Eating Animals and Current Event

February 28, 2017

Current Event:

       Scientists discover how bacteria helps convert carbon dioxide into methane gas for energy use.  

This discovery can help make carbon dioxide emissions useful by turning it into energy. Carbon dioxide is one of the biggest contributors to global warming. However, due to the bacteria that can convert the carbon dioxide being notoriously difficult to grow, the gas production remains limited.

Professor Martin Warren, of the University of Kent’s School of Biosciences, looked into this challenge to investigate how a key molecule, coenzyme F430, is made in this bacteria.

F430 is the catalyst for the production process. The properties of this coenzyme allow methanogenic bacteria to breathe in carbon dioxide and exhale methane.

The research teams have been able to show that F430 is made from the same starting molecular template from which haem and chlorophyll are derived, but uses a different suite of enzymes to convert this starting material into F430. Key to this process is the insertion of a metal ion, which is glued into the centre of the coenzyme.

If methanogenesis could be engineered into bacteria that is easier to grow, like E.coli, then engineered strains could be employed to catch carbon dioxide emissions and convert them into methane.

Science Daily

Eating Animals

I enjoyed this book. It really made me question why I eat meat and if its worth the animal cruelty, factory farming, and the damage to the environment. He says, “stories about food are stories about us-our history and our values”. That resonated with me because I never thought of our choice/thought of food to be so conscience and deep-rooted. It’s also interesting how Foer mentions how we don’t recognize we are animals,

In the first sense, humans are members of the animal kingdom. But more often, we casually use the word animal to signify all creatures-from orangutan to dog to shrimp- except humans.

We neglect the parts of us that makes us similar to them, for example, the ability to feel or relieved of pain. Foer says, “what we forget about animals, we begin to forget about ourselves”. This book overall suggests that our food choices reflect the ethical values we stand for, which is true in a sense. When we eat meat we would rather satisfy our desire for meat than let animals live well. People often never conscience of that.





Nest Boxes Cannot Replace Tree Cavities

February 28, 2017

A study published in the Forest Ecology and Management journal has found that nest boxes have higher humidity levels, poorer insulation and a drier microclimate than natural tree cavities. Poorer insulation can effect bird health, especially in environments with an extreme climate. High humidity can dehydrate young and attract insects and/or parasites. While tree cavities naturally clean themselves of debris, the dry microclimate of nest boxes allow material to accumulate. Nest boxes do, however, provide more protection against storms that could otherwise soak a nest, and they have been documented to help increase the populations of pied flycatchers and barn owls. The research team concluded that adding nest boxes to a site without tree cavities is beneficial, but if a site already has an abundance of tree cavities, maintaining those trees is more efficient than building nest boxes since tree cavities naturally clean themselves and provide more diverse habitats that more animals, like bats, can live in.


This website explains how to build and monitor a nest box.


This link shows how to construct a bat box.

Eating Animals – Emily

February 28, 2017


My current event for this week is about scientists at Vanderbilt and Yale that may have discovered a way to use Wolbachia to our advantage to help kill mosquitoes.  Wolbachia is a bacterial parasite that effects millions of insects including the mosquitoes that carry Zika, Dengue Fever, and the Chikungunya virus.  The bacteria is so effective because it takes over the reproductive tract of infected females, making them only able to reproduce with infected males.  When Wolbachia is present in the mosquito that carries Zika and Dengue, it prevents the disease viruses from growing.  There are two approached for making this work – 1. introduce large amounts of both infected males and females so that new generations will all eventually be infected, or 2. introduce only infected males so that the uninfected females can’t reproduce.  Researchers are still looking for the genes that cause cytoplasmic incompatibility (infected males can’t successfully reproduce with uninfected females) so that they can potentially so this themselves.


I really enjoyed this book.  I thought it was very informative and also entertaining.  I resonated with a lot of things he said because I am vegetarian and already believed in most of the same ideas as him.  I found it a little hard to read the parts where he described the mistreatment of animals, but I think that was kind of the point.  I really like books like this in that they reaffirm what I already believe.  However, I think it would be more important for books like this to change the mind of people who currently eat meat.  The problem is that this hardly ever seems to work.  I think it is really easy for people to just read the words on the page and not actually imagine this type of thing happening.  I have told some of these things to people who eat meat and they just don’t care.  There is no connection between the words and the action for people.  I think what this book made me think about most is that there needs to be a better way to communicate how factory farms operate to the people who are inadvertently supporting them.


