Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Why Practicing Sustainability Matters

As a member of the Education and Outreach Team at the Sustainability Office, I get asked questions about several things. For example, some frequently asked questions are what we here at the Sustainability Office do, how to be more sustainable, or what’s in our newsletter. These questions are standard to me, and I can fire off the correct answer without even really thinking about it. But every once in awhile I will get a question that stumps me, one I had to seriously think about before I could answer.
One of my close friends asked me why turning off electronics that weren’t being used or using less water even mattered. Even if he did all the sustainable, “green things to do” (in his words), it would not matter, because one person couldn’t fix all the problems. His words reminded me of myself a few years ago. I thought that being sustainable was futile, there would still be pollution, deforestation, global warming, and a whole plethora of environmental problems that would not be solved by me using less plastic. In fact, I said so to my AP Biology teacher in high school while he was trying to explain why we should try to live more eco-friendly lives. He brought up an example of the helium shortage, which is a fairly big problem for scientists. Scientists use helium in a number of things -cryogenics, water manufacturing, energy accelerators. Helium basically powers superconductors instead of electricity. And this shortage not only affected prices but also scientific practices. However, scientists came up with somewhat of a solution -they are creating their own supply. They created a technique to recapture the helium that was created as a byproduct to their scientific reactions and reused it! By adopting a sustainable practice, these scientists were able to use and preserve their limited resources wisely. 

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This is why even one person adopting sustainable practices is truly making a difference. By doing little things like turning the lights off or taking public transportation, we are doing all that we can to help out. Our global future depends on sustainable practices! The environment is connected to everything we care about. By deteriorating it and wasting our limited resources, we degrade our quality of live, and the lives of those that come after us. By adopting these sustainable practices, we not only contribute to achieving the primary goals of sustainability, but we are also investing in our future.

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