It seems like the entire modern world cares deeply about the environment all of the sudden. With the Olympics in Beijing coming to a close and many commercials becoming less prominent it must be pointed out that the green label has infiltrated the media, governments and dinner conversations around the world. Public Warning: Honda Accords may cause a forest to grow, cranes fly through the sky representing GE's fuel-efficient jet engines, GM broadcasts new fuel cell technology and China boasts of solar panels and trees being placed as often as possible in its capital city.
On this university campus the trend is obviously much the same: "eco spiders" prowl the campus and threaten students who don't abide by the green dogma, students are called to 'save the world" by taking shorter showers, dining hall patrons on Friday afternoons will soon be left balancing food and drinks without the trays that threaten human existence and the new water saving toilets in my dorm do little more than leave impressively large streak marks down the back. At best, I see these efforts as a salve for the university and global consciences; at worst, the rhetoric of green is propaganda and little more than material for college editorials.
Bottom line, our university exists to educate and prepare students while creating a place conducive to learning and academic exploration. As a result, I eat food on campus that may have been shipped from another country or region of the United States, the buildings are all heated and cooled to suit our comfort and we have several building projects projected for the near future with surely more to come. Coal has effectively provided energy in our community for decades and the incredibly efficient fuel we call oil has enabled the administration to admit a student body that is more geographically diverse each year.
Each of these elements of university life most likely impacts the environment negatively, but they also further the personal goals of the student body and the university at large. I think it would save everyone a lot of time and energy if we could just acknowledge that the existence of humans will always take precedent over the balance of nature or the existence of an obscure organism. As a university, we did not get to this point by being environmentally conscious and true progress for a university does not have much room for extreme green endeavors like removing heating and air conditioning, refusing parking to students, and growing all of our food locally. As far as I'm concerned, having discussions about our environmental impact in temperature-controlled buildings is less life changing than it is ironic.
I find nothing more annoying than those people who would rather shoot themselves in the foot with a green gun than consider the greater picture of progress. Improvements on campus should merely allow the students to transition into healthy lifestyles that include biking, walking and eating less but not in the ostentatious way I have seen everywhere else. Instead of broadcasting our environmental concerns ad nauseam, the school should realize our strengths and be silently confident amidst the ridiculous noise of institutions elsewhere. Besides, all the chatter probably releases more CO2 into the atmosphere than actually improve the state of our environment ... we could all use the silence.
Contact staff writer Michael Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org
Support independent student media
You can make a tax-deductible donation by clicking the button below, which takes you to our secure PayPal account. The page is set up to receive contributions in whatever amount you designate. We look forward to using the money we raise to further our mission of providing honest and accurate information to students, faculty, staff, alumni and others in the general public.Donate Now