Ribbon Cutting, Sustainability Festival On Tap For MCCC Earth Day 2016‏

Blue Bell/Pottstown, Pa.—Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) will join communities across the world in celebrating Earth Day 2016 with a series of activities that engage students, faculty and community members with the institution’s sustainability efforts.

MCCC’s celebration kicks off on Monday, April 18 with the grand opening of the college’s Sustainability and Innovation Hub, located 140 College Drive in Pottstown. The opening marks the completion of the multiphase Riverfront Academic and Heritage Center project, which transformed a former energy substation and three-acre Brownfield site into a state-of-the-art center for STEM education, conservation and recreation.   A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m., followed by tours of the Sustainability and Innovation Hub, as well as tours of the Schuylkill River Heritage Area’s Interpretative Center.

Prior to ceremony, MCCC’s West Campus will host a Sustainability Fair in its South Hall, 101 College Drive, from noon-1 p.m. The fair will highlight many of the College’s green practices and STEM-related academic programming.

MCCC’s observation of Earth Day continues on Wednesday, April 20 at noon with a Sustainability Festival in the Advanced Technology Center at the Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell. The festival will feature sustainable student and College exhibits, as well as information and activities from green vendors and community organizations. Assistant Professor of Biology Jerry Coleman will also offer a walking tour of a proposed trail route that will pass through MCCC’s Central Campus, weather permitting.

Following the Sustainability Festival on Wednesday, April 20, MCCC’s Student Environmental Sustainability Club will host a discussion with Montgomery County Recycling Coordinator Veronica Harris in Science Center room 308 from 2-3 p.m.

During Earth Day events at both campuses, MCCC’s Ceramics Club, in collaboration with the Inter-Faith Housing Alliance in Ambler, will be selling handmade bowls as part of its Empty Bowls Project—an international grassroots effort to raise awareness in the fight to end hunger. Individuals who purchase a bowl—or who bring their own bowl—can receive a 25-cent discount off the purchase of soup in MCCC’s cafeterias.

Since signing the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, sustainability has become a core value at Montgomery County Community College and is incorporated into the institution’s strategic plan, core curriculum, and in everyday best practices as they relate to facilities management, campus operations and transportation. A team of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members comprise the Climate Commitment Advisory Council, which guides MCCC’s sustainability efforts toward attaining carbon neutrality by 2050.

MCCC Earns Communities In Motion Star Award For Green Office Initiative

PHOTO: Communities in Motion CEO Rob Henry (far left) and COO Maureen Farrell (far right) present members of Montgomery County Community College’s Climate Commitment Advisory Council with a 2015 Star Award. Accepting the award on behalf of MCCC are (from left) Peggy Lee-Clark, executive director of government relations and special, projects; Alana Mauger, director of communications; and Joshua Eckenrode, instructional designer. Photo courtesy of Communities in Motion.

PHOTO: Communities in Motion CEO Rob Henry (far left) and COO Maureen Farrell (far right) present members of Montgomery County Community College’s Climate Commitment Advisory Council with a 2015 Star Award. Accepting the award on behalf of MCCC are (from left) Peggy Lee-Clark, executive director of government relations and special, projects; Alana Mauger, director of communications; and Joshua Eckenrode, instructional designer. Photo courtesy of Communities in Motion.

King of Prussia, Pa.— Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) earned a Star Award for its Green Office Initiative from Communities in Motion, a Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVF) foundation, on Dec. 7 in King of Prussia. The foundation presented a total of 32 Star Awards during its second annual ceremony, given in recognition of projects, plans and people who demonstrate leadership in sustainability planning and implementation.

MCCC introduced its Green Office Initiative in 2012 to promote sustainable purchasing and practices in the workplace. Through careful implementation and employment of internal marketing and promotion efforts, the initiative grew from just four offices in its pilot semester to 11 participating areas in fall 2015. In addition to having a positive impact on the environment through the purchase and use of recycled and sustainable materials, the initiative also reduces costs, saving MCCC an estimated $50,000 to date

The Green Office Initiative incorporates mentoring as part of a continual review process to help offices meet each standard of the four-tier system. Mentors work with their designated areas to educate and improve on best green practices. Students also play an integral role. For example, MCCC’s student Environmental Club is working with interested faculty and Green Office participants on a program that pilots the use of refillable dry-erase markers.

This year’s Star Award is the latest honor for MCCC’s Green Office Initiative. The College previously received a “Green Spend Award” for “Highest Increase in Green Purchases” from the Philadelphia Collegiate Cooperative, and Office Depot’s national “Corporate Green Award.”

In planning for the next five years of sustainability work, MCCC hopes to build on the success of its Green Office Initiative to introduce a Green Classroom certification program.

MCCC is a charter signatory of both the 2007 American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment and the recent White House American Campuses Act On Climate Pledge. As a result of its efforts, MCCC is a two-time recipient of Second Nature’s national Climate Leadership Award.

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.

Read more:


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 http://www.psr.org.

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: http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi/landsat.pl (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.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nation_world/Loss_of_Tropical_Coral_Reefs_May_Be_1st_Irreversible_Climate_Consequence.html#FGL2gFlgtb5lKOZc.99

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.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/environment/2013/12/20/State-climate-plan-recommendations-released/stories/201312200062#ixzz2o2UTDBS7

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.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/Sea_levels_to_swamp_many_NJ_towns.html#CCBF7Yr8GmBlByYB.99

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.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/state/saving-the-nations-green-giants-tall-lush-trees-698912/#ixzz2biJprHeM

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.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/us/2012-was-hottest-year-ever-in-us-669515/#ixzz2HR9fxKLW

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…..read the entire article at: