Volume 97 Issue 10 Campus Spin

Eco laws could be solution to age-old sustainability problems

by Hannah Prestage

Leaving lights on, laptops constantly on charge, taps repeatedly dripping and recycling thrown into the trash. Correcting these wasteful practices and changing personal habits would take mere minutes out of your day. These few minutes emphasize to others your views of global warming and our resources. These few minutes reflect whether you are being eco-friendly or wasting valuable resources.

The Juniatian stated that it was in 1970 that the world first “woke up to the future of the planet.” However, it was said that the Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius was the first to claim that fossil fuel may eventually cause global warming. He stated this in 1896, which was over 100 years ago, so why has it taken us so long to come to terms with global warming? Even people now are still oblivious to the phenomenon.

Ultimately, the world has constantly been changing, and more recently there have been creations of job positions in companies in order to help them become more eco-friendly and sustainable. Although these positions have been created, it isn’t possible for every company to be 100 percent sustainable. However, we can favor the ones who try to be by buying their products rather than buying from companies who do the bare minimum in sustainability.

To say we have known about this problem for over 100 years and still see huge mountains of waste in landfill sites is terrible. It is especially disturbing that a lot of waste that goes to landfill can be recycled, but people are still not in the habit of recycling. The image of a landfill site should be enough to make you change your mind. Think about it: the waste is going to take between a few weeks to 500 or more years to degrade. Your average aluminum can take between 200 to 500 years to degrade, all when it could have been recycled.

The original article talks about the different courses and institutes that have been initiated to teach us to improve our world and the state of our environment. The author created a way for us to understand the consequences but also find the direct causes of specific activities. However, I believe we only really know the answers if we look for them. So why isn’t the information as widely available as it should be?

Although, honestly, if we had all the information at hand, would it really encourage a population to change its lifelong habits? From what I’ve seen, the younger generation does tend to be more eco-friendly than the older generations. However, I also think it depends on how you are brought up and whether you were socialized to place something in the recycling rather than the trash. We all know that habits are hard to break.

Would it be too harsh to say we should have eco laws? It’s only a natural progression as we look to a future with little or no fossil fuels. If we don’t look into our future now, what will we do when the time comes? We should, perhaps, implement laws in order to protect our planet before it’s too late. Otherwise we are going to be in a hugely detrimental position. We will be in a world without those scientists who projected our global future, the scientists who were encouraging us to make our world a better place. Who will know how to fix the problem when they are gone?

Instead of fracking or scouring the earth for the last deposits of fossil fuels, which themselves are the cause of much global strife, we should be looking for alternatives. We should be encouraging initiatives and science programs, like in the original article discussed, to find these alternative, sustainable sources.

I think it would make more sense for us to slowly wean off using fossil fuels and introduce using more sustainable sources. It would give us the opportunity to learn what works and what doesn’t as a whole, and if certain sustainable avenues don’t work, we would still have fossil fuels to fall back on. We shouldn’t be completely dependent on them. Additionally, green energy would create more new jobs, which would increase the overall knowledge of our situation rather than constantly being lectured by scientists.

There are some people who take being eco-friendly to the extreme. I’ve seen people on the TV show “Grand Designs” building complete houses that are 100 percent sustainable. This not only enables them to create all their own power, but also to sell it to their neighbors. It allows them to be independent and not reliant on the country and increasingly steep energy costs. These sustainable houses set an example to other people who want to decrease their carbon footprint.

However, on the flip side, people such as these could be negatively viewed as “eco freaks.” In reality, whether you are being sustainable or not, you are actively going to be slighted for your choice. It is a common trait of the human race to be against other people’s views, but we should at least try to be sustainable, if not for ourselves, then for future generations who will experience the repercussions of our wasteful energy uses.

Everyone is always saying “we don’t have to start big,” although my guess is that we’ve been saying that for the past 100 years. We need to take action; we must listen to the advice we are being given and at least start somewhere. There is eventually going to be a point where it is too late. Let’s start to make the world a better place for everyone.


Thursday 2nd April 1992

Juniatian Vol. XLIII, No.19

Earth Day Celebration


(CPS)-Twenty-two years ago, the world officially woke up to the future of the planet.

An international Earth Day celebration was born, and today the environment has emerged from a topic of conversation to an issue of great global and political concern.

As Earth Day 1992 approaches (April 22), colleges and universities are looking toward promoting their environmental science curriculums and student research projects, as well as daily campus events and lectures throughout the week.

For example, in 1991 at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., the school founded the George Perkins Marsh Institute, the nations first university research centre devoted to studying the human causes of environmental change and the global responses.

The institute includes a Centre for Technology, Environment and Development; a Centre for Land, Water and Society; a Centre for Global Urban studies; and, the Clark Labs for Cartographic Technology and Geographic Analysis.

At Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y., several geoscience students are working at various sites across the state to study environmental and geological conditions.  

One group is studying the effects of chemical waste believed to be seeping into Seneca Lake from a landfill in the nearby town of Dix. The local community hopes that the students can determine whether toxic chemicals were dumped at the landfill, which has been closed since 1981.after runoff waste was discovered leaking into a popular fishing stream.

A second group is examining the spread of an industrial chemical through the town of LeRoy’s water table following a 1970 train derailment that caused 30000 gallons of trichloroethene to spill. The chemical, which attracts the central nervous system, was washed away rather than properly contained and vacuumed.

At the University of La Verne in California, the school recently established a major in Environmental Management, designed particularly for business students who will soon be dealing with environmental issues at a rapidly increasing rate.

At Abilene Christian University in Texas, the school just added an interdisciplinary class called Environmental and Technological Science, which focuses on several hot environmental topics from depletion of the ozone layer and acid rain to the disposal of hazardous waste. All students are required to take the class during their sophomore year.

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