Friday, May 2, 2008

Environmentalism is as easy as 1-2-3

Today, I am happy to share the first guest blog from a Lasell College student. Seth Mantie has written a nice piece about easy steps that students can take on campus to reduce their environmental impact. Thanks for the post Seth! MD

Environmentalism is as easy as 1-2-3.

One of my favorite bands is a German punk rock band called “Die Ärtze” who have a great song in which the chorus reads “Es ist nicht deine Schuld dass die Welt ist wie sie ist, Es wär nur deine Schuld, wenn sie so bleibt” or in English “It is not your fault that the world is how she is. It would only be your fault if she so remains.” It’s important to take environmentalism into our hands now, because although it isn’t our fault that the world is how we’ve inherited it, one day it will be our fault.

I have the impression that students generally think that going green is something which would somehow detract from their current lifestyle and would be difficult. In reality there are many different simple changes which can not only be beneficial to the environment but also be beneficial to the person participating in them. There are three very simple steps that can hopefully improve students’ lives while at the same time saving the environment.

1. Drink responsibly. Reduce or eliminate plastic water bottle usage. Although Poland Springs has been good about trying to reduce the amount of plastic in their bottles, plastic water bottles are an enormous form of waste and they’re fairly expensive. An alternative that I utilize is a Brita water pitcher with a built-in filter and a standard water bottle. The pitcher can fit snugly even in a mini-fridge and stores about four water bottles worth of water. Another convenient thing is the pitcher only takes about a minute to refill and the filters last me an entire semester. However the best part is that I save anywhere from 70 to 100 dollars a semester by not buying bottled water.

Another important step towards being environmentally responsible with our drinks is recycling our cans and bottles. Cans and bottles can both be recycled and usually get the redeemer of them a 5¢ deposit. 100% of an aluminum can is recyclable and there is no limit on the amount of times aluminum can be recycled. A recycled can saves 95% of the energy that would be used making new aluminum so the impact of recycling is very profound.

People can take their cans and bottles to the Waltham Can and Bottle Return located at 131 Linden St in Waltham and redeem them for cash.

2. Ride the T. The T provides an efficient and cheap way to get to Greater Boston’s greatest destinations. Whether taking the subway, the commuter rail or the bus line you can get to almost any destination as far as Worcester or Providence in an hour’s time for a very low cost. Compare the expenses of paying to for a parking permit, gas money, parking fees in Boston and the ridiculous parking tickets on campus to a $4 round-trip T-ride to Boston. Not only could students save hundreds of dollars each semester but students wouldn’t burn any additional fossil fuels. The express bus to Boston can have students in the city in under twenty minutes even during rush hour and people can let someone else worry about navigating Boston traffic. It’s a real win-win situation.

3. Reduce Electricity Use. $763,338 of our room and board dollars went to cover electricity costs this past year. If students were more conscious about their electricity usage it’s quite possible to save thousands of dollars. Aside from electricity being a burden on our wallets, it’s an even bigger burden on our environment because electricity use on campus causes almost 2,900 metric tons of carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere each year. To reduce energy use, students can do a few simple things:
- Change light bulbs to energy-efficient bulbs, and turn lights off when not in use.
- Turn off the television when you’re not really watching it. If you leave the room when watching TV and don’t want to miss anything when you come back keep the remote near the door so you can turn the TV on as soon as you’re back.
- Turn your TV’s sleep timer on at night, so if you fall asleep your TV doesn’t stay on all night.
- Turn your computer off at night. There’s no reason to leave your computer on during the night and no one cares what your away message says at 5am.
- Use your computer less, or strictly for school purposes. Instead of having a conversation over AIM try having a conversation in person for a change.
- Change your power settings on your computer. By right clicking on your desktop, selecting ‘properties’ and going to the screen saver tab you can select power options at the bottom you can set your monitor to turn off after 5 minutes of non-activity. This way if you walk away from your computer as I often find myself doing unexpectedly your monitor will turn off and save a great deal of your computer’s energy. When you get back to your computer simply jiggle your mouse and your screen will turn back on.

These are only a few things we can all do to improve their surroundings and help the environment our children will one day inherit. Don’t stop here though, there’s plenty more we can all do. It’s important to think about ways we can make small changes to make big differences in our own lives each day. Lastly, I’d like to take the time to thank Professor Daley for his continued efforts and never-ending dedication to increase environmental awareness and sustainability on the Lasell College campus and for letting me guest blog for him.


Anonymous said...

great post it's nice to see smart people on campus

Anonymous said...

being environmentally responsible really is this simple! If people took an extra second to think about the consequences of their actions, our world will be greatly improved.