Saturday, October 25, 2014

Facing Mega-Drought, California Will Avoid Defeat

Researchers and scientists recognize that traumatic changes would occur in our great state during what is recognized as dire circumstances. But Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, an Oakland think tank says that mega-drought "doesn't mean no will mean using what we have more effectively." The Department of Water and Power is planning to build a treatment system that would cleanse industrially contaminated groundwater in the San Fernando Valley.
And if conditions continue to worsen, L.A. could ban landscape irrigation completely, using an ordinance already in place. In Los Angeles, it is high time to make the shift from extraordinarily lavish greenery everywhere, and instead embrace the new normal by installing heat and drought resistant plants, desert rocks, and a low-water drip irrigation system that is operated by a controller that measures soil moisture. We must educate ourselves about the possibilities incurred from the drought, and how to go forth and to be more sustainable individuals. Read the Los Angeles Times article for information on the subject.

Virtual Green Room to Guide Your Sustainable Living!

Are you looking to become a more sustainable and environmentally-conscious individual but just not sure where to start? Look no further than the new, interactive web-link on the UC Santa Cruz Housing website. This tool is easy to access, easy to use, and has so much valuable information. By simply clicking on the green circles, you have important and specialized sustainability information tailored to the area in which the circle is, at your fingertips. For example, by clicking on the desk lamp, you are given access to information about electricity, and which lightbulbs are more environmentally friendly. This is an incredible and valuable tool that any student should keep in mind! Go and check this out, you will not be disappointed!

Friday, October 24, 2014

UCSC Receives Silver Bicycle Friendly University Award

The League of American Bicyclists recognized UC Santa Cruz with a Silver Bicycle Friendly University award, joining 100 visionary colleges and universities from across the country. 

With the announcement of 33 new and renewing BFUs in 20 states, UC Santa Cruz joins a cutting-edge group of colleges and universities from across the United States transforming their campuses and the communities around them. There are now 100 BFUs in 37 states and Washington, D.C.

“Campus leaders are recognizing the immediate and long-term impact that a vibrant bike culture can create for their institutions,” said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists. “We applaud this new round of colleges and universities for investing in a more sustainable future for the country and a healthier lifestyle for their staff, students and surrounding communities.” For more information, visit the full article here.

This achievement is a great motivator to continue advancing sustainable transportation!

November 2014: Classes, Training and Community

PICA Workshops 
The Program in Community and Agroecology (PICA) will be offering hands on sustainable workshops this Fall Quarter. The first workshop will be “From Garden to Plate: How to Create a Locally Sourced Feast” on Sunday, November 9th from 11AM-2PM at the Village in the F Quad kitchen. If you are interested in reserving a space for this workshop please contact Kelsey Jones (, PICA's Outreach Coordinator.

PICA Garden Workdays 
The Program in Community and Agroecology (PICA) welcomes all UCSC students to our Saturday Garden Workdays. You can learn how to grow your own food and enjoy fun and a fabulous garden fresh lunch. The PICA Garden Workdays will be held every Saturday from 10am to 2pm, Nov 8th through Dec 6th. For more information, please visit

Students for Organic Solutions 
Check out the SEC's newly updated Students for Organic Solutions website showing all the ways you can get involved in your local food systems, environment, and sustainability movements. This is inclusive of ALL of our wonderful campus resources from college garden work days to Arboretum workshops and faculty lectures. Take care of the land that take's care of you and have fun!

Maui Wowi: Food Systems, Agriculture, and Outdoor Adventure 
Though this is fall quarter registration is open (and will fill) for our annual experiential learning and food system engagement spring break trip. Join us on Maui to explore traditional food and farming sites, explore different aspects of culture, and adventure into bamboo forests, ranch lands, and marine sanctuaries to explore the ecological aspects of the island. This trip will also include a 2 unit ENVS internship in winter quarter to prepare our group for different concepts and frameworks of food system engagement we will explore in March.  Sign up on the OPERS Recreation website this quarter to reserve your spot! 

Lead a Class for ESLP Spring 2014
Imagine being able to share your knowledge and passion with your peers! Guess what, you can do that! Every spring quarter, the Education for Sustainable Living Program offers a wide variety of sustainability-themed courses. In past years, they've held classes on food system, fossil fuel divestment, indigeneity, personal sustainability, bee keeping, and activism. Here's the awesome part: all of these classes were CREATED and LEAD by students like you! Visit the website ( for the facilitator application. Applications due November 12th! 

