JHU’s Ambitious Sustainability Plan Needs Help from Everyone

leana-houser-guest-bloggerJohns Hopkins University reached a major sustainability milestone March 11 when President Ron Daniels announced a commitment to reduce the University’s carbon footprint by more than half by 2025 – which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 141,000 metric tons a year. That is equivalent to the annual emissions from 26,960 cars or the burning of 736 railroad cars worth of coal! This announcement adds Johns Hopkins to a growing list of colleges and universities, which are taking responsibility to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and leading academia’s charge to reduce the threat of global warming through research, education and action.

This is an incredibly aggressive target and, thankfully, the Johns Hopkins Sustainability Office, along with members of the President’s Task Force on Climate Change – formed in 2007 by former university President William Brody – and countless other folks worked tirelessly to develop the plan to get us there. Read More >

How Much Does U.S. Livestock Production Contribute to Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

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"Livestock’s Long Shadow"

A round of applause for Washington Post reporter Ezra Klein for pointing out last week the undeniable fact that meat production is a major contributor to global warming, and that consumers can make a difference by cutting out their meat consumption just one day a week. How big a difference in greenhouse gases reduction it would make in the United States has long been a topic of debate, and something I’ve wanted to clarify for quite a while. Before I explain why, I want to make it clear that there is more than enough evidence that shows reducing meat consumption nationwide would lead to dramatic improvements in environmental degradation, widespread public and personal health risks, animal welfare and environmental and social justice issues.

First off, I’m pleased to see that mainstream media outlets are finally increasing their coverage of food systems’ effects on climate change. Believe it or not, it’s taken a while for the news gatekeepers to catch on. Last year Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future’s research and policy director Roni Neff published a paper in the journal of Public Health Nutrition that found U.S. newspaper coverage did not reflect the increasingly solid evidence of climate change effects due to current food systems. Read More >