Second Nature Team

It’s Not About You: What the Clean Power Plan reminds us about Leadership

September 3, 2015

by Timothy Carter, President, Second Nature

The headlines are bursting with clean energy hope these days. From the Pope’s encyclical to the recent release of the White House’s Clean Power Plan, it seems like each morning brings news of a high level initiative that pushes our energy future into areas unthinkable a decade ago. And can we remember 10 years ago? In August 2005? The Energy Policy Act was signed by then-president George W. Bush. Gold star if you remember the major cornerstones of this legislation… If you guessed ethanol, advanced nuclear reactors, and “clean coal” research, then bingo!

What the Clean Power Plan Means for ACUPCC Signatories: Top 5 Areas of Impact

August 24, 2015

by: Janna Cohen-Rosenthal & Brett Pasinella, Second Nature 

The new White House Clean Power Plan is part of the administration's attempts to address climate change. This plan focuses on the greenhouse gas emissions from power plants around the country. The federal government will set specific reduction targets for each state, it is then up to the state governments to decide how best to meet their individual target. The impact to any individual signatory of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) will have a lot to do with their state's policies and history of existing energy and climate policies. The White House provides  a list of potential impacts for each state, however, some general predictions can be made nationally.

California Campus Sustainability

August 7, 2015

by Steve Muzzy, Senior Manager, Membership Programs, Second Nature

Last month I attended the 14th Annual California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC), hosted by San Francisco State University. This is an impressive gathering and great show of California's strength and leadership in campus sustainability. I attended three terrific sessions focusing on the following topics; net zero energy planning, fossil fuel divestment, and my personal favorite, student engagement and carbon neutrality.

The student engagement focus on carbon neutrality is particularly exciting because it aligns with institutional strategic priorities and collaborates across administrative, faculty, and staff departments, all while being student centered. So who is doing it? The University of California Office of the President (UCOP) has set an aggressive target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025 (Scopes 1 & 2) and has formed a Global Climate Leadership Council, comprised of University of California administrators, faculty, staff, students and outside experts to provide recommendations for eliminating operational GHG emissions by 2025. 

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Inside the White House Clean Power Plan

August 7, 2015

by Anne Waple, Vice-President and Chief Innovation Officer, Second Nature

In this blog over the next few weeks, we will break down what the White House’s finalized Clean Power Plan means for us in higher education, and what it means for the country at large.  

While we, at Second Nature, are not politically partisan and do not engage in political advocacy, we are, of course, supporting leadership in and aggressive action on carbon reduction and also recently on climate resilience. The new White House announcement illustrates that nationally too, aggressive action on climate change is warranted and possible. We fervently support this new announcement and the actions that have been taken over the last several years to get here.

We invite you to view the videos that the White House produced around the announcement as well as their infographic that steps through the impacts, the plan, and the recent progress that has been made nationally. We encourage you take a look at this information, and we will follow up with more details on what it might mean for us in the coming weeks.

5 Reasons Why You Should Watch Second Nature’s Sustainability Sit-Downs

February 6, 2015

By Gabriela Boscio, Program Associate, Second Nature. Reposted with permission from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)

Second Nature started a new video series on January 21, 2015. The series—titled “Sustainability Sit-Downs”—consists of 12 interviews featuring sustainability leaders from various backgrounds. Participants discuss the role of Higher Education in making a sustainable society, as well as current challenges and more.

Here are five reasons why higher education sustainability professionals should watch:

1. Get Diverse Perspectives on Sustainability in Higher Education

Interviewees in this series include people with various roles and titles, such as President, Sustainability Coordinator and Vice-Chancellor, among others. They also represent many types of institutions, including large public university systems, small liberal arts colleges, non-profit organizations, private sector companies and tribal colleges. This wide range of experiences feeds the conversation, helps us learn from each other and puts the issues into a larger context.