The General Gathering Series: The Food Movement and How to Eat Your Way To A More Sustainable World 
Want to know how to eat your way to a more sustainable world? Join the Student Environmental Center for the General Gathering Series on Wednesday November 5th at the College 8 Red Room from 5:30-7:30PM. Students and community members are coming together to discuss how the food movement can advance sustainability. There will also be a free vegetarian meal!

The General Gathering Series: Climate Crisis- featuring Fossil Free UC 
Are you interested in discussing the Climate Crisis with your community members? The Student Environmental Center presents the General Gathering Series with Fossil Free UC on Wednesday November 19th at the College 8 Red Room from 5:30-7:30PM. Enjoy a free, delicious vegetarian meal while getting involved with Clilmate Change Movement! 

Energy and Climate Justice Semester 
If you're a student climate champion, divestment activist, or campus sustainability advocate this could be the program for you. The Spring 2015 Semester (late Jan to early May) the Expedition Education Institute will investigate Energy Issues and Climate Justice in the Southwest, traveling from Texas to Arizona. Don’t miss your chance to take a deep dive into learning about and connecting with the crucial energy and climate justice issues of our time, your own relationship to these, and an engaged learning community to support you in your understanding and explorations. The application deadline is November 15th. Please contact EEI at or 207-322-2973

Provost Sustainability Internship
The Provost's Sustainability Internship (PSI) program is in full swing! Students and staff mentors are hard at work doing outreach and planning events. PSI is currently partnered with the Climate Action Team, Take Back the Tap, Common Ground Center, PICA, TAPS, UCSC Purchasing, & the Site Stewardship Program. Please contact if you have suggestions for additional departments to partner with PSI next year!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Sustainability Office Fall Retreat!

This fall, the entire Sustainability Office at UC Santa Cruz gathered for a day packed with knowledge, bonding and geared up for this coming year! The morning started with a delicious breakfast and mingling. The morning quickly launched into action packed seminars led by our fantastic staff: Lacey Raak, Elida Erikson, Chrissy Thomure, and Melissa Ott. The students did many cool and eye-opening interactive activities covering many topics....not just sustainability! 

One activity in particular was called "We See From Behind Our Eyes," where one partner described a picture to the other (who could not see the picture), and the parter who could not see the projected picture, had to draw the picture as it was described from their teammate. Laughter ensued, a but a poignant lesson was learned about working with others in an office setting. Things might make perfect sense to us, but when working with others, you have to make sure that your understanding translates to others. 

We finished with a fun sorting game led by the Zero Waste Team, where students put their knowledge to the test of what is waste versus what is recyclable, in the form of a fast paced relay race. The day was wrapped up with a small trek to a gorgeous wooded area and a team cheer. This year was kick started to a fantastic start. Thanks to all of those who made the retreat possible!

Climate Action: Why It Matters and How to Help

Fossil Free UC (FFUC) is a campaign made up of a coalition of students, faculty, staff, and alumni from the entire UC system, with additional support from partner organizations like the California Student Sustainability Coalition (CSSC) and  The campaign strives to: a) raise awareness on and off campus of the dangers of fossil fuels, b) pressure the UC Regents to vote for a full divestment of the General Endowment Pool, and c) to aid the administration in developing a reinvestment plan that is both adjusted for climate risk and socially responsible, thereby upholding the mission of the university. Visit their website or email to get involved.

The UCSC Carbon Fund committee strives for a sustainable future by working to mitigate Climate Change through funding and participating in projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conduct relevant research, or carry out education and behavioral change programs.  The Committee’s commitment is foremost to the campus and its students, but also to the wider community as Climate Change is a threat without boundaries. Visit their website or email for more information.

PowerSave Campus is a student-driven energy efficiency education program that promotes careers inthe field, generates actual energy savings, increases awareness of the importance of energy efficiency and encourages academic infusion of sustainability concepts. Visit their website or email to learn more.

UCSC Green Labs includes a committee, a certification program and an education & outreach element that implements energy efficiency, waste reduction, and purchasing programs in campus labs through behavior change, physical improvements, and education. Visit their website or email to get involved.

To help out on a more personal level, check out this Carbon Footprint Calculator to keep track of your greenhouse gas emissions!

T-shirts, Get Your T-shirts!

Sustainability Office T-shirts are available for purchase! They feature a gorgeous graphic design of a redwood tree printed onto soft cream colored cotton. The size range is small to large. If you are interested in purchasing a Sustainability Office T-shirt for $23, email Melina Meseroll at or Melissa Ott at