Episode 13: The Challenges and Opportunities of Aggressive Climate Action

The panel at CHESC 2018 (  Left to right)  Tyler Durchslag-Richardson, Fletcher Alexander, Lindsey Kalkbrenner, Eric Eberhardt, Dave Karlsgodt

The panel at CHESC 2018 (Left to right) Tyler Durchslag-Richardson, Fletcher Alexander, Lindsey Kalkbrenner, Eric Eberhardt, Dave Karlsgodt

Eric Eberhardt
Director of Energy Services
Energy & Facilities Management Services
University of California, Office of the President
Lindsey Kalkbrenner
Director, Sustainability, University Operations
Director, Center for Sustainability
Santa Clara University
Fletcher Alexander
Sustainability Programs Manager, Institute for Sustainable Development
California State University, Chico
Tyler Durchslag-Richardson
Senior Analyst, Facilities Services and Integrated Planning
California Institute of Technology
Host: Dave Karlsgodt, Principal, Fovea, LLC

This episode was recorded live on July 10th at the 2018 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC) which took place on the campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dave Karlsgodt moderated the session: “The Challenges and Opportunities of Aggressive Climate Action.” Panelists from a cross-section of California institutions answered questions about their climate action efforts.  You’ll hear both success stories from these leading institutions, but also some honest discussion on where they have more work to do. Topics include the nature of their climate action strategies, making the business case for sustainable practices, the dual role of higher ed. to lead and to educate, carbon neutrality, 100% renewable energy and more.  Audience members bring up some challenging questions including how to consider equity, social justice, and the stratification of resources to address these challenges.  The discussion includes a combination of inspiring success stories and honest self-reflection from sustainability professionals working in the trenches.


Episode 9: The New Grand Strategy

Colonel Mark “Puck” Mykleby, USMC (Ret)

Colonel Mark “Puck” Mykleby, USMC (Ret)

Guest:  Mark "Puck" Mykleby
Co-Founder, Chief Strategy Officer
Long Haul Capital Group

Host: Dave Karlsgodt, Principal, Fovea, LLC

In this November 2017, interview I’ll talk with retired Marine Colonel Mark Mykleby about a book he recently co-authored with Patrick Doherty and Joel Makower, called “The new Grand Strategy, Restoring America’s Prosperity, Security and Sustainability in the 21st Century.”  Our discussion covers a wide range of topics including the history of Grand Strategy in the United States including the lead-up to World War II, the Post-war recovery and the Cold War.  He talks about how our current systems are based on a now obsolete grand strategy and goes on to outline a vision for how America can reinvent itself using sustainability as a core, organizing concept.


Web Resources:

Episode 8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

(Left to right)  Rachelle Haddock, Liska Richer, and Caroline Savage with Elke Schreiner at the 2017 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference at the University of California, Santa Barbara

(Left to right) Rachelle Haddock, Liska Richer, and Caroline Savage with Elke Schreiner at the 2017 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference at the University of California, Santa Barbara


  • Liska Richer, Manager of SEEDs Sustainability Program at the University of British Columbia
  • Rachelle Haddock, Project Coordinator Campus as a Learning Lab at the University of Calgary
  • Caroline Savage, Campus as a Lab Director at Princeton

Host: Dave Karlsgodt, Principal, Fovea, LLC

In this episode you’ll hear a round-robin interview with three different thought leaders who run programs focused on using their campuses as a test-bed for sustainability. They all facilitate the use of campus resources to connect students, faculty and staff to hands-on, sustainable projects at their universities.  They discuss the many common terms used for these programs including "campus as living lab", "campus as a learning lab", "applied learning." Each guest talks about the logistics of how their programs are structured, funded and evolving. They also share their insights on the major challenges and opportunities related to Campus as Lab projects in the broader picture of sustainable development and higher education.

Web Resources:

Episode 4: What can Flint, MI teach us about Sustainable Water Systems?

Guest:   Melinda Friedman, PE, Confluence Engineering, LLC
Host: Dave Karlsgodt, Principal, Fovea, LLC

Melinda Friedman is the founder and President of Confluence Engineering Group, LLC, based in Seattle, Washington. She has more than 2 decades of experience providing services around source and distribution system water quality, regulatory compliance, comprehensive planning, and optimized treatment practices.

Melinda is the 2017 recipient of the American Water Works Association-Pacific Northwest Section George Warren Fuller Award for Engineering Excellence. She is the third woman in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho to receive this award since its inception in 1937.

During this interview, Melinda helps to unpack what went wrong during the recent water distribution crisis in Flint, MI as well as laying out some of the friction she runs into between the goals of water conservation with water quality and safety.


Web Resources:

Episode Transcript:

The following is an automated transcription of this episode which will include errors and omissions. You can listen and follow along with the text here:


Transcript Text:

Dave Karlsgodt 0:01

Welcome to the campus energy and sustainability podcast. In each episode, we'll talk with leading campus professionals, thought leaders, engineers and innovators addressing the unique challenges and opportunities facing higher ed and corporate campuses. Our discussions will range from energy conservation and efficiency to planning and finance, from building science to social science, from energy systems to food systems. We hope you're ready to learn, share and ultimately accelerate your institution towards solutions. I'm your host Dave Karlsgodt, I'm a principal at Fovea, an energy, carbon and business planning firm. In this episode, you'll hear my interview with municipal water system expert Melinda Friedman. Melinda is the founder and president of Confluence Engineering Group, LLC based in Seattle, Washington. She has more than two decades of experience providing services around source and distribution system water quality, regulatory compliance, comprehensive planning and optimize treatment practices. During this interview, Melinda helps to unpack what went wrong during the recent water distribution crisis in Flint, Michigan. She also lays out some of the friction she runs into between the sometimes competing goals of water conservation, and water quality and safety. While Melinda is primarily focused on municipal water systems rather than campuses, I hope you'll find that she brings an important perspective to some of the central issues all campus facilities and sustainability departments need to grapple with. With that introduction, here is my May 12, 2017 interview with Melinda Friedman. Melinda, it's great to have you on the campus energy and sustainability podcast today.

Melinda Friedman 1:35

Thank you for having me. It's great to be here.

Dave Karlsgodt 1:37

Well, Melinda, the genesis of this episode was based on a conversation you and I had about, what, five months ago now. And at the time, I knew you had been working in Flint, Michigan to help address the crisis they were having with their water distribution system. And that at the time was still very much in the headlines. There were lots of media reports of you know, truckloads of water bottles, and irate parents worried about lead poisoning, and definitely a political firestorm going on in that area. And I'm sure we'll talk about a few of those topics today. But what struck me from that conversation was that you were the first person to describe to me technically what had happened there. You basically had to describe how a municipal water system worked, in order to explain to me what had gone wrong in Flint. So perhaps you can start there and give our listeners a technical overview of what actually happened in Flint as an expert in the water field. And then we can take it from there.

