Measure Your Carbon Impact

September 9, 2011

Do you prefer chicken or beef? Do you carpool or drive alone to work? “Our choices lead to emissions of greenhouse gases.” says Chris Jones, a researcher with UC Berkeley’s Renewable and Appropriate Energy Lab. He’s co-developed a calculator that measures your carbon footprint and how you stack up against your neighbors, and then offers recommendations on how you can change your behavior to reduce your footprint. Full article and video here.

Courtesy of Arlyn Newcomb.


The Rivanna Solid Waste Authority’s McIntire Recycling facility now accepts plastics #3 – #7. Ever since the recycling bins at Slaughter Recreation Center closed as a result of drop-off overload and unsorted recycling materials – which led to higher costs and workload – UVa Recycling has voiced reminders about their “UVa Generated Materials Only” policy.  No worries, though, because now there is a local venue for recycling all domestic plastics!

One new feature of the Fall 2011 Library computer build is the “Duplex Printing” icon. Any patron who wants to know how to print double-sided only needs to click on the icon to open the instructions. This is a real boon for library patrons as well as desk staff! The Duplex Printing icon appears on all full build Library public Windows computers and Express machines.

In February of 2009, GreenLib sent out an efficient ten-tips-in-one “Green Work Tips” document. While most of the information in that document is still accurate, it’s important to send out reminders, particularly when some of the details are difficult to remember. For example, what’s the difference in power consumption of an “awake” computer versus one in “standby” or “sleep mode” ? The answer awaits in the new and improved Green Work Tips.

Mixed Waste Collection – where garbage and recyclables are commingled and sorted at Mixed Waste Processing center – is on the rise. While the ease and level of participation are two of its greatest assets, it comes at a cost: contamination, which reduces the quality, and usability, of the raw materials. Here’s a more complete cost-benefit analysis for consideration:


  •     100% participation in a recycling program.
  •     Easy for residents.
  •     Achieves minimum threshold of recycling with little effort from community.
  •     Can be efficient system for removing ferrous material from the waste stream.
  •     Waste material can be baled for landfill disposal or shredded for incineration.


  •     Recyclable materials – especially paper – may be contaminated and more difficult to market, or even unusable.
  •     Limited range of recyclable material collected.
  •     Compared to curbside recycling, participants are generally less informed about waste reduction issues and may feel less ownership of a recycling program.
  •     Materials are missed by sorting processes.
  •     Source reduction is not emphasized.
  •     Worker health and safety concerns.
  •     Potential odor problem.

The U.S. Postal Service has released “Go Green, Reduce our Environmental Footprint” stamps! The stamps illustrate a “step by step” guide to going green, including “recycle more,” “turn off lights not in use,” “share rides,” “ride a bike,” “use public transportation,” ”fix water leaks,” “ insulate the home,” “ buy local produce,” and hang clothes out to dry! Above all, these stamps give sustainability advocates another medium in which to champion the cause of reducing our collective environment footprint.

National Bike Week

May 13, 2011

May is National Bike Month and next week is National Bike Week.  Charlottesville has a full week of activities planned many of which are focused around the University.  If you are interested please check out the full list of events at Bike Charlottesville’s website.

I will draw your attention to two events.  The Bike Commuting 101 Lunch hosted by UVA Parking and Transportation on Thursday, May 19th (sign up required, and the Cville Tour de Coop on Saturday, May 21st  (flyer here:  I am an organizer of the chicken coop tour; it is going to be a great time!

Also, Friday the 20th is National Bike to Work Day.  It would be great if members of the staff used this day to start riding bikes to work!

Did you know that the UVA Library supports bicyclists with secure bicycle storage located in the basement of Alderman?

Please feel free to contact me for more information on anything above.


~Chris Gist

League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor, #2719

Emerald Ash Borer

May 13, 2011

You’ve probably seen them popping up on roadsides and, unless you caught the NBC29 story this week, are still wondering what they are. These purple traps are one of many strategies the USDA is using to control and monitor the spread of a newly invasive pest, the emerald ash borer (EAB). The insect has already destroyed significant numbers of American ash trees, and no native species has been found to have any immunity. It has spread over Northern Virginia since 2008 (see below for quarantine area). Ashes are popular landscape trees – there are magnificent specimens all over Grounds – and the EAB poses a serious potential threat.

BUT…the EAB doesn’t move very far on its own, so awareness and care on our part can help contain the problem. The primary ways the bug hitches a ride to new areas are:

  • ash (Fraxinus spp.) nursery stock,
  • non-treated ash lumber,
  • firewood.

I wanted more particulars about moving firewood, so I spoke yesterday with Debbie Miller, horticultural technician with the Albemarle Extension Office. She says we should be safe buying firewood within non-quarantined areas. And if you’re going camping, use firewood gathered or purchased at your destination rather than bringing it with you.

The EAB quarantine area includes the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William & Fauquier, and the independent cities of Alexandria, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park. More information about the quarantine is available here in a PDF.

By the way, there are other emerald-green bugs in our area, so if you see one, don’t panic! (yet.) I had some beautiful Six-Spotted Tiger Beetles in my yard last week and learned that they’re harmless.

I’ve got lots more information about ash borers for the curious – just let me know.


1. Go to the No Impact concert featuring the No BS Brass Band tonight at 6:30 in Campbell 153.

2. Text “Tree” to 85944 to donate $5 to the Green World Campaign and help plant 5 trees. (

3. Get rid of unwanted catalogs and junk mail at

Happy Earth Day to you!

International World Water Day is held annually as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater. This year’s theme, Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge, aims to spotlight and encourage governments, organizations, communities, and individuals to actively engage in addressing the challenges of urban water management. Visit the UN’s official World Water Day website for more information.

Monday, March 28th

South End of the Lawn (in front of Cabell Hall)

10 AM-3 PM