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Vision Sustainability


									November, December 2008                         Vision: Sustainability
Volume 1, Issue 3

Mills Students Can Create (Environmental and Social) Justice
By Katie Johnson, ASMC Sustainability Senator

                                                   To put toxic chemicals into a landfill is to poison    thing as easy as possible for students, faculty
                                                   the drinking water of nearby communities of color      and staff. Our institution is exploring how
                                                   (as was the case at the Dickson County Landfill in     Mills students can get AC Transit passes
                                                   Tennessee).                                            (similar to those of UC Berkeley students) at
                                                   To buy an apple shipped from halfway across the        a dramatically discounted price to reduce the
                                                   world is to needlessly contribute to the displace-     financial barriers in making it easier for Mills
                                                   ment of hundreds of thousands of climate refu-         students to enjoy a socially just lifestyle.
                                                   gees around the world. More locally, that apple’s      A Culture of Positive Change
                                                   journey may contribute to asthma problems for          As environmental problems continue to
Social and Environmental Justice at Mills          children in West Oakland as it is transported          worsen worldwide so will impacts on people
                                                   through the Port of Oakland and a network of           of color, women and children both locally and
Our institution has made a commitment to           freeways that are close in proximity to residential
achieve ecological sustainability: to infuse the r neighborhoods. We, as Mills students, have the         worldwide. We can create a more socially
verbs (reduce, reuse, rot (compost) and recy-                                                             just world through what and how much we
                                                   power and responsibility to choose a lifestyle that    buy, where we put material that is no longer
cle) into the inner workings of our campus,        promotes a new, more equitable path.
decision-making processes and students’ learn-                                                            of use to us (aka trash) and how we get
ing experience. Our campus also commits to         Choosing Equity and Social Justice                     around.
social justice and diversity: embracing different There are countless and relatively painless ways    Mills College is an institution that provides a
perspectives in the form of race, gender and       for members of the Mills community to create       transformative and empowering experience
sexual orientation.                                more social justice in their daily lives; each of us
                                                                                                      to its students. We learn not only about the
Perhaps these seemingly separate tenets are, (as well as our campus operations) can do this           world, but also how our individual abilities
in fact, reiterations of the same idea of equity. through consuming less while also getting what      can create a more livable planet for all peo-
Each commitment is the embodiment of a more we need.                                                  ple. We must use these powerful abilities to
full realization of the other; environmental jus- For example, we can pick up or drop-off clothes, intentionally shape our social and environ-
tice is social justice is sustainability. A world  books, office supplies, shoes and kitchen products mental impacts on campus and, ultimately,
where resources are not scarcer for people of all for free at our campus Re-Use Stuff Depot in        minimize the harm to people who currently
color is one that has not yet been realized.       Reinhardt Hall, C-Wing. It is located below Foun- suffer disproportionately.
I was relatively ignorant of the broader social    ders Dining Hall, in between the Writing Center    For questions or comments, please contact
context of environmental issues until I took Dr.   and Larsen House. The door to the Depot can be
Berman Santana’s class, Race, Gender and the found on the side of the Reinhardt building.
Environment. I learned that environmental prob- It won’t cost you a cent. For what we
lems, such as global warming, affect women,        can’t find at the Re-Use Depot or want
children and people of color disproportionately, to buy new, consider environmentally
therefore, the causes and effects of one is        preferable products (organic, local, mini-
strongly tied to the other.                        mal packaging) to facilitate socially just
To borrow the words of ecofeminist Vandana         products becoming the standard rather
Shiva in Earth Democracy, “Justice and sus-        than a luxury for the few. Socially con-
tainability both demand that we do not use         scious businesses have expanded
more resources than we need. Restraint in          greatly in the last couple of years as a
resource use and living within nature’s limits are result this conscientious consumption.
preconditions for social justice.”                 We need to adapt our campus facilities
                                                   and policies to make doing the right
Page 2                                              Vision: Sustainability                                                   Volume 1, Issue 3