Welcome Wildlife

February 22, 2017

(I’m doing this again because I don’t know if the first one saved so just in case)

Welcome Wildlife

Kylie Shaw

Description and Overview

College campuses take up a lot of space and owns a lot of space that aren’t taken up by buildings or walkways but are instead outside areas for the students to enjoy.  These areas could be great places for us to share our space with the native wildlife, but because of our lack of maintenance of these areas, they are lacking as habitats for these animals. The National Wildlife Federation certifies gardens and habitats that are considered wildlife friendly by standards that they have outlined.  This certificate is mostly just incentive to create a well rounded habitat for wildlife and to provide a general description of what that would entail.  I wish to create habitats on Ohio Wesleyan University’s campus that meet their guidelines and certify those locations.  To do this, the habitat needs to include three food sources, one clean water source, two locations for shelter, two places to ‘raise young’ which includes any place that is necessary or beneficial throughout the courting and breeding season, and use two separate techniques to maintain the habitat sustainably.  The locations that I’ve chosen to expand to meet these requirements are the wooded area in between Selby Stadium’s parking lot and the discuss and javelin areas (Location 1), as well as the garden next to Sanborn Hall (Location 2).  Since these two locations already have food and water sources in place, as well as places for shelter, I will be focusing in adding places to ‘raise young’ and sustainable maintaining practices.  Before I am able to do this, the locations will need to be cleared of all of the litter that has gathered there.  I have already looked through Location 1 and there are a few large items that need to be taken out, but otherwise it is mostly small item litter.  Then, I will have to research what kind of habitats the native wildlife would need to go through their courting and mating seasons and find out how much of that can already be found in either location.  I will also be researching which  plants are native to this area and which are invasive.  With this information, I will remove the invasive species from the locations and, if needed, replace them with native species.  This meets one of the sustainability practice requirements.  For this requirement, I also will find out what kind of pesticide and fertilizer is being used in Location 2, since I don’t think there would be any used in location 1, and if they are chemical I will work to have them replaced by more natural pesticide or fertilizer.  Also for location 2, I believe that mulch is already being used for the garden, but I will make sure that that’s the case and make sure that it is also chemical free.  For location 1, I will find out whether the steep slope that leads down towards the creek is natural or a result of landscaping.  If it is a result of landscaping, then the rain runoff leading to creek could be leading to an increase in erosion.  If this is the case then I will find techniques to reduce this effect.  Some of these efforts, such as the initial clean up and invasive species removal, require an ongoing maintenance, so I would like to find a way to encourage students to continue upholding these habitat and sustainability standards.


Research and Explore

Research native plants to the area as well as past and present landscaping techniques used in the locations

Find any invasive species or chemical maintenance practices in the locations

Find places that already meet the requirements

find places that could fill the requirements with some additions or changes

B. Communicate

1. Talk to Ohio Wesleyan grounds maintenance workers about any changes that would need to be made to products used or to the area in general

2. Get approval for any additions or changes that would have to be made

C. Do the work

1. Removal of litter and invasive species

2. Addition of native species as habitat, food, and breeding places

3. Implement sustainability/habitat practices as necessary/able

a. Change of landscaping to reduce erosion

b. Addition of dead trees or nesting boxes

c. Addition of mulch

Annotated Bibliography

“A Wildlife-Friendly Garden.” RSS. The Humane Society of the United States, Web. 22 Feb. 2017. <>.

The Humane Society offers suggestions for a wildlife friendly garden, using native plants as food and shelter.  They also make the point to include plants that offer year round protection and food for animals.  They also include suggestions for animals besides birds and butterflies, which are the wildlife that most gardens are geared towards and welcoming to.

“College Sustainability Best Practices: A Resource for Colleges and Universities.” Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, 2008. Web. 22 Feb. 2017. <http://>.

This website provides examples of different sustainability projects that could be done on a college campus.  Most of these are aimed at making the college buildings and college life more sustainable, rather than the outdoor space being more sustainable. However, these projects, if applied on a campus wide scale could largely affect the overall sustainability of any college campus. The projects would have to on a large scale, though, and it would be best to implement many of these practices rather than one or a few.

“Go Native!” Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Web. 22 Feb. 2017. < gonative>.  The Ohio Department of Natural Resources provides lists of native plants and alternatives to commonly used invasive species for gardens.  The list of plants is separated by type of habitat the area is and can be used to plan any changes to plant life in the locations.

“Habitat Feature: Snags.” Habitat Network. Web. 22 Feb. 2017. < learn/habitat-feature-snags/>.

This website explains the environmental impact of snags or dead trees, which is one of the options listed under the checklist.  They are extremely beneficial for a wide range of wildlife and are considered essential to a well rounded habitat.  It also offers an artificial snag option for gardens made out of a dead tree from somewhere else.  This would offer shelter to a wide range of wildlife in the locations chosen.