Farewell and Thanks to Sarah and Ashka

January 31, 2014
Last week at Second Nature, it was with mixed emotions that we said goodbye to two of our most valued colleagues. We are sad at their departure and at the same time we are thrilled for them as they move onto exciting new opportunities. We wanted to take a moment to highlight their critical contributions to Second Nature over the years, and publicly wish them well!  

The Roots of Love

July 24, 2013

by Gabriela Boscio, Program Associate, Second Nature

“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.”
― Carl Sagan

(This post is part of a series by the Second Nature team about why we do what we do.)

How does love grow? When do you know it has taken root? How can you pinpoint its beginning?

My passion for sustainability is something that’s been growing within me for most of my life, and I am not sure exactly when or why it started. As a child, I loved plants and animals. I loved reading about them and learning about them, and I loved observing nature. I remember thinking in grade school that I wanted to be a scientist when I grew up, because I wanted to keep learning about nature, through exploration and investigation. My family supported and encouraged this love by providing me with copious amounts of nature books, magazines and collectible wildlife fact cards, as well as by spending time with me outdoors, and putting up with my incessant animal-factoid sharing (“Did you know baby cheetahs chirps like birds?”).

Example of a book from my childhood. Joyce Rogers Wolkomir and Richard Wolkomir. 1992.

From the Archives: Second Nature's 1998 Website

July 31, 2012

by Rima Mulla, Communications Manager, Second Nature

Found, in the Second Nature archives, evidence that our organizational website once reflected the critical and pivotal nature of our work:

Vice President Gore on the 1998 Second Nature Website

Vice President Al Gore loved it…in 1998.

Vote daily for Second Nature in the Carrots for a Cause contest.
Multiply your vote by recruiting colleagues and friends to support us.

We really need to bring our website up to 2012 standards. Thank you!

Make Way for Ducklings (And Carrots For A Cause)

July 30, 2012

By Van Du, Program Associate

Ouack, Pack, and Quack show their supports for Second Nature Carrot For A Cause, so should you!

Okay, so it’s not “Make Way for Ducklings and Carrots” in Mr. Robert McCloskey’s story, but Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack, are up to something lately!

Now that they have mastered swimming and diving lessons, Quack, the youngest duckling, informs me that they currently have an even bigger mission to accomplish:HELPING SECOND NATURE WIN A WEBSITE MAKEOVER OPPORTUNITY! Why, you might ask? Because once upon a time, the ducklings woud like to learn more about Second Nature’s Affiliate Membership program, but could not locate the information and got rather discouraged with the current SN website layout, which was designed sometime in the 20th century.  Hrm.  Something’s gotta change…And so, since July 23rd, they have marched to the Boston Public Library everyday and casted their votes for Second Naturein the Carrots For A Cause  contest—a website redesign competition for Massachusetts non-profit organizations, hosted by Boston-based website design firm, Jackrabbit Design.

Where are the Second Nature Carrots for a Cause today?

July 27, 2012

By Ulli Klein, Director of Operations and Communications

We need to update our website! And with that I mean that we probably need to start from scratch. What looked great in the 90s hasn’t changed a whole lot since then. We have invested our attention and staff time into our initiatives and into their respective websites and we are proud of them. Now it’s time to try to help out the Second Nature website in the Carrots for a Cause contest where we are currently in 3rd place to win a website makeover!

Our Carrots for a Cause took a trip to Faneuil Hall today to check in with John Adams and pitch our case to him.

Pitching our case!

I would like to report back that Sam Adams stated he would MOST DEFINITELY vote for us.

So should you!

So please help us by voting daily, bookmarking the voting page and, just as importantly, spreading the word to anyone you think would like to support Second Nature’s mission.

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A Small Deed with Big Impact: Vote for Second Nature

July 19, 2012

by Rima Mulla, Communications Manager, Second Nature

If I had a wishlist of things I’d like to accomplish in my role at Second Nature, an update of the organization’s website would be # 1 on that list. The ACUPCC’s website is in pretty good shape — always room for improvement, of course, but the mission of the initiative is clear and resources for signatories are well-organized and accessible. We even do a pretty good job of keeping information up-to-date onCampus Green Builder, a web portal aimed at under-resourced schools for which the initial funding ended over a year ago.