Melinda Friedman 2:29

Sure. So Flint, Michigan purchases 100% of their water supply from Detroit water and sewer. That water is treated from Lake Huron by Detroit and then sent through pipelines to Flint and many other municipalities around Michigan. due to budgetary problems and financial crisis in Flint that were long in the making. They wanted to find a less expensive water supply that they could have more control over. So along with other municipalities, they wanted to build a pipeline and bring Lake Huron water which is the same water treated by Detroit but bring it through a different pipeline directly to Flint into Genesee County and treat it themselves and distribute it. Now, that's a multi year process and in the meantime, an emergency manager was hired in Flint due to bankruptcy and financial problems to help manage the finances of the city. And since the pipeline was going to take many years to be built, and due to many political problems with Detroit, they were rapidly cut off from the Detroit supply. And the pipeline was not finished. So they needed a an interim supply of water. So naturally, they went to the Flint River. As a interim supply. The Flint River had served the city of Flint for many, many years prior to the 1960s. There is a treatment plant there that has been upgraded as recently as 2000. It's got some advanced treatment processes. And in fact, the city of Flint operates that plant 20 days a year as the designated emergency backup supply. So this was not a rogue treatment system that no one had ever used. This was a designated emergency supply. But what happened was because of the rapid cut off from Detroit, the pipeline not being built, they had to quickly go to the Flint supply. And the honestly, because it hadn't been used as a full time supply in many in many years, the operators, and folks were not quite able to control the water quality coming out of the treatment plan to the degree that they should have. So this caused a lot of changes in chemistry going out into the distribution system. One of the key issues with switching to the Flint River was the lack of use of a corrosion control chemical that's in the Detroit water called ortho phosphates, and ortho phosphates, create a film on the pipes on all the miles and miles pipes to prevent metals from leaching into the water. The Flint River has a different characteristics and and that idea was to use a different process called pH alkalinity adjustment to to prevent the leaching and not add the ortho phosphates. And that turned out to be a very big mistake, because the lack of ortho phosphates is what caused all the metals to come off of the pipes into the drinking water.

Dave Karlsgodt 5:27

So the metal was already in the pipes and it had been in the pipes, it didn't come from the water itself.

Melinda Friedman 5:31

That is correct the metals, the Flint distribution system having been built over the last hundred years, 94% of the pipes in the entire system going from the treatment plant to the homes are made up old unlined online cast iron pipes and those are filled with bumps and stalactites and stalagmites. Similar to like what you'd see in a cave, we call them tubercles in the drinking water industry. And then because of the time that homes and the city's were built, at the time, lead was used as a common piping material as a common service line material to pipe the water from the distribution system main to the home. And lead was used because it's a flexible, bendable material, the elevation of the street may not be the exact same as where you want to tap into your home. And you could actually sort of bend the pipe a little bit. And it was a convenient use and people didn't understand, you know, 50, 80 years ago the potential health effects associated with lead. So Flint, and many cities around the nation have thousands, hundreds of thousands ads actually estimated there's probably between six and seven million lead service lines around the nation right now. pipe and water into our homes.

Dave Karlsgodt 6:43

But because they had used this corrosion control material, there was basically a biofilm covering the pipes. Is that what you're saying?

Melinda Friedman 6:50

Yeah, it's not about well, there's biofilm everywhere. But the corrosion control the ortho phosphates creates a film and a phosphate based film that keeps the metal stim more stable on the pipe surface and prevents it from leaching into the water and being carried to the customer. So when you took that ortho phosphate away, the pipes had to rehabilitate, they had to react to this change in chemistry that was coupled with I would say lack of control of the pH and alkalinity coming out of the Flint plant at the time, which might have offset some of that metals release. But that was a secondary problem that occurred with the change.

Dave Karlsgodt 7:31

Got it. So when the public found out about this, how did that further aggravate the problem

Melinda Friedman 7:35

Yep, so it started with discolored water, all the iron coming off at the pipes. That was the first indication and the water that was coming into the homes did not smell good. Because of everything coming off of the pipes. people assumed that was because it's Flint River water, Flint River water, which runs through the city they thought does not smell good. It has you know discharges, industrial discharges and you know other contaminants in the river water. So they people naturally thought and this is a very common misperception that the source water problem what everything that was at the tap that was so no actually disgusting, the discolored water, the smell that all of that that was all stuff coming off of the pipes that is accumulated we call them legacy deposits, they are accumulated on all pipes everywhere.

Dave Karlsgodt 8:25

Got it. So even though we're here in Seattle, and we get river, or we get water right out of the Cedar River, which is basically a protected area, you can even go hiking there. And I always, you know, have this vision of this pristine water that we get to drink. But maybe I shouldn't feel so comfortable in that thought,

Melinda Friedman 8:41

Well, this... Yes, the Seattle we have a fabulous water source here between the Cedar River and the told you're right, these are protected watersheds. You know, this is basically snow melt very high quality water that only requires minimal treatment. However, our pipes, our pipes, we have a lot of online cast piping, traveling for miles and miles here as well. One good thing, though, is in the Pacific Northwest, because of the time that our cities were built here, lead was not really used as commonly. So we really don't have lead service lines here in Seattle. And in the Pacific Northwest, they're just very uncommon. They're little stretches of pipe called lead goose necks or lead pigtails that might connect your copper service line or your galvanized service line to to the water main. But very uncommon to have huge lead service lines. But because we do have a line cast iron pipe, and people might have galvanized piping, you might see discolored water coming out of your top occasionally. And that's just due to reaction of the water with the materials on the pipe.

Dave Karlsgodt 9:42

Got it. Okay, well, so back to Flint. It sounded like after people did figure out, you know, the water started smelling and changing colors, then people obviously stopped using the water and how did that further aggravate the issue?

Melinda Friedman 9:54

Yeah, so a couple issues there, it delayed the the remedy to the problem more specific kentley. Because the way they solve the problem was to switch back to Detroit water right, just stop treating it from the Flint plant go back to the original water where we knew the chemistry would be stabilized with the pipes. But by that time, no one would use the water. So we couldn't draw the fresher, properly treated water into homes and get that we have to have the ortho phosphate, those these chemicals have to react with all of the piping service every nook and cranny every bend out your tap. And if nobody's using the water, we can't draw these now properly treated water back into the homes to get the chemical reactions back the way we want them. Another significant problem with Flint, which is not necessarily unique to Flint, but maybe more exacerbated in Flint is that city and the entire infrastructure for the city was constructed back in the heyday. And for you know a population of its peak of about three to 400,000 people, even before the disaster with the leaving of the General Motors and the decline in auto manufacturing in this country, the population of Flint is down to about 90,000 people. So you think about the size of the pipes and the infrastructure that was built it is now you know, at about a third third of its capacity is being used. That creates much longer stagnation times, takes longer for water to move through the system more reaction time with the pipe walls and more difficulty in maintaining the chemical conditions we want to get to the top.

Dave Karlsgodt 11:29

So Melinda, it's been a while since I've heard anything about Flint in the news. I know you've made some trips out there recently. But what's going on there now?

