MCCC Signs White House ‘American Campuses Act On Climate Pledge’‏

American Campuses Act on Climate - November 19, 2015Blue Bell/Pottstown, PA —Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) reinforced its commitment to sustainability on Nov. 19 by signing the White House’s American Campuses Act On Climate Pledge.

According to the White House, 218 colleges and universities representing 3.3 million students across the country have signed the pledge to demonstrate their support for strong climate action by world leaders in advance of next month’s international Conference on Climate Change in Paris, France.

Participating institutions were asked to submit three pledges outlining steps they will take to lower carbon emissions. For MCCC, the pledges build on the eight years of sustainability efforts taken as a charter signatory of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

In signing the new American Campuses Act On Climate Pledge, MCCC commits to:

* Build on the success of MCCC’s Green Office Initiative to pilot a Green Classroom program in collaboration with faculty and the student Environmental Club. In the Green Office Initiative, departments voluntarily progress through a four-tier program that evaluates and rewards their sustainable office practices and purchasing. A parallel program for classrooms would award certification to individual faculty and divisions who engage in green practices and activities, such as using refillable dry erase markers and going paperless.

* Support MCCC faculty in their exploration of open-source and online instructional materials. The incorporation of such materials may reduce the amount of paper used in classrooms, thereby reducing the institution’s carbon footprint. These materials could also save students money, which reinforces MCCC’s student success and financial literacy efforts.

* Promote local sustainability industries within Montgomery County to MCCC students and the community at large by facilitating job fairs, presentations and guest lecture opportunities for companies that employ sustainable practices.

The latest White House pledge for colleges and universities builds on last month’s American Businesses Act on Climate Pledge, which was signed by 81 companies from across the United States. Additionally, more than 150 countries representing approximately 90 percent of all global emissions have offered climate pledges to date.

For additional information or to share your support, join the conversation using the #ActOnClimate hashtag on social media.

Pollinating Problem: Disappearing Bees Could Have Devastating Effects

Jeff Koch, a biology teacher at Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences, starting keeping bees two years ago as a hobby because he is very interested in farming.

At the time, he never considered that his activity might be impacting a worldwide problem, as well as one local gardeners are also reporting — the disappearance of bees.

“Bees pollinate 80 percent of our crops,” Koch said, adding that some crops, like almonds, are pollinated only by them.

Koch’s own experience with bees illustrates one of the problems believed to be affecting the pollinators: colony collapse disorder.

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CANCELLED – MCCC Hosts Physicians For Social Responsibility Program On Fracking

Blue Bell, PA— Far from the Marcellus Shale fields of southwestern and northeastern Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia region has largely escaped some of the direct impacts from the exploration, drilling, transportation and waste handling from natural gas operations—commonly referred to as fracking. However, a proposal of an energy hub in Philadelphia and new pipelines headed to the region may bring it closer to home.

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Philadelphia will hold a program at Montgomery County Community College on March 11 at 7 p.m. to review the different operations of fracking, the risks of harm to health, and the exponentially higher releases of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. The program, which is free of change and open to the public, will be held in MCCC’s Science Center Theater, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

PSR is a public health, non-profit organization that provides education, training and direct services and advocacy on issues that threaten health and that medicine cannot cure. Andrea Thomas, MCCC alumna and current graduate student in Arcadia University’s Public Health and Medical Science program and PSR intern, will help participants gain a clear understanding of the ways fracking operations can impact health and the environment.

The program is sponsored by MCCC’s Division of Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in collaboration with MCCC Diversity Faculty Fellow Natasha Patterson. For information, call 215-641-6445. To learn more about Physicians for Social Responsibility, visit

Highest-Ever CO2 Levels Killing Coral Reefs

This image depicts all of the areas that the M...

This image depicts all of the areas that the Millenium Coral Reef Landsat Archive covers. Red dots indicate coral reef data at the website: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many people are by now familiar with the Keeling curve, a graph showing the steady increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere measured over decades by the Mauna Loa Observatory, the world’s longest-running CO2 monitoring station.

The research, started by renowned climate scientist Dave Keeling in 1958, is considered one of the pillars of the scientific consensus that human activity is the main driver of climate change. This year, the data revealed a troubling milestone: CO2 concentrations had passed 400 parts per million for the first time since the dawn of human civilization.

Less familiar, but every bit as troubling to climate scientists, is a parallel slope on a different track of climate data: the increase of CO2 in the world’s oceans, which has been climbing almost in lockstep with the Keeling curve. The rising carbon level is cranking up ocean acidity with astonishing speed—probably 10 times faster than at any point in about 50 million years, according to scientists.

Among other concerns, scientists are now increasingly worried that the acidification of the oceans is likely to cause one of the first abrupt, severe and probably irreversible consequences of global climate change: the loss of tropical coral reefs.


Pennsylvania Climate Plan, Recommendations Released

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pennsylvania’s climate action plan arrived just in time for Christmas, but it’s already a year late.

The draft document — an update of a 2009 plan to decrease greenhouse gas emissions in the state — comes out of the Department of Environmental Protection. It’s based on workplans recommended by a 15-person committee representing industry, government and nonprofits.

The legislation that required this report said the update should have been issued at the end of 2012.

The latest climate action plan proposes expanding natural gas distribution pipelines to give more Pennsylvanians access to the fuel. It also advocates encouraging operators of coal mines to capture some of the methane vented into the air before, during, or after mining activity.

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Underwater Destiny For Many N.J. Towns?

Picture 048New Jersey may have been stronger than the storm, but the sea will prove stronger in the long run, scientists fear.

Dozens of its towns – including such familiar places as Atlantic City, Hoboken, Beach Haven and Wildwood — may already be doomed to partly flooded futures.

Some neighborhoods are already precariously close to sea level, as evidenced by projects that have committed more than a billion dollars to replenish Jersey beaches and protect them over several decades. Even climate-change skeptics acknowledge that sea levels have been slowly rising.

“It’s rare that you’ll find someone to say that sea level isn’t rising,” said Jon Miller, a professor of coastal engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. “That’s hard to refute.”


Saving The Nation’s Green Giants: Tall, Lush Trees

Walking under his giant white oak tree on his Washington County farm, Paul Karpan appears calm, even meditative, with spirits high.  In his 90 years, he’s spent many inspired hours with the green monster.

“This is a landmark on this farm — something you can kind of be proud of,” he said.

The mighty oak, which likely took root in the nation’s earliest decades, provided shade for his beef cows, a site for picnics and a target for a few bolts of lightning, all while serving as an environmental steward of his 51-year-old Blaine Township farm.  Hug this tree and your arms barely bend.

Mr. Karpan keeps an eye on the old oak to assure it’s still standing because he knows that “every big tree has to die off.”

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2012 Was Hottest Year Ever In U.S.

WASHINGTON – America set an off-the-charts heat record in 2012.

A brutal combination of a widespread drought and a mostly absent winter pushed the average annual U.S. temperature last year up to 55.32 degrees Fahrenheit, the government announced Tuesday.  That’s a full degree warmer than the old record set in 1998.

Breaking temperature records by an entire degree is unprecedented, scientists say.  Normally, records are broken by a tenth of a degree or so.

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2010 Hottest Year On Record?

Each of the 10 warmest average global temperatures recorded since 1880 have occurred in the last fifteen years. The warmest year-to-date on record, through June, was 1998, and 2010 is warmer so far (note: although 1998 was the warmest year through June, a late-year warm surge in 2005 made that year the warmest total year). Analysis by the National Climatic Data Center reveals that June of 2010 was the warmest global average for that month on record, and is also the warmest year-to-date from January to June… the entire article at: