:: New steps taken for a cleaner planet
For years, whenever students would pour through Octagon or downstairs McEwen to grab a quick bite to eat on-the-go, they would have to drink out of the same plastic foam cups that have been at Elon for too long. Talk to any of the professors from the environmental science department and they could have told you that there were a lot more environmentally friendly alternatives for the school to provide.
There was a large crowd of students who didnít appreciate the cups. Numerous complaints were made, columns and editorials written, even a ďBring Your Own CupĒ day was sponsored to reduce the number of these cups being used on campus. The student body wanted to get the message out that they did not approve of these cups that were so hazardous for the environment.
The students asked for it, and it has finally happened. There are new eco-friendly cups at Elon. Youíve probably already seen them, theyíre clear and they look like every other plastic cup. But these are different. These are better.
Known as Greenware, the cups are made from a material that is derived entirely from corn. The cups are 100 percent biodegradable and are environmentally sustainable. If itís a perk to you too, theyíre also made in the United States.
Itís good to see some positive change around campus that reflects Elonís sustainability plan. But issues with the environment are not singular to what kind of cups we drink from. Sure, itís easy to drink from cups that are provided and claim to be saving the planet, but what is actually being done to help reduce pollution?
When you throw away a soda can, do you recycle it, or just toss it in the nearest receptical. In fact, when you throw away this paper are you going to bother to recycle it?
The fact is that while many industries are going green, many individuals still stick to habits that are unhealthy for the planet. There are so many things that can be done to reduce an individualís impact on the planet.
Unplug computers, 8 percent of energy wasted is done so on appliances in stand-by mode. The average 10-minute shower uses about 40 gallons of water. Itís not too hard to cut that in half. And driving to class? A single, large vehicle creates about 1.5 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile. On a campus as small as Elonís, and in a community as tight, there is no excuse for not walking or carpooling.
Making an environmental impact is like a democracy. One person will not make a very big difference. But many people doing many things will.
It is imperative that as a community Elon be both active and objective when approaching environmental issues. We must continue to challenge institutional policies that hurt the environment and question whether there is a better and cleaner way to do things.
The student body can consider the change in cups a true victory. With continual effort, who knows what else we could see? Solar panels on the roof of Belk Library? Energy efficient water fountains? Anything, it seems, could be possible.
Staff: - 01/23/07