But when it comes to Second Nature’s website, it’s a classic case of the cobbler’s children having no shoes.

Vote for Second Nature - Carrots for a CauseThat’s why we entered this year’s Carrots for a Cause website redesign contest by local Boston design firm, Jackrabbit(Voting has begun and continues through August 12. Votesmay be cast once a day, every day!)

Higher Education & Slow Living

June 8, 2012

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to participate on a panel at the 2nd Annual Slow Living Summit in Brattleboro, VT.

‘Slow Living’ as described by the organizers; “…is shorthand for taking a more reflective approach to living and work; an approach that is mindful of  impacts on the environment, on Earth, and on communities; and that incorporates resilience —  our ability to “bounce back” from the consequences of climate change, resource depletion and other changes and stresses...“Slow” encodes the transformative change from faster and cheaper to slower and better—where quality, community and the future matter.”

The Summit program was broken into multiple tracks, covering a range of topics including community supported agriculture, media & journalism, sustainable investing & finance, community building, renewable energy, and education to name a few. For a detailed description of the program click here.

Our session was titled, EDUCATION: Sustainability in Higher Education: Leadership by Example? It was moderated by Jerelyn Wilson, Outreach Director at Building Green LLC, and included the following panelist:

2011 ACUPCC Northeast Regional Collaborative Symposium Summary

November 28, 2011

By Sarah Brylinsky, Program Associate, Second Nature

(Download the symposium agenda, or a PDF version of this summary here.)

The first American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment(ACUPCC) Regional Collaborative Symposium – the 2012 Northeast Regional Symposium – took place at Bunker Hill Community College November 3-4, 2011. The Regional Symposiums focus on fostering collaboration among ACUPCC signatories facing similar challenges and opportunities in their geographic regions. This inaugural conference garnered participation from 36 universities in 19 states throughout the Northeast, achieving cross-institutional dialogue, knowledge exchange, and solutions to climate action planning, curriculum reform, and other key issues.

Second Nature Is Hiring

August 22, 2011

As we launch the second phase of our effort to advance the capacity of minority-serving and under-served institutions to commit to sustainability, we're looking for an exceptional individual to come on board as our Program Associate.

Do you know someone whose education and experience fit the bill? Please refer them to the position announcement on our website and have them email us at Applications will be accepted through September 16.

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College Can Make the World Better...

August 5, 2011

by Steve Muzzy, Senior Associate, Second Nature

(This post is part of a weekly series by the Second Nature team about why we do what we do.)

[The following post documents my personal journey with higher education. The experiences and views expressed are solely my own.]

When I graduated from high school my classmates dispersed in one of three directions; entered the work force, joined the military, or enrolled in college. I was indifferent about my future after high school. Most of my decisions at this point were based on what I didn’t want to do, or on what others told me to do.

My thought process went something like this:

Should I enter the work force? I grew up in rural Massachusetts and had been chopping and stacking wood since I was 5 years old. My dad was a self-employed, heavy equipment operator so I was well skilled with a shovel and in jumping in ditches. I’d been washing dishes and doing other odd jobs since I received my drivers license at 16. I knew what the work force looked like for me and it was not what I wanted.

What about the military? I had uncles and neighbors that served or were serving and the prospect of combat did not resonate with me. This option was quickly ruled out.

Enroll in college? The only person in my family to graduate from college was a cousin who I had little contact with. To my knowledge neither my family’s friends, nor neighbors, had any experience with college. My perspective of college was informed by what I heard on the radio, or saw on television – I believed higher education was ‘progressive’ and provided space to explore vast ideas and unlimited experiences. I also believed that college prepared you for ‘professional’ employment.

I Act on Behalf of A Pale Blue Dot

July 29, 2011

by Anne Sjolander, Intern – Advancing Green Building Initiative

(This post is part of a weekly series by the Second Nature team about why we do what we do.)

