by Sarah Berentson
Sustainability is a word that gets tossed around a lot, and not just at Whitworth. Some people argue that sustainability is just a buzzword thrown about in order to keep those people who adamantly “go green” happy.
I asked several students what they thought about sustainability, and the majority of them had a negative view of it. It was described as a hobby for the rich. The stereotype attached to being green was a Toms wearing, sometimes barefoot, homeless challenge, YoungLife yuppie.
It is a tragedy that such a negative reaction spawns from such a positive movement. Whitworth seems to be committed to being a sustainable campus, meaning we try our best to be green and to salvage the world that we share.
If sustainability makes you unhappy, your unhappiness is completely illegitimate. I know there are people out there who litter, who toss plastic into fire, who consistently destroy the earth, just to spite global warming, as if sustainability were a liberal conspiracy to brainwash the world into believing in global warming.
Who cares about global warming? Regardless of any views of global warming, the point is we continually destroy our earth without worrying about the repercussions. We make materials that are not biodegradable, dig landfills to fill with our waste, and refuse to cut back on our comfortable habits. Argue all you want about the effects of global warming, but you can’t deny things like landfills.
What would Jesus do? What would Gandhi do? What would anyone do who isn’t so selfish that they aren’t worried about maintaining the earth? They would probably join forces, drive around in a hybrid called The Green Machine, and they would recommend we save the earth.
Some anti-mother earth advocates (as I like to call them, though they will vehemently deny it) are so irritated by the idea of sustainability that even seeing a hybrid throws them into a fit of rage. When someone tells them that maybe burning that plastic bottle isn’t a good idea, they want to throw you in the fire instead.
Why? I ask these people; does it bother you when someone is feeding the homeless? No. The only difference is one person is doing charity unto people, and one is doing charity unto the earth, our home, that we all share.
The biggest stigma attached to sustainability is hypocrisy. Some students complained that the very kids who advocate being green, also drive their car from the Hixson Union Building to Hawthorne. However, I’d wager that almost everything people do is also plagued with hypocrisy. Let’s start with Christianity, or any major religion. Hypocrisy within this religion (though not by every Christian) is one of the main deterrents to new believers. However, just because every Christian isn’t as pure as Jesus himself doesn’t mean that the term “Christianity” should induce an angered reaction. Yet, it often does. There is a strong parallel between this and sustainability.
Here’s what is real. We are slowly destroying our earth, and there are some people who are attempting to change it. They may not be perfect, but they are trying. Although some people just like the image of sustainability, other people truly feel like it is a just and important cause, because it is. It isn’t a conspiracy, it’s a fact. We are stuffing our world, like a turkey, with trash. Nothing about that is positive, but everything about sustainability is. So get off your high horse, and start doing a little bit more to help out.