To Smoke or Not to Smoke, that is the Environmental Question!

For a minute, consider the environmental impacts of worldwide tobacco usage instead of the health risks that are associated with it. As a former smoker, the thought never crossed my mind to explore the cumulative effects of my choice to light up. When I became aware that over 5 trillion cigarettes per year are manufactured for human consumption, I felt this was worth exploring. (more…)

Darin Liston is an affiliate at the Virginia Tech Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability and an alumnus of the Executive Master of Natural Resources (XMNR) program.

Be the Example You Want to See

Wanting to break out of his Navy mold, Darin Liston pondered his next move. “I thought natural resources was a better fit for me in the long run; helping to save the planet,” rather than being a government contractor. When he saw the Executive Masters of Natural Resources (XMNR) program available in his own backyard in the National Capital Region, he was sold. (more…)

Engineer in datacenter server room. Photo credit: Mentora.

Global Cooling?

In today’s modern world there have been a lot of revolutionary innovations that allow us to live the way we do – automobiles, electronics…and air conditioning. Although cooling systems may not be widely considered by the average person, they have perhaps had the greatest influence globally on where and how humans live. (more…)

Squirrels are one of the many species that benefit from biophilic cities.

Biophilic DC

For the last several months, a working group has worked on bringing the Sense of the Council on Biophilic Cities Resolution of 2015 to the Council of the District of Columbia. The group was composed of co-founder Stella Tarney of Dumbarton Oaks Park and the Sustainable Landscape Design Program at George Washington University, Chris Weiss of the DC Environmental Network, Anne Lewis of City Wildlife, John Hadidian of HSUS, and myself, among others. (more…)

Josh Nease

A Champion for Sustainable Agricultural Practices

When Josh Nease set out in search of a master’s degree, he was looking for more than just your run-of-the-mill formal education provided by most universities. As the manager of Virginia Tech’s Catawba Sustainability Center (CSC), a nearly 400-acre farm in Catawba, Virginia, that researches sustainable farming practices, he sought a graduate school that offered both personal and professional growth. One that challenged his perceptions and broadened his understanding of natural resource management principles, especially at the global level. (more…)


Where Do Mobile Phones Go When They Die?

How would you feel if the mobile phone you just replaced with a newer model ended up here?

After I purchased my first smartphone a few years ago, I visited the mobile technology retail store where I had purchased the trusty but slightly outdated flip phone I was replacing, and asked if they would be able to take their product back and recycle it. The store employees admitted they had no idea what they would do with the phone, but they acknowledged that it was their branded product and agreed to take it back. I left feeling uneasy about where that phone would go next, but the experience prompted me to dig a bit deeper to find out.