Archive for March, 2012

Oh! Dam! (on the Olentangy)

The Fifth Avenue Dam is slated for removal in the fall of 2012. The City of Columbus has received approval and proper funding to go ahead with this massive undertaking. With the removal of the dam, two miles of the Olentangy River will be restored along The Ohio State University’s Columbus campus. The goal of the restoration is to rejuvenate areas of the river that have become unhealthy and increase the riparian habitat that shelters the river. Education will be the major hurdle that the University must overcome to get the full support of the students and community. Many people use the Greenway bike path that parallels the River and many students cross the River going to and from classes. Educating people about the restoration project ...    Read More »

Green horizons at Ohio State

As  Ohio State  moves toward more sustainable practices, green roofs can be one way to achieve this. A green roof is also known as a rooftop garden, and is a vegetative layer grown on a rooftop. Green roofs can provide numerous benefits both environmentally and economically that can help the city of Columbus decrease its overall impact on the surrounding environment. Benefits include a reduction the Urban Heat Island Effect, improved air quality, decreased stormwater runoff, and decreased energy use. The addition of a green roof will also significantly increase roof lifespan and decrease utility bills. Although a green roof is in the planning stages for Howlett Hall, Ohio State remains the only Big Ten University that does not have a s...    Read More »

Emphasizing Ohio State’s interest for increased bike ridership on campus

Through the One Ohio State Framework Plan, Ohio State has stated heavy interests in sustainability and developing a pedestrian-friendly campus. This entails institutional and cultural changes throughout Ohio State’s campus. Ohio State is already developing incentives to encourage bike ridership on campus. Our group in ENR 567 believes the university can still do more. The Framework plan already has institutional changes that will occur in order to increase bike ridership on campus. This includes policies like moving surface parking to west campus and installing sharrows (shared lanes) to help bike riders feel safe on campus roads. Our group has developed suggestions that would expedite the cultural shift towards bike ridership on campu...    Read More »

Buckeyes advance in a second March Madness

Ohio State is moving ahead in more than one kind of March Madness. The School of Environment and Natural Resources has advanced to the “Environmental 8” in a first-ever national tournament for excellence in environmental studies. Details here and here. The “Final 4” are announced this Friday.

Fill up on gas from garbage … at $2.25 a gallon?

OARDC, the research arm of our college based in northeast Ohio, is converting four of its vehicles to run on natural gas — but not just any natural gas. Gas produced locally from renewable, plentiful organic waste, such as chicken fat, rotten tomatoes, and the byproducts of making potato chips. Even better, the fuel costs only about two-thirds as much as gasoline and, when burned, emits about a third less greenhouse gas. Read more. (K.D. Chamberlain image.)

 

Testing if microbes can treat fracking waste

Can the microbes in fracking wastewater actually be put to use treating that wastewater? Angela Hartsock of the National Energy Technology Lab discusses her work this Friday (March 30). Her talk: “Microbes in Water Used for Hydraulic Fracturing of Deep Shale for Natural Gas Extraction.” It’s a free public seminar sponsored by the Environmental Science Graduate Program. 244 Kottman Hall, 2120 Fyffe Road, on our Columbus campus. Video link to 121 Fisher Auditorium, 1680 Madison Ave., at OARDC in Wooster. Info: 614-292-9762.

Make our own rubber from THESE?

Sustainable, U.S.-grown rubber may soon hit the road, and research done by our college is key. “Ohio is the rubber capital of the world,” says OARDC scientist Katrina Cornish, “and we intend to keep it that way.” Check out the video (1:45). (K.D. Chamberlain image.)

How fungi genes may help us make ethanol

Fungal diseases such as Stagonospora nodorum and Magnaporthe oryzae cause significant losses to wheat and rice crops throughout the world. Now a scientist with OARDC (the research arm of our college) is trying to use these bad fungi for good—taking some of their genes to breed bioenergy crops that could make ethanol production cheaper and more efficient. Read more …

What to do with that shoebox full of old batteries

Details on what you can recycle next month at our Wooster Campus Scarlet, Gray, and Green Fair. Recycling is just one part of sustainability, but how important of a part is it? “Far more important than people are inclined to believe,” says the University of Missouri’s John Ikerd, author of Sustainable Capitalism: A Matter of Common Sense. “We recycle for sustainability because we realize it is not a sacrifice to care about other people or to care about the earth, because these things make our lives better.”

Taking center ice

More about scientist Paolo Gabrielli, keynote speaker at the Wooster Campus Scarlet, Gray, and Green Fair, now less than one month away. His talk: “Ice Cores and the Human Fingerprint.” He’s done field work in, among other places, the Alps, Peru, and Antarctica.