Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Holidays

Well, I've finished the semester and survived! No small task, let me tell ya. I worked harder this semester than I ever imagined I would have to. Certainly I knew grad school would be tough (though Brian's brother Keith in Cleveland says his masters program is easier than his undergrad...grrr) but I wasn't prepared for just how much work there would be. I loved it, but my four courses were very demanding. I wrote about 20,000 words total.

I do expect next semester to be slightly easier as I won't have that period of adapting to a new country, home, and university! That should help!

So I now have four whole weeks to myself. I'm got them booked up with naps, relaxing, reading(for pleasure), and baking cookies. We also have a trip to Sydney and a ski trip planned but I'm honestly most excited about doing nothing at all. Also planning some Rotary speaking with local clubs.

Next semester I'll do two courses and a major research essay of 15,000 words, looking like it will be a case study of implementing the concepts of sustainability across the campus. Not sure if I'll be able to look at operations and management and curriculum as that may be a bit too broad, but I'll most likely start with a look at how well the uni is getting the concepts of sustainability into the curriculum and how it could do it better. By that I mean, is the university preparing future leaders to understand that we operate within the limits of a finite biosphere. Ultimately, nothing will really matter that much if we don't have a functioning life supporting environment. So my argument is that universities have a responsibility to prepare students to make environmentally friendly decisions both now and in the future and in order to do that they need to be modeling sustainability themselves.

ANU is hands down the number one university in Australia for sustainability, ie. energy efficiency, recycling, composting organic waste, and using greywater to irrigate lawns. There is also an undergrad degree in sustainability and 70+ courses with sustainability as a core theme. Pretty exciting stuff and should be good fodder for my case study.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Great Green Debate

You may remember that I mentioned I was planning a debate for World Environment Day, which was on June 5th. Well I'm proud to say it was a huge success!

I planned it with two other people as part of the group I've been organizing, the Sustainability Learning Community (SLC). The evening started off with drinks and dinner for about 60 people including members of the SLC and the debating teams.

The theme of the debate was that Australia's Response to Global Warming is Sufficient and each team had three debaters. It was so much easier to get the negative side on board than the affirmative! The negative side included a member of the legislative assembly for the green party, a climate scientist from ANU, and an ANU student. The affirmative side included a Liberal senator (remember liberal here refers to the conservative side of the coin), an economics professor who at end declared that he didn't believe a word of what he'd just said, and an ANU debating club student. A student chaired the debate and the head of my school was the honorary adjudicator.

We didn't plan on having a winning or losing team but the adjudicator asked for a show of hands by table as to which side won. One table put their hands up for the affirmative! Not surprising considering it was billed as a green event.

It was really a delightful evening, both interesting and entertaining. 140 people came and the hall was full. In fact, the head of the school has requested we do it again next semester!

Sunsets

We often spend our Sunday afternoons at the National Library eating cheesecake in the cafe and reading. These photos are from those rides home.


Sunset behind Black Mountain



Moon over Lake Burley Griffin

Autumn on Campus

It's not really autumn anymore but as I mentioned earlier, my blog has been neglected and I wanted to put up a few photos of the colors.

It's technically winter now and though it does get quite cold overnight and in the mornings and evenings, the days are lovely and feel like spring. It gets down to about 30 F overnight and there is now frost on the grass in the morning and even ice on the puddles. The ride to school is chilly but its almost always sunny with blue skies throughout the day and probably reaches 50-55 F during the day. And though the autumn leaves have all fallen, the city is still green as eucalypts don't lose their leaves. There is something odd however, about bundling up before going out in June!


Sullivans Creek and Black Mountain


University Avenue

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

a story...

The American consultant was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow-fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied only a little while.

The American then asked why didn't he stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.

The American then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life."

The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then L.A. and eventually NewYork City where you will run your expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?"

To which the American replied, "15-20 years."

"But, what then?"

The American laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right, you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions."

"Millions...then what?"

The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your children, take siesta with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play guitar with your amigos."