I act on behalf of A Pale Blue Dot. (Remember this for later)

When I was younger I was always terrible at answering the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

The first time I recall responding to that question was in the 4th grade. At age 9 my school thought it a good time to publish all of our prospective career paths in the year book. I wrote runway model and was greeted by the shrill laughter of my supposed friend sitting next to me. So, not wanting to look like a fool, I panicked and changed my reply to Wheeltor. What, you may be wondering, is a Wheeltor? Well it is a profession derived from a sad attempt to spell Realtor. Needless to say, they did not publish my response.

In high school I decided my future career path would be the anti-career path known as being a nomadic free spirit. Not wanting to disappoint my parents, I decided to complete my college degree before growing dreadlocks and wandering off into a field of sunflowers. So I checked off the undecided major and continued on my path to Boston University.

Once there I attended an array of classes such as archaeology, art history, drawing, world music and yoga classes, but nothing struck me as a topic to dedicate my life to. THEN, I took Astronomy. I didn’t fall in love with the subject, but it provided me with a great sense of perspective. The first week of class I was introduced to the words of Carl Sagan…

In 1990 the Voyager 1 reached the outer limits of our solar system, turned around and took a picture of our planet.

Why wouldn't I?

July 15, 2011

by Adrien Tofighi, Second Nature Intern
(This post is part of a weekly series by the Second Nature team about why we do what we do.)

There is no specific reason for me to help you understand why I am part of this kind of work. Although I could single out a few events, I would be discrediting every little experience that I’ve had throughout my life, each of which has indicated to me that this choice of lifestyle is the only logical one for me.

I could mention my love for always being in nature since I was a child as I grew up on an old farm, harvesting honey from our beehives (which are no longer there), in the middle of Southern France far from urban life and television. Or maybe it was a bit of influence from my father who spent his early doctoral years researching solar energy at the world’s largest solar furnace. What about my mother? She has spent her entire lifetime encouraging positive thoughts, positive comments, positive actions, or as my Zoroastrian ancestors would say “good thoughts, good words, good deeds”.

Yet, this blog has more to do with climate change, so maybe it was the time that I realized deforestation was real, so real that I couldn’t get to work one morning in Haiti as I woke up to a landslide that had devastated many of my neighbors’ homes after one night of heavy rain, and taken the life of several. A landslide of rocks and mud that was more than three miles long and at least 15 feet high, you could even stand on top of it and follow its path up the mountain to the right where the deforestation was clear, and down the mountain to the left, to realize the insignificance of homes and cars when facing the laws of nature. It was, by the way, the fourth one of the year in that neighborhood.

Cranberry Sauce and Jellyfish

June 27, 2011

by Andrea Putman, Director of Corporate Partnerships

(This post is part of a weekly series by the Second Nature team about why we do what we do.)

In the 4th grade, I decided what I wanted to be when I grew up. A garbage woman and an author! Although I lived in a small, pristine town on the north shore of Long Island with very little mess, I abhorred the thought of litter. I envisioned a fruitful and happy vocation writing stories about my adventures while picking up stray cans and pieces of newspaper in the ‘hood.

One Thanksgiving, there was no cranberry sauce. The bogs were polluted in far-away Massachusetts. Although I wasn’t crazy about cranberry sauce, I was deeply bothered. It didn’t seem like how the world should operate and I learned that the distress in other places impacted what was on my plate. As the baby of the family with 3 hungry big brothers, 2 stepbrothers, and a sister, I was definitely concerned with the quantity of food on my plate.

We spent our joyous summers at Lattingtown Beach with our friends and neighbors swimming, laughing, playing backgammon and bocce ball, and throwing jellyfish at eachother. My innocence was shattered when the ominous and destructive red tide* hit the Long Island beaches in the 1970s. Beaches were shut down! No swimming! At this point, I knew in the depths of my soul that pollution was serious and impacted whether I could cool off and splash around or alternatively roast in the sun.


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