UCSF Sustainability Stories

Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact, January 2016

2016 LiveGreen Resolutions: Ten Ways to Live Greener in 2016


Happy New Year!  From choosing ethical chocolate to making your next car electric, this piece offers a range of green resolutions to add to your list of intentions for 2016.  We have provided you ten easy actions to make 2016 greener and healthier. 

1.  Eat Less Meat and Buy Antibiotic-Free Meat 
pillOne of the easiest and most effective things we can all do to reduce our carbon footprint is to eat less meat.  And when you do chose meat, be sure to purchase organic meat or look for an antibiotic-free label.  The meat industry’s chronic overuse of antibiotics creates an environment that can cause drug-resistant bacteria to multiply—and that poses a threat to us all.  One easy way to avoid antibiotics in your meat is to buy organic.  Adherence to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s organic rules prohibit antibiotic use on livestock and must be verified on-site by an independent accredited certifier, providing a high level of confidence that any meat or poultry labeled “USDA Organic” comes from animals that never have been given any antibiotics.  UCSF Medical Center is serving grass-fed meat and now serves only antibiotic-free chicken breasts on its patient and retail menus.  There is a cost-premium for this choice, but UCSF makes up for this by serving less meat and reducing wasted food.  You can do the same at home. To learn more about how meat impacts the environment go here.  To learn more about antibiotics in meat, go here.

Paper2.  Buy 100% PCW: 
Now there is no excuse not to purchase 100% post-consumer waste (PCW) paper for the office.  UCSF joined forces with UC Berkeley—together these two campuses can negotiate impressive procurement deals.  Office Max, through BearBuy, allows all UCSF staff and faculty to purchase Georgia Pacific paper with 100% PCW content with no cost premium.  In fact, many of the virgin papers, made of trees and no recycled content, are no longer available through Office Max.  The new 100% recycled copy paper is both cheaper and more environmentally-friendly, leaving no reason not to transition to it for your copy paper needs.  So next time your office needs paper, click on 100%.  For more information on why recycled paper is a good choice, see Conservatree’s website.

3.  Bring Your Own Bottle and Eliminate Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
Over 30 water-bottle filling stations now offer free San Francisco water from Hetch Hetchy.  Save plastic, save money and help the environment by bringing your own bottle to campus.  With the recent ban on sugar-sweetened certifiedbeverages, this is also an easy way to hydrate in a healthy way.  Enter into a drawing for a free water bottle by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with DRAWING in the subject heading.  Winners will be announced in the February newsletter!

4.  Get Certified
If your office is not certified yet as a Living Green Office, Lab or Unit, go HERE to learn more about how to get certified.  It is a fun and easy way to engage your entire office.  Whoever contacts .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to start your certification process gets a free water bottle!

Leaf Car Image

5.  Never Buy Gas Again
Ready for a new car?  Consider a Leaf—an all electric car.  The cleanest vehicles are the ones that don’t burn gas at all, and plug-in electric vehicles are a best bet for fuel efficiency.  UCSF employees qualify for a special offer of $1,000 below the dealer invoice.  Go here to learn more.

6.  Capture Raindrops
Install an extensible rainwater collection system that allows you to capture rainwater from your roof.  All UC faculty, staff and students receive a special $50 discount.  Just go to the Amazon Store: www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0160ESD0I and use the Coupon Code: UCSF2015.  More Information can be found at www.raindropbox.com.  Or pick up your Raindrop Box in San Carlos and skip the shipping charges.

7.  Shop Local at UCSF Farmers’ Markets 
veggiesPurchase local, organic, and fresh produce from UCSF or local farmer’s markets.  Increase your intake of sustainably grown fruits and vegetables.  Michael Pollan offers, “Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants.”  Shop healthy, shop fresh, shop California-grown at the UCSF Farmers’ Market, every Wednesday (rain or shine) starting at 10 am. Two convenient campus locations:

Year-round Convenience Market
Located in the Elevator G, Breezeway
10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Mission Bay
Year-round Destination Market
Located on the plaza at Gene Friend Way
10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Both Farmers’ Markets take their seasonal break from December - mid January.  The UCSF Farmers’ Market is brought to you by Campus Life Services Retail and Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association. For more information, go here.

8.  Personal Advocacy 
Contact your elected officials and ask them to support climate action. We need to continue to raise our voices, and keep engaging our elected officials to remind them of the right thing to do. Please consider taking five minutes out of your busy day to call your members of Congress and urge them to demonstrate leadership on climate change now. Go to NRDC’s take action page for resources and ideas.  Consider joining FossilfreeUCSF.

9.  Make Your Backyard a Butterfly’s Delight
Monarch butterfly populations are in precipitous decline. Why? In large part because industrial agriculture is killing off the native milkweed plants on which monarchs depend for food. You can help create a safe corridor for monarchs and sustain them on their journey by planting local, native milkweed right in your backyard (literally). And to do even more, avoid using dangerous glyphosate weed killers—like Monsanto’s Roundup—and choose alternatives that don’t harm the environment. See National Wildlife Federation’s Garden for Wildlife for more information.

10.  Eat Ethical Chocolate
Last, but not least, when your sweet tooth hits and you reach for chocolate, take a moment to pick an ethical brand.  According to an article in Grist, “For the world’s biggest chocolate makers — Hershey, Nestle, and Mars account for more than 35 percent of global chocolate production — practices like child slave labor, rainforest demolition, and heavy reliance on GMOs are just a part of doing business.” It is not so simple as looking for organic or the fair trade label.  Grist recommends a visit to San Francisco-based Dandelion Chocolate.  To learn more, go here.  Being a green consumer isn’t always easy—check out this piece from Grist on why we judge people who do the right thing.

Story by Green Impact.