Jun 18 2010

Candler and the Care of Creation

More and more religious people and congregations are returning to the importance of caring for God’s creation as part of responsible living. Did you know there are over 1000 references in the Bible to the Creation, but only 490 references to heaven?! Candler as a theology school, training and forming religious scholars, ministers, and leaders, has taken many steps to live more responsibly and in better harmony with the earth over which humanity has been given stewardship (Genesis 1:26).

From l., Candler Creation Keepers President Jason Myers, Emory Sustainability's Ciannat Howett, and Anthropology professor Dr. Peggy Barlett

Theology Garden

Created in April 2010 next to the second floor entrance of the Candler School of Theology, Emory’s eighth educational garden is a product of the collaborative efforts of the Candler Creation Keepers and the Office of Sustainability Initiates. The 100%  organic garden contains several herbs, such as basil, sage, oregano, thyme and rosemary, as well as a large variety of foods, including blackberries, blueberries, radishes, carrots, tomatoes, beets, peas, squashes, eggplants, and several types of leaf vegetables.

Candler Creation Keepers

On of the newest student groups at Candler is the Candler Creation Keepers. The group has raised funds for and oversaw the construction and planting of the Theology Garden. The group tends the garden – picking weeds, fertilizing, and harvesting the herbs and veggies – while educating fellow students on food and the theological importance of creation stewardship. The Creation Keepers also helped with several Earth Week activities in April of this year, including promoting composting among Theology students, faculty, and staff.

Our LEED Building

Candler’s main building, shared with Emory’s Center for Ethics, is a state of the art, five-story environmentally friendly classroom and office space.  Like all new buildings that Emory builds, Candler’s building reached LEED certification (at the Silver level). Emory’s 17 buildings on campus with LEED designation save energy and water, feature improved air quality, are sited appropriately – such as in areas with public transportation, and are constructed using a percentage of recycled, local or rapidly renewable building materials.

Make a Pledge Today! Emory has developed a Personal Sustainability Pledge, addressing personal behaviors related to energy, sustainable food, water conservation, green space, commuting, recycling, and other sustainability issues when at Emory and at home. The pledge is very sophisticated, calculating exactly what the carbon impact of your current sustainable practices is – how many cars are you keeping off the road, how many acres of forest and gallons of gasoline you are conserving – and what impact your pledged actions will have in the future. Take the pledge right now!

Apr 24 2009

Spring in Atlanta: Festivals and Gardens!!!

(music from the Atlanta Dogwood Festival)

There is nothing like springtime gardening and festivals in Atlanta. Winter (well, whatever winter we have—I’m from Chicago. I’m just sayin’). Everything is green, the rains have come, the flowers, dogwoods, and azaleas are blooming, and there is so much to do outside and inside around the city. Last weekend for me was about two great festivals –the Dogwood Festival and the Atlanta Film Festival– and some gardening.

Last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday was the 73rd Annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival. The Dogwood (pictured left in pink, though most dogwood flowers are white) is the unofficial state flower of Georgia (the Cherokee Rose is the Official State Flower; the State Seashell, in case you were wondering, is the Knobbed Whelk). The Festival was back in Piedmont Park this year, after a drought-induced hiatus to the Lenox Mall Parking Lot last year. The weather was gorgeous! I went on Friday, played Frisbee, and walked around to some of the more than 250 artist booths, which were really spectacular. I’m a woodworker, and I was very impressed with the number and quality of wood turning, carving, and furniture booths. I might have to get one for next year…. In 2006, the Artist Market was ranked #16 out of the Top 200 Shows in the Country by Sunshine Artist’s Magazine.

Last weekend was the best weekend so far this year for gardening. On Saturday, before the Atlanta Film Festival, I went to pick up a pick-up truck-full of horse manure! I know, it might sound kinda gross, but this stuff is all natural, totally organic, and better than gold to gardeners and farmers! You can use manure as a top-dressing, mixed into soil directly (do this at least 2-4 months ahead of any planting), or thrown in your compost bin. And it was FREE!

