This past Thursday, Loras College hosted its first “Small Footprints Meaningful Lives” Panel Discussion. Launched in the midst of Go Green Week, the event served as method of discussing how best to increase the sustainability of the planet through making better choices in the treatment of the environment, the goal being to inspire people to think more critically about the effects of their carbon footprint.
The panel was a small part of Loras’ Go Green Week, which is dedicated to educating students about the benefits of sustainability, as well as giving them some “green” habits that can become part of a daily routine. Some of the different days, such as Make a Pledge Monday, Walk-It-Out Wednesday and Meat-Free Friday, encouraged students to take small steps in becoming more green, such as walking around campus more and eating more vegetables to help the environment. Each of these days encouraged students to make small differences.
The members of the panel included Dr. Ben Darr, assistant professor of politics, Stacia McDermott, coordinator for Peace and Justice, Eric and Brenna Angleda, local citizens, and Dr. Lisa Grinde, associate professor of psychology. The event was headed by junior Louisa Pavlik and sophomore Haley O’Brien.
The discussion kicked off at 6 p.m. and ran for nearly an hour and a half. Many topics were brought up among the student audience and deliberated upon by the panel, including the advantages and disadvantages of certain forms of agriculture, how to deal with ecological stress in self-sustainment, monetary responsibility, population and consumption issues and the implementation of environmentalism in education. While addressing these matters, the panel also offered advice on how best to reduce humanity’s ecological footprint on the environment, stressing the need for conserving materials and reducing the overuse of material items and resources (i.e. walking instead of driving, conserving water, etc), as well as encouraging students to go out and experience nature.
The panel was met with much enthusiasm by the attendees, many of whom supplied intriguing questions and theories about the presented topics. The interaction between the panel members and the students allowed for a general sharing and expanding of the fundamental ideas of Go Green Week.
“I hope that it (Go Green Week) will teach people that living close to the Earth doesn’t need to be a sacrifice,” said Pavlik regarding the sustainability panel. “It’s a really fulfilling way of life.”