Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

New glacial maximum on Mount ARC provides definitive evidence that Pratt’s sustainability efforts are working

Posted 01 Apr 2014 / 1
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Pratt Institute’s Mount ARC, part of the central Brooklyn range, has been a hotbed of climatological research. A unique geological feature within the mostly-flat borough of Brooklyn, Mount ARC rises above Pratt Institute’s majestic campus, looming over this community of creative makers like a stern warning from good old Mother Nature herself.

Mount ARC’s two open faces — the North Face and the South Face — feature two cwms where winter snowfall accumulates and ultimately is deposited onto the north and south face glaciers. Deep snowpack in these cwms leads to larger glaciers:

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As the image below (taken from the South Face’s Col du Serra) suggests, with sufficient snowfall and consistently cold temperatures, Mount ARC’s twin glaciers can accumulate significant mass:

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Mount ARC’s unique geological configuration creates ideal conditions for massive avalanches, which are particularly dangerous on the North Face:

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Several members of the Pratt community have been temporarily preserved by these avalanches, including one unfortunate Photography student — affectionately known around campus as “Prattzi” — whose frozen corpse was trapped in the North Face glacier until just before Spring Break 2012.

Recently, Mount ARC’s South Face has been monitored by faculty from Pratt Institute’s Department of Math and Science and Climatology. Braving dangerous icefall and crevasse risk and enduring arduous journeys into the smoke-filled Greenhouse Valley, these dedicated Pratt researchers have begun to uncover surprising evidence of Pratt’s impact on climate change:

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It turns out that Mount ARC is a critical indicator of overall planetary climate. As one member of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — speaking on condition of anonymity — recently put it:

“As Mount ARC goes, so goes the global climate”

Accordingly it was with great surprise (and untrammeled glee!) that Pratt scientists discovered that Mount ARC’s glaciers are actually growing. A new dataset, analyzed here for the first time, suggests that this year’s Mount ARC glaciers are larger than they have been in several years:

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As this new data unequivocally demonstrates, past Mount ARC glaciers were significantly less extensive than the glaciers observed this year. Although this image only shows the data for the South Face, Pratt scientists were clear that “you can trust us… all the data points to massive new glacial extent on Mount ARC”.

Mount ARC’s booming glaciers show that Pratt’s efforts to be “the sustainable-ist campus worldwide” are working. Having radically and decisively changed the way that the campus uses energy and deals with its solid waste, Pratt’s sustainability efforts are beginning to pay big dividends. In 2010 Pratt shifted to a “zero waste” policy, banning the use of materials that must be landfilled at the end of their use and instituting the country’s most thorough Cradle-to-Cradle material repurposing and recycling program. In 2011 all of Pratt’s buildings were retrofitted to the “totally passive” insulation standard. In 2012 the campus was converted to a smart electricity grid that sends a text to facilities every time a sophomore industrial design student falls asleep at her studio desk at 4:45 a.m. with a light on. The system also allows anyone logging into the new-and-improved to locate in real time the source of any unnecessary energy consumption (and instantly unfriend the offending member of the Pratt community with a convenient one-button Facebook embed).

As a result of these efforts, Pratt’s campus appears to have reached a state that sustainability experts call over-greened. “We thought that getting the campus to be carbon neutral was a big step,” said Trustee Barry Greenwald, “but it appears that we are now serving as a major carbon vortex. It just goes to show how much progress you can make by thinking green.

In addition, Pratt’s alumni — armed with their training in sustainable design practices — are largely responsible for this dramatic reversal in global climate change. “It’s amazing what a couple of buildings with cool skins on them can do,” asserted Med Azria, a prominent Pratt architecture alumnus. Former Fine Arts chair Mona Duran had a slightly different take on the source of this apocalypse-reversing alteration of praxis: “I think that the purists who insisted that requiring all Fine Arts thesis projects to be compostable was ‘too extreme’ are eating their critical theory now”. Not to be left out of the race for credit, the CommD department recently released a promotional interactive flash web-based game-ified site that makes the claim that “doing absolutely nothing IRL is the secret to sustainability: plug in your brain & we will plug in our design & together we will save the planet”.

Pratt scientists were just ecstatic to be able to document such conclusive evidence of Pratt’s contribution to the eradication of the greenhouse effect. “We are hoping to look at glacial data from Mount Fresh Kills,” crowed one of the Pratt scientists (who spoke anonymously to avoid upsetting his collaborators by “grandstanding”), “we would like to see if Pratt’s sustainability efforts have drifted over to Staten Island”.

A Major Post, Climate Change, Greenwashing, Pratt Institute, Sustainability, Sustainable Energy, Sustainable Pratt

1 Comment to "New glacial maximum on Mount ARC provides definitive evidence that Pratt’s sustainability efforts are working"

rhett bradbury 3rd April 2014 at 12:52 pm

Lol. I like the tongue in cheek. We should all become carbon vortexes.

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