Melinda Friedman 11:36

Well, basically, since October of 2015, they switched back to Detroit water, it's now under a different agency called the Great Lakes Water Authority. But it's the exact same water coming up Detroit. So the chemistry has greatly stabilized. But that has been due to a lot of flowing water opening hydrants all around the city to get water moving, getting people to use the water. In May of 2016. They did a whole campaign called flush for Flint, where they had homeowners open their taps and flush for I think it was a couple couple hours a day just to pulling water through their homes, as we said to get these important chemical corrosion chemicals and disinfectant residual out through the pipes into the homes. So with a stabilizing chemistry and improving water flow patterns, and we're trying to reduce water age, the chemistry is stabilizing the water quality is improved tremendously. All data show that all data that are being collected according to you know safe drinking water standards show that the water is equal to or similar to or even better in some cases, believe it or not, then other cities in the nation. Now of course, this increased flow, increase demand flushing opening hydrants flies in the face of probably what your listeners are most interested in, which is sustained ability and conservation. And that sort of gets to the heart of maybe where there's some, you know, a conflict between some public health and conservation goals.

Dave Karlsgodt 13:09

No, absolutely. I remember in our conversation, the first time thinking about how much at odds, what you're doing is, I mean, I know you as somebody personally, being somebody who's very interested in conservation, generally, I go to these conferences, and there's whole tracks on, you know, topics around conservation, you know, low flow toilets, and trying to get landscape designs that don't require irrigation and all these things. And that's exactly the opposite of what you're talking about. If you want safety, it sounds like you need flow. And if you want conservation, you need not flow. So what do we do about that?

Melinda Friedman 13:43

Well, guess that's definitely a challenge and a very interesting one, and, and probably very inspiring one for many professionals. I know in the drinking water world, you know, of course, my direct area of expertise is the stability of pipe material, a biofilm of metals, from the treatment plant to the customers tap. But there are many other people that are working tirelessly on trying to combine these these mutual goals of sustainability and public health. And I know the industry is working towards there's programs that utilities can participate in called one water, where we're thinking more holistically about the water cycle, and trying to understand impacts and change behaviors. I think that one very interesting thing for your for your readers to and your listeners to understand is the impacts of conservation may not always be what they seem, you know, lower use lower use is is good in many ways. Because, you know, maybe there's less production at a water treatment plant means less pumping, less chemicals added, you might think that, but that's actually not always the case, there are these ripple effects that because there's less production, like I said, there's longer water ages in the in the pipelines, which means you might actually have to treat the water to be more stable, so that it can withstand longer contact times and pipelines, and be able to withstand warmer temperatures, since there's less flow in homes. So that might actually require more advanced treatment versus less treatment just because there's less production.

Dave Karlsgodt 15:22

So you work primarily in municipal water system. So you're treating water can for a whole city or a whole region. But are there options for treating water more at the source like right at where it's being used rather than, you know, the entire millions of lines of web pipes this?

Melinda Friedman 15:38

Right, right, right. Yes. And I think that is certainly a goal of of the one water and total water solutions where you would be tapping into no pun intended, more localized and on site water sources such as roof rainwater catchment systems, where you are trying to use more localized such a storm water rainwater catchment systems that could be treated and distributed more locally. So of course, that's a great idea, but public health permitting regulations, all of that for potable water has has not caught up with any of those ideas, and maybe could be viewed as barriers to innovation in that way.

Dave Karlsgodt 16:18

So if I'm a facilities director at a campus, and I'm in charge of maintaining water quality within my campus, in some cases, some of the larger campuses actually treat source water. I mean, they may have wells or like Flint, pulling water out of a river, whatever. But a lot of campuses I know are using the local municipal water system. Are there things they can do at a campus scale, you know, when they have dozens to hundreds of buildings, especially just thinking about what's happening inside the pipes of the buildings, not necessarily the system getting the water to the buildings?

Melinda Friedman 16:48

Well, I have to say, since my area of expertise isn't so much on how can they reduce water consumption and implement conservation and more sustainable practices. I'd like to address it maybe from the opposite side of here are the risks the public health risks of potentially taking that approach. waterborne disease in this country has from drinking water, you know, has declined so so significantly over the decades that now the number one waterborne disease or water based pathogen that is affecting the public is Legionella that is now you know, it's not so much cholera anymore. Cryptosporidium, Giardia, E.coli, other fecal bacteria, we know how to control and treat and try to prevent them from getting into the water system. Now the number one pathogen that is creating public health outbreaks and killing people is Legionella. And, in fact, that was the first public health crisis in Flint. 12 people in Flint died. 12 people died of Legionella during the crisis, versus what we really heard about was lead poisoning or this concern of lead release into the water. But 12 people actually died of Legionella and the Legionella did not come from the it's not an issue that it came from the Flint River, it's due to all the conditions every the loss of coin residual, the stagnant water, the change in the chemistry that allow the Legionella to proliferate at the ends of the systems and cause people to get sick. And this is the number one concern with large campuses and buildings and hospitals. If you are implementing conservation devices that are slowing down the use of water, inadvertently warming the temperature, loss of chlorine, you are creating potential breeding grounds for Legionella, we almost have a case that sort of an off, off color or off maybe not completely politically correct joke about leads buildings. We call them Legionella enabling enhancement devices. Because I mean, I think we're going to see a rise in Legionella. Over time as water consumption goes down. This isn't a but now Legionella is called an opportunistic pathogen meaning it doesn't normally infect healthy people it is present it is in it is present it is present but we normally Healthy People are not sickened by it. But it's a significant problem in hospital settings. It can be a significant problem because we're people were their immune systems are compromised or or otherwise more susceptible to disease. That's where we see Legionella illnesses and deaths, not because it's only present in those locations, but because that population is susceptible. So camp large campuses, buildings, hospitals, really need to consider protecting public health and in conjunction with conservation sustainable sustainability goals.

Dave Karlsgodt 19:42

How do you protect against Legionella other than just flow?

Melinda Friedman 19:45

Well, the key things are to maintain a chlorine residual, a disinfectant residual. And in fact, I know the the Bullitt center which has its own very fascinating and advanced treatment processes. While it recognizes that chlorine is a, you know, it's a undesirable chemical recognizes the need for there to be a chlorine residual in the pipes there as well. Now they're not permitted my understanding is they're not permitted to use they're very advanced system, they're still on municipal water. But for their advanced system, they will also carry a coin residual to the top and then have a carbon filter at the top to remove the chlorine prior to consumption.

Dave Karlsgodt 20:24

I'm going to interrupt the interview here just for a second to explain the Bullitt center that Melinda is referring to here. This is a building in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle not too far from Seattle University. It's a really impressive building, and it was built as part of the Living Building Challenge. I'll be sure to link to the website for the Bullitt center in the show notes so you can learn more about the project she's talking about.