Jones, Kristy, Courtney Cochran, David J. Eagan, and Juliana Goodlaw-Morris. “The Campus Wild.” Naturalist, National Wildlife Federation How College and University Green Landscapes Provide Havens for Wildlife and “Lands-on” Experiences for Students Web. 22 Feb. 2017. < Campus-Wild/The-Campus-Wild-Aug25-LowRes-(1).pdf>.

This source contains examples of wildlife friendly and habitat protection projects done by other college campuses, under section 3.  The description of the featured colleges’ work explains what each location did, and each of these examples are fairly specific to each school’s location and that areas’ natural habitat.  I would like to incorporate some of these ideas, however an exact replica would be impossible with the difference in school location and amount of owned property.

“Landscaping the Sustainable Campus.” Indiana Wildlife Federation. Web. 22 Feb. 2017. <http://>.

The Indiana Wildlife Federation has a program for college campuses to aid in sustainable landscaping practices.  While this isn’t exactly the same as the wildlife garden explained by the National Wildlife Federation, it does explain some similar sustainability practices as the NWF for their certification.  The steps described on this website could be useful in creating the sustainability needed for the wildlife garden.

“Landscaping with Native Plants.” The Native Plant Society of Northeastern Ohio. Web. 22 Feb. 2017. <;.

This website lists native plants that could be used for gardens and landscaping in Northeastern Ohio.  With some checking, these plants could most likely be used for a wildlife friendly garden on campus.  These native plants would promote wildlife interaction with the gardens and offer a more environmentally friendly habitat for the area.

“National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife: Garden Certification Walk-through Checklist.” National Wildlife Federation. Web. 22 Feb. 1017. < media/PDFs/Garden-for-Wildlife/Certified-Wildlife-Habitat/NWF_Garden-Certification- Checklist.ashx>.

This source lists the requirements to be certified with the National Wildlife Federation as a wildlife habitat.  This checklist will be my guide for any improvements I want to make in my locations.  Since the locations I will be working with already have the food and water requirements, I will be focusing on the ‘raising young’ and ‘sustainability practices’ portion in order to meet the requirements.

“Protecting Wildlife on Campus.” National Wildlife Federation. Web. 22 Feb. 2017. <http:// Campus-Habitat.aspx>.

This website is aimed at college campuses, providing  different opportunities to become a more sustainable and wildlife friendly campus.  They provide examples of sustainability projects that could be done on done on a college campus as well as examples of projects that other colleges have already done.  Along with these examples is the certification through the National Wildlife Federation to become a certified wildlife garden, which is the organization’s example of how to make a college campus, or any location, more wildlife friendly.

“The 39 Greenest Universities of 2016.” Best Colleges. 16 Feb. 2017. Web. 22 Feb. 2017. <;.

This is a list of colleges, as measured by best colleges, named most sustainable.  The description of the colleges includes not only how the are sustainable and teach sustainability within the class, but also clubs and programs that offer sustainability practices on campus that can be implemented on other college campuses.

Nature (pt 2) and Current Event

February 22, 2017

I found it interesting the separation between the romanticism of nature and the science of nature.  On the romantic side, people were in awe of nature because of what it meant to humans, as a defense of our morals or as proof of religion.  However, I think the same kind of awe can be found when looking at nature from the scientific position.  I don’t think knowing more about how and why nature is the way it is takes away from the feeling of awe you can get from it.  Maybe the best way to present modern environmentalism is to promote that feeling, but support it with facts.

Even though Capitalism and Marxism approach and use nature in different ways, they both end up finding nature’s value in its usefulness.  With so many different viewpoints ending up here, is it just general human nature to base the value of the world around us on its usefulness to us? Since I’m mostly sure the answer is yes, is there a way for the environmental movement to use this?

I like that in ‘new ecology’ he makes the point that nature, without the input of humans, is still changing, so the real issue is to find the line of what is natural change and what is anthropogenic change.  This winter is a good example.  How much of the lack of cold and snow was a result of the naturally occurring El Nino, and how much of it was human impact exacerbating the El Nino?

Current Event

I have two current events because they’re kind of small.