Community Garden Harvest
December Plant of the                                            Gather in the Mills
Month:                                                           Community Garden
                                                                 Come join us this Friday
Vitis californica
                                                                (December 5) for the last
Grape Family: Vitaceae
                                                                Gathering of the semester:
                      Our native California grape offers            9:00 am to 2:00 pm
                      many materials to eat and use. The       If you have an hour to spare,
                      grapes, which are smaller and           come by and do what you can!
                      slightly more tart than a table
                                                                During December, we will be
                      grape, are edible to humans as
                                                               planting and harvesting Winter                          Contact the
                      well as birds! The leafless stems of
                                                              crops. Feeling stressed? Come
                      a Grape Vine can be easily woven                                             Community and Botanical Garden Coordinator
                                                              bundle lavender with pretty yarn
                      into festive wreaths; leaving a deep
                                                             to distribute as part of the Health               Christina McWhorter
                      crimson leaf or two on the stems,
                                                             Collaboration project: stress kits.                          AT
                      adds natural color. When leaves
are green, they can be wrapped and steamed around            We will also celebrate and culti-                     510.430.2230
tasty fillings. Overall, our native grape is a beautiful,    vate the positive community that
                                                              has developed in the garden!           
hardy vine which offers useful and edible delights!

                                     Thank You HMDS, Campus Planning, Bon Appétit and
                                      Earth CORPS for funding the Salmon Rafting Tour!
                                 The rafting tour put us directly in the environment we work to respect, protect and
                                 sustain. Information about spawning and river life allowed me to enhance my
                                 understanding of what is happening in nature everyday, and appreciate the
                                 salmon's life cycle and struggles. The decrease in the number of salmon able to
                                 thrive in our waterways was apparent; this really sank in on our trip down the
                                 Yuba River. -Sophie Leininger
                                 I really enjoyed seeing the Earth CORPS together to witness such a remarkable
                                 act of nature, and something that may not be around for our grandchildren to
                                 enjoy. Seeing other environmental restoration/conservation plans being put into
                                 action gave me a little bit more hope. Thank you! -Gabriela Gebhardt

                                 Witnessing such a massive scale of destruction caused by mining and the result-
                                 ing restoration effort was inspirational to say the least. It was a frightening re-
                                 minder of why we need to fight for the protection of our healthy rivers and the
                                 restoration of waterways that have already suffered from mining. No Pebble
                                 Mine, save wild Alaskan reds! -Sverre LeRoy

What I most enjoyed about the salmon tour was being outside—away from the classroom—learning about the life cycle of the salmon from such a
close perspective. It was saddening to see first-hand the environmental destruction caused by the mining industry, but inspiring to learn of restora-
tion projects and the wide range of organizations and groups (with such varying interests) working together to help the salmon of the Yuba. There
was much I felt I gained from the tour, and lots of thanks to everyone who helped get us there. I would like to go back to the Yuba in future years to
see the fruition of the restoration (especially the habitats for the little frys). Cheerio, Amelia Corbett-Green
Vision: Sustainability                                                   Volume 1, Issue 3                                                        Page 3

