Fall Fest, a fair touting sustainability groups, is Aug. 28

Toby Ault
Robert Barker/Cornell Marketing Group
Toby Ault, lecturing on global warming, shows a slide on thermally imaged heat loss in poorly insulated buildings.
ECO meeting students
Robert Barker/Cornell Marketing Group
ECO members Tishya Rao '18, left, and Samsuda Khem-Nugad '17 explain the benefits of joining green organizations on campus.

If you want to go green, get involved: Tour tables at Fall Fest 2016, an exposition of more than 30 student sustainability groups who are recruiting new members, plus campus laboratories looking for undergraduate researchers. Hosted by the Cornell Environmental Collaborative (ECO), it will be held Sunday, Aug. 28, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Court-Kay-Bauer Quad on North Campus.

“It’s your chance to make a significant impact on campus – and you can have an even larger impact on the world,” said Daniel Szabo ’18, a biological sciences major and ECO member.

Learn about organizations like the Society for Natural Resources Conservation, which conducts composting education; the Dilmun Hill Student Farm, an organic farm that sells its produce three seasons a year; and GreenCatch, whose members teach middle and high school students about sustainable seafood.

To motivate students for the new school year, professors Mike Hoffmann and Toby Ault lectured Aug. 24 at Goldwin Smith Hall on “Climate Change: It’s a HOT Topic at Cornell” – as part of orientation.

Hoffmann, professor of entomology and executive director of the Cornell Institute for Climate Smart Solutions, painted a chilling scenario on global warming.

“Arctic sea ice is retreating more each year, so new and shorter shipping lanes open up. But this also means the marine invasive species in the ship bilge are more likely to survive – another way for invasive species to move around the planet,” he said.

“In the western mountains there are more and more dead trees,” Hoffmann said. “Those are pine trees, as the bark beetle populations have exploded and they are killing vast areas of pine trees. Because of warmer conditions, longer seasons to reproduce and drought which stresses the trees – these bark beetles are in heaven.”

Ault, assistant professor in earth and atmospheric sciences, explained the challenges posed by atmospheric greenhouse gases, which not only are causing global surface temperatures to rise but are also acidifying the oceans.

“We can power hospitals, we can save lives, energy is great – but the way we’re making energy is with fossil fuels, and we’ve got this resource – the atmosphere – into which we are dumping waste carbon dioxide emissions,” Ault said. “The consequences of that atmospheric abuse are rising global temperatures.”

Hoffmann said that at Cornell, addressing climate change is seen as an institutional responsibility.

“Great progress has been made on campus to reduce greenhouse gas emissions thanks to the combined heat and power facility, lake source cooling and energy efficiency programs” he said. “On the academic side, we have incredible capacity, in particular at the nexus of climate change and agriculture …You are fortunate to be at Cornell.”

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