  1. Australia had to close down many beaches because human feces was being washing up with the flooding. Poopy Situation Down Under
  2. A Cropan’s Boa was spotted in Brazil.  This is only the second time it’s been spotted alive and the last time was 64 years ago World’s rarest boa

Local Food Sourced Salad Bar or Hyper Local Salad Bar

February 22, 2017

Local Food Sourced Salad Bar or Hyper Local Salad Bar

Project Participant(s): Ellen Sizer (with mentoring from Dr. Kriyger)

Description & overview of project:


This project was inspired by the continuous and hard work I have put in to make OWU’s campus more vegan and vegetarian friendly. I have been meeting with Chartwells on a bi-weekly basis for the last year to discuss ways in which I can turn my ambitions into a reality. Through this collaboration with Chartwells I was able to implement small changes in the menu here at OWU. There are more tofu options, an abundance of soy milk, and tofurky has been added to the rotation in weekly dishes. The project of the Local Food Sourced Salad Bar is an ambitious step in accommodating the needs of vegetarian and vegan students. However, I do not think only vegetarians and vegans will use the salad bar. I think this revamping of salad bar will be utilized by all and it is a way to make the campus more vegan/vegetarian friendly without portraying the options as vegetarian or vegan. It’s salad! I hope the new salad bar will inspire more local venders to supply their vegan and vegetarian food. I hope that this transition will not come with a negative social stigma that most labeled vegan and vegetarian foods usually do. I plan to make this transition seamless and as user friendly as possible through the ways in which the food is presented, through panels, tastings, and advertisements. I hope to entice everyone to try the novel food and to disregard the social implication that vegan(and sometimes vegetarian) food is branded to be gross or un appetizing.

The project itself:

The purpose of the project is to install an all local food salad bar inside Smith Dining Hall in order to inspire more local venders to provide their services at OWU. Eating and buying local has many benefits. Some of which includes: the food is full of flavor, there is more nutrients compared industrial store bought, buying local supports local economy and local workers, benefits the environment, and there is more knowledge about what and where food is grown. Seminary Hill Farm is the main food provider for this project. They are 3.3 miles away and can provide food year round and in large quantity. I am hoping this project will jumpstart more local venders to appear at OWU. Therefore, I am also contacting a few other vegan and vegetarian chefs or small businesses in the Columbus area who can provide to large institutions such as OWU. Their names are located below. I am planning to discuss with them their views on local and vegetarian foods and the lifestyle that comes with it. I also plan invite them all to a tasting and panel at the end of the semester.


Outline of project:


Seminary Hill Farm– utilize as main supplier


– They are local

– Simple concept

– Similar partnership that would ensue between Chartwells and other local and regional food suppliers (that are outside of the typical network of industrial food suppliers Chartwells uses)

– Year round supplier: SHF has capacity to supply needed produce in the quantities needed and on the schedule required for food providers such as Chartwells (unlike many local farms who have certain items certain times of the year)

– Quantity available

– There are lots of connections between OWU and Seminary Hill Farm:

– long history of connections/collaborations between MTSO and OWU

-new internships focused on organic farming and the sustainable agriculture for Environmental Studies (and other) majors at OWU


– Taste is better (maybe!)

– known supplier, known circumstances under which the food is grown

– Utilized by entire student body (not just vegetarians and vegans)

– Inspire more local food options: veggie burgers from Dublin or Patty Cake Bakery or Del or Portia


Ultimately: permanent installation of local salad bar in Smith

End of Semester: A workshop in Smith featuring local chefs and restaurants to review our plans, help promote it


– Formal Proposal

– Speak with Dan McGee

– Speak with Tadd Peterson, Manager of Farm and Food of Seminary

– Reach out to Columbus small businesses: to get advice, invite to a discussion (with Veg club), to be featured at end of year tasting.

– Pattycake Bakery-vegan deserts

– Del Sroufe: vegan chef in Columbus

-Portia’s Cafe: vegan restaurant in Columbus

– Get samples to provide for dinner in GEOG 360

Annotated bibliography:


Tadd Petersen: Manager of Farm and Food at Seminary Hill Farm.

I am hoping he will be able to ignite the transition from current salad bar item to local salad bar items through his leadership at Seminary Hill Far. I also plan to ask him about his insight on the use of pesticides and the benefits of local food. Finally, I hope he will be able to be part of discussion panel and tasting at the end of the semester.


Seminary Hill Farm Webpage:

It is the farm located on Methodist Theological School in Ohio’s campus. They are committed to sustainability through theology and ecology. It is a great opportunity to take advantage of and I plan to work with them extensively in the next few weeks.


Dan Magee: Director of Dining Services for Chartwells at OWU. I am meeting with Dan bi-weekly basis to touch base on progress made in the project. Also Dan Magee is a source of information and works as a liaison to Chartwells and the potential reality of my project.