I went to Vogt Riding Academy, located about a mile from the Emory campus. My friend Colin and I had the truck filled in 20 minutes, and they had TONS of free manure. Just go by anytime they’re open (8-5 M-F; 8-3ish on Sat), and they’re happy to help out. They’ll even load your truck for you for free (you should tip the guy five bucks, in my opinion) if you go earlier in the day. Loaded up with horse apples, Colin and I grabbed a cup of coffee at a coffee shop, where they gave us free used coffee grounds for the garden.

We saw Farmer D’s organic garden shop across the street, so we went over and bought some vegetables and herbs to go into the ground. The workers there were friendly and knowledgeable and Farmer D’s website is fantastic. For instance, they’ve got a great video on the process and benefits of composting.

Lastly, The Atlanta Film Festival (AFF) was fantastic. I only caught the Drama Shorts, but there were 183 films total being screened between April 16-25. Since 1977 the AFF has screened early films from directors such as Steven Spielberg, Victor Nunez, Spike Lee, Julie Dash and Robert Rodriguez. The Drama Shorts that I saw were all good, and several were great. They were between 12 and 19 minutes long. I can say that I had previously seen less than five short films in my life. But the shorts were powerful and unlike most Hollywood movies. Three of the six were filmed in Atlanta, with many of the actors, directors, and production people sitting in the theater with me! I particularly like Magellan, the story of a bright and awkward young boy living in a smokestack in Atlanta with his artist father. The festival website says:

Magellan, a scrawny seventh-grade outcast, has a precarious friendship with the popular but insecure girl he walks to and from school with everyday, but that friendship ends at the school boundaries until one day Magellan gathers the courage to ask her to the Spring Dance.

Check out the trailer on the website and go see the movie! It was fantastic! The rest of the The AFF website is very interactive, and most of the films have trailers and/or comments sections. Check out the rest of the Drama Shorts below for descriptions, reviews, and trailers.

Between You And Me | Micah Stansell

Flying Lessons | Janet Grillo

Magellan | Sebastian Davis

Miracle Fish | Luke Doolan

The Capgras Tide | Adam Hutchings

Wheels | Tracy Martin

So the festivals, gardening, and spring have arrived in Atlanta. Sometimes all on the same weekend. You can see why it’s my favorite time of the year!!!

Feb 27 2009

Environmental Sustainability at Candler

Candler is proud to be a part of a Green movement that has been taking place across campus here at Emory for a number of years. As you may have heard, our new Theology and Ethics Building was designed and built with sustainability in mind; in fact, we’ve applied for LEED Silver certification, and our application is now in review. The LEED certification is the standard for Green building in the United States. All new buildings that Emory ever builds will be LEED certified. In fact, Emory has the most Green building space of any university in the country! Emory was even named 2008 Distinguished Conservationist of the Year by the Georgia Conservancy.

Candler and Emory have been up to several new Green initiatives lately. Last December, the University was closed for two days over the winter break. With mandatory building shut-downs, Emory saved over $19,000 in electrical costs! In just two days! Candler is in the midst of investigating how to install a system that will shut down the air handlers in the building overnight, which will have no noticeable effect on the school during the day and will cut between 10-15% off of our power bill and consumption!

Another campaign Emory is working on is the White Paper Recycling Campaign. Emory Recycles currently handles mixed and white paper, plastics #1-6, corrugated cardboard, phone books, magazines, glass, aluminum, scrap metal, and Styrofoam. In terms of re-selling recycled goods, far and away the most money comes from white paper. With the downturn in the economy, prices for raw recycled goods have plummeted. For instance, mixed paper has gone from $90-95/ton to $0-5/ton. White paper, however, has retained much of its value. But white paper must be separated from colored paper in order to be sold at the higher price ($170-180/ton). So Emory Recycles is launching an informational campaign to educate students, faculty, and staff about separating mixed and white paper. Plus the Theology is getting 50 new recycling bins for mixed and white paper.

Finally, food services around Emory are switching from paper, plastic, and Styrofoam packaging, plates, and cutlery to sustainable and compostable products! I know! At Cox Hall, Emory’s main food court, there are NO Styrofoam containers any more. The containers are all made of recycled sugar cane and straws and clear “plastic” lids are made from corn. No petro-chemicals, plus you can compost all of it! My entire lunch (above) came from renewable sources and then went into my home compost bin (below). How fantastic! Go Emory!