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January Newsletter 2019

The Sustainable Coog: Your monthly source for green strides with red pride

Spring Back into Sustainability!

The fall of 2018 saw lots of activity for the Office of Sustainability. Starting with the hiring of a new sustainability coordinator, the semester was marked by ramped up programming and outreach. Monthly sustainability education events were held, posters were given at conferences, and BCycle stations were installed. Each of these efforts move UH steps closer to being a more sustainable university. But what is in store for the coming spring?

First to look forward to is the Spring BYOB competition! During the first two weeks of each semester, students are encouraged to tag themselves (#UHBYOBottle) in a selfie on social media using reusable water bottles. The winner will then be randomly selected to win prizes like a full zero waste starter kit.

Spring is also a time for Recyclemania! Each February and March, the University takes part in this competition comparing recycling rates across universities. The number one way to participate is to make extra effort to recycle throughout the contest, but you can help make a larger impact by attending scheduled recycling events listed on the official contest page.

Sustainability in the news

Lean Electrolyte Design is a Game-Changer for Magnesium Batteries

Researchers from the University of Houston and the Toyota Research Institute of America have discovered a promising new version of high-energy magnesium batteries, with potential applications ranging from electric vehicles to battery storage for renewable energy systems.

The battery, reported Dec. 21 in Joule, is the first reported to operate with limited electrolytes while using an organic electrode, a change the researchers said allows it to store and discharge far more energy than earlier magnesium batteries. They used a chloride-free electrolyte, another change from the traditional electrolyte used by magnesium batteries, which enabled the discovery.

Rice, UH team preps for massive Antarctic glacier study
A team of scientists from Rice University, the University of Houston, the University of Alabama and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory will participate in an ambitious $25 million study aimed at determining how quickly Antarctica's massive Thwaites Glacier could collapse.

The Thwaites research program, a joint undertaking of the National Science Foundation and the United Kingdom's Natural Environment Research Council, was announced today. U.S. and U.K. officials say the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration (ITGC) is the largest joint project undertaken by their nations in Antarctica since the mapping of the Antarctic Peninsula more than 70 years ago.

H-GAC Updates Regional Demographic Snapshot
The Socioeconomic Modeling team at H-GAC updated the Regional Demographic Snapshot tool with recently released US Census American Community Survey Data (2013-2017 5-year estimate). The tool provides easy access to demographic data at different geographic levels including counties, cities, independent school districts, census tracts, Zip codes, and Census Block Groups.

Native Knowledge: What Ecologists Are Learning from Indigenous People
While he was interviewing Inuit elders in Alaska to find out more about their knowledge of beluga whales and how the mammals might respond to the changing Arctic, researcher Henry Huntington lost track of the conversation as the hunters suddenly switched from the subject of belugas to beavers. It turned out though, that the hunters were still really talking about whales. There had been an increase in beaver populations, they explained, which had reduced spawning habitat for salmon and other fish, which meant less prey for the belugas and so fewer whales.

   Food for Thought

UH Farmers Market Returns Spring 2019

University of Houston students, staff and faculty will be able to shop for locally sourced and produced food items without having to leave campus at the UH Farmers Market! Cougar Cash is accepted! Spring 2019 Dates & Locations All Farmers Markets will be held on Wednesdays from 12pm to 4pm

An Apple Shows Just How Broken Our Food System Is

Buying and eating apples seems a pretty healthy thing to do. But a new study has found that every 1 kilo (2.2 pounds) of conventionally grown apples creates health effects costing 21 cents due to the effects of pesticides and fungicides, resulting in sick leave and eventually shorter life expectancies.



