Webinar: Carbon Neutral Event Planning and the Role of Carbon Offsets

Photo by Athena from Pexels

Jenna Pugliese, Director of Client Strategy at Native, a Public Benefit Corporation and ALA’s conference carbon offset provider since January 2020, will provide an overview of the challenges and opportunities in aiming for carbon neutral events and the role that carbon offsets can play in moving organizations like ALA toward that goal (while recognizing that carbon offsets have their own challenges). This webinar topic is timely with the ALA 2021 Annual Conference Council adoption of the Resolution to Achieve Carbon Neutrality for ALA Conferences.

This webinar will take place on October 13th, 2021, at 1pm EST. To register, click here!

Climate Stories Project

Climate Stories Project (CSP) is an artistic and educational climate change communications forum that collects and shares personal stories about the changing climate in order to promote an equitable and effective response to the climate crisis through storytelling, engaged communication, education, and creativity. 

We offer workshops to schools, libraries, government organizations, and other institutions where participants take steps to harness the power of storytelling to engage with climate change. CSP also offers a free online Climate Stories Ambassadors program where participants receive training in climate storytelling and interviewing. Participants also connect to other Climate Stories Ambassadors from around the world.

Please visit our website to listen to climate stories, submit your own story, and to learn more about our workshops and the Climate Stories Ambassadors program. https://www.climatestoriesproject.org/

Sustainability Book Review: How to Prepare for Climate Change

As a reoccurring feature on the Sustainability Roundtable blog, we will post reviews of books related to sustainability.  Interested in submitting your own review to the blog? Contact August at aolundsmith@gmail.com.

How to Prepare for Climate Change: A Practical Guide to Surviving the Chaos by David Pogue
Book Review by Kacper Jarecki

This book was released just recently so I wanted to take a look. First of all, a note about the author David Pogue. He is a correspondent on CBS Sunday Morning and NOVA on PBS. He is the author of books such as Mac Unlocked, Windows 10: The Missing Manual, Opera for Dummies, Magic for Dummies, Pogue’s Basics: Life, and a bunch more. David Pogue definitely seems to have a lot of diverse interests and his career doesn’t solely focus on sustainability. That being said, he does bring some unique perspectives and interesting suggestions for how to survive in different catastrophic situations. Some chapter titles include Preparing for Flood, Preparing for Drought, and Preparing for Hurricanes and Tornados.

This is a book that you don’t necessarily read straight through: each chapter stands on its own so you can read whatever topic interests you at the moment. There is a chapter about the best places to live with coastal cities like NYC where I live, not being ideal with rising sea levels. There is a list of the top 15 cities that will be least affected by global warming in the US: with Madison, Wisconsin taking the number 1 spot – 5 lakes, 260 parks, 11 beaches, and 200 miles of hiking and biking trails. Portland, Oregon is on the list too – and that is the site of the PLA (Public Library Association) Conference in March 2022, so I hope I can go to the conference and take a look around in the city J There are also chapters about how to build your home so that it withstands different catastrophes better, where to invest your money, and what plants to grow in your garden.

David Pogue gives a lot of suggestions including many out of the box ones. For example, there is a section about whether or not to have kids: being child-free keeps “9,400 tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere,” but additionally also frees up time to “work on the planet’s behalf.” He lists what to have in an emergency bag, including cigarettes because if you’re a smoker because “the last thing you need is the stress of withdrawal when you’re living through trauma.” And he says applying antiperspirant to the back of your neck will help keep cool in the summer. He even recommends that atheists join a local church or temple, if at the very least to cultivate a supportive social network.

As evidenced by the past year with the pandemic, we are definitely living in some special times. It’s helpful to think and plan about different possible situations that may come up in our lifetime. How to Prepare for Climate Change definitely gives a lot of food for thought.

Discussion Questions:

1.     What are some possible ways climate change can affect your current living area?

2.     If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? What are some features that are important to you (i.e. living by the beach, being next to a park, etc.)?

3.     What are some things you can do right now to get prepared in case of an emergency?

4.     Which of David Pogue’s suggestions stood out to you the most?

5.     Do you have any tips for surviving a catastrophe that you’d like to share?

Webinar: Cultivating Sustainable Community in an Academic Library

The University of Denver Libraries Sustainability Committee is committed to working toward a more just and sustainable future. We have focused our efforts on educational outreach, modeling sustainability best practices, and building community within the library, as well as with the greater campus community, and often in partnership with the Center for Sustainability. In this presentation, we’ll discuss some of our successful initiatives, such as Zero Waste Finals, and outline some of the challenges we’ve encountered and lessons learned, especially as we have adapted our work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interested in attending this webinar on June 22nd 11am MT? Sign up here!

