What is Sustain Champlain?

Sustain Champlain is a campus-wide initiative strives to infuse sustainability concepts and practices across Champlain College by coordinating and promoting best practices within four areas: our institution, academics, operations, and culture.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

An Introduction to Going Conscious!

Hey everyone,
I’m Jocellyn Harvey and this is the year I’m going to start caring about the things I do, be they big or small, and how they affect the environment and community. A little about myself: I spent my high school years at an environmentally conscious school in New Hampshire. We gardened, composted, conducted electricity challenges, and chastised those who threw their plastic bottles in the trash instead of the labeled recycling bin. I did carbon footprints, created a light bulb policy, and planted the idea for a school wide Carbon Seminar. I was the ‘non-hippy’ poster gal for sustainability. But how sustainable or eco-friendly was I? Well, I still drank lots of bottled water, and drove places I could have easily walked, and left the house lights on when my parents were gone….Okay, I admit that was out of fear more than laziness, but still I talked a big talk and like most didn’t put my money where my mouth was. I wasn’t doing it on purpose, honestly. I just didn’t realize that inspiring others is pretty hard when you haven’t gone through the experiences yourself.

So, at the ripe old age of nineteen, I’ve figured it’s time for me to jump outside of my comfort and convenience zone of wasteful (though relaxing) long showers, and buying whatever is cheapest regardless of god-knows-what ingredients are in it. This year, I, Jocellyn Harvey, am GOING CONSCIOUS!!! Note: Not to be confused with going green. That is a yucky and trendy phrase which I’m banning from this blog. People, this isn’t a trend we’re going through right now! This is how we have to live in the 21st century. Anywho, when I say conscious I mean not only will I be making changes, but I’ll understand them. I’ll be talking to local farmers, owners of eco-friendly companies, and die-hard commuters. I’ll help debunk tricky market ploys. For example, that lovely bottle that has trees and rolling hills and says natural on it, um, might not be so natural.

Being kind to the planet doesn’t mean slapping a recycling sticker on your car and being done with it. It means changing habits that are so ingrained in our culture. Is this going to be easy? Well, not entirely or I don’t think I’d be writing this blog. Even the easiest changes, like buying energy efficient bulbs or power strips, are going to cost more than normal. And most of us love a good deal. Some of these things are going to force me to research and spend more time when I’m shopping for food and other products. Still, my hopes are that by going through the steps I can have an actual understanding of what it means to care for myself, the world, others, and the future. Also, I’m hoping that anyone reading this will see that maybe it isn’t so bad and the chain effect will happen. I—and hopefully we’ll – be taking baby steps. Going Conscious doesn’t mean immediately selling your SUV, buying a Prius and converting to a 100% locavore, organic diet right away. That’d kind of be like trying to run a half marathon one day when you can only run two miles; even if you accomplished it you’d probably be pretty angry with yourself. Once again, think baby steps.

Next week I’ll be utilizing my awesome Sustain Champlain canteen and going cold turkey on bottled beverages. Also, I’ll be finding out how I easy (or not easy) it is to use my mug around town on those days I want to slip into a coffee shop and get something to drink. See you next week!