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UVM Campus Sustainability Newsletter
March 2020

As staff members who are concerned with sustainability and resiliency, we are looking for the silver lining and taking notice of what we're learning from our collective response to the current coronavirus crisis. 

Perhaps you've seen the stories about animals or nature "bouncing back" when humans stay home. Yes, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions are temporarily declining but other stories have proven false (drunk elephants) or misleading (Venice canals). Regardless of the story, we have to be careful in communicating the short-term sustainability wins that might come from this tragedy. We care about climate change because we care about humans and want to avoid human suffering, so a global pandemic is not how anyone wants to reach our climate goals.

We already knew about the frailty of our planet. Now we are seeing the frailty and weaknesses of our human-made systems -- the same ones that we'll rely on for addressing climate change. Our hope is that we all may come out of this shared experience with new skills, new ways of thinking, and new tools for being resilient, innovative, adaptable and nimble. As the unknown unfolds, we encourage you all to look for your silver linings and for those learning moments. 

The Board of Trustees’ new Sustainability Work Group has been convened to provide advice to the Board on sustainable investment and divesting the endowment of fossil fuel investments. As part of the process, they are seeking public input. Share your thoughts by 5:00 PM on April 3.


This Student Life award recognizes a student who demonstrates outstanding commitment to the environment. Staff can nominate an undergraduate student whose behavior sets an example and inspires others to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. For details and to nominate a student by April 3, Click Here. 

In her TED Talk, psychologist Renée Lertzman discusses the emotional effects of climate change and how simply acknowledging these emotions in community can help get individuals from a state of anxiety to action. Want to share your experience? Eco-Reps are asking the UVM community to share how they feel about climate change for a Video project. Sign up for a 15-minute interview slot they will conduct via Zoom. Please share widely!
Flushing wipes is causing backups and overflows at wastewater treatment facilities locally and worldwide, creating additional public health risks in the midst of the corona-virus pandemic. Even wipes that are touted as "flushable" or "biodegradable" should not be flushed as demonstrated in this video.  Dispose of wipes in the trash! Same goes for paper towels and tissues as Montpelier has warned. 
UVM is a member of the Climate Leadership Network, making anyone from our campus eligible to apply for $5-10k to support climate action acceleration in the form of project implementation or climate action planning. Apply by April 3!
You might know of UVM Wellness Ambassadors. But did you know there's now a UVM Sustainability Ambassadors program? Here's the 2020 cohort of ambassadors who have stepped up to promote sustainability and serve as resource persons in their respective units.

- grow your knowledge -

Dear Sprout, UVM and others have recommended avoiding public transportation because of the COVID-19 outbreak. What might be a good way for me to get around if I need to without a car?

Yes, it is recommended that you stay home and social distance as much as possible during this time. Refer to UVM's COVID-19 page for the most up to date and accurate information. If you absolutely need to get somewhere you could consider walking or biking. It's well established that walking and cycling, particularly in greenspace, is good for mental and physical health. Further, the Vermont Department of Health recently released a study that shows that transportation is more important to your health than you might think. The study shows that walking and biking for transportation helps meet daily physical activity goals, and they work towards achieving Vermont's Comprehensive Energy Plan goals.

Most importantly, stay safe and healthy!

-Sprout 🌱

PS - Here's where you can get the latest info on the UVM CATS shuttle and Green Mountain Transit buses.
We're working hard with other campus partners to figure out remote programming for Earth Week. Stay tuned. The following events are still happening remotely:
DCEFF Environmental Film Festival | Mar 17-31, various times
Earth Hour | Mar 28, 8:30-9:30pm
Climate Film & Conversation Series | TBD various times, weekly starting 4/1
The Science of Smart Commuting (Conference) | Apr 1, 12-5pm
The Virtual Teach-in on Climate Solutions and Justice | Apr 7, various times
The Impact of UVM Research & Teaching on Sustainability | Apr 22, 9am-4:30pm
UVM Earth Week Keynote: Nalini Nadkarni | Apr 22, 4:30pm
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Office of Sustainability · 12 Colchester Ave · Burlington, VT 05405-1764 · USA

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