Great to see: @BrownUniversity board to hear @BrownDivestCoal student argument 5/23. Beyond the specifics of coal shares, this is a super opportunity to engage on the broader meanings of “endowment” and “fiduciary responsibility.”
Here’s the students’ news release: Late last week members of the Brown Divest Coal campaign were invited to attend the Brown University Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday May 23rd to discuss coal divestment. In March, the endowment oversight committee recommended the Board of Trustees divest the University’s endowment from the country’s 15 largest coal companies. President Christina Paxson herself has acknowledged that students attending and presenting at a Corporation meeting is “unprecedented”. Brown Divest Coal members Ryan Green ‘16 and Emily Kirkland ‘13 will be attending the meeting.
“It is such a rare opportunity for students to speak directly with the corporation, and we think it will be a great chance for us to answer any concerns they may have about divestment. Now is the time for Brown to be a leader in environmental and social responsibility, and this meeting will hopefully bring us one step closer.” said Ryan Green ‘16.
Students will answer questions about coal divestment as members of a panel, joining climate change experts and senior faculty. Afterwards, the board members will discuss divestment, and will potentially vote on divestment at their meeting the following day. This is the first Ivy League divestment campaign in which students have been invited to present to the full governing body of the University. Since September, over 3000 undergraduates, alumni and faculty members have signed the petition urging Brown University to divest from the 15 largest coal companies.
“It is really exciting that the University is seriously discussing coal divestment after a full year of rallies, presentations, teachins, meetings, radio interviews, petitioning, dorm storms, emails, fact sheets, and conversations” said Rachel Bishop ‘13.
The Brown Divest Coal Campaign at Brown University is part of a broader fossil fuel divestment campaign happening nationally at over 300 schools. In Rhode Island there are also campaigns at RISD and URI.
Useful #fracking fact finder: @NASciences Workshop on Risks of Unconventional Shale Gas Development, May 30-31. Release: The National Research Council will hold a two-day public workshop to discuss the risks related to unconventional shale gas development and management. Academics and field experts will speak about the operational risks of shale gas development as well as its potential effects on water, air, communities, ecosystems, climate change, and public health. A panel discussion and open Q&A session will follow each presentation.
The workshop will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 30, and from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, May 31, in Room 100 of the National Academies’ Keck Center, 500 Fifth St., N.W., Washington, D.C. Those who cannot attend may watch a video webcast atwww.nationalacademies.org.
Click here for a full agenda and to register for the event.
South end of High Plains Aquifer being sucked dry. (@nytimes)
Ethicist’s argument for why big CO2 emitters need to act promptly to share space in greenhouse ‘bathtub.’
In contrast to work in PA, Duke/USGS study finds no groundwater issues in Arkansas #fracking regions. Main conclusions:
• Methane in groundwater is low and likely associated with shallow aquifer processes.
• No relationship between methane and salinity in groundwater and shale-gas wells.
• δ13CCH4 and δ13CDIC suggest biogenic origin for dissolved methane.
• Water- aquifer rock interaction controls majority of water chemistry.
More from Duke U. news release:
Previous peer-reviewed studies by Duke scientists found direct evidence of methane contamination in drinking water wells near shale-gas drilling sites in the Marcellus Shale basin of northeastern Pennsylvania, as well as possible connectivity between deep brines and shallow aquifers, but no evidence of contamination from fracking fluids.
“The hydrogeology of Arkansas’s Fayetteville Shale basin is very different from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale,” [Avner] Vengosh noted. Far from contradicting the earlier studies, the Arkansas study “suggests that variations in local and regional geology play major roles in determining the possible risk of groundwater impacts from shale gas development. As such, they must be taken into consideration before drilling begins.”
Human factors — such as the drilling techniques used and the integrity of the wellbores – also likely play a role in preventing, or allowing, gas leakage from drilling sites to shallow aquifers, Vengosh said.
The biodiversity beneath our feet, in soil - Great piece by Jim Robbins (art by Katie Scott).
As an environmental mantra, ‘leave no trace,’ is a bit pathetic. It assumes that we can extract ourselves from our ecosystem — and that we are only capable of negative impact. Can’t we interact with our environment in a way that has a positive effect? — Natalie Jeremijenko, quoted at http://www.ediblegeography.com/glass-of-eels/ (via emmamarris)
A carbon curve worth pondering.
What links tigers, feces, DNA and Nepal wildlife conservation? @KashishDS reports.