Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

CAP Part 2: Building Standards and Space Planning


SPU’s Science Building was the first building on campus to be
LEED Certified.

Last week’s post introduced Seattle Pacific University’s climate action plan. The plan lays out a strategy for the University to become climate neutral by 2036. Part of the climate action plan deals with the University’s building standards and space planning policies.

The climate action plan commits SPU to a high level of green building standards. This includes designing all new buildings to meet LEED Silver requirements.  In addition, certain LEED credits are identified as “SPU priority credits” to ensure new buildings are extremely energy efficient and powered, at least in part, by renewable energy.

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Seattle Pacific University’s Climate Action Plan

Continuing the thread of discussion on environmental justice, consider this: industrialized nations, accounting for 20% of the world’s population, produce 60% of the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Moreover, developing nations experience the first and worst effects of climate related disasters. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) notes that, “While climate change is global, its negative impacts are more severely felt by poor people and poor countries. They are more vulnerable because of their high dependence on natural resources and limited capacity to cope with climate variability and extremes.”

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Graduation Attire Made of Recycled Plastic Bottles

ivy-cuttingFor the 2011 graduating class, commencement is beginning to appear on the horizon. With just a quarter and a half to go, it is almost time to start preparing for the big event. Amidst all of the anticipation surrounding this milestone, here’s some news that will make you even more excited about graduating: participating in this year’s commencement will help save the planet.

That’s right – all caps and gowns worn by this year’s graduating class will be made from 100% post-consumer recycled bottles. An average of twenty-three plastic bottles will go into the making of each cap and gown.

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Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

King delivers his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963.

On Monday, our nation celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King’s life demonstrated that peace and tolerance can triumph over hate and injustice, and can serve to correct social wrongs. On this holiday, we are reminded of his heroic devotion to equality, justice, and unity.

In the spirit of Dr. King, it seems appropriate to talk about an issue that has stemmed from King’s movement. The term “environmental justice” did not become popular until the 1980s, but the movement’s roots stem from King’s legacy.

A Plastic Ocean

trash-vortexPlastic.  It seems like just about everything we use is made of some type of plastic.  230 million tons of plastic are consumed worldwide every year.  Unfortunately, more than 90% of plastics are not recycled.  And since plastic does not biodegrade, the waste sticks around for hundreds, even thousands, of years.  This has resulted in a major ecological problem in the world’s oceans.  Pollution, along with other human action like overfishing, has put the world’s oceans in serious trouble.