Over winter break, I met up with a high school friend who told me of the adventures he had while hiking in the Grand Canyon a few weeks prior. He and a group of friends drove from Oklahoma all the way to the Grand Canyon in one night- approximately 1020 miles!! He said that once they finally arrived and opened their car doors, they were immediately overwhelmed with a surge of fresh air and beautiful scenery. The Grand Canyon’s welcome to pure nature was more than compensation for the long, grueling drive.
I, myself, visited the Grand Canyon about 4 years ago. Based on my memory and my friend’s stories, it is hard to imagine litter appearing in and around the canyon- much less the actual act of littering. However, according to a New York Times article, littering in the park has caused enough of an issue to introduce a ban of all disposable water bottles.
However, Coca-Cola (who has donated more than $13 million to the parks and distributes Dasani bottled water) expressed a concern about this ban. This concern caused the bottle ban project to be tabled until Mr. Jon Jarvis, the top federal parks official, called off the ban, explaining, “My decision to hold off the ban was not influenced by Coke, but rather the service-wide implications to our concessions contracts, and frankly the concern for public safety in a desert park.”
In the grand scheme of sales worldwide, I don’t think this would cause Coca-Cola much economic discomfort. Although, fewer water bottles would be purchased, sales of soda and juices at the national park would remain the same (if not increase as a result of the ban on water bottles). Logically speaking, it makes more sense to carry one re-useable water bottle to refill at water stations or use a water filter when camping at the Colorado River in the basin than to buy multiple water bottles at the rim and end up hiking with all of that extra weight.
This rejection of the bottle ban project is quite disheartening to me. If a national park with as many visitors and as much majesty as the Grand Canyon chooses to opt out of an easily sustainable move in order to appease a corporate sponsor which ultimately causes 30% of the park’s total waste stream… what hope is there for individual communities with less beauty to lose? I suppose this is where “blind faith” comes into play. Faith that those who visit the Grand Canyon have enough respect of the land to recycle their bottles- assuming they are competent enough not to litter.
The RFOC at Umphrey-Lee (or “Umph”) has been steadily improving their options over the years; there is more variety and better variety. This is of great importance because, as we all know, the first year meal plan practically requires you to spend most of your time eating there. Hats off to the staff at Umph. Thank you for the improvements.
The quality of food is not the only improvement, though. There has also been a steady shift towards sustainability at the RFOC. The topic I want to discuss involves one of these initiatives and its direct impact on food-consumers at SMU (that could be you!): trays. Or you may be more familiar with: lack of trays…
If you are a first year, you may laugh at others speaking of trays at Umph. But I promise you, it is no myth. They were once here, and I don’t think it’s cause we are waiting for the new generation. It is actually becoming quite the trend in the business of becoming more green. For those who are greatly distressed with having to walk half marathons back and forth between the line and your table because you are given portions on your plate that resemble your kindergarten lunch, please let me share with you a reason for this “injustice.”
Trays became something of a necessity in the fat food world. We had to be able to hold our entree plate and side plate and side cup and dessert cup/plate and drink cup, after all… As we began to realize the waste that came from this method of service, the system began to change but the trays remained. During that awkward era of the tray’s identity crisis, you may have sometimes received a tray for a drink cup! Well, maybe not that ridiculous. But close! Even those trays, which shouldn’t even count as used, must be washed. And there is where the green police come in. They have done a good thing to conserve our valuable resource of water by removing trays from Umph. So please understand as you begin your 5K during lunch: it’s for a good cause. Walk for water.
Ready, Set, Conserve
Boaz Knows about conserving water.
Big Mac likes recycling, not trash.
If you thought Boaz and McElvaney couldn’t conserve their resources in their residence halls, then think again! SMU has an environmental footprint meter that can track how much electricity, water, heating, and cooling each building on campus uses; which means, we are watching. That’s right, students of Southern Methodist University are watching to see what each community is wasting and what we can improve on. We want to know what we are doing wrong and how we can fix it. But first, to get anyone motivated you’ve got to have a competition involved. That’s where the national Water and Energy Conservation Competition comes in. The building dashboard website <http://www.buildingdashboard.net/smu/> where we find out how much each building on campus is using also tells us where we stand in comparison to other schools. As of right now, SMU is 19th on the list of schools with the most reduction in waste. I say, we need to be number one!
Calling out to all students to make a difference; if we can work together now to cut down waste in the residence halls, we can better our school, better our city, and better our country. So here we stand; ask not what SMU can do for you… ask what you can do for SMU.
At SMU, we have a great opportunity to recycle numerous things in the same bag. So things that normally are seperated, we can combine, such as aluminum, cardboard, glass, paper, and plastic. The only things trick is that all items need to be cleaned out and placed in a clear bag. It is so much simpler to have one recycling can in an office, than 5 seperate containers. With all recycling, make sure you do not contaminate the bag with food material, because then that bag of recycling you worked so hard to saveprovided would become trash. So clean out all your recycling and place it in a clear bag and you are off to helping SMU live green!
Hard to believe we are already talking about moving out. It still feels like the year just begun. Here is where we put all our hard work to the test and get our residents to buy into the ideas of recycling and reusing items!
This month’s newsletter is all about climate change. Check it out here
The competition is on for who can use the least water!
I decided to take a little different approach and focus on the money spent on water in my area-Moore, Martin, and Hawk. Hawk has spent $279 this month leveling out at about $7.74 a person. Martin is $159 so far with about $3.61 a person. And Moore is at the bottom of the pack with $308 so far at about $2.47 a person. But don’t worry I’ve kept some things in mind. The amounts are so low because as everyone knows last week was the big Spring Break. Moore has the most residents so of course it has the most overall but the amount per person is much less.
Let’s keep up the good work Moore, Martin, and Hawk and win this competition!
The 40th anniversary of Earth Day is this year on April 22! As we begin to wrap up the year, it seems like the perfect time to talk about climate change and the impact it is having on our earth. Happy reading.