Melinda Friedman 20:46

So maintaining chlorine is hugely important as well as maintaining high water temperatures in the hot water. I think enough probably another conservation devices to turn down the temperature of your hot water heaters, right keep them people do that when you have children for anti scalding. But people also do that because it's saves energy to not be heating the water quite as hot. But to prevent and control Legionella, it really has to be above 140 degrees. So again, that just flies in the face of it trying to conserve energy, when we're thinking about one water solutions and and trying to treat look at the whole water cycle not just be in our silos of we do source water and we treat so sorted into drinking water versus all the wastewater problems. We have to also think about and one water the impacts of conservation and reduced production and output from the treatment plants. That also affects the wastewater side, less gray water going into our our wastewater systems are also constructed for a certain flow certain volume. And as we flush toilets less and use less water, that's less volume going into those pipes, that means more concentrated solids going into the wastewater treatment plants. And there are you know, this is all good stuff to be thinking for the future and to be moving towards the sure about our existing infrastructure. The we're sort of in this middle point where I think everything's struggling against against these changes.

Dave Karlsgodt 22:08

All right. So before I get a bunch of hate mail, you're not saying we shouldn't do these conservation efforts, you're just saying these are problems we need to be thinking about

Melinda Friedman 22:15

Exactly. These are opportunities for innovation. These are opportunities for bright people to get out there and continue to address so that we can move towards the right solutions.

Dave Karlsgodt 22:22

All right, well, so now that I've stuck a stick in the hornet's nest of sustainability, I'm going to go into a topic that maybe even will drop more ire. So let's talk about bottled water, bottled water versus tap water. Somebody who just listened to what you just described might say, Oh, well, I'm never drinking tap water. Again, I can die from Legionella, I can get lead poisoning and it's everywhere. Set me straight. Is that what I should be taking away from this conversation?

Melinda Friedman 22:45

No, absolutely not. This nation has the best, best drinking water supplies. You know, in the world as us and many other nations that do do a lot of work, a lot of regulation, a lot of monitoring, to make sure that the water is safe to drinking, it's I am total tap water person, I drink the tap water everywhere I go, I do let the water run. And until it's cold coming out of my tap. That's very important. If you just trap that water and use it for watering plants or watering your garden, fill the bathtub and use it over time however you if it just pains you to let it go down the drain. That's totally understandable. But if you let the water run until the water is cold, you've pretty much just eliminated most of the risk opposed by any of the service lines or the or your home plumbing or the or the material, you're getting cold water fresh from the water main and you should be in good shape with a good chlorine residual.

Dave Karlsgodt 23:37

Great. So we're not all going to die,

Melinda Friedman 23:39

we are not all going to die and everyone should be drinking their tap water. Bottled water is regulated in a very different manner. People falsely believe that it is more pure bottled water is allowed to have five micrograms per liter of lead in it, it is allowed to have it. Now the newer understanding since Flint is that no, there's no safe level of lead and the blood. Five micrograms per liter in the water may or may not translate to a certain level in the blood. But certainly, bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration by the FDA, not by US EPA and the Safe Drinking Water Act. So it's a product, it's a product that is manufactured delivered, often it's just tap water that maybe is put through an activated carbon process and then bottled and delivered and it has its place in terms of portability, but certainly should you know my mind should not be your your source of drinking water.

Dave Karlsgodt 24:36

So could we design a system where we could just treat drinking water at the source? Is that something that's viable? Or what are some of the barriers that would keep us from being able to do that?

Melinda Friedman 24:46

When, you mean at the top?

Dave Karlsgodt 24:47

Yeah, so say I'm at a campus and I'm thinking about uses of water beyond just drinking? Well, and I guess that brings up another conversation about, you know, what's the difference between drinking and cooking with water versus taking a shower in it or using it in your toilets? Or to wash your hands? Are there nuances there I need to think about?

Melinda Friedman 25:03

Yes, and I think that in terms of conservation sustainability, it is, you know, it's obviously ridiculous that we flush our toilets with purified drinking water, but clearly cooking and bathing and drinking all possible uses where it can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin, we want to make sure that water is all treated to the highest standards, but certainly flushing toilets and watering our lawns. And that's where many utilities are working towards building infrastructure, you know, purple pipe reuse water, where where water can be treated to a lower standard and then distributed for non portable uses. Certainly California, and utilities all over the nation over the bright water, we have that here to where we're trying to take reuse water that can be used for non portable purposes in our homes, and then parts of the nation or even looking at direct possible reuse, which is makes people cringe sometimes without is taken wastewater and treating it to drinking water standards where you would direct possible reuse. So you know, we're moving in those directions in some places. But to your question about treating right at the point of use. Well in Flint, Michigan, they're there, every home right now has a water filter, because until we can demonstrate that lead is completely stabilized, the recommendation has been to filter at the point of view, so at your kitchen tap. But for buildings and campuses, it gets a little tricky, because under the Safe Drinking Water Act, any facility that serves 25 or more people 60 days a year is considered a public water system, if they put some treatment on. So if you're just purchasing city of Seattle water, your University of Washington, you're just purchasing Seattle water, of course, you're serving many more than 25 people six days a year, but just pass through through your system, you are not a public water system. But as soon as you alter that chemistry in any way, whether it's adding a little more chlorine, put through UV disinfection, even a filtration device, you are then considered a public water system and have to comply with all elements of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Dave Karlsgodt 27:08

Wow. So even if it was an elementary school or even a large apartment complex, you'd run into that limit, is that a good thing or a bad thing? Or what which we think about that?

Melinda Friedman 27:20

I you know, I think it depends on which side of the equation you're sitting on. I think in general, it's probably a good thing that there are some some there's some standards in place that require folks to consider you can't just be changing the water chemistry and serving it to the public without approval without certified operators and without Department of Health, approving and ensuring you know that that your practices are, are up to speed, there's so much opportunity for you could overfeed a chemical and poison people, you know, you could connect it improperly and create a cross connection where you know, non portable water can get into the system. And under certain pressure events. There's so many opportunities for truly creating an onsite on premise poisoning event that it's very important that people are aware of and not just casually installing these treatments systems. Now public schools, many public schools have their own private wells, and they're already our public water systems. And they they know about these things. But with issues like lead and copper, the lead and copper rule where schools and other locations have had to install on site corrosion control treatment to prevent letting copper leaching into the water they have had to become public water systems.

Dave Karlsgodt 28:40

Well, so I can totally understand that. We want to prevent poisoning events. On the flip side, I suppose this is a pretty big barrier for people trying alternative approaches. I mean, right now, it sounds like our entire system setup for large scale municipal water systems. And all the safety rules and regulations are kind of designed around that concept. But as we move into too, you know, ways we can use less water as a society, which is sort of a necessity, I mean, it's going to have to happen, especially in areas like California or Arizona. We're going to have to figure this out. And

Melinda Friedman 29:12

No, you're No, you're right, you're absolutely right that this is where the industry needs to needs to catch up with the reality of our stressed water resources. And the need for more localized use and distribution needs to catch up with the regulatory structure and our actual physical infrastructure that's out there. And there's going to be pressures coming from from all directions.

Dave Karlsgodt 29:38

Melinda, as we wrap up this episode, perhaps you can give our listeners just a few key takeaways that they can think through as they're navigating some of these issues that you've raised today.

