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A look back on UC Berkeley's environmentally friendly history

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APRIL 22, 2014

Gather around, everyone! It’s Earth Day! The one day of the year when hoarders recycle and it’s socially acceptable to hug trees. There is a variety of interesting activities happening around Berkeley during Earth Week, from film screenings to discussions about renewable energy. In honor of Earth Day, we at the Clog decided to take a look back at Berkeley’s rich environmentally friendly history.

Ever heard of the Sierra Club? Its first executive director, David Brower, went to UC Berkeley! That’s right — a Cal Golden Bear was responsible for one of the oldest and most influential environmental organizations in the United States. The Sierra Club is known for advocating for environmental causes and organizing fun outdoor activities such as rock-climbing and mountaineering. Brower also founded many other environmental organizations, such as Earth Island Institute and Friends of the Earth (he really did love the Earth). Fun fact: Brower was an editor for the University of California Press in Berkeley (yay writers!).


Want to marvel at the awesomeness of Berkeley inventors? Then think about this: UC Berkeley researchers developed technology that would improve semi-conductor films used in solar cells. This technology would make solar cells cheaper and efficient and would reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. So the next time you take in a fresh breath of air, thank them for the clean environment.

In fact, UC Berkeley is so closely intertwined with excellence and environmental consciousness that Richard Goldman, a 1941 campus alumnus, went on to create the Goldman Environmental Prizes. These are very prestigious environmental awards, nicknamed the “Green Nobel” (creating your own form of Nobel prizes? Very, very cool).  Fun fact: UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy is named after Richard Goldman and his wife.


The campus itself is also very green. Need some proof? The Li Ka Shing Center has a green roof and wood panels made from recycled material from old warehouses. The green roof is not just pretty to look at but actually helps control temperature and reduce our energy usage. The recycled wood panels limit waste and help reduce Berkeley’s ecological footprint.

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APRIL 21, 2014