We can do more: being eco-friendly on campus

By Diana Campeggio
October 5, 2010

Diana Campeggio

As the world around us begins to adapt to a greener attitude, students at Cabrini are putting a great deal of thought into their Ugg boots and lacrosse games.  They seem blinded and uncultured to the choices they make and how those choices are affecting our planet.  If you need proof, look into any trashcan on campus and I bet you will find recyclable paper and plastic bottles in abundance.

But it comes down to more than that.  I don’t believe that students here really understand, or care, what the consequences of their decisions are. These are choices that we make each and every day, from what we choose to drink to where we choose to do our shopping.

Students at this college seem to be ignorant to the fact that we, as humans, are more rapidly than ever destroying the world in which we are living.

Cabrini prides itself in producing students who are world citizens and are aware of serious, problematic events, but students here seem to lack consideration for what their decisions are doing to the planet.  They say that Cabrini constructs a “justice matters” curriculum but what about the justice of the planet?   Isn’t that also as important?

As a generation of young people who have the stereotype of having little interest in world events outside of their own, why not begin learning about what we, as students, can do to reduce our carbon footprint and aid in making the world a greener place.

Students are kidding themselves when they defend their economic state by saying they unplug unused electrical cords and turn off lights they aren’t using.  That should be second nature by now.   People need to be considering their actions and putting a lot more thought into the decisions they make.

Like I stated before, walk past any trashcan on campus and I guarantee that you will find paper and plastic bottles inside.  Walk into any classroom and many students have plastic water bottles sitting next to them.

It is ridiculous to me that people even buy plastic bottles of water anymore after it has been reported that a large amount of them sit in landfills for 10-plus years.

If you consider that more than half of the campus drinks one bottle of water a day, you begin to see how this quickly adds up in landfills around the world.

Get an eco-friendly, reusable water bottle and a Brita filter and you are set for life.  You save money and you help save the planet.  It’s a win-win.  By the time people begin to make responsible decisions it will be too late. Then they will be asking what they can do to reverse the condition of the planet. Start now and start making a difference.

Part of this is the college’s fault.  There are many places on campus where the only choice is a trashcan because there are not recycling bins in sight, but students need to make a conscious decision to make a difference and not to take the easy way out.

I also don’t think that as a campus we understand that when you buy cheap clothing, produce or other goods they need to be transported from those far away places they are made.  Not only are you promoting non-American goods and the outsourcing of jobs but a serious amount of energy is wasted in transporting these goods to the U.S.

By buying local foods and products, you are not requiring the amount of energy in transportation.  In buying organic products, you know that no chemicals were used and sprayed on your product, which you would otherwise ingest.

These sound like senseless things and nitpicking ideas. When you build them up, they make a difference in how much we pollute our planet.

As a college, we lack the motivation to care about becoming a greener campus.  Though some professors are promoting a paperless curriculum, many still shovel out packets and packets of papers and don’t even try to reuse them.

I have been in classes where they hand out a four-page article and after the class was over, 90 percent of the students walk past the trashcan, not recycle bin, and throw those four pages away.  This is a waste and does not promote environmental consideration at any means.

It is not just the students who are to blame here.  It’s the 21st century and technology that is at our fingertips.

Schools all over the country are increasing the emphasis they put into these environmental concerns and they are leaving Cabrini in the dust.  I did my teaching field experience in a private high school that had a green house worked into their science program and students grew fruits and vegetables for them to take home and enjoy.

Colleges across the country are installing solar panels, green roofs and gray water systems.  There are so many things that we could do to create a greener environment for our Cabrini students but the college seems to be putting no emphasis on these ideas.

As a campus community, we should be rallying for solar panels on top of campus buildings and composting food scraps from the cafeteria.

I think that students need to wake up and realize that they are directly contributing to the economic problem that is destroying our planet. They need to know that when you throw your plastic bag or water bottle into the trash, it sits in landfills for longer than you could imagine. Our planet has a limited water supply and every time you take an hour-long shower, you are wasting gallons of water that could be reused in toilets and watering plants.

As a community, we need to understand these things so that we can demand that our campus needs to limit the amount of resources they waste. Until the people say they want a change, nothing will be changed.

When it is all said and done, I don’t think that anyone is perfect at being as eco-friendly as possible, even myself.  But at least I feel that I understand the consequences of my actions and know where my clothes and food come from and where they will end up when I am done with them.  If students put as much thought and effort into making greener choices then they did checking Facebook, then I think, as a campus, we would be in much better shape economically.

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Diana Campeggio

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