Mills Sustainable Design Update
By Karen Fiene, Mills Campus Architect

                                        ciently, maximizes the use of re-      The US Green Building Council          tion/sculptural fountain system and
                                        newable resources including natu-      (USGBC) has set standards for the      a radiant heated floor among other
                                        ral daylight, prevailing winds and     design and construction of LEED        features.
                                        trees, and uses innovation to teach    buildings with ratings that range      The wood in the building is sustain-
                                        the users of the building how to       from Certified to Silver to Gold to    ably harvested and materials are
                                        conserve.                              Platinum, which is the highest pos-    local and from recycled materials.
                                        Most people don’t realize that older sible rating. LEED stands for Lead-      Several interactive display show
                                        buildings like many of Mills’ historic ership in Energy and Environ-          real-time energy use and exhibit
                                        buildings are inherently green.        mental Design. Design criteria are     the history of women’s contribu-
                                        They are built of local materials      considered in several key areas:       tions to science.
                                        and often have thick walls that        Sustainable Site, Water Efficiency,
Mills College has embraced sus-                                                                                       The new Graduate School of Busi-
                                        retain heat in winter and are cool in Energy and Atmosphere, Materials        ness, now in construction adjacent
tainability by signing the Presi-       the summer. Windows can be             and Resources, Indoor Air Quality,
dent’s Climate Commitment in                                                                                          to Orchard Meadow, is slated for a
                                        opened for natural ventilation and and Innovation in the design proc-         Gold Rating. It will have a living
2007. What does this mean from a        views.                                 ess, which often translates into
building standpoint? One of the                                                educational opportunities.             roof and will collect rainwater to
commitments is to build all new         These older buildings are typically                                           flush toilets and irrigate the land-
                                        very well constructed and last for     The newly completed Betty Irene        scaping. It is sited to retain a large
buildings to a LEED Silver rating or
better. What is LEED? What is a         over 100 years as opposed to the Moore Natural Sciences Building              part of the meadow and will be
sustainable building and where are      typical building lifespan of 50 years completed in 2007 was awarded a         planted with drought tolerant na-
                                        today. The only downside is that       Platinum rating. The building per-     tives.
they on campus?                                                                forms 90% better than a standard
                                        most of the older buildings have                                              Stay tuned for more green initia-
A sustainable building is one that is   antiquated heating and electrical      lab building in the area.
constructed of local “green” materi-                                                                                  tives, which will lead the future of
                                        systems.                               There are photovoltaic (solar) pan-    design and planning at Mills Col-
als, uses water and energy effi-                                               els on the roof, a rainwater collec-   lege.

Sustainable Semester Close-Out: Re-Use and Recycle
By Britta Bullard
  "To waste, to destroy our natural     trees, 3 cubic yards of landfill       will be clear plastic bags available   House California helps kids escape
resources, to skin and exhaust the      space, 2 barrels of oil, 7,000 gal-    in which to put your recycling and     life on the dangerous streets, re-
   land instead of using it so as to    lons of water and enough energy to     black plastic bags in which to put     solve their crisis situations, and
 increase its usefulness, will result   power the average American home        items headed for the landfill.         develop goals and skills that ulti-
  in undermining in the days of our     for 5 months. Mills recycles an                                               mately lead toward self-sufficiency
 children the very prosperity which                                            Re-Use beats recycling in that it
                                        average of around 10 tons of mate-     does not take extra energy to re-      and independent living.
we ought by right to hand down to
   them amplified and developed."       rial each December.                    process the material and items can Please put all Reusables and book
     --Theodore Roosevelt, 1907         The greenest way to dispose of         be directed to fellow community      donations in the Better World
Two times per year Mills sees a         items such as paper, metal cans,       members who will use them.           Books boxes to keep them more
large spike in levels of materials      plastics #1-5, glass and cardboard     This December, the Mills Recycling organized, as well as easier and
heading to the landfill: December       is to put them in the blue recycling   Program, Workers of Faith and        safer to handle for staff and stu-
Close-Out and May Move-Out.             bin and then bring them out to the     Earth CORPS are partnering to run dents. There will also be E-Waste
                                        grey recycling bins in the parking     the Reusables Drive. We are di-      (computers, cell phones, batteries)
At the end of the semester, it feels
                                        lot. Please remember to break          recting items to Convenant House. boxes right next to the Better World
wonderful to purge items that are
                                        down boxes, and that styrofoam is                                           Books
no longer needed. Whether they                                                 Since 1988, Covenant House Cali- boxes.
                                        not recyclable.
are clothes that are no longer in                                              fornia has opened its doors to
season or paper assignments you         If convenience is a priority, there    more than 145,000 homeless youth THANK
would rather forget, there is a way                                            who suffer from the trauma of try- YOU for all
of managing your discards in an                                                ing to survive on the streets and of you do!
environmentally friendly fashion.                                              the physical or psychological
Recycling saves resources! Recy-                                               abuse, neglect or high-risk behav-
cling one ton of paper saves 17                                                iors that led them there. Covenant
Page 4                                             Vision: Sustainability                                                    Volume 1, Issue 3