Melinda Friedman 29:48

So I guess one of the key takeaway messages is it that the longer the water sits in the pipes, and the warmer it gets. On the cold water side, the longer it sits there, the less you use, the warmer it gets, the more time it has, the more reactions it has with all the metals on the pipe with the bacteria inside the pipe. And the more that leeches into the water, and can come out your tap. So while a point of views filter could address a lot of that, then we're relying on homeowners and untrained professionals to properly change out those filters and dispose of them to ensure that public health is protected if they are left in place. Whether it's the you know, table top picture type filters, or the filters that go right on or tap, those are sitting at room temperature, they are breeding grounds for bacteria, and they are accumulating metals. And if they are not properly treated and replaced and then disposed of it's another product that now needs to be produced and disposed of. We can do more damage to our public health and safety than maybe just drinking the tap water and letting it flow in the first place. This is a really fascinating time to be part of to be an engineer in the in the drinking water industry. And to be thinking about our aging infrastructure, there's hundreds of billions of dollars of improvements that would need to be spent to upgrade our pipelines, our treatment facilities or pump stations or storage facilities. And it's really a fascinating time and a great opportunity for for engineers and other broad thinking people to get involved and help re redesign reconstruct and as we're moving into newer facilities and newer infrastructure rethink how can we better balance the need for safe, reliable pressurized treated water. But with lower consumption, lower chemical use, more conservation oriented coming at more localized and point of view sources.

Dave Karlsgodt 31:48

It's really interesting to hear the many parallels between what you're talking about with water systems and what I see in energy systems as well. And in both cases, it's seems like we can no longer just make incremental changes to the systems, but we really need a holistic rethinking of how they're set up in the first place. I'll be really interested to catch up with you again in another six months or a year and see how things are turning out in Flint or some of the other cities where you're working around the country. But before I let you go, are there any organizations or materials that you could recommend to our listeners, especially on the solution side of things?

Melinda Friedman 32:22

Yes, definitely. The American Waterworks Association, that's our industry organization. nationwide. There's lots of information for free on their website, you could look up total water solutions is one sort of group of packages and publications. Another one is the one water concept where they're really trying to look at opportunities to look at the whole water cycle and meet all these sometimes competing, but all equally important objectives.

Dave Karlsgodt 32:49

Great, well Melinda and it was really great to have you on the show today. I'll be sure to get those links to those organizations in the show notes. And thanks again for coming on the show.

Melinda Friedman 32:58

Thank you for inviting me to to speak with you. It's been really interesting and and I learned a lot and caused me to think about things in a new way too.

Dave Karlsgodt 33:07

that's it for this podcast. As always, you can find links in the show notes on our website at campusenergypodcast.com. We love your feedback and show ideas. You can drop us a line on Twitter. We are @energypodcast, or send us an email to feedback@campusenergypodcast.com. If you like the show, please take a moment to leave us a comment on your favorite podcast catcher such as iTunes or Stitcher. This really helps us get the word out about the show. Thanks for listening.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai


Episode 3, Part 2: Krista Hiser, University of Hawaii - Teaching Sustainability Concepts

Dr. Krista Hiser

Dr. Krista Hiser

Guest:  Dr. Krista Hiser, Kapiʻolani Community College, University of Hawai`i System
Host: Dave Karlsgodt, Principal, Fovea, LLC

Part 2 of a two-part series based on a conversation with Dr. Krista Hiser, the interim sustainability curriculum coordinator for the ten campuses of the University of Hawaii system and a professor of Composition and Rhetoric at Kapiʻolani Community College.

Part 1 focuses on Krista’s work to create the S-Designation or Sustainability Designation for college courses in the University of Hawai’i system.

Part 2 picks up where we left off with a deeper dive into how we can teach sustainability concepts without devolving into green rhetoric and without falling victim to green fatigue. 

Web Resources:


Episode Transcript:

The following is an automated transcription of this episode which will include errors and omissions. You can listen and follow along with the text here:


Dave Karlsgodt 0:00

Welcome to the campus energy and sustainability podcast. And each episode we will talk with leading campus professionals thought leaders, engineers and innovators addressing the unique challenges and opportunities facing higher ed corporate campuses. Our discussions will range from energy conservation and efficiency to planning and finance, from building science to social science, from energy systems to food systems. We hope you are ready to learn, share and ultimately accelerate your institution towards solutions. I'm your host Dave Karlsgodt. I'm a principal at Fovea, an energy, carbon and business planning firm. This episode is the second part of a two part series based on a conversation with Dr. Krista Hiser from Kapi'olani Community College, which is part of the University of Hawaii system. If this is your first time listening to the podcast, I'd recommend going back to the previous episode to hear Krista's full introduction and the broader context for this discussion. This episode picks up where we left off with a deeper dive into how we can teach sustainability concepts with devolving into green rhetoric and without falling victim to green fatigue. I hope you enjoy the second half of my February 2017 conversation with Dr. Krista Hiser, Krista, you've been talking about how to teach students about sustainability. But somewhere along the way, you've also taught professors how they should teach sustainability. And I'm assuming that's a good analogy for the work I'm doing where I have to teach professionals on the operational side. Can you tell me more about that?

Krista Hiser 1:26

I can tell you about the framework that he uses. Peggy Bartlett and Jeff Chase, started doing a training, they have actually developed similar leadership training modules separately. And then they kind of found each other and realized that that they were teaching this sustainability leadership for curriculum. And the same way, I engaged in the in that training. And there were two things that really struck me in the way they were teaching teachers to teach sustainability. Because teachers, we have to do a little bit of unlearning. First, we have to maintain currency in our discipline, which means we have to kind of unlearn some of our own training, graduate school did not prepare me for sustainability. So in a sense, our current faculty, me and you and the people that you work with, you know, we were all educated in one paradigm. And now we're looking at how is this education serving us when we try to solve these problems? And what do we want to change about the way we're educating the next generations? So anyway, what Katie and Jeff did, in their model, two things that were interesting to me. One is that they would use that sense of place, and finding some compassion telling problem issue, right on your campus, or in a very nearby community, it could be an environmental issue, I think the problem that I use, there was saltwater intrusion, some expert from the area presents this problem. And then faculty engage with that problem through their disciplinary lens. So let's say the problem was saltwater intrusion into an aquifer or something like that. If I was an art teacher, or an artist, how would I engage with that? If I'm a communications professor, what is my role in that problem? If I'm a geologist, if I'm a doctor or nurse, if I'm teaching math, what's the math of that? You know, so really engaging faculty, not from their personal values, like I was talking about before, but engaging them from their disciplinary brain, engaging them as experts in their training in their disciplines, and then they start talking about it. And then they start to unlock the problem, and they start to learn from each other, they start having an interdisciplinary conversation, that is, for the most part, impossible to have, on most college campuses.

Dave Karlsgodt 4:29

Interesting. So basically, you're using the professors in their area of expertise to go solve some other problems as a way of teaching them about sustainability.

Krista Hiser 4:38

Yes, yes. Exactly. Exactly.

