Los Angeles in 1994, Joe Sharkey reported recently in the New York Times, officials received calls from anxious residents who saw a “giant silvery cloud” in the sky.  They were told not to worry, that what they were seeing was the Milky Way galaxy.  Many city dwellers rarely see stars in the night sky.  Even in New Haven, it is difficult to see many stars at night due to what is called light pollution, excessive exterior lighting that shines up into the sky.  Many individuals, businesses and communities are finding ways to improve their viewing of the night sky by using recommendations from The International Dark-Sky Association.

15 minute bike map

Thanks to Holly Parker, Yale’s Director of Sustainable Transportation Systems, for sharing this 15-minute commute map during a Yale University Library-wide convening of “green-minded” librarians. The circles represent the radius within which pedestrians (inner circle) and bicyclists (outer circle) can commute to the central Yale campus within 15 minutes.

Note too, the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies’ Getting Around by Bike resource page.

Every little drip counts!

The drip, drip, drip of that pesky kitchen faucet is annoying, but did you ever wonder how much water was just going down the drain?  The U. S. Geological Survey has a handy Web site where you can calculate just how much water is being wasted.

Yale Sustainable Food Project launches a blog

Look to the Yale Sustainable Food Project’s new blog when you want information on what’s happening at the Yale Farm, food and agriculture in the news, recipes, and dispatches from Yalies across the country and the world working on sustainable food and agriculture. Learn more about the Yale Sustainable Food Project at their website.

Check out the OneThing Expo

The OneThing Expo: Home of a Million OneThings will be held at the Connecticut Convention Center October 10-12.  Conceived as a “World’s Fair of Energy Conservation” the Expo will explore how schools, businesses, and residents can save energy and protect the environment.  Read more about it here.

Built-In Sustainability

We’re working hard to green our library.  This entails incorporating sustainable products into our routines and projects as much as possible, including new building initiatives, such as the use of eco-friendly materials like linoleum and medex in our new off-site processing space.  And we’re just getting started.  It’s inspiring to see our friends in the museum-world also focusing on sustainability.  Especially with new construction ventures such as the California Academy of Sciences, which opens in eight days and is considered one of San Francisco’s greenest buildings, and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, which is having its grand-opening this weekend and is slated to be the first “green” museum in New York City.  So if you’re looking for something interesting and green to explore this weekend — your local library and museum may just be the answer.

Image from Renzo Piano Workshop

Image of California Academy of Sciences from Renzo Piano Workshop