Bioride 2008 fuels up at Mills College
By Brian Harrington
Bioride 2008, a group of friends from Seat-                                                            the following morning with over 30 gallons.
tle road trippin’, filming and blogging in an                                                          The difference between the oils in the Mills
‘85 Chevy Suburban converted to run on                                                                 kitchens and that of a fast food chain was
biodiesel, set out for Mills College in late                                                           startling. Bioride’s ordeal showed that if it’s not
October. Mills was what they hoped to be                                                               good enough for an ‘85 Chevy, it can’t be
the first of many stops to educate people                                                              good for our bodies. It makes one who eats
about the potential of waste vegetable oil                                                             food prepared by Bon Appétit appreciative of
and other alternative fuels.                                                                           the quality oils.
Roughly 100 miles out, they learned a hard                   The oil donated by Jack in the Box.       It was unfortunate that Bioride could not spend
lesson of their own. They had run low on        normal to pass through their cheese-cloth fil-         more time with us, but they made it on to
fuel in the early hours of the morning so       ters. A very cold morning didn’t help any, and         southern California and then to a biofuels
they stopped near Ukiah in search of some       they were held up for nearly 20 hours trying to        conference in Boulder, Colorado. We did
used cooking oil. A Jack In The Box was         clear solidified fuel lines.                           learn that waste vegetable oil is a very feasible
willing and able so they went ahead and                                                                source of fuel and that we have a valuable
filled up with what seemed like useable stuff   By the time they got in, “Doogie” was in desperate
                                                need of some decent fuel in order to get back on       source on campus, albeit a small one.
at the time.
                                                the road and make their next scheduled stop.           Most importantly the conversion kits are easy
Unfortunately, it was hydrogenated and of                                                              and inexpensive. You can check out more of
very poor quality, and it had been warm         Enter Bon Appétit, which uses high quality rice-
                                                based vegetable oil. We were able to top them off      their travels at
when they put it in, allowing more gunk than

                                                     Alfredo Hoyos, Bon Appétit’s Executive Chef, running the used rice-based oil through the fryer’s
                                                                                   filter. It retains a nice color and consistency even after 60 meals.

                 Thanks to Mills for Hosting Local Food Forum
Dear Michael, Maisie, Cary, Dorothy, Preeti,       Some highlights from the event:                    Comments from participants included:
Alfredo and Roselia --                              - Convened 120 family farmers, school lunch       "Great use of practical examples & models.
Thank you for your tremendous support of the       buyers, chefs, policy makers, and procurement      Useful opportunities to learn from other projects
Bay Area Local Food Forum!                         directors to deepen the relationships and move     & to collaborate."
The food, service, and display were excep-         one solid step closer to building our local food   "I'm now going to buy more products directly
tional. Each staff member at Bon Appétit and       systems.                                           from the farmers I met."
Mills College were superbly supportive for          - Had a full day of panels and roundtables        "I learned that it is doable to bring locally grown
every step of the planning and execu-              covering an array of pragmatic topics on best      items to my institution."
tion. Knowing that you all were executing the      practices in local sourcing, food security, and
meals—a key part of the event—once again           policy opportunities.                              "I'm so inspired that I'm going to try to revitalize
allowed us to comfortably focus on ensuring we                                                        the Food Policy Council!"
                                                    - Participants came from the array of institu-
had the right participants, topics and structure   tions including Novato USD, Berkeley USD, UC
to the day. The presentations made by Maisie,                                                         Best,
                                                   Office of the President, Oakland Economic
Preeti and Alfredo added a lot of depth to the                                                        Aliza Wasserman
                                                   Development Office, UC Berkeley, VA Hospital,
conversations about best practices throughout                                                         Farm to Institution Director
                                                   Gabriel Farm, Marin Ag Institute, San Jose City
the day.                                                                                              Growers Collaborative &
                                                   Management, Brentwood Agricultural Land
                                                                                                      Community Alliance with Family Farmers
                                                   Trust, American Farm Land Trust, City of SF
                                                   Dept of the Environment, and dozens more!
Vision: Sustainability                                                    Volume 1, Issue 3                                                          Page 5

