06/03/2013 § 4 Comments
Amanda Redfern, Greening the Athletics Department Intern
I was blessed to have grown up in Santa Barbara, California, where preservation and conservation were historically ingrained into the culture of the land. The Santa Barbara City Council would preserve land that was once owned by the earliest settlers of the area, and they even fought the implementation of Costco into the City. There are Farmer’s markets almost every day throughout the city, and there are festivals that celebrate local artists and restaurants. The preservation of the Gaviota Coast by the Surfrider Foundation is one key example that illustrates the ideals of the city.
06/03/2013 § 3 Comments
By: Rachel Joseph, IUOS First Year Experience Intern
First year college students are empty vessels, waiting to be filled with the experiences, opportunities, education, and caffeine of university life. However, students do not rank all new opportunities equally; according to an IUOS PowerPoint chart, only 26% of students deciding on which college or university to attend consider “sustainability initiatives” as very important to their decision. From this information, we can assume that sustainability is not a priority for incoming freshmen, who are most likely preoccupied with signing up for classes, finding a job, making friends, navigating campus, and looking cool. The concept of sustainability is gaining recognition in modern American society; however, it has yet to become a fundamental component of our culture. Sustainable ways of life are not yet automatic, and this is a problem. Residents of Bloomington and leaders in sustainability can do all they can to load college student minds with information about recycling, saving water and energy, farmer’s markets, and volunteering, but what does it all matter if the students don’t care?
It’s difficult to change a person’s habits, behaviors, and ideals. It’s difficult to reach out to young people who are constantly bombarded with competing messages. From what pizza joint to order from, to which television show to watch, to what to do with their Saturday night, college students encounter a million messages every day telling them what to do with their time and money. Although choosing to live sustainably is known by many to be incredibly important for local communities and the world, the message of sustainability is often lost amongst entertainment media. It may seem strange to diminish the larger-than-life nature of sustainability to a single message, but a simple statement, such as an advertisement, may act as an effective catalyst to prompt students to learn more about sustainability for themselves, and most importantly, to care.
06/03/2013 § 4 Comments
By: Lisa Martens, IUOS Intern; Greening of the IU Health Center
As I move further into my education and professional life I am frequently asked why it is I want to work in the environmental realm. I never really thought about it and would simply respond ‘because I have a passion for it’. After giving this answer for several years I began to question myself and dig deeper into the ‘why’. I sought out friends who have similar interests and asked them about what their ‘why’ is. In this discussion I soon picked up on a common theme; we all grew up playing in the woods, spending endless summer days running around with friends outdoors, and in households that had an appreciation and respect for nature.
After I came to this realization and reminisced fondly of my childhood, I became concerned about the future generations and their respect for nature. As our population continues to grow we are living in ever more congested areas where our green space is being crowded out. Most young children don’t have the opportunity to play outside in nature. Children are now entertained by technology and gadgets, rather than using their imagination and spending endless summer days outside. The question now becomes how do we continue to provide these outdoor experiences for children growing up in urban areas where there may be little access to green space in order to cultivate that love and respect for nature?
06/03/2013 § 8 Comments
By: Stone Irr, Local Food Sourcing and Green Events Planning at the IMU Intern
“A real place finds us mindful of nature.” This quote comes from Scott Russell Sander’s essay collection, A Conservationist Manifesto. Reflecting on the ideal characteristics of community, Sanders introduces his love of a thriving group of people coming together into one environment—the Bloomington Farmer’s Market being his example.
The food, the people, and the vibrancy in the Bloomington City Hall parking lot every Saturday morning continues to remind me of how a real place finds us mindful of nature. How real people find us mindful of relationships. How real food finds us mindful of healthy, sustainable lives.