Dave Karlsgodt 4:42

Yeah, cuz, well, my experience, a lot of times when I interact with faculty, and our work is they're the people that come in and poke holes. And we're talking about, you know, it's it's not necessarily I guess, that's the critical thinking, as opposed to the systems thinking, creative thinking. But if you can invite them in, I suppose that might be a totally different experience, where they're solving the problem, rather than telling you why you did it wrong.

Krista Hiser 5:03

Yes, invite them in and engage them from their discipline. Interesting. The other thing that Peggy and Jeff did in this AASHE training, that was really different from most other trainings that I've been to, it's going to sound like a little thing. But it has really stuck with me the way they did this. And that is that as part of this training, is a two three day Institute. And every day, you would have to go out, and the instructions were to go sit by a tree, not to have your laptop, not to start lesson planning, but to just sit by a tree and just sit there. And it sounds, it sounds silly, but it's not something as professionals that we ever do, and just creating that little bit of space, in this professional development experience. It has kind of a magical impact.

Dave Karlsgodt 6:11

Do then professors end up using the same concept in their courses? How does that play out? Or is it just a matter of that's the way they need to learn?

Krista Hiser 6:19

They can, I'm involved with something called the leap program, it's they're working on sustainability mindset. And the components of sustainability mindset in this work include systems intelligence, and environmental literacy, emotional intelligence, and what they call a spiritual intelligence, which could be just that, you know, contemplative moment contemplative moment, there's something kind of missing in our educational system, when we don't include that reflective, quiet moment of stillness, it,

Dave Karlsgodt 7:08

so you've just given me an interesting visual, and the next meeting with the facilities, folks I'm going to have, I'm going to make everybody go sit by a tree and see. But I could imagine it could actually be powerful, I need to think about how to pull that off. But anyway

Krista Hiser 7:25

I encourage you actually to think about that, it creates a different tone for the types of meetings that I engage in, you know, we like to come into a conference room with our agenda. And, you know, we just start running through the topics. And you know, I dare you to start that meeting, with just a moment of silence, or 30 seconds of silence, you know, three deep breaths.

Dave Karlsgodt 7:57

Yeah, that's good. I, I accept the challenge, have to find the right opportunity for it. And I'll tell you how it goes. All right, I wanted to bring up the work of least sharp out of Harvard, who I know our mutual friend, Matt has done some work with her. And he's the one that introduced me to you are new to me. And she talks about the concept of the dual operating system of you, you're familiar with that?

Krista Hiser 8:20

Yeah, the dual operating system is just an awesome articulation of what a college campus is like, because a college campus is, is extremely hierarchical. And everybody knows exactly where they are on the org chart and within the hierarchy. And what leads sharp is saying is that rather than being frustrated with that hierarchy, which she calls the command control system, rather than being frustrated, that we learn how to leverage its power, the power of command control, so is that a decision can be made, a policy can be written, purchasing, procedures can be crafted, and decided, you know, at the top of the hierarchy, and then they create change. So it's a very powerful being the command control system. And then the other piece, the new piece, the piece where where I get engaged and get excited, is the dual operating system. And if you see her diagram is like the dual operating system is, is like pulling out a little cluster of people. So let's say you want to change energy behavior on campus, you want people to turn off the lights, the dual operating system knows how to pull out the right people for that task, right. So you get, obviously your energy man manager, and your engineer, and maybe your janitor, and maybe a communications professor and a graphic designer who's going to make signs, you know, you know who the people are in your organization, and you know, how to activate them to complete this task. You know, they come together, they work on this thing, then they go back to what they normally do, right?

Dave Karlsgodt 10:30

Yeah, when I was introduced to the concept, a lot of light bulbs went off for me, because I had been experiencing the frustration of, you know, trying to get the large hierarchy system to work. But working in, in the work we're doing, we're, a lot of times it's climate action planning, or an energy master planning or something like that, where you're trying to say, How can we change the future trajectory of what's going on. And by its nature, it's change. And so I really liked her model of how the describing it and why it was heart and how, you know, like you were talking about earlier, have these giant leaps that if you can get the right person to make the right decision at the right time, and give them an idea that's been, I think she uses the term de risked, which I like a lot that you can, all of a sudden make a breakthrough were before you weren't able to. The other concept that I really liked from her was the concept of the calls that the squiggle, which is, you know, we tell these linear stories about how things get done. And, you know, you'll read about them in the alumni magazine, but you don't necessarily see all of the pain and agony that went into getting to that point. So I really appreciate it that

Krista Hiser 11:42

the school,

Dave Karlsgodt 11:43

the squiggle, yeah,

Krista Hiser 11:44

Peggy and Jeff, wrote a book called sustainability on campus. And was interesting about that the first book was all narratives of campus change, telling the story of those squiggles, really, then they wrote a second volume, and asked if I want to contribute something. And at the time, the most innovative program that I could think of, on our campus at a couple any community college was a professional development program that we had designed around communities of practice theory, and around adult learning theory, which is called Andrew God, gee, if adult wants to learn something, you want to get better at something, adults will seek out other people who either want to learn the same thing or maybe know a little bit more about it, and say, Oh, hey, can you help me get better at this thing. And a pair or trio or small group will form and they'll work together, they'll teach each other they form a community of practice, until they accomplish a specific task, or until they reach their mutual goal for sharing learning. This is how adults learn, they learn together they learn in community, and so that communities of practice theory, I think, is another aspect of the dual operating system, you know, a community of practice can come together around campus sustainability issues, and address them and work together to to help them move. And then they dissolve. You know, it's not the same as being on a committee or a task force, or another like assignment that can just go on and on forever. It's not your job forever. It's about energizing a particular node on the organism, organizational network in order to do something very specific.

Dave Karlsgodt 13:49

Interesting. So it's like a bunch of jazz musicians getting together for a jam session, but they're not necessarily going on tour together.

Krista Hiser 13:55

Exactly. That's great. That's a great metaphor.

Dave Karlsgodt 13:58

Excellent. Well, after my deep breath, or my moment of silence, and my next meeting, we're going to break out into trios and quartets. And All right, well, I've heard to that you have even new term in Hawaiian. Now, I remember seeing this in one of your earlier webinars. Can you explain that? I thought that was a great story, huh?

Krista Hiser 14:21

Yes, in we are really seeking to learn about indigenous wisdom. There's a lot of talk about the role of indigenous wisdom, especially. Especially now. A lot of people are following like, Standing Rock and talking about indigenous wisdom and this meeting of wisdoms. So our university president actually brought together several groups from across our whole university system. And it was our STEM faculty are some of our Hawaiian studies faculty, the sustainability people, and the Polynesian Voyaging Society. And he kind of brought us together, he said, he said, You're all talking kind of about the same theme, you know, can you can you get on the same page? And that was really a pivotal conversation for me in really thinking about how are we on the same page. So it was that this meeting, that this new word in the Hawaiian lexicon was presented. So Hawaiian is a living language. And occasionally, I understand it's rather rare, but occasionally, they create or coin a new word in the lexicon. So in Hawaiian culture, that was no word for sustainability. Because sustainability was integrated into the culture, as Matt Lynch was sometimes put it in ancient Hawaii, you were sustainable, or you were dead, because you were on an island. And no Costco and no food was coming. So. So there was no word for this, the social structures around environmental management were deeply embedded in Hawaiian culture embedded in their the spiritual culture. So there was no need for a word like sustainability, but the Hawaiian lexicon committee, now they say, it is very important that we distinguish what is sustainable and what is not. And so the word that they presented at this meeting, the word is Mo, mobile, and mobile is created by combining two words. One is, well being, and all is the perpetuation. So the word model translates into the perpetuation of our well being.

