Read the Book First
21 March 2012
Lily Tuck: How to learn through writing
10 April 2012

Marilyn Waite on Earth Day

Marilyn Waite has worked, studied and researched in over eight countries across four continents. She has implemented water and sanitation projects in rural Madagascar, led task forces to decrease reagent use in the spent fuel recycling process, as well as authored numerous publications in sustainable engineering topics (textile engineering, energy, and water). Marilyn currently resides in Europe, where she is focusing on low carbon energy as a source for climate change mitigation.

In her book, Sustainable Water Resources in the Built Environment, Marilyn Waite discusses the importance of decentralized water collection and savings mechanisms in sustainable construction. She explores these issues with a particular focus on developing countries and how they can benefit from sustainable water practices. Marilyn will present her book as a part of the Library’s Evenings With an Author series on Wednesday, April 11 at 19h30.


As we approach Earth Day on April 22, 2012, many individuals and organizations will partake in hands-on activities to raise environmental awareness. Planting trees, cleaning up rivers, and participating in walks for the environment are all traditionally active ways that can make a difference in communities. But in the information technology age, there are a plethora of tools that help us do even more. We use social and professional online media to pledge “green” acts of kindness, to microfinance sustainable start-ups in local and far-away places, to analyze our water, carbon and ecological footprints, to make eco-friendly consumption decisions, and to nurture new ideas for the planet using virtual communities. The advent of online networks has enabled people to rally around noteworthy issues, share information in order to have a complete picture of a problem, and feel connected despite location differences.

There are many environmental causes that one can “follow,” “friend,” “tweet” or “like” on virtual platforms. Some are open to the general public while others may be associated with alumni groups or institutional affiliations. I recently became a member of a newly-implemented network called ELEEP (Emerging Leaders in Environmental and Energy Policy Network). ELEEP is a transatlantic best practices network that brings together people from a wide range of professional backgrounds to exchange ideas on energy and the environment. The network takes place in a private and customized online forum where one can engage in discussions and share information with pre-vetted peers. What is unique about this network is its ability to tie together virtual and in-person activities. Based on a merit-based system of active participation in the network, members are able to participate in study tours. These tours have included analyzing the transformation of the post-industrial cities of Pittsburgh and Detroit, to transforming the energy economy in Denmark and Northern Germany.

For Earth Day 2012, in addition to our normal eco-activities, let us scan our use of information technology to see how we can benefit the planet through its use. Some may send out e-mails for energy and water saving pledges. Some may shop for eco-friendly products. Some may offset the carbon emissions of their next flight. Some may share an innovative idea for sustainability with their networks. Some may step out of the virtual world to put into practice an eco-idea (like capturing heat produced from computers for heating and cooling).

Happy Earth Day.

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