Campus sustainability is possible with small steps

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Mylena Ferman

At Florida Southern College, students might find it hard to practice a sustainable lifestyle, but as the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere increases, concerns for climate change grow.

In the Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems.

NASA predicts that temperatures and sea levels will rise; precipitation patterns will change; heat waves, droughts and hurricanes will become more frequent and intense; and the Arctic will become free of ice. While some people deny the existence of global warming, these effects are expected to become impossible to ignore.

It can sometimes be hard to support green initiatives when one either lacks the knowledge or feels as if there isn’t enough support in their surrounding environment. At Florida Southern, it might be hard to see how the school promotes sustainability. However, no matter the circumstances, living an eco-friendly lifestyle is important, and there is always something that one can do.

Scan this QR code on your mobile device to submit eco-friendly suggestions directly to SGA.

For example, reducing waste is one of the most important factors in living an environmentally friendly lifestyle. 

However, a common issue at Florida Southern is the lack of recycling bins around campus. 

Lauryn Simmons, one of this year’s first year senators, focused on this issue throughout her campaign, and many students at FSC also complain about the lack of recycling bins.

Even if recycling bins aren’t as easily accessible as one would hope, they are still located throughout campus. There are recycling bins outside the buildings of most if not all dorms, and there’s also one in the Terrace Cafe. It is important to keep in mind that even if the recycling options on campus aren’t conveniently placed, they are still there, and the school has been doing a pretty good job of correcting the problem. 

Although the recycling bins’ lids look as if they’re only made for plastic bottles, people are allowed to get rid of any recyclable items inside. This is because the recycling in Lakeland is sorted after the items are disposed of. If the aluminum cans and plastic bottle signs still throw students off, they can recycle papers in a bin next to the mailroom rather than throwing them away. 

Even so, the school has acknowledged the fact that there is more that can be done. 

Arjeet Tipirneni is the head of the SGA sustainability council. Several expenses are supposed to be covered through the SGA, but according to Tipirneni, the school’s goals towards sustainability align with SGA’s goals as well. 

Another initiative that the school supports is the removal of plastic straws and replacing them with paper straws. Right now, at the Terrace Cafe, there are only paper straws available for use. In the beginning of the year, Tutu’s offered the option of paper straws, but recently, they haven’t been available. 

Flosoco president Emily McPartlin said that the club would like to see changes such as all plastic straws being removed from campus and replaced with paper straws.”   

Because climate change is a global issue, individuals must take responsibility to protect the planet we share. According to a 2013 study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, humans are experiencing the dangers of rising temperatures with an increased risk of hyperthermia (overheating of the body) and dehydration. Exceptionally affected are the young, old, outdoor workers, and those with limited mobility. It also further complicates the lives of those with impaired health and people with existing medical conditions. 

Living an eco-friendly lifestyle falls on the individual, so students who desire to make an impact should communicate directly with SGA by filling out suggestion boxes or through the QR code at the end of the article.

She also said that one small change students can make is replacing single use plastic cutlery with reusable cutlery. Other small changes individuals can make include recycling, unplugging electronics, turning lights off when not in use and reducing use of plastic.

In order to learn more about practicing environmentally friendly, check out events around campus held by Flosoco and SGA. Students should make sure to stop by the Buckstop from 9:45 a.m. on Nov. 15, since the Sustainability Committee at SGA will be handing out metal straws.

Also, they should make sure to learn about Flosoco and its events around campus because the organization does clean- ups both on and off campus.  

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