Pattycake Bakery: Jennie Scheinbach

Located in the heart of Columbus, Pattycake Bakery is an all vegan bakery that goes beyond their food in order to be sustainable as possible. On their website they list a multitude of habits the bakery does in order to maintain “green” and sustainable. Some of those habits include: compost all of our food waste, recycle everything, and reuse cardboard boxes to package wholesale orders. I plan to collaborate with them and hope they attend a panel and participate in a tasting at the end of the semester.


Del Sroufe :Wellness Forum Foods:

Del Sroufe is a chef who has a main focus in plant based diet and cuisine, He is in the Worthington area and will be a great resource for advice in sustainability and for the panel and tasting I plan to invite him to and be in.


Portia’s Cafe: Yiamouyiannis

This cafe located in Columbus is committed to sustainability and healthful options leaning toward the vegan and vegetarian lifestyle. Their mission is to create an inviting space for all dietary needs. My goal is to speak with the owner and to get their view on sustainable living and ways to improve my project going forth. I also plan to invite them to the discussion panel and ask them to provide food for a tasting.



Shin, Yeon Ho, and Murat Hancer. “The role of attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioral           control, and moral norm in the intention to purchase local food products.” Journal Of           Foodservice Business Research 19, no. 4 (September 2016): 338-351. Academic Search          Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed February 21, 2017).

Hempel, Corinna, and Ulrich Hamm. “How important is local food to organic-minded c           onsumers?.” Appetite 96, (January 2016): 309-318. Academic Search Complete,         EBSCOhost (accessed February 21, 2017).


Both of these articles analyze some of the social norms that come along with being “green” or following the “all organic” trend. I wanted to include these articles to highlight that I believe my project will not reflect a social movement, but will accommodate a wide range diets and backgrounds. I think this project will discourage people from eating the salad bar or the potential local foods from local venders. I think it will be a seamless transition anyone can and will enjoy. Even thought I agree with the green movement, I believe this project does not hinder the negative implications the “green” movement accommodates.


MACRAE, ROD, VIJAY CUDDEFORD, STEVEN B. YOUNG, and MOIRA MATSUBUCHI-          SHAW. 2013. “The Food System and Climate Change: An Exploration of Emerging Strategies to Reduce GHG Emissions in Canada.” Agroecology & Sustainable Food    Systems 37, no. 8: 933-963. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed February        21, 2017).


I was able to find research supporting the fact that locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetable reduces green house gas emissions. And that less transportation and smarter load sizes reduces the green house gas emission. One interesting fact the article, “The Food System and Climate Change: An Exploration of Emerging Strategies to Reduce GHG Emissions in Canada” found was that in order to reduce green house gases remarkably, it has to be a combination of factors. Less refrigeration, less transportation use, and most importantly, more organic practices will reduce greenhouse gasses amount. Event though these findings were focused on Canada, much of their research is based on the food industry located on a more global scale.


HECK, ALEXANDRA. “A great campus food makeover.” Maclean’s 129, no. 44 (November 7,          2016): 74-77. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed February 21, 2017).

This periodical reflects a similar project that I am doing at St.  George’s campus. They completely ditched their food provider, which was Aramark, and decided to head the more sustainable and eco-friendly route by teaming up with local producers such as Harmony Organic dairy company. This periodical gives me hope in the potential success of my project and it also inspires me to contact St. George and discover more about the positive changes the food provider switch has made to the campus as a whole.



Nature 2, Proposal, Current Event

February 22, 2017

Nature 2: The second half of the book was much more boring than the first. There wasn’t so much “action” in this half (as in no burning of forests etc). I really don’t like the Romantic era writers (for the same reason I didn’t like the apocalypse book) and learned more than i ever would have wanted to from this book. I didn’t understand the political ties either. It seemed to me that communism/socialism/capitalism are different frames of mind than ecologism, and as much as the book tried to convince me otherwise I didn’t get it.

Current Event: 7 Earth-Sized Worlds Found Orbiting Star: Could Hold Life

7 earth-sized planets were found orbiting the same star (which is apparently pretty rare). 3 of the planets are within the area that could contain water, and if there’s water, there could be life.



