A column centering on sustainability & college kids by
a sustainability intern:
Alas, second semester has begun. There’s lots to think about, and there will soon be lots to do as classes pick up. As the sustainability student worker on campus, I’m going to try to make sustainability practices, ideas, stories and facts part of what everyone thinks about. Climate change is affecting the world we live in and the people we share it with. Rather than succumb to sulking in bed while pondering the doom of the human race via global warming or angrily shouting facts about how the hamburger my mom tries to feed me is contributing to deforestation, animal cruelty and a slew of other catastrophes, I’m going to try to do something about it.
What better format than The Lorian to continue to spread the culture of sustainability on campus? (Yeah, it’s printed on paper. Paper that came from a tree. A tree that was cut down. A tree that can no longer process the exorbitant amounts of CO2 that enter the atmosphere every day). Too much? At least we’re thinking about it. That’s the aim — to think critically about the resources we use every day and to learn more about how we can help keep our earth balanced.
That being said, I’m going to share some wisdom I just read from a lovely book called “No Impact Man by Colin Beavan”. I would recommend it even if you are a novice when it comes to environmental issues. In the book, Beavan makes the argument that individual and collective actions are NOT mutually exclusive. What does this mean to people who want to try to live more in balance with the earth? It means that the naysayers who say that you do no good in shopping at thrift stores, biking to work or cutting down meat intake are wrong. Such naysayers argue that global warming is a collective action problem — they say that lifestyle changes like going vegetarian or buying local are a metaphorically insignificant drop of water in a now highly acidic ocean.
People who say that are likely too lazy to change their own habits to try to hinder further environmental catastrophe and thus want to convince others that they are incapable of making a difference. To be honest, I sometimes feel like I can’t make a difference. Beavan argues that all we can do is try. Will you resolve yourself to being powerless and remain in anxiety over climate change? Or, will you at least be the person to try to make a difference?
Should you answer yes to the latter question, I challenge you to get further involved in sustainability efforts on campus/in Dubuque. There are a million avenues to take to environmentally serve the common good. The beauty of collective action, Beavan argues, is that it takes multiple individual actions to make a difference. You never know who you can inspire with your actions or engage with your words. Hopefully in this first issue, I’ve engaged you with mine. Let’s try to make Loras happier and more sustainable.