After our last intern seminar, in which we discussed personal sustainability choices, I realized just how wide the range of choices one can make really is. My fellow interns are aware of everything from their window coverings affecting energy usage to how much water it saves by turning the shower off while lathering. And I was feeling high-and-mighty for recycling, not printing readings, and biking when the weather suited me! The point is, we all come from different backgrounds and have different levels of sacrifice we are willing to make for the good of the Earth and future generations. But it is undoubtedly our duty to at least be aware of the consequences of our actions. And starting small—heck, even with a simple investment like purchasing and committing to using a re-usable water bottle—can go a long way in boosting your awareness and easing your environmental conscience.
So, I urge you all, simply pick one area of your life to make more sustainable this semester. Research your options for dorm, apartment, or house recycling, turn down the thermostat when you leave for the day, pick up a piece of litter on campus, or skip driving one day a week and walk or bike to that friend’s house. I can promise you that being informed and taking small steps toward a cause that will truly benefit everyone, present and future, is accompanied by a very rewarding feeling.
And most importantly (to me at least), when move-out approaches, be aware of where your stuff is going. There are many options for avoiding your re-usable belongings taking up landfill space, including but not limited to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Goodwill, St. Vincent De Paul, Backstreet Mission, My Sister’s Closet, Opportunity House, Salvation Army, and of course, the Hoosier to Hoosier Community Sale!
<—You don’t want this to be partly your fault, do you? So ask your landlord if your apartment complex is participating, email H2H@indiana.edu and check out our website to get involved, or just buy less stuff in the first place. 27 tons of waste were diverted from the landfill last year because of this initiative, which should make us question the big picture—that of over-consumption and unawareness of our individual effects on the global environment. So reflect on this: even if your spring semester sustainability goal is only part of the solution, at least it will no longer be part of the problem.
Written by Erica Bramlet, Hoosier to Hoosier Community Sale Coordinator with the Office of Sustainability