Chapter 3: Sustainability and the Department of Geography

In 2004, Mo Lovegreen was hired as the Executive Officer for Geography, only the second manager ever employed by the Department – she replaced Meryl Wieder who retired after 36 years of service to UCSB, 25 of which were as the MSO of the Department of Geography. When Mo became the CEO of the Department, she did so with the proviso that part of her time would be dedicated to the UCSB Sustainability Efforts to which she was and remains deeply committed. As a result, the Department of Geography became one of the physical homes for sustainability work on campus, and funding for a portion of Lovegreen’s work in sustainability was provided by the Department.

In 2005, Chancellor Henry Yang asked the Campus Planning Committee to create a sub-committee to create a comprehensive sustainability plan for the campus. Lovegreen was appointed to the sub-committee along with a small group of administrators, faculty, and students. A group of approximately 75 individual “change agents” comprised of students, staff, and faculty were trained in the sustainability framework known as The Natural Step in fall 2005. These individuals collaborated with campus sustainability staff to produce the Campus Sustainability Plan and the following mission statement: “The University of California, Santa Barbara is committed to global leadership for sustainability through education, research, and action.” The process has brought together students, staff, faculty, and community members, it has generated a great deal of energy and momentum, and it has fundamentally increased awareness of UCSB’s sustainability potential and the steps necessary to achieve this goal.

The journal Science featured UCSB’s Sustainability Program in 2007, focusing on the campus program known as Laboratory Assessments for Research Sustainability (LARS) and its Laboratory Research and Technical Staff (LabRATS) network which was co-founded by Katie Maynard, a “change agent” and campus sustainability coordinator who works out of the Department of Geography, and Allen Doyle, the lab manager in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology.

The Department of Geography is proud to provide a physical home for the Sustainability Program, and it was doubly honored to receive the top Green Award from the UCSB Associated Students Recycling Program in 2007. In a 2007 waste audit, the occupants of Ellison Hall recycled 88.76% of the waste stream with a pilot recycling program developed by the Ellison Hall Sustainability Committee. The high diversion rate was in large part due to Katie Maynard and her Ellison Hall Sustainability Interns who ensured that the recyclables from the bins were collected on a regular basis and taken out to the proper recycle dumpster. 2008 marked the launch of the Phelps Ellison Hall Energy Competition which aimed to reduce building energy use and educate faculty, staff, and students about the importance of energy efficiency and conservation. Its ultimate goal is to reach a net zero waste diversion rate by 2012.

Chapter 4: A Changing of the Guard »