Project Title: Make Tree House Sustainable Again
Project Participants: just me
Overview: With Tree House moving into one of the new SLUs, they’ll be losing the improvements they’ve made in their old house with the goal of improving sustainability. In the past 20 years or so a new style of house has been developed called Passive Housing. Passive housing is designed in certain ways so as to capture sunlight and circulate air to make artificial heating unnecessary. These houses generally cost 5-10% more than normal houses, though the cost is reduced the larger the building is. Building a passive duplex would (in theory) keep the cost on the low end compared to a stand-alone house. There are a lot of different components that make a house passive, with heating and ventilation being the main ones.
In the Northern hemisphere, the south-facing wall has large, triple-paned windows to catch as much sun as possible. The roof is designed so that in the summer the sun sits above the roof. The light can’t make it into the windows, hitting the roof (which usually has solar panels on it). In winter when the sun is at a lower angle it shines through the windows.
Heating is done through “comfort ventilation with highly heat recovery” or as the Germans say “Lüftungswärmerückgewinnung.” Ventilation is done mechanically, drawn in from outside the house into an MVHR system (Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery). This transfers the heat from the air going out into the air going in, meaning the air inside the house stays at a consistent temperature.
My project will be to create a proposal to “submit” to the school (realistically they’re not going to implement this off one recommendation) to build the new SLU in a sustainable passive house way. I’ll go over the components of passive houses including the two main ones above, and show how they could be implemented specifically at OWU. I’ll also look at smaller separate things the house can do such as backyard composting to stay relatively environmentally friendly. I’ll try to somehow get drawings or diagrams (I’m a terrible artist but I know some good ones) since that’s always more interesting than just straight words.
Intro – here I’ll briefly explain what passive housing and sustainable housing are, when it was developed, where it’s used, etc.
Components – These subsections will go into detail about each “main part” of the house
Heating – I’ll explain the heating system, how the windows and roof are designed, why the orientation of the house matters, and how the insulation is set up.
Ventilation – This will go over the ventilation system, explaining what an MVHR system is and how air circulates throughout the house.
Electricity – This section will explain electricity requirements of passive houses (hint it’s pretty low) and how that can be generated.
Other – This is for any other eco-friendly options, like backyard composting (might talk about things like vertical/rooftop gardens although those wouldn’t be practical on this particular house).
3. Diagrams/pictures – Somehow I will get some examples of how the house could look (ideally similar to the SLUs on either side of it)
4. How it would work at OWU – Here I’ll explain how these things would be implemented specifically at OWU, such as dealing with the local climate
5. Costs – These houses are more expensive than normal houses. I’ll talk about how much more specifically, and what accounts for the higher costs.
6. Benefits – The slight cost increase has large benefits, which I’ll talk about here. These include things like net zero electricity costs etc.
Anderson, Elizabeth. Tree House resident
I’ve been talking to Elizabeth about what Tree House has done on their current house to increase sustainability, including adding special insulation.

Badescu, V., & Sucre, B. “Renewable energy for passive house heating: II. Model.” Energy and Buildings, 2003.
This article talks about how passive houses are heated, through sunlight, solar electricity, and ground reservoirs.

Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency. “Ohio Programs.”
There are many incentives given out by the states to finance renewable energy, meaning that hypothetically, solar panels could be installed for free. I’ll look and see what could apply at OWU.

Earthship Biotecture. “Radically Sustainable Buildings.”
Earthships are the “pinnacle” of sustainable living. It’s unrealistic to build one for a SLU, but I’d like to look at elements of it that could possibly be used.

Environmental Protection Agency. “Backyard Composting: It’s Only Natural.” NSCEP, 2010. (hyperlink cuz the link’s too long).
This is a simple leaflet sort of thing about backyard composting. It covers the basics from setting it up to what to put in.

Figueiredo, A., Kämpf, J., Vicente, R. “Passive house optimization for Portugal: Overheating evaluation and energy performance.” Energy & Buildings, 2016.
This article talks about the problem of a house overheating being in too warm a climate. I could see this being a problem in Ohio (especially with humidity) so I’ll see what lessons they learned in Portugal.

Kuzman, M.K., Groselj, P., Ayrilmis, N., Zbasnik-Senegagnik, M. “Comparison of passive house construction types using analytic hierarchy process.” Energy & Buildings, 2013.
This article goes over the various materials used for building and their impact on efficiency. Since brick and wood are both common building materials in Ohio, I’ll look at which performs better.

Mullins, Seamus. “Rosslare Case Study, Passive House Cost Analysis.” 2010.
This is a breakdown of the extra costs of building a passive house. It outlines what each extra component costs and even has extra cost per square foot.

Passive House Institute US. “What Is a Passive Building?”
This site is a quick overview of the components of a passive house. It also includes a diagram for the air circulation inside the house.

Passive house Pty Ltd. “Ventilation & Heat/Energy Recovery.”—heat-energy-recovery
This site explains the ventilation system for the house. It explains what an MVHR is and has a diagram for how it works.

Rodriguez-Ubinas, E., Montero, C., & Porteros, S. “Passive design strategies and performance of Net Energy Plus houses.” Energy & Buildings, 2014.
This article talks about Net Energy Plus buildings, which produce more power than they use. This goes along very nicely with passive designs.

