Technology and Agriculture: The challenge of keeping all farmers up-to-date

By Cassandra Oliveira


At the birth of the 20th century, farmers made up about 38% of the U.S. labor force. Now, less than 3% of Americans work in agriculture [1], in part due to global urbanization trends, and in part because of farming’s increased efficiency and specialization.


Oil and the Environment in Azerbaijan

By Donna Chen


Effectively addressing issues of climate change requires a concerted global effort. That is the objective of the upcoming climate talks in Paris: to reach an agreement on climate that involves the full, cooperative participation of all the nations in the world. This goal becomes difficult to achieve, however, when there exists a number of nations whose economic development all rely heavily upon the success of their petroleum reserves. One of these countries is Azerbaijan, whose plans for climate action are complicated by the fact that oil production dominates its small but growing economy.


Life After Death? Repurposing What Remains

By: Colin Parts


The environmental movement in America has expanded rapidly in the past few decades. Greener products and green ideologies have become increasingly more mainstream, and nearly all industries have been impacted by the change. However, the funeral industry had been slower to move towards green practices. While green funeral practices may not be the first thing on most people’s minds, Jae Rhim Lee has been looking for the best way to take care of what remains after a person dies.


Obama Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline: Big Win or Big Politics?

By: Christina Leon


After a contentious and drawn out seven-year process, President Obama has finally announced the rejection of TransCanada’s 1,179-mile pipeline proposal during a Friday press conference at the White House.[4] The project would have authorized the extension of a pipeline network that would have traversed natural habitats through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska carrying 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day from the Canadian oil sands to refineries along the Texas gulf coast.[1] Keystone XL would have further promoted the development of “dirty” oil by leveling the Boreal forests in Canada which releases, on average, about 17 percent more greenhouse gases than conventional crude.[3] The landmark decision is being hailed as a big win for climate change activists who had been rallying for years to terminate the proposal. Advocates were adamant that detrimental environmental consequences twould arise from fostering the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels. The decision was announced in light of the recommendation on behalf of the State Department which concluded that Keystone “would not advance U.S. national interests.” [2]


Doubling Up on Local Foods

By Andrea Clinton


Though much of the food Americans consume is grown and shipped from around the world, locally-grown and sourced food is growing in popularity and demand. According to data published by the USDA, in 2008, 5 billion dollars were spent on local foods, and as of last year, this number more than doubled to 11.7 billion dollars spent annually.[1] In a statement released by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, there has been a 75% increase in farmer’s markets across the nation since 2009.[2]


Paper and Plastic and Metals, Oh My!

By Vivian Tu


As busy UChicago students, we often run from café to café for coffee, snacks, and everything in between. This creates a lot of trash from cups, wrappers, and containers, but I’ve always noticed students here making marked efforts to place all of their waste into the proper bins for disposal. Why wouldn’t we? We’ve been taught since grade school to always recycle our trash to help reduce and reuse, right? Who doesn’t want to protect our planet and reduce our carbon footprint? Well, we might have been getting it wrong this whole time.


Fueling Local Water Pollution: A Visit From Former EAF Member Andrew Stevens


By Caitlin Piccirillo-Stosser


Last Friday, October 23rd, EAF was proud to welcome back one of our founding members, Andrew Stevens. Since receiving his A.B. in Economics and Environmental Studies from UChicago in 2012, Andrew went off to the University of California—Berkeley, where he is currently a PhD Candidate in Agricultural and Resource Economics.  Andrew’s research focuses on agricultural production and environment, and he returned to UChicago to present his most recent research paper, “Fueling Local Water Pollution: Ethanol Refineries, Land Use, and Nitrate Runoff.”


A Home Run for Sustainability

By Claire Pieper

Tonight, the World Series is kicking off between the New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals! The EAF group is incredibly excited to watch the series, which will be played at Citi Field in New York and Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. While the home runs and legacies of both teams are making the headlines, it is also amazing to think about the logistics behind the many green initiatives that go into making the full World Series experience.


2015 Chicago Marathon: Promoting Environmental Sustainability One Step at a Time.

By: May-May Chen


Running is one of the greenest sports on this planet. You can do it anywhere at any time, and, unlike other sports, it doesn’t require any equipment, electricity or gasoline. But when 40,000 runners, 1.7 million spectators, and over 100 volunteer groups converge in the third largest city in the United States to participate in the Chicago Marathon every year, the environmental impact of this seemingly low-carbon sport becomes a completely different story [1]  (more…)

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