UI implements more composting efforts

Compost pile. Photo by bunchofpants, Flickr.

The University of Iowa has implemented composting techniques at many locations around the campus.

Both the UI Hillcrest Marketplace and the UI Hospitals and Clinics have food pulpers, which grind food waste into a pulp that’s easily converted into compost.

UI’s Burge Marketplace and Iowa Memorial Union also participate in composting.

In addition to creating something productive out of waste, composting also saves the UI money. For instance, using a food pulper instead of a garbage disposal at the Hillcrest Marketplace will save $25,000 a year because of the lowered water use.

Read more about other composting efforts around Iowa City in the Daily Iowan’s article here.

Invest in solar energy to jumpstart Iowa’s economy

This letter, written by Sen. Joe Bolkcom – D, Iowa City, was also published in the February 24 edition of The Daily Iowan. Bolkcom, who is also the outreach and community education director for CGRER, is the sponsor of SF 99 – a bill that would incentivize solar energy use.

Imagine a readily available source of energy that could produce electricity for our homes and businesses, right where we live and work.

Solar energy could be the next new engine of job creation for Iowans, provided we seize the opportunities in front of us.

Iowa has become a world leader in biofuels and the big wind industry. This

Joe Bolkcom

is thanks to great natural resources (Sun, soils and wind) and smart state policies — and let’s not forget taxpayers, who have provided plenty of help in the form of public subsidies. Over the last decade, taxpayers have invested billions in these industries.

This investment has paid off by creating new jobs and new markets for Iowa products. Continue reading

$10 Million goes to flood prevention

Monday was a fine day for enemies of sogginess.

From the Iowa City Press-Citizen:

Since floods ravaged Iowa in 2008, more than half a billion dollars has been spent to prevent that kind of widespread destruction from happening again.

However, Rebuild Iowa Executive Director Lt. Gen. Ron Dardis said the state still has a long way to go before it can be safe from future flooding.

“We are still clearly in the first phase of the recovery,” Dardis said.

On Monday, Dardis, Iowa Department of Natural Resources Water Policy director Bill Ehm, State Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, and University of Iowa IIHR director Larry Weber announced a series of initiatives that will move Iowans closer to protecting themselves the next time flooding strikes the state.

About $10 million in Community Development Block Grant funds will go toward three projects designed to better understand Iowa’s watersheds and floodplains, promote collaboration between government entities within watersheds and educate the public about watersheds and flood mitigation efforts.

The $10 million is a portion of the $84.1 million awarded to Iowa from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Disaster Recovery Enhancement Fund. A total of $312 million went to 13 states, with Iowa getting the largest cut.

“The impact of these activities is sure to improve Iowa’s future,” Weber said….

For more coverage, check out:
The Daily Iowan

Spotlight on Craig Just and sustainability

Check out this Daily Iowan profile on UI Professor Craig Just and his focus on sustainability:

Craig Just

Craig Just has not only raised awareness about sustainability in Iowa City, he’s also reached the small villages of Ghana.

Just, a University of Iowa associate research scientist and coordinator of sustainability in the College of Engineering, has pictures displayed around his office of his previous trips to the African country, where he’s helped fight polluted water.

This semester, Just is teaching Introduction to Sustainability and Engineers for a Sustainable World. He also works with UI Facilities Management and focuses on river and water-quality research — an issue, he said, he’s been interested in since he was a young boy.

“Well, I went fishing as a kid and always thought the water was clean,” Just said. “It just brought me to that.”…