The good news is that the college’s print shop is reducing the number of impressions it makes. The bad news is that copiers across campus are producing increasing numbers of copies. Three million copies made in the last year. For those who indulge in such things, that’s about 520 miles of paper sheets or about 1200 sheets of paper for each full-time student. According to the formula developed by a graduate student at the University of Maine <www.conservatree.com/learn/EnviroIssues/TreeStats.shtml>, Centralia College uses about 360 trees, just for the standard white 20-lb. bond paper. Compared to the good old days, when few people cared about trees, that probably isn’t too bad.
Unless you’re a tree.
The La Nina climate event, widely seen as a factor causing floods in Australia that have killed at least 19 people, is a natural cooling of the Pacific that mirrors El Nino. Nasty. Next year comes a predicted El Nino, which is a warming of Pacific Ocean and with it the opportunity to sell your snow tires and buy a boat to prepare for the floods. Next year is predicted by some to post the warmest year-round temperatures in recorded history. But that only goes back about 200 years.
It will also rekindle the rhetoric surrounding climate change. I suspect that will continue until we all burn up for freeze to death.
It looks like Martin Luther King day won’t work for the college’s tree planting project. Sources close to the root of the issue say the next best alternative will be to choose a Saturday, either late Jan. or early Feb. The planting could take place in March but after that the baby trees will have a lower survival rate. Not enough moisture. In Western Washington?
Many have been shocked to find recent huge jumps in electric charges. For some it’s the pain at the heat pump or an electric charlie horse that won’t go away. It might be said we work for the taxman and the utility company, both can appear as sinister agencies. I think it’s difficult for either of them to understand our pain. I’ll bet Centralia College spends some big bucks on keeping the lights on but now it is doing something about it. The college is planning an energy audit, a close look at how it might save some money by closing windows, turning off lights, and keeping the heat down where possible. An audit certainly makes sense given the quality of the Energy Technology program at the college. Overdue might be a better word.
The threat of a $4 per gallon gas monster galloping in during the coming year has been on the news of late. The early warning seems to me to be the license to make sure it happens. The good news for many of us is the help the college offers as a way to deal with the gas price increase. For starters, Centralia College offers bus passes free to enrolled students. This pass can get you on a bus going anywhere the busses run and that takes in a lot of territory. Check with the help desk in the Student Center Bldg. for details and bus maps. It will increasingly become the sign of brilliance or perhaps desperation when you take the bus. It will certainly provide some small measure of assistance to the environment.
You all know about the plans for volunteers to plant trees on MLK day in January, right? Well, Centralia College students have already engaged in planting trees, which can be used to reduce the college’s carbon footprint. Everyone knows trees absorb carbon dioxide but that may or may not make a real difference in global warming. It’s probable that adding more trees to capture carbon dioxide can’t hurt. Anyway, a tip of the hat to the students who are doing it. You can read about the planting effort at the college’s blue@gold Web site: <http://www.ccbluegold.com/centralia-s-stream-team-gives-trees-a-new-chance-1.2420731>.
I wonder what the offset cost is for using cut Christmas trees rather than artificial ones.
Centralia College, bless its pea-pickin’ gas-savin’ heart, loves sustainability. To prove it is serious about sustainability, the college provides bus passes to enrolled students. And the passes are free. You don’t pay for them (the college does). Now you can ride to school, home again, to the store, do your shopping, go anywhere the busses go and you can do it without paying. So go ahead, enroll, get the free pass for the quarter and park your car while you glide past gas stations that brag about $3+/gallon fuel. If nobody at the college asks you if you want a free ride, be sure to ask.
Chalk one up for the dinosaurs.