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Greening ourselves

Green isn’t just a hot research topic in the school of computer science — it’s also something that many of us attempt to make part of our daily lives. SCS faculty, staff and students love their bikes (email us at scsgreen [at] cs.cmu.edu if you have a picture of you and your bike and we’ll add you to that page — I know there’s more of you out there than we put on the page!). Thanks to the initiative of Becca King, Sarah Reeder, and Gabi Marcu, the HCII just purchased mugs for everyone in the department (after realizing we were going through more than 500 styrofoam cups per month). I’m sure there’s other efforts going on around SCS — please write in and tell us about them.

I could stop the post here, after patting us all on the shoulder. But I want to step back and say — living green isn’t just a way of moving from talk to walk. It’s also a crucial way for us to identify research problems, learn first hand what makes a difference and what doesn’t, and increase our intuition about the problems we are trying to solve. When Illah Nourbakhsh spoke in our seminar a few years ago, he began by telling a story about his own electric car and how that eventually led him to the wonderful ChargeCar project he is now engaged in.

On the other hand, as I have commented before, we all have to be careful not to limit our view of sustainability to those things that we and other individuals can  change. So pay attention, as well, to what you can’t change. Those moments when research or personal efforts fail are often as illuminating as the moments when it succeeds.

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