Sustainability Briefings are a collection of occasional essays, thought pieces, case studies and research briefings through which University of New Hampshire (UNH) faculty, staff and students can connect with larger audiences on the complex issues of sustainability. The collection is sponsored by the Sustainability Institute at UNH, a convener, cultivator and champion of sustainability on campus, in the state and region, and around the world.

Spring 2016

The “Integrated Climate Solutions” project of Climate Solutions New England aims to promote leadership and innovation by highlighting initiatives that provide opportunities for enhanced civic participation and democratic governance, economic development, public health, and social justice, while tackling climate change mitigation and/or adaptation. Full case studies on each of the solutions featured are in development, and will be available at

The Keene Energy and Agriculture Project (KEAP)

The “Solarize” Model for Engaging Communities and Empowering Businesses

From Subsidies to Finance with Green Banks

The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI)

Green Bonds

The NH Food Alliance is a network of individuals working together to build a food system that is good for people, businesses, and the environment. The NH Food Alliance consists of relationships and connections across food system sectors and regions, which allows network partners to achieve more effective action and lasting change. Learn more at

Read the briefing here.




Fall 2015

We are pleased to announce a new series of Sustainability Briefings focused on climate change and the New England food system. This series, authored by the 2015 Food Solutions New England Climate Fellow, Ravdeep Jaidka, is a continuation of the work of last summer's 2014 Thomas W. Haas Climate Fellow, Ruby Woodside.

Ravdeep recently completed her Master's degree in the Agriculture, Food, and Environment program at Tufts University in Boston. Her fellowship, based at the Sustainability Institute, was hosted in collaboration with Food Solutions New England (FSNE). FSNE is a regional, collaborative network organized around a single goal: to transform the New England food system into a resilient driver of resilient driver of racial equity and food justice, health, sustainable farming and fishing, and thriving communities. Learn more at

Field to Fork Farm: Resilence through Diversification

Fox Point Oysters: Building Coastal Resilence

Hannaford Brothers Company: Stewardship & Innovation

Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks: Resilience through Technology

Salvation Farms: Resilience through Surplus Management

Spring Rain Farm: Planning and Preparedness

Wolfe's Neck Farm: Resilience through Soil Regeneration

Download all of these briefings as one pdf here.

A New England Food Vision is a collaborative report championed by Food Solutions New England (FSNE), a network serving as a convener and cultivator of our regional food system and an initiative of the Sustainability Institute. An initial concept of the Vision was proposed at the first FSNE New England Food Summit in 2011. Over the next three years, the evolving Vision figured prominently in a series of regional and state summits, meetings, and workshops. The result was A New England Food Vision, a collaborative effort from the authors Brian Donahue, Joanne Burke, Molly Anderson, Amanda Beal, Tom Kelly, Mark Lapping, Hannah Ramer, Russell Libby, and Linda Berlin. This briefing highlights the details of the vision and how the region is already putting the ideas to work.

Read the briefing here.


Midlife with Thoreau (Hiraeth, 2015) was written over several years and in several genres as a nature journal with some resemblance and many references to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, or Life in the Woods, published in 1855. Published 110 years later, it is a memoir in poetry, essays, and journals, a series of “excursions” (the term comes from Thoreau)--that is, walks through landscapes of association, beginning often with observed phenomenon and moving to its personal meaning for me, a mode characteristic of many modern so-called “nature writers,” as co-editors of the Norton Book of Nature Writing, Robert Finch and John Elder, report. The book is a blend of sources and genres, disciplines, and the “embodied” personal and the political that has ever been the stuff of author, Diane Freedman's academic work before and after she came to the University of New Hampshire.

Read the briefing here


Summer 2015

 A nitrogen footprint is a new tool that connects our consumption patterns with the associated nitrogen pollution released to the environment. Nitrogen pollution contributes to a series of negative impacts on human and ecosystem health, including smog, acid rain, biodiversity loss, dead zones, and climate change. However nitrogen is also a nutrient: all species on earth need nitrogen in some form to survive, and we consume our nitrogen as protein. We must therefore figure out how to optimize the use of nitrogen while minimizing its negative consequences. The nitrogen footprint is a tool that can help address this challenge by communicating how our consumption patterns are impacting the environment.

Read the briefing here


"Here at UNH, we’ve worked hard to understand our carbon footprint, and to help other colleges and universities do the same."

Back in 1827, a mathematician named Fournier used the term “greenhouse effect” to describe the way that certain gases in the atmosphere act like glass; they let energy in the form of light pass through them, but don’t let that energy, once reflected off of the earth’s surfaces and changed into heat, to pass back out of the atmosphere into space. Those gases—water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxides are the most prevalent—he called “greenhouse gasses” because they act like a greenhouse, keeping energy bounded within the earth’s atmosphere, and thereby allowing life to flourish here on Earth in a way that it doesn’t elsewhere."

Read the briefing here

Spring 2015

Rising seas pose significant risks to New Hampshire coastal communities and ecosystems, cultural resources, and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and a host of climate change-driven health impacts such as heat-related morbidity and mortality, respiratory illness, vector-borne, food-, and water-borne, diseases, and mental health or stress-related disorders, are likewise a significant threat to Granite State and New England residents. The findings come from two new reports out of the Sustainability Intitute's Initiative Climate Solutions New England (CSNE)—“Sea-level Rise, Storm Surges, and Extreme Precipitation in Coastal New Hampshire” and “Climate Change and Human Health in New Hampshire.” The two reports build upon previous CSNE analysis that, together, provide a scientific foundation for how best to plan for and adapt to our changing climate. 


Read the briefing here.

Click here for the full reports on


While teaching her course ANTH 444 The Lost Campus: The Archaeology of UNH, Meghan Howey, Associate Professor of 

Anthropology, discovered UNH has a myriad of cultural resources lying just underneath our campus. Her classes have dug up multiple artifacts on campus, leading her to advocate for a Heritage Management Plan for campus development. In this briefing, Howey writes on The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and makes the case for Sustaining Cultural Heritage at UNH. 

Read the briefing here.



Fall 2014

The Sustainability Institute is launching the initiative with a collection of case studies on climate change and the New England food system. These case studies—a total of 12—were researched and written by the Institute’s 2014 Thomas W. Haas Climate Fellow, Ruby Woodside. Ruby’s fellowship focused on documenting and communicating climate impacts and adaptation strategies for New England farmers and fishermen.

Ruby Woodside is currently working on a Masters of Environmental Science and Policy as well as an MBA in Sustainability at Clark University. Her fellowship, based at the Sustainability Institute, was hosted in collaboration with Food Solutions New England (FSNE). FSNE is a regional, collaborative network organized around a single goal: to transform the New England food system into a resilient driver of healthy food, sustainable farming and fishing, and thriving communities. Learn more at

Coombs Farm: Planning and Preparedness

Digger's Mirth Farm: Expansion as Response

Drumlin Farm: Resilience Through Organic Systems

Hurd Farm LLC: Resilience Through Redefined Production

Intervale Community Farm: Alternative Business Model for Resilient Farming

Jordan's Farm: A Tradition of Family Farming

Lobster Fishing: Shifting Cycles and Changing Traditions

Martha's Vineyard Shellfish Group, Inc. Healthy Ecosystems for Coastal Resilience

Meadowcroft Farm: Farming for Fiber

Pemaquid Oyster Company: Working to fill a Thriving Market

Tuckaway Farm: A Cultural Shift Towards Sustainable Agriculture

White Cedar Farm: Diversification and Flexibility for Resilient Farming

Download all of these briefings as one pdf here.