Dave Karlsgodt 17:12

Yeah, I thought that was interesting, because its sustainability really has a connotation of being not quite dead. You're barely alive, like you're sustaining yourself, but you're not really thriving. So the situation is that I like of well being I like that.

Krista Hiser 17:27

It really changes the the tenor of the conversations that you have. Sustainability can be an uncomfortable conversation, but who doesn't want to perpetuate our well being. And so it's a wonderful word. I haven't heard it a lot in common parlance in Hawaii. But we definitely use it in the UH Office of Sustainability, and find out a really inspiring word that that gives us a really important kind of common common goal and mission model.

Dave Karlsgodt 18:07

know, it's interesting how much language does influence the way we think about things. When I first started working in this area, it was about mitigating carbon. Somewhere along the way, I learned the term decarbonisation, which I don't think used to be used, but like that a lot better. And then I was taking some courses through Columbia continuing courses with Jeffrey Sachs and he uses the term deep decarbonisation, when you kind of really goes for it, you know, it's like a full transformation. But it's more of a process as opposed to just mitigation, which is like getting rid of this bestest from your building or something like that. So it's cool that you have a committee that can create new language, you know, new words, it's like an anti Orwellian committee or something like that, instead of alternative facts you get.

Krista Hiser 18:52

Awesome. I like that term, decarbonisation have also seen a lot more use of the term resilience or system inability and resilience. And with resilience, you have adaptive resilience, you know, not just how do we bounce back from a storm event or something like that. But how do we prepare for it in a way that we adapt and do things differently? And maybe even do things better?

Dave Karlsgodt 19:20

Right, yeah, some more of the Dutch version of dealing with flooding rather than the giant sea wall version of dealing with flooding?

Krista Hiser 19:28

Yeah, exactly. Good.

Dave Karlsgodt 19:31

So Krista, where are you going next with this work? I mean, what's your next big project?

Krista Hiser 19:36

Well, we're going to continue talking with faculty and formalizing these s designation courses, we identified as our baseline measure 206 courses across the University of Hawaii system. That means that there are 206 more that we just haven't engaged with. And that whole process is starting to really have its own life and its own energy, because its faculty talking to each other about how they're teaching and what they're teaching. So I'm going to, you know, continue engaging and and managing that process. And then in my personal work, I'm really excited about replicating the focus group study that I did with students. And I learned so much from just sitting down with groups of students, and getting them to talk about environmental issues and their future, and what they were learning and what they knew about it, and how they felt about it, and how it affected and impacted their future. So we're going to go out and do another round of focus group study, with students across the system. The original study that I did was in 2012. The students what I was talking to them about is like, what do they think about sustainability? how engaged are they with sustainability? And then what are their actual personal practices? This again, that cognitive dissonance came out again, sort of one category of students would say that they were interested in sustainability, oh, yeah, I really care about the environment. But when it came down to it, they really weren't interested in changing their transportation or the way they eat or the way they fly. They would say one thing, but not really do it. And that's another kind of manifestation of that cognitive dissonance we've been talking about. Another category of student, we called the students with the sustainability habitus. These are the students that define their identity around sustainability. They're the president of the ecology club, they wear clothing made out of bamboo, they carry chopstick kit, or refillable mug, water bottle, you know, activists kind of students who different find their identity around sustainability. Unfortunately, there's actually in in the study that I did, there were fewer, maybe fewer of the students than we think they're just very visible those students with the sustainability habitus, by far, the most common category of students, when they were talking about they, they said, these comments that really, really got my attention. And I called this category, karmic retribution. And what these students was, were saying, they would say things like, Well, you know, nature's going to do what nature's going to do? Well, I suppose we've got it coming, you know, this kind of really defeatist feeling, and this sense that somehow we would deserve it, because of what we had done as humans, because of what we had wrought upon the environment, that that there would be this karmic retribution from nature. And she's coming to get us,

Dave Karlsgodt 23:09

it's almost like a medieval reaction to the plague or something that's interesting.

Krista Hiser 23:12

It was a very profound sense that I got from multiple focus groups of students. So I'm very interested to see if, if that sense of karmic retribution is still out there. So if you think about a generation of leaders coming up with the sense of karmic retribution, and almost this self loathing, that's very concerning, and a little bit scary. Honestly, I see that even with my own daughter, she's 10. And her school does a lot of sustainability education. She knows about climate change. She's very savvy, and she's very engaged. But she'll say things like, you know, she's, she's, she'll even start to cry, just a mom, all the people are so bad, we have to shut down the factories, we have to save the plants and all this and she'll get, she'll get very upset, and she doesn't, she's not making the connection, that that we are part of those factories, that we are driving a car, that the food we're eating is created by the system that is causing the environmental impacts that she's lamenting,

Dave Karlsgodt 24:30

it's almost like the guilt without their responsibility.

Krista Hiser 24:33

I'm kind of this is this is what Timothy Martin calls dark ecology, the complexity of the fact that like, if I go out and I start my car, I'm contributing to climate change. But not at that moment, that that ignition, my trip to the grocery store did not cause climate change. And yet, as a member of my broader species, I am causing climate change. So we are causing it but not directly causing it. Timothy Martin calls that dark ecology. So it's a similar effect. And I'm just really interested in in where that goes. And if that exists, just dark ecology or sense of karmic retribution. How does that inform what what we do next?

Dave Karlsgodt 25:27

Yeah. Do you have any ideas on how to address that, because that seems like that does seem very dangerous. I know, my daughter went to a, it was like a tree planting organization. And she went, and they basically half of it was planting trees, and half of it was learning about how to talk about climate change. But the learning to talk about climate change was all about telling the story from a kid's perspective about how Florida is going to be underwater, and that the polar bears are tied, it was really bleak. And she was really young. And by the end of the day, I mean, come domination over just being really tired. After living through a day of just this really Doomsday kind of scenario. I mean, she she totally broke down, we just had to go home. And I didn't feel good to me, either. I didn't like kind of the approach they were taking. I think they had their heart in the right place. But it you know, it kind of went off the rails. Yeah. What do you do about that?

