1 The development of corn-based ethanol is like political holy water – it makes people feel better but doesn’t help much. The technique is advocated as a green alternative fuel source, but in reality has many environmentally harmful consequences like nutrient pollution and high fuel and water consumption for relatively low energy output.
2 Chicago is the model for the environmental policies of the nation’s major cities. Chicago’s Mayor Richard M. Daley imagines the entire city will appear green from above because of the frequency of vegetation-covered green roofs. In Michigan, Grand Rapids beats out every city, including Ann Arbor, for environmental progress.
3 The Dana Building is the greenest on campus. After the century-old building was renovated using techniques like installing cupboards made from crushed sunflower seeds, it received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification of gold – the second highest, under platinum.
4 Going green in construction involves aspects like developing special cooling panels that convert collected precipitation to air conditioning, purchasing materials locally to cut down on fuel use in transport and landscaping with only native plants.
5 Consequences of too much carbon in the atmosphere are already being felt. It’s true that Ann Arbor winters aren’t as cold as they used to be. Look on the back of a packet of seeds; Michigan is now in the same planting zone as Kentucky used to be. If carbon emissions continue at today’s rate, Michigan will be as warm as Arkansas by 2095.
6 Constructing a building to be LEED-certified usually costs 5 percent to 10 percent more upfront, but the energy savings make up for the differences.
7 That one person always turns the lights off when exiting a room doesn’t make a dent in the world energy crisis, but an individual’s actions can make a difference. To most contribute to a solution, make a point to buy environmentally friendly products and vote for green-minded officials. There’s nothing corporations and politicians care more about than your spending and voting habits.