By Cassidy Thomas
In the early 2000s, “going green” became a popular solution to many of our pollution problems. A big part of going green is sustainability. UNF is kicking off the 3rd annual Sustainability Week Oct. 21. Sustainability Week is a weeklong event held by the Environmental Center with several events to inform students on how sustainability is achievable and easy.
“Students still have problems recycling. They even put plastic bottles and things like that in the wrong bin,” said James Taylor, UNF’s Environmental Center Event Coordinator. “We want to draw attention to sustainability.”
Sustainability is more than just recycling. For something to be sustainable, it must be renewable and involve methods that don’t destroy natural resources so people can continue to use it in the future. Examples include sustainable farming, which studies the relationship between organisms and the environment, and sustainable energy like solar panels and wind turbines.
The week’s events vary day to day so everyone can participate. The week’s schedule is as follows:
Green Carpet Film Series: Monday, Oct. 21, 6:30-9:00 p.m., Coxwell Amphitheater
Screening of Biophilic Design: The Architecture of Life, a documentary that shows the relationship between humans and nature, followed by a panel discussion. Students are encouraged to bring folding chairs or blankets. Refreshments will be available.
Campus Sustainability Forum: Tuesday Oct. 22, 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Building 58W, Student Union Ballrooms A&B
Hosted by the UNF Sustainability Committee, UNF faculty and staff will come together to discuss the effort towards improving UNF’s sustainability. There will be lunch available to attendees. Pre-registration is encouraged.
Night Hike at the Sawmill Slough Preserve: Wednesday Oct.22, 7:00 p.m., J.M Golden Environmental Pavilion
What puts you more in touch with nature than a night hike? The hike will begin and end at John Golden Environmental Education Pavilion, located at Building 54 in Parking Lot 100, and will continue on for one mile. Participants will be able to see the wildlife that comes out at night. Spaces are limited. Sign up at [email protected]
Garbage on the Green: October 23, 7:30 a.m.-4p.m., Osprey Plaza, Student Union, Building 58
Many have heard of Garbage on the Green, as it is an annual event held by the Environmental Center. This event hopes to educate students and UNF staff on reducing campus trash, improving recycling habits, preventing litter and other environmental issues.
**What is Organic About Organic** Screening: Oct. 23, 7:00 p.m.-9:00p.m., Building 58W, Student Union Ballrooms A & B
The screening of the documentary **What is Organic About Organic** will be held in observance of National Food Day. The documentary tackles the debates of what is actually organic and what happens when an agricultural movement evolves into an international market.
Food Day and Natural High Fair: Oct. 24, 10:00a.m.-2:00p.m., Building 58, Osprey Plaza at the Student Union
To close the weeklong event, Sustainability Week will be celebrating Food Day, a nationwide movement toward more healthy, affordable and sustainable food. The Natural High Fair will provide those attending with games and interactive tables as well as free food.
Anyone can become more sustainable with relatively simple changes that will last long after Sustainability Week has ended. For instance, instead of leaving electronics plugged in at all times, use an electrical strip to turn them off all at once. Adjusting your thermostat to a lower setting also uses less energy. Recycling whenever possible, buying items with less packaging, and even washing clothes in cold water are other easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
Some students have gotten creative with sustainability. Josiah Nichols, a UNF theater freshman, gave his opinion on “going green” and talked about how he contributes to a healthier environment.
“Although it’s a nice idea, going green is completely illogical,” said Nichols. ”Many ‘green’ items that are produced come from big factories, which counteracts the green aspect.”
Nichols is referring to “greenwashing” — a phenomenon that occurs when big companies seem to be supporting a better environment with sustainable or natural products, when really they’re just cashing in on the green movement to increase sales.
Instead of buying into going green, Nichols helps out in his own way: gardening.
“To have a completely green garden helps. It really all depends on how you use it,” said Nichols. “Use your own compost, don’t use chemicals or harsh fertilizers, and you can have a clean garden.”
Meghan Mulcahy, a UNF art history freshman, has a commitment to recycling.
“We sorted through my trash even though we didn’t have a recycling program,” said Mulcahy. ”We just took our recycling to a friend’s house since they recycled in their neighborhood.”
You can find more about Sustainability Week and UNF’s Environmental Center at unf.edu/ecenter.
Email Cassidy Thomas at [email protected]