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  • Getting to Green

    An administrator pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium.

Do more, do less
April 24, 2008 - 9:53pm

OK, so the blog has been on hiatus for a few days. I haven't. Quite the opposite. Since the weekend, I've been hip deep in preparing for, conducting, and recuperating from Earth Day activities.

Earth Day at Greenback is getting bigger every year. Not rapidly, but not glacially, either. (And "glacially" isn't what it used to be!)

Students do stuff, some faculty do stuff, but if it's going to be coordinated and substantive and successful, it still requires a huge helping of administrative support.

Maybe it's just the effects of total exhaustion, but I'm thinking that the campus green movement needs to move to the next level. Rather than a handful of major events every year (Campus Sustainability Day, Focus the Nation, Earth Hour, Earth Day, you name it), I'm thinking we need to evolve towards many more, much smaller events spread across the calendar. Probably something on a weekly-to-biweekly interval. Documentaries, concerts, research presentations, mini-Chautauqua weekends, fund-raisers, whatever. Lots of different players, lots of spins and flavors, but a consistent set of themes. Higher frequency events, so each event doesn't have to be such a world-class effort (at least, subjectively).

Logically, it makes sense. Sustainable living isn't something we need to do just during special events. Kind of like feeding the hungry isn't something that needs doing just on holidays. That might be an unfortunate comparison, as in many communities private food donations between Christmas and the following Thanksgiving can be a bit sparse. But communicating the day-to-day nature of sustainability is absolutely key. In fifty years, if Earth Day is still the exception rather than the rule, "feed the hungry" is going to take on a whole new urgency. And I'm not sure that our current infrequent-major-event approach sends the right message.

Actually, the students may be ahead of me on this one. (No surprise -- they often are.) The participant response to Earth Hour was largely along the lines of "we need to do this more often". Folks who heard about it only after the fact seemed to take a similar stance. Maybe those other events should take place every week or two, and a (hopefully, ever more pervasive) voluntary communal lights out should be scheduled for every month.

More events. Smaller events. Better communication. Less exhaustion.

 

 

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