Schneiders, J., Feist, W., & Rongen, L. “Passive houses for different climate zones.” Energy & Buildings, 2015.
I’ll use this article to explain how passive heating will work in Ohio, especially during the freezing winters. The article talks about houses in Tokyo and Yekaterinburg, and Ohio winters fall somewhere in between the two.

Nature pt 2

February 22, 2017

I found it interesting that Coates starts and ends the book by talking about how nature and culture are opposites, but then in this section talks about how culture has shaped nature. I don’t think its at all possible to seperate them entirely, and i think Coates makes this clear but his statements at the beginning and end seem to go against it. I liked the notion of lands that were cultivated but for maximum stustinance and hunting ability without damaging the local ecosystsems, which he describes the native Americans doing. He very briefly mentioned a “wild garden”, and I like this idea because it implies a garden that is planted and left to do whatever it wants, which is my ideal kind of garden. Later on, Coates talks about Bill Mckibben and his ideas. While I don’t agree with his notion that nature is ireeperably damaged by human activity, I like his ideals a lot and I have read Deep Economy years ago, which was basically the book that made me realize capitalism isn’t all its cracked up to be. This author is important to me and I’m glad his relevant works were discussed in this book. I hated the theory he talked about where even environmental threats are social constrcuts because they don’t affect everyone equally. This is because of classism and the people at the bottom being disproportionately affected by environmental issues. To conclude, I loved that he finally came to the conclusion that what matters about nature isn’t how untouched it is, but how healthy it is. Nature can heal and we can help heal it, and after that it is no less valuable than nature that has never been affected by human activity.

Current Event: Legal Marijuana Sales Create Escalating Damage to the Environment

Marijuana legalization is a big issue that probably affects at least a few of us, and while it seems like the right way to go increased marijuana production will cause some environmental impacts. Cannabis is a touchy crop that requires specific light conditions and various fertilizers and pesticides. This can cause runoff into streams and waterways, damaging the ecosystem there. The plant also requires a lot of water, and illegal farming operations use enough water from local streams to harm those ecosystems. Even indoor operations use as much energy to keep the plants warm and keep the right lighting as Google data centers! Most of this information, though, was gathered from illegal growing operations, so it would be interesting to see how sustainable or not sustainable newer, legal operations are.

Project Proposal: Motion Sensor Lights

February 22, 2017

Description and Overview:

The basic idea for my project is to see if it is feasible to install motion sensor lights into the Smith (East and West Wings), Bashford and Thompson dormitories. Currently only Stuyvesant, Hayes and Welch Halls have installed motion sensor lights within the past ten years. With the installation, these lights have decreased the cost of electricity significantly than just using the LED lights that are always on. Smith Halls have five floors each with twenty-four hour lights on, making this dorm one of the least electrically efficient buildings on our campus. The first step is to analyze the buildings without the motion sensors. To do this, I would have to require floor plans from Buildings and Grounds to map out all of the lights within each building. The next step is to set up a meeting with the head of Electricity at Buildings and Grounds, Gregg Blume, to get an estimate on the cost of lights, removal of current LED lights, installation of motion sensor lights and duration of the whole process. With this meeting, I will be able to get an estimate on how efficient this process will be for the long-term costs instead of keeping the twenty-four-hour lights on constantly. The purpose of this project is to maximize efficiency with motion sensor lights and reduce our carbon footprint on the residential side of the Ohio Wesleyan University campus in the future.


  1. Introduction or Overview
  2. The Dormitories
    • Halls with Motion Sensor Lights: Stuyvesant, Hayes and Welch Halls
    • Halls without Motion Sensor Lights: Smith (East and West Wings), Bashford and Thompson Halls – including walk-throughs of light placements
    • How efficient Motion Sensory Lights would be, and usage in the dorms without these lights
  3. The Meeting
    • Cost of Lights
    • Removal of older LED lights in all hallways of interest
    • Installation of Motion Sensor Lights
    • Labor Costs
    • Long-Term Cost and Benefits of Motion Sensor lights versus keeping the current light system
  4. Conclusion
    • Recommendations and Future work

Annotated Bibliography:

Petersen, John E., Shunturov, Vladislav, Janda, Kathryn, Platt, Gavin,

Weinberger, Kate. Dormitory residents reduce electricity consumption when exposed to real‐time visual feedback and incentives. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education 2007 8:1 , 16-33

This study was focused on the Oberlin College’s dorms to research the efficiency and energy consumption of its residents. Their results of this research provide evidence of real-time resource feedback systems when combined with education and an incentive, interest, motivate and empower college students to reduce resource use in dormitories.