Biodiversity Loss & What You Can Do
Date: Sunday, Jan. 27th
Time: 6 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Location: Christ the King Evangelical Lutheran Church
Wild and Scenic Film Festival
Date: Wed and Thurs, Jan. 30 - 31
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: River Oaks Theater

Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area Webinar
Date: Thurs, Jan. 22th
Time: 1 p.m.
Location: Online. Email:

UH Farmers Market
Date: Wed, Jan. 30
Time: 12 p.m - 4 p.m.
Location:Butler Plaza

UH STEM Career Fair
Date: Friday, Feb 1st
Time: 12 p.m - 4 p.m.
Location: TBD


Houston Botanic Garden Volunteer Hours
Date: Saturday, Jan.12
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Location: 8205 N Bayou Dr, Houston, TX 77017

Memorial Park Arbor Day
Date: Saturday, Jan. 19
Time: 9:00 a.m. - Noon
Location: 7575 North Picnic Lane Houston, TX 77007
Funfetti Fridays
Date: Friday, Jan. 25
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Discovery Green Park
BCycle 101 Zoo Ride
Date: Friday, Jan. 25
Time: 1:00 p.m.
Location: UH Student Center South Circle Drive
19th Annual Fruit Tree Sale
Date: Saturday, Feb. 9
Time: 9 a.m.
Location: Sawyer Yards, 2101 Winter Street

Farmers Markets
Rice University Farmers Market
Date: Every Tuesday
Time: 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Location: 5600 Greenbriar Dr.
Houston, TX 77005
City Hall Farmers Market
Date: Every Wednesday
Time: 11 a.m to 1:30 p.m.
Location: City Hall
901 Bagby St.
Houston, TX 77002
Central City Co-Op Farmers Market
Date: Every Wednesday
Time: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Location: 2515 Waugh Dr.
Houston, TX 77006
Urban Harvest Eastside Farmers Market
Date: Every Saturday
Time: 8 a.m. to noon
Location: 3000 Richmond Ave.
Houston, TX 77098
Memorial Villages Market
Date: Every Saturday
Time: 9 a.m to 1 p.m. Location: 10840 Beinhorn Road
Houston, TX 77024
The Woodlands Farmers Market at Grogan's Mill
Date: Every Saturday
Time: 8 a.m. to noon
Location: 7 Switchbud Pl.
The Woodlands, TX 77380

For more information on ongoing Farmers Markets or new, upcoming ones, check out the sites below:

Campus Community Garden

Learn more about our Campus Community Garden and our mission. Email us to schedule a time to volunteer.
Like us on Facebook for weekly garden updates!

Scholarships & Opportunities

The Terry Hershey Bayou Stewardship Award
Bayou Preservation Association established the prestigious Terry Hershey Bayou Stewardship Award in 2010 in honor of its founder, Terry Hershey. She, along with then-Congressman George H.W. Bush and developer George Mitchell halted a plan by the Army Corps of Engineers to channelize and concrete Buffalo Bayou in the 1960's. Thanks to these forward-thinking individuals, much of Buffalo Bayou has remained in an a mostly natural state, providing plant and animal habitats, green spaces, and recreational opportunities for countless local residents and visitors. This award recognizes those who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to aiding in the conservation, preservation, restoration or advocacy of Houston's waterways.

Keep Texas Beautiful Awards
Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB) is a network of dedicated Texans working together to make our state the best place to live, work and play. We equip local partners and affiliates with the tools they need to build vibrant, engaged communities. Founded in 1967, Keep Texas Beautiful has more than 50 years of experience deploying resources for local clean-up, recycling, and youth engagement efforts. Everything we do is focused on mobilizing volunteers to take action across the state. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, we lead nearly 300 affiliates and reach 19 million Texans annually. We are proudly based in Austin, Texas. KTB is also a certified state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful.

Water Innovation Strategies of Excellence (WISE) Awards
The Water Innovation Strategies of Excellence (WISE) Awards recognize innovative strategies and projects in the Houston-Galveston region that serve as models for improving water quality. This program is overseen by the Natural Resource Advisory Committee, an advisory committee to the Houston-Galveston Area Council Board of Directors. There is no entry fee for the WISE Awards. Submittals in any category must be for activities completed between January 1, 2016, and January 1, 2019.

Green Jobs

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