10 Environmental Actions to Take at Your Library

One slide from the “10 Environmental Actions” Presentation

Looking for some practical inspiration around environmental actions you can take at your library? Click here to access the full 10 Environmental Actions slideshow, an example slide of which is shown above. Thanks to Casey Conlin for sharing this practical inspiration!

2020 SustainRT Carbon Offsets Grant

The ALA Sustainability Round Table is excited to announce that this year it will be donating its Carbon Offset Travel Grant to help reduce the carbon footprint of the technology necessary to conduct the ALA Annual Conference remotely. In the past, SustainRT offered a $500 travel grant to offset travel costs for a SustainRT member to attend the ALA Annual Conference. However, with the ALA Annual Conference canceled and its necessary travel suspended, this year SustainRT has decided to instead contribute a $500 carbon offsets donation to Native Energy, ALA’s carbon offsets provider. This money will help to offset the carbon emissions caused by ALA members’ increased use of technology during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Native Energy is an organization dedicated to helping build Native American farmer-owned, and community-based projects. You are welcome to join ALA in supporting the important work of Native Energy by purchasing carbon offsets.

Thank you for supporting SustainRT’s work and be well!

Sustainability during Stay-at-Home Survey: Results

Some of us may now be back to working in our library branches or buildings. Others may still be working from home, or dealing with challenges from furlough to job loss to providing full-time child care while working to pivoting to all-virtual programming. No matter our current circumstances, it feels important to reflect on the experiences, lessons, and changes wrought by our times under Stay-at-Home order, especially when it comes to sustainability in our day-to-day lives! 

To this end, we’re so excited to share the responses to our SustainRT Outreach Committee “Sustainability During Stay-at-Home” Survey. More than 100 people responded, and it was a pleasure to receive these small glimpses into each other’s lives in a time when we can all feel really spread apart. 

Below, find visual representations of responses to the surveys questions, as well as some selections from all the wonderful, individualized responses we received (some are excerpted from longer passages). Thanks to everybody who participated!


Question 1: Have you been more conscious of/practiced any of the following sustainable behaviors during your stay-at-home time? Select all that apply.


Question 2: Share some more about a sustainable practice that became part of your life during Stay-at-Home, whether big or small! Tell us how you got started, what inspired you, how easy or difficult this practice is, how you feel now that you’re doing it– whatever you’d like to share.

About foraging…something I’d be wanting to learn more about. Listening to a lot of podcasts (esp. Susus Weed) and re-reading Stalking the Wild Asparagus, Eulle Gibbons. I got permission to pick stinging nettle from a university garden. Now I’m making uber nutritious soups, quiches, etc. Also violet leaves, garlic mustard, redbud flowers and soon linden leaves and flowers. Free, highly nutritive food all over the place! I feel grateful for the abundance of the Earth. I want to teach people about how to forage.”

“I started walking and then biking longer and longer distances. It honestly never occurred to me before. I always felt like I didn’t have enough time. In reality, biking takes about the same time as driving in many instances. But I didn’t have the mental space required to try it out until the lockdown.”

“Using a timer to limit shower time”

“I have been more conscious about providing amenities around my home to encourage biodiversity and support wildlife. I’ve created a “bird hotel” which is a series of bird feeders and hummingbird stations. I often make my own bird suet from leftover bacon grease and homemade sugar water for the hummingbirds. I also have planted many pollinator plants as part of my landscaping routine. Being at home allows me to observe the patterns of the birds more as well as provide better care for my plants….The care for the birds led to a desire to care for other species and the decision to focus on planting pollinator plants. It has been very easy to do this.”


Question 3: Are there any ways you’ve noticed Stay-at-Home/Covid-19 negatively affecting your ability to practice sustainable behaviors? 

Further Comments:

“I feel badly about all the plastic bags from shopping, since reusable totes aren’t allowed in our state now. We’ll save and reuse, but it still seems counter to our efforts in the last few years.”

“I’m trying to work from home which is good, except that transit ridership is way down and I’m afraid this will lead to far more car driving once the stay at home order lifts.”

“Using more toilet paper!”

“Lots and lots of wipes”

“Increased emphasis on single-use materials to prevent contamination”

“I regularly get supplies at a bulk store. COVID-19 has meant that I can’t bring my own clean containers from home, so I’m ending up buying a lot more packaging.”