            The Institute for Civic Leadership and Earth House
              Leadership Center: Partners in Sustainability
By Michaela Daystar

                                          This year, we are thrilled that        valuable data on our campus’s          Earth House media projects link
                                          many of the Citizen Scholars in        carbon footprint.                      communication, technology and
                                          the 2008–09 cohort are bringing        Hannah’s work on sustainability is social advocacy, and they have
                                          up “Sustainability” in the context     supported through her ICL mentor, recently released the latest publica-
                                          of environmental justice and           Paloma Pavel, Co-founder and           tion in their book series from MIT
                                          stewardship, a thread that flows       Director of the Earth House Lead- Press titled Sustainable Metropoli-
                                          through the work of many of our        ership Center in Oakland. The          tan Communities.
                                          students this year, regardless of      mission of Earth House is to build ICL is fortunate to welcome this
                                          major. Several of them are tak-        healthy, just, and sustainable com- leader in sustainability into our
                                          ing it to the next level.              munities through education, train- family, and we look forward to ex-
Sustainability is a word that is often    Senior Shoshana Perrey has             ing and multi-media communication panding our relationship with Earth
uttered within the Institute for Civic    personalized her college major,        tools.                                 House. Keep an eye out next se-
Leadership: How do we support the         Food Policies, Institutions and                                               mester for ICL/Earth House col-
personal sustainability of our stu-                                              Earth House conducts local, na-
                                          Culture, to reflect her passion for    tional and international projects in a laborations of which you can be a
dents as they build leadership ca-        sustainable food systems. She                                                 part!
pacities and commitments within the                                              variety of print and visual media.
                                          will take this passion abroad          The Center has worked with a se-         For more information on Earth
demands of a social justice frame-        next semester as she re-
work? What tools do they need to                                                 ries of environmental sustainability     House Leadership Center, visit
                                          searches the vanilla bean indus-       groups in the Pacific Rim, including
sustain their health and wellness as      try in Madagascar.
they embark on this difficult work?                                              Cambodia and Japan, as well as in        To learn about ICL, visit
And lately, how can the ICL program       Hannah Peragine, a PLEA ma-            the US, supporting organizations
ensure its own sustainability within      jor, is in the midst of conducting     working on issues of health, justice,
increasingly challenging economic         the first Mills carbon emissions       education, legal services and met-
times?                                    inventory, which will provide          ropolitan development.

