Living on campus during college provides an artificial buffer between students and the “real world”. It is almost like students live in a fantasy world that is filled with going to classes, writing papers, partying and make individual decisions. They lose all connections with the earth and global events that impact them. It seems that once students are on campus, reality escapes them.
The major excuse used by everyone, not just students, is that they don’t have enough time. That is the reasoning we give to rationalize our lack of involvement in our community. When you step back and really look at each situation, “not enough time” is literally just and excuse, it has no worth at all. For example, it takes less time to drop the empty plastic juice bottle in the recycling bin on the way to class than it takes to purchase it from the cafeteria; yet so many students still throw them in the garbage. Yes, the campus provides a temporary shelter from the negative effects that occur because of our actions; however, children in Alaska have impaired learning abilities and high chances of getting cancer because they ingest the toxins that are released when the plastic juice bottle was formed. Recycling plastic reduces the need to make more, which in turn, reduces the amount of toxins released into the environment.
Universities are easily one of the largest consumers of paper. Although it is difficult to avoid using paper on a daily basis, students forget that the three seconds it takes to crumple up a piece of unwanted paper, continuously contributes to the destruction of the rainforest. I know that many of us have been taught to recycle paper starting back in elementary school, but just sitting in the university library for ten minutes proves that students aren’t actually following through. All it takes is for you to spend the rest of today paying attention to the things you do. Before throwing something out, find out if you can recycle or reuse it. Before buying something brand new, think about the benefits of buying it used. College is not a time to be in denial about issues such as global warming and nuclear power.
The efforts of the university do deserve applause, even if they are small steps in the right direction. The installation of the new printers in the library has cut back on paper waste. Although some students complain about having to swipe their Q-card, it really does save a lot of paper because it makes you think twice about the need to print something. Prior to this new system, there would be literally hundreds of sheets of printed paper that were not used. Even though most of the unused paper was recycled, it was still excess waste of both paper and ink.
Once we leave Quinnipiac, it will be too late to reverse the negative effects of our actions. Preventing further damage is the best option to preserve our earth and environment. Take the first step back into reality today by visiting: www.greenpeace.org for more tips.