Every meal at home meant running the dishwasher daily.  It broke!  The part can’t be replaced so the whole machine needs to be (and we’re washing less efficiently in the meantime.)”

“Increased packaging waste from take out for two reasons: 1) you can no longer bring your own containers to restaurants when ordered food to go, 2) I have ordered take out more often in order to support independent restaurants in the hopes they will make it through (previously I rarely ordered take out unless the restaurant allowed me to bring my own container).  Another example: with the elimination of bulk bins and reusable bags, I cannot buy nuts, lentils, dried fruit, etc. from bulk bins using my own reusable produce bags. I am forced to buy pre-packaged items…I can still practice my sustainable behavior but with more effort and time (it is worth it).”

Please Participate in our Survey: Sustainability during Stay-at-Home!

The SustainRT Outreach Committee has put together this super short survey about your thoughts and experiences around sustainability during Stay-at-Home/quarantine. We hope you’ll participate, and we’ll share some responses on the SustainRT Blog to keep us connected and hopefully inspire each other to adopt or continue sustainable practices in this time of great potential for change.

Click here to participate, and thank you!


Sustainable Connections during Covid-19: An Interview

Interview with Queens Public Library Manager Ronglin Wan

By Kacper Jarecki

One of the interesting things about working from home is that during online meetings and video conferencing, you get to peek into people’s homes. It was during one of these meetings that I learned that one of my fellow library managers, Ronglin Wan, raises chickens from home. I thought this was really cool, and also a sustainable way to make eggs.

KJ: How many chickens do you have? Do they have names?

RW: I currently keep six hens in five breeds: 2 Rhode Island Reds, 1 Barred Rock, 1 Buff Orpington, 1 Brahma, 1 Black Australorp. I have not given a name to each of them yet.

KJ: What inspired you to keep chickens at home? How long have you had them?

RW: It was primarily our intention to have chickens as pets and as egg layers. Both my wife and I used to keep chicks in our childhood and loved them immensely. Chickens can be lovely creatures to observe as they forage in the backyard. But our objective is now more on the side of keeping hens for fresh, organic eggs, which provide essential nutrients our body needs. 

We bought 3-day-old chicks last April so we have had them for thirteen months now.

KJ: Where do you keep your chickens? Is it hard to care for them?

RW: We keep them in the backyard. When they were small, we let them roam in the entire yard. As they grow older, they become quite “destructive”, meaning they will eat up all the grass. Now we keep them within the back half. It is not too hard to care for them. We feed them with organic chicken feed, non GMO rice and other grains, kitchen scraps, fresh vegetables or grass from the front yard. We spend about one hour on them each day. The work includes feeding and cleaning the coop. They are easy to keep: can be kept in a coop all day, or free range. 

KJ: How often do they lay eggs? Do their eggs taste better than the ones at the store?

RW: Currently a hen lays an egg in about 30 hours. In summer when the daylight is longer, each will give us an egg a day. One interesting thing about the hens is that they tend to lay their eggs in one nest, even though I have four nests in the coop. When a laying hen is occupying the nest, another hen, ready to lay as well, waits outside, if she is a patient one, or cackles loudly and repeatedly, if she is a noisy one, or squeezes in as well, if she is a bully.

The eggs do taste better than the ones we buy in stores, as we feed the chickens with organic feed supplemented with fresh vegetables and meat. 

 KJ: How does having chickens make you feel? Do you enjoy caring for them? 

RW: Keeping chickens is fun. Some hens are very friendly; they will follow you around thinking you might toss some goodies to them. The fluffy creatures are often a pleasant sight to watch as they are colorful and lovely. 

 My wife enjoys keeping the chickens. She cooks the feed even though chickens can eat feed raw. But the hot food makes the hens happy especially in winter. 

 It is very satisfying to collect eggs in the evening. For me, the eggs are the reward for a day’s work. 

KJ: How do you like to prepare your eggs? Do you have any good recipes? 

RW: We prepare eggs in several ways, scrambled (fried or baked), poached, boiled, dropped in soup, used in making omelet, quiches, bread, cakes. 

My wife also uses eggs to make egg dumplings. She scrambles eggs in a bow, drops a tablespoonful of the egg mixture into a round scoop, heats and swirls it over flames. When the egg mixture nearly hardens over the inner surface of the scoop, she adds minced meat onto the egg sheet, and folds half of it over to envelope the meat. When the two sides sticks together with meat inside, the dumpling is done. She makes many of them and uses them in a soup. They are delicious. 

KJ: Thanks, Ron! See you at our next Managers Meeting 😉