Students in Environmental Studies 300, the capstone course for Reed’s nascent Environmental Studies program, used smart device geolocation and collaboration to place issues of carbon sources and sinks in a spatial context. Information gathering and collaboration took two forms:
Regional: Group carbon field trip
The first weekend in April 2013, ES 300 students and faculty visited sites relevant to climate change throughout northern Oregon, learning about local carbon sources and sinks. Students gathered information about the sites both in groups and individually, and each student posted an entry to the DFS site both from the field and editing/augmenting content post facto as needed. This content included photographs, carbon-related statistics, site status/other information, individual reflections on the sites, and notes on relevant policy. Read more.
Local: Energy use and policy (aka the weatherization project)
The Portland Climate Action Plan (PCAP) has defined goals for carbon reduction; by 2030, the city aims to achieve a 40% reduction in carbon emissions relative to 1990 levels. In Multnomah County, 20% of the average household’s energy use is home climate regulation, making this an important focus for local action in relation to climate change. Using infrared cameras, student groups measured thermal emission readings from homes throughout SE Portland in early Februrary 2012. Student groups used ArcGIS Desktop to choose sample sites based on house characteristics (age, square footage, value) at the taxlot level (data via RLIS/Portland Metro) and energy loss at the census block level (data from the City of Portland). Read more.