As our summer comes to a close and we enter the new school year, we come rejuvenated and ready for a fresh start. Most of us bring positive attitudes and determination to make the best of the upcoming semesters, and what better way to do this than to pledge to live more environmentally conscious lives?
I know we’ve all been told countless times to “reduce, reuse and recycle” and “reduce our carbon footprints,” but after hearing it so often, these things eventually lose meaning to us. We need to be reminded of the important message behind these catchy sayings, because if we don’t start taking environmentalism more seriously, the consequences will be dire.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global warming is mostly human-caused, and if we don’t act soon, we could be facing serious dangers. We could be looking at extreme weather, flooding and droughts, food shortages, health risks and increased tensions that could lead to violent conflicts. Basically, the world is going to hell in a hand basket.
I’m sure this is all information you’ve heard before. But what most people don’t understand is how fast it is happening. A Global Change report tells us that the effects of global warming are occurring right now, and they will only get worse from here. We could be dealing with extreme circumstances in just a few short decades. That is why we have to have to act now.
Luckily for us, Colorado State University and the City of Fort Collins excels at environmental sustainability. According to a study done by the Sierra Club, CSU ranks 11th on a list of the top most green schools in the country. Recently, Fort Collins passed a plastic bag fee law that will require grocers to charge five to 10 cents for every plastic and paper bag used. This will impact our city and environment tremendously. It’s great that our school and community are making so much progress, but we shouldn’t stop there. I think we could do even better. Even if we were ranked number one on the list, there would always be more that we could do to improve our sustainability efforts.
Start out small. You don’t have to do something huge to make a difference. Even just taking a shorter shower or turning off your lights when you aren’t using them can help. Instead of passing by a “reduce, reuse and recycle” sign and not giving it a second thought, make a mental note to make an environmentally friendly lifestyle change. Fun fact: phone or laptop chargers left plugged in still use energy even when they aren’t being used. We have to pay attention to the little things we do that eventually add up to become significant problems. You don’t have to be a hippy tree hugger to be environmentally aware (not that there’s anything wrong with hippy tree huggers). Take the CSU green pledge on CSU’s Green warrior page. It’s a great way to be held accountable for living a greener lifestyle, plus you get a free t-shirt.
Collegian Columnist Allie Woeber can be reached at email@example.com