Be a hero: Help take pollution down to zero

by Beacon Staff • March 28, 2007

"One of the easiest ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and do something

about global warming is to turn off lights when you no longer need them. Please do your part ... turn off this lamp when you leave!" And it really is that easy.,There are small white signs on each of the Emerson library's 18 study carrels:

"One of the easiest ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and do something

about global warming is to turn off lights when you no longer need them. Please do your part ... turn off this lamp when you leave!"

And it really is that easy.

Every day, in the simplest parts of your daily routine, you can contribute positively to the environment.

"There are a ton of things students can easily do to be more eco-friendly," said junior writing, literature, and publishing

major Lauren Robbins. "The environment

is everyone's responsibility."

As president of Earth Emerson, the college's environmental action group, Robbins has many suggestions on easy ways you can help the planet by counting

on the "three Rs"-reduce, reuse and recycle.

Reducing your daily waste production and watching the things you throw away is a big part of staying eco-friendly. Don't overdo it in the dining hall. Help cut down on food waste and costs by only taking what you'll eat and throwing away less.

Buy and use recycled paper for your printer, which you can buy at any Staples. And when you're printing out assignments for class, switch your printer into "draft mode" to conserve ink, saving you money while cutting down on waste as well.

If you have to start every day with a cup of something caffeinated, reusing a travel mug instead of using the paper and Styrofoam cups from Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts is a great way to help out.

"Never accept Styrofoam," said Robbins.

"It never, not in a million years, decomposes. The only way it will decompose

is if you throw it in a volcano."

Also, hold on to that Aquafina bottle and refill it with water from the dining hall's fountain machine or a Brita filter.

The easiest way to stay eco-friendly, especially here at Emerson, is to recycle.

In Piano Row, every suite is given three recycling bins in addition to the larger blue bins in the halls of every floor. In the Little Building, recycling facilities are located in the basement near the Cabaret.

Collect your cans, bottles, and paper, and bring them to the appropriate containers.

Or, if you're feeling a little more ambitious,

you can haul your recyclables to Shaw's to get some cash back for your good deed.

"It's imperative that we at least recycle,"

said Robbins, naming this task as both the easiest and most important way to protect the environment.

April 22 is Earth Day, and this year's nationwide theme is "A Call to Action on Climate Change."

Earthday.net lists the various agendas of this year's events and activities, including a "pledge to switch your bulb" called "Project Switch."

This endeavor is trying to encourage people to use more energy-efficient light bulbs to cut down on global warming.

Small things like changing a light bulb or recycling your Pepsi cans are all it really takes to make moves in the right direction. MTV's "Think" campaign

includes these and other suggestions

through its "Break the Addiction" program.

The program, the aim of which is to educate people on how to avoid over-consumption, follows the traditional 12-step format, beginning with "Examine

yourself." This step requires you to take a look at the things you do every day and understand what kind of negative

impact you may be having on the world around you.

"The more you learn, the more horrified

you get until you realize that the only way we're even going to survive is by voting with every single purchase we make," Robbins said.

Other "Break the Addiction" steps include "re-energize your space" (make small changes in your dorm room, such as switching light bulbs and unplugging unused appliances), "transport better" (walk, bike or take public transportation

more often) and "shop smarter" (read the labels on everything and make a conscious effort to buy organic).

"We want the Earth to stay beautiful and we need everyone's help," Robbins said. "It's easy, if you just take a few minutes out of each day to think about what you can do."