College students, with an environmental conscience are paving the way for a brighter future. Their observation of the energy waste on campus, and their positive actions towards its eventual elimination, propels the green movement where it is needed most…in the hearts of America’s youth. With 18-22 year olds courageously voicing their environmental concerns and implementing changes on behalf of the planet, there is hope for a better world.
“Externally, the universe supports our physical survival. Photosynthesis in plants and plankton in the ocean produce the oxygen that we need in order to breathe. It is important to respect the laws that rule the physical universe because violation of these laws threatens our survival. When we pollute the oceans or destroy plant life, we are destroying our support system and so are destroying ourselves.”
It appears that college students understand what their grandparents and parents have done to their beautiful planet, and what must be done in order to counteract and rectify the damage. Students at Seattle University led a 3-year initiative which campaigned against bottled water because of its effects on social justice and environmental impact. Their efforts resulted in a campus-wide ban on bottled water. Eliminated from vending machines, athletic concessions stands, the bookstore, on-campus restaurants and catering services, bottled water is no longer an environmental concern on the Seattle University campus.
Campus-wide bottled water bans can also be found at Jesuit University, University of Portland, Belmont University, Upstate Medical University, the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point and Oberlin College. Gonzaga University, New York University, Stanford University, Stony Brook University, and University of Maryland are five educational institutions where bottled water has been banned specifically from dining halls. At Brown University, Cornell University, Pennsylvania State University, and Evergreen State College, student campaigns are presently working to ban bottled water on campus. The green momentum is alive on these colleges and universities, and the positive environmental impact made by students is undeniable.
Environmentally-Friendly Hydration Stations have become the sustainable solution to the bottled water problem on campuses. These systems eliminate one-time use bottles, as well as the cost and energy waste associated with the production and transportation of bottled water. Using re-usable glasses provided by the cafeteria, or re-useable BPA free plastic bottles or other stainless steel re-usable bottles, students fill up and go, hydrating while reducing their school’s carbon footprint.
The health of our planet is a serious issue, and it is not uncommon for people to shrug it off, as if the problem isn’t theirs to address. That is likely the case because most adults never received the education or the role modeling necessary to do what is right by our environment. When life-long patterns are threatened and change is involved, a lot of people get uncomfortable. It takes massive amounts of courage to face problems square on and to move into action. If the young adults of today had the same mentality as so many of their parents and grandparents, our world wouldn’t stand a chance. However, we are seeing great environmental concern and positive green initiatives come from America’s college students. These people have great courage and willingness to take action on behalf of our planet. What they do now on their campuses, reaches far beyond the walls of their colleges and universities.
These bright students are our future, and our hope for a cleaner, greener world. They are our future teachers and role models. Their present work will carry over into their lives off-campus, possibly fueling their brothers and sisters, their parents, their co-workers, and likely even more, to be environmentally responsible. When they have families, businesses, companies and a community of their own, doing what is right by the environment will be second nature. This is how our world will significantly change for the better. It takes making small steps now, even when doing so is uncomfortable and foreign. To our nation’s college students, thank you for your vision and action. You ARE transforming the world.