Krista Hiser 26:19

Well, well, coming back to like my own classroom and teaching communication, and particularly climate change, communication and rhetoric. There's some really interesting work around that right now. I actually tell my students not to use pictures of children, like do not use the pesos of like, Oh, do it for the children. You know, pathos is a term from rhetoric. For when you you call upon the audience's needs or concerns or fears, you know, you engage them in through pathos. I tell them no children, no polar bears. And I said, no green rhetoric, can we cannot engage in this green rhetoric, we have to talk about facts. You know, you have to use real facts, even just talking about climate change impacts is too, there's too much room, especially right now, there's too much room inside of that, rather than talking about climate change impacts. Talk about something very specific, like four feet of sea level rise, you know, you need to find out the facts, and what are we really talking about? What are the facts? The other kind of interesting work around climate change? communication is how, how can you talk about climate change without talking about climate change? Right, that's where it's really at. So for example, I have my students do this activity, where I said, Okay, what's the change you'd like to see on campus. And when one student had had a great idea, I said, he said, You know, people sit out in the parking lot with their, with their engines idling, and I wonder how much carbon they're producing. By doing that for 20 minutes sitting in their car running the air conditioning. So well, that'd be a great thing to change. So then I asked my students to imagine going out into the parking lot with signs that say, No, idling your car, save the planet, stop idling your car, you are causing climate change, you know, I asked them to imagine the look of horror on their faces. They're like, Oh, my God, Dr. Hiser, you're not going to make us do that. Like they thought that I was right,

Dave Karlsgodt 28:38

already sweaty from taking out the recycle.

Krista Hiser 28:41

That was 20 years ago. So then we work backwards on this on this idea. There's how to use about how to do this how to talk about climate change, without talking about climate change, using specific facts, using a identical Bible sort of spokesperson telling a story, and not using climate change, as in, in what you're talking about. So we went through this whole exercise and revise the statement. And so then instead of, you know, marching with signs, stop idling your car, we came up with this article, with the student Congress president saying, you know, hi, when I first moved here, can you believe I didn't know anybody, and I used to sit in my car, waiting for my class to begin, then I realized that I could study at the Study Center, and my grades went up, and I made friends and got elected student council president, you know, so we really turned it around into a positive reason why you would do something else, instead of not doing the thing that you should stop doing, making it positive to do the thing that you can could do instead,

Dave Karlsgodt 30:01

got it. So instead of shaming people, you just make that whole behavior irrelevant. It just doesn't even matter. Yes, transportation is kind of going through a transformation like that. You can just take Uber and if Uber was run by an electric vehicle, for example, it doesn't you don't deal with enough to drive and you're doing it not because you care about gas, you're doing it or emissions, you're doing it because it's more convenient. Right. And yeah,

Krista Hiser 30:23

and and it's cool, right? Yeah. So I think that's where it's at, I think that this personal incremental change, I certainly can't say that it's, you know, not important for me to bring a tote bag to the grocery store or for me to, you know, recycle at home. Those personal choices are, they do have impact, and they are important. But that's not where we should be meeting students right now, that whole every little bit, you can make a difference, the lower x message, it's, um, it's really they're not working.

Dave Karlsgodt 31:00

It's kind of shallow and yeah, frustrating.

Krista Hiser 31:03

It's not working, because it's not working, right, they still don't really see it. If you're carrying a water bottle around, and the campus is still selling bottles of cold water in plastic bottles, then the incremental change has not affected. You know what I mean? It comes back to that cognitive dissonance. So the behavior has to then be reflected back in the broader system, whether it's a campus or the community or the country or, you know, global policies, that loop has to come back?

Dave Karlsgodt 31:40

Well, it's really great. I give me a lot to think about here. And this has been a fascinating conversation, I think, for anybody that's working in these areas of sustainability, or I'm going to call it thrive ability or mellow from now on. All right. This has been a lot to think about any final thoughts as we close up this episode.

Krista Hiser 32:01

I think what stands out for me about this conversation, is I'm in a position where I'm talking with really, really, really smart people all day long about these issues of sustainability, thrive ability, the perpetuation of well being, and how are institutions in our work, college campuses? How do we navigate this change and prepare students for an uncertain future? And we are, we're like levers, you know, between some generational points. And you know, we're teaching things that we weren't taught, we're educating in a way that we weren't educated. So we're really like a transitional type of work right now. And if the work works, then we don't need sustainability. If we do a good job, then we don't need to have sustainability designated courses or degrees in sustainability. If we do a good job, then we make it through this change. So I think that just as a closing thought, how do we survive and thrive in change? You know, we have to, I think, making connections with each other, and and people outside of the work that you normally do, you know, like on campuses, when the faculty engage with the facilities director, that's really, really helpful. And then what is the nature of that engagement? If people can talk about, you know, what got you interested in this talk about that aha moment? Or have a shared experience of reflection? Or really connect about where they're coming from? And what their expertise is? What do they have to create tribute to the problem, you know, the more we connect with each other, it becomes more exciting. And we can go from those, you know, little incremental baby steps, and just believe that those leaps will happen. If we keep working together.

Dave Karlsgodt 34:18

That's a great place to end. I like that. We all need more hope in this world, I think. So where can we learn more about the specific work, you're doing just websites or other resources you want to point our listeners to,

Krista Hiser 34:33

and we have a lot of great resources on our University of Hawaii systems sustainability page, which is www.hawaii.edu, backslash sustainability. And if you can cruise around there, there's some specifics, we actually have an implementation handbook for our s designation program, we're really happy to share that with other colleges and also learn from how other colleges are engaging with curricular transformation. We also have up there some PowerPoints, presentations from some of our faculty, who really talk with us about what do we need to understand about climate change impacts in Hawaii, food security impacts in Hawaii, and those are under programs on our website. And then another website that I contribute to is called teaching two big questions. And it's all spelled out teaching two big questions. dot wordpress. com. And this website is from a national grant project that was part of with six community colleges engaging with the big question. And the big question was, how do we build our commitment to diverse, healthy, equitable and sustainable communities? So you know, that really is the big question. This really is the big work. So that website, teaching two big questions has different colleges talking about these issues in their own geographic place, and how they're creating curriculum around around those big questions.

Dave Karlsgodt 36:11

Excellent. Well, we will get all of those listed in our show notes so that people can link to them straight from there.

Krista Hiser 36:17

I'll also give you a list of the five or six books that I might have mentioned. And there's so much there's so much out there, there's so much interesting research and scholarship and thinking going on. And I'd be happy to share a few few of the things I'm reading right now.

Dave Karlsgodt 36:34

That would be great. I'll be sure to put all of that into the show notes. Well, Krista, I really want to thank you again, for being on the show today. This has been fascinating conversation. I feel like I've been on quite the journey today.

Krista Hiser 36:46

And I really enjoyed talking with you. And thank you so much for the work that you're doing. And anybody that listens to a podcast like this. I think part of it is just like, it's so cool that other people are interested in, you know, in really thinking deeply about what it is that we're doing here with campus sustainability.

Dave Karlsgodt 37:08

Excellent. Well, thanks again.

Krista Hiser 37:10

Thank you.

Dave Karlsgodt 37:12

That's it for this episode. As always, you can learn more the show notes and the podcast website at campusenergypodcast.com. Please let us know what you think by sending us an email. Our email address is feedback@campusenergypodcast.com. Catch you next time.