Blume, Gregg. Electrical Shop Supervisor at Ohio Wesleyan University.

Gregg gave me access to the floor plans of all the residency halls on campus that do not have the motion sensor lights installed in their hallways. He also gave me more details about how to walk-through all the halls to record where the current LED lights are and how my project could help influence the directors to follow through with the installation of these efficient lights.

Niwa, Minoru. Pulse oximeter with physical motion sensor. Colin Electronics Co., Ltd, 1991. Grant Number: US 07/531,769 1-11

Multiple types of sensors of these lights allow for different levels of sensitivity to turn on these lights for efficiency.

Shulman-Ment, Maya. Motion sensor lighting in Lord/Saunders. The Freen EDGE Fund, 2016.

Student Maya Shulman-Ment analyzes the possibility of installing motion sensor lights in the Lord and Saunders dormitories at Oberlin College, Ohio. This is a project idea but she has a good train of thought about how she can accomplish this project to move forward.

Britton, Rachel. Motion sensor lights going up in residence halls. Tommie Media. 2011

At St. Thomas campus dormitories, motion sensor lights were installed in 2011. The campus spent $2,658,635 for electricity the previous year and the motion sensor lights are expected to save 5% or approximately $130,000 on the total electrical cost.

Piekarz, Jeannie. Dormitory Motion Sensory Lighting. Clarkson University PDF 1-11

Eta Kappa Nu, or the Electrical, Computer and Software Engineering Honor Society wrote a project outline for installing motion sensor lights in the dormitories at Clarkson University. This society analyzed the materials needed, impacts, assessments, and feasibility of the installation of these lights.

Building and Grounds at Ohio Wesleyan University.

The Buildings and Grounds department will allow me to research cost of labor and installation costs that will allow for the motion sensor lights to be installed.

Sarkisian, Ellen. Benefits of Using Motion-Sensor Light Switches. The Eco Guide 2016.

Ellen Sarkisian uses multiple sources to analyze the effectiveness of motion sensor lights than the traditional LED lights. She uses national data to show an overall benefit to changing to motion sensor lights.

Energy.Gov Energy saver. When to Turn Off Your Lights.

The cost effectiveness of when to turn off lights depends of the types of lights and the price of electricity. This article analyzes the efficiency of LED lights as well as disadvantages to these lights.

College Programs to Reduce Energy Consumption in Dorms. Electric Choice.

This article shows how colleges all over the United States have raised awareness about college students’ consumption as well as kick-starting programs to encourage students to develop positive energy behaviors and reduce their energy consumption.

Week 6: Nature: Western Attitudes Since Ancient Times Part 2

February 22, 2017

Nature: Western Attitudes Since Ancient Times Chapters 6-9:

In the latter half of Coates’ book, he goes on to talk about an idea about how there are natural and cultural landscapes. It was an interesting thought, how only a few parts of the world have been untouched by humans and the transition of the rest of the world’s land to a cultural setting, as if to make up for our mistakes for disturbing these lands. These remodeled landscapes often have plant species that were not native to the area due to aesthetic purposes and therefore can disturb more of the surrounding, native plant species and create more harm than good. This idea of cultural landscapes, such as lawns, have been heavily built into our culture: lawns need to be green, freshly cut and cleared with beautiful and exotic plants to show how much a landowner takes pride in their living space. In reality, lawns and gardens tend to be very high maintenance due to different pH levels in the soil, temperature and seasonal differences and lighting.

So after this thought process, Coates introduces another concept: how animals do not have the capacity to behave similarly to human language. I disagree with his claim, even with domesticated animals, animals have distinct behaviors and body language that can be interpreted as their own language. Animals are beings that deserve to be respected and have survived hundreds to thousands years of evolutionary history. As a species, humans have risen to the top of the food chain, and with our behaviors have made every other animal in our kingdom inferior. With our behaviors, we have also destroyed their natural habitats, and it is our responsibility to conserve the areas we have eradicated.

Current Events:

Inspired by advancements in 3D printing, Fabien Cousteau and a team of researchers from the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center, his nonprofit that focuses on awareness, education, and research in ocean conservation, are experimenting with printing coral reefs as a method of rehabilitation. His skeletons are made of the same material as natural coral, calcium carbonate (which only became printable in the last few years). He’s developed three different pore textures and has more than 30 different coral shapes that visually replicate the form of a natural reef. The printed structures—three-by-three-inch tiles or six- to 12-inch-tall towers—are anchored to the ocean floor on trays or integrated directly into existing reefs.

Learn more here: