As climate change, pollution, and overconsumption become more prevalent issues in our society, we see the damage we as a species are capable of inflicting on our fragile ecosystem. That’s why the student organization, PC GreenHose, is encouraging the PC campus to participate in “Green Week” to raise awareness of wasteful practices in our culture. In order to improve our environmental consciousness, students can sign paper leaves in the student center throughout the week and hang those leaves on an actual tree. Those leaves represent a promise to make the following easy yet effective changes each day of the week to show how simple reducing waste and pollution can be:
- Shower-less Sunday Task: Go just one day without showering.
The average American consumes 100 gallons of water every day.
- Meat-less Monday Task: Go one day without eating meat.
Meat production uses substantially more water and energy that vegetable, fruit, or grain production.
- Turn it off Tuesday Task: Be conscious of your energy use, and turn off any idle electronics to save power.
25% of America’s electricity usage stems from lighting cities and streets.
- Walk it off Wednesday Task: Avoid driving as much as possible and consider walking or carpooling.
Despite making up only an estimated 5.44% of the world population, America is responsible for 25% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
- Think before you throw Thursday Task: Consider recycling when possible, and encourage others to do the same
The energy saved by recycling one aluminum can power a TV for 3 hours.
- Free Range Friday Task: Consider supporting farmers who practice free range farming.
Animals deserve room to move, and supporting free range farming is one way to promote of animal rights.
The GreenHose hosted a number of speeches, and opportunities for the student body to get more involved and invested in protecting our environment. Students tasted locally grown food, participated in morning poetry readings, and took Contra dancing lessons – all of which bringing attention to environmental issues in unique ways. Assistant Professor of Political Science Dr. Erin McAdams spoke about sustainability, and as part of an interview, Dr. McAdams said that climate change is “indicative of an intersystemic problem (around the world and especially in America)” and that the problem is more serious than it first appeared. She explained that the depletion of natural resources leads to instability, and how that instability leads to coups and other harmful consequences in developing countries that are felt worldwide.
Green Week calls attention to those consequences and shows students easy and fun ways to prevent further damage. We all know that taking shorter showers won’t prevent terrorism in the Middle East, and that curbing overconsumption will solve hunger- and resource-related problems. But if we can change our attitude towards the environment by being conscious of our waste, recycling when possible, and keeping water usage to a minimum, we may be able to make a small difference.
A part of our school’s mission statement is “to foster in students an appreciation of, and concern for, the environment and natural resources,” and while events like Green Week and programs like Green Bikes are good starting places, I believe that the PC community can do more. Adding more recycling options around campus and switching to recycled paper products campus-wide would decrease our environmental impact effectively and systematically. Green Week has sparked conversations about environmental policies and the importance of conservation, which is significant. But there are many more ways we can help preserve the world’s resources, and hopefully we can accomplish them as a community.