Compost: Where Does It Go?
By Britta Bullard
In the past couple of years, there       and with need for hand-turning         ics processes approximately 5,200        mains in the Ag-Bag pod for 60 days
have been great strides made at          the piles, these compost bins can      tons of food scraps per month from       during which time the composting
Mills to prioritize diverting com-       only take vegetative matter such       San Francisco and Oakland and            material is monitored for tempera-
postable materials from the landfill,    as fruits, bread, egg shells, coffee   2,000 tons of yard trimmings per         ture and oxygen levels. These
routing it instead to sites where it     grounds, napkins and plants.           month from Dixon and Vacaville.          measurements ensure that proper
can break down into nutrient-rich      Fortunately, we have our bright          The two feedstocks are fed into an       temperatures have been reached
soil to be used in landscaping and     green bins to hold compost that          industrial sized grinder and mixed       and maintained in order to eradicate
agriculture.                           are serviced by San Francisco            to attain a recipe of physical and       undesirable microbial life. After the
Mills has an on-site composting        based company NorCal. These              chemical characteristics that are        composted material has undergone
system in the Botanic Garden. The bins take to-go boxes, soiled or              ideal for microbial decomposition.       the Ag-Bag process, the compost is
three small, low-tech black bins       waxy cardboard, napkins, spud-           The blended material is mechani-         placed in windrows.
take all vegetative matter. Because ware, bio-bags and all food in-             cally pushed into our adopted com-       “The windrows help age or "cure"
the compost is on site, there are no cluding meat and bones!                    posting system, the Ag-Bag Com-          the compost. During the curing pe-
environmental transportation costs Once the compost leaves cam-                 posting Technology, with an in-          riod, the windrows are moisture
in the form of drilling for oil or the                                          vessel, forced aeration composting       conditioned and agitated with a
                                       pus, it is delivered to a site man-      process. The bagging system fills a
release of carbon dioxide. It also     aged by Jepson Prairie Organics                                                   windrow turner, which acts to reduce
adds nutrients to the soil in the                                               200-foot plastic pod with feedstock      the particle size of the compost ma-
                                       (JPO) in Vacaville.                      while laying out two 4" perforated
Botanic and Community Gardens.                                                                                           terial and reintroduces oxygen into
                                       According to their website,              pipes inside the pod in order to         the pile. …”
There is one drawback to this on-                maintain oxygen levels sufficient
site composting system. To have                                                 for degradation. The material re-        For more details, please visit
the compost break down rapidly,        “Presently, Jepson Prairie Organ-                                       
Mills College-Lion Creek Native Planting Day
By Britta Bullard
                                                     grove of native trees? In 30 years, students will
                                                     be able to return to these two Mills sites and
                                                     admire the trees they planted!
                                                     Natives planted include Big Leaf Maple trees,
                                                     oak trees, buckeye trees, native grass seed,
                                                     California bee plants and toyons among others.
                                                    Volunteers learned the basics of planting a tree
                                                    from Christina McWhorter, Botanic Garden
                                                    Coordinator. She instructed volunteers to dig a
On the morning of November 22, 2008, Mills com- hole three times the depth of the root system. It
munity members gathered around coffee and           is important to make sure the sides of the hole
bagels and kicked off the Mills College-Lion Creek are not slick so that the roots can break through
Native Planting Day. This is the second time this the wall and so water is not funneled along the
semester that community members have volun-         edges of the plant. After filling in the hole, vol-
teered their Saturday morning to restore the        unteers created dirt moats to hold the water
creek. The first Saturday, September 20, 2008,      near the thirsty plants.
volunteers gathered to weed invasive and non-       Coordinators are looking into ways to protect
native plants such as ivy and acacia.               the plants from weeds and animals, including
To follow up restoration efforts at the two cleared mulching and cages.
sites, 48 Mills community members volunteered to Look out next semester for more creek restora-
plant natives. What a better legacy to leave than a tion activities and events!

                                                                                     Earth CORPS and OSA
Sustainability Center                                                                           are hosting
Reinhardt, C-Wing, Room 284                                                      Suzie’s Closet Swap:
5000 MacArthur Boulevard
Oakland, CA, 94613                                                         Mega Free Extravaganza Blowout!
Contact information:                                                                 Wednesday, January 28
Britta Bullard, Sustainability and Recycling Coordinator
510.430.3224                                                                            11:00 am to 1:30 pm
                                                                                       In the Student Union
We’re on the Web!
                                                                   Clean out your closets at home and at your
                                                                        residences at Mills and trade for
                                                                              cool new, old stuff !
Earth CORPS Facebook Group

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