Letter to the Editor 4 – Issue 12

Madeleine Silva

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“Go green!” “Reuse, reduce, and recycle!” Today these phrases are constantly thrown around in conversation and throughout the media. Since Earth Day was April 22, I am taking time to reflect on aspects of sustainability–not just on our campus, but also at an individual level. Let’s start with, what is “sustainability?”

Since arriving on the University campus, sustainability has been a trendy topic intertwined into classroom discussion and posters around campus. There is even a major within the School of Management called “Managing for Sustainability.” It seems as though you cannot go anywhere on campus without seeing a poster for a symposium on sustainability or hearing a classmate talking about a class on sustainability.

This semester I took a course titled “Introduction to Energy Resources” with Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Chris Mordaunt. On the first day of class, he made the comment, “What are GMOs, nobody knows but you all know you don’t want them in your food.” This trend of blindly bandwagoning a buzzword is easily translated to sustainability. People say, “be sustainable,” or talk about making something sustainable. However, sustainability is more of an umbrella term, unbeknownst to many. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) brought about the ambiguous term of sustainability as a result of rapid population growth, economic growth, and increased consumption of natural resources.

Officially, sustainability is a level of environmental protection that draws on scientific and technological advancements. These advancements, such as solar and wind energy, can be implemented in big businesses to reduce carbon footprints. As an individual, you can contribute to sustainability efforts by being environmentally conscious. To name a few popular, environmentally-conscious acts, you can start by taking shorter showers, turning off the lights when you leave a room, and walking instead of driving somewhere whenever possible. So the next time you hear the term “sustainability” used in conversation, remember that for you as an individual, this term encourages the act of environmental consciousness. And that is an idea that everyone should bandwagon.

 

 

Madeleine Silva

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