Our View: Green Week about cycling and recycling

Our View

In short: A week dedicated to environmentalism has plenty to offer those who don’t actively seek out “green” activities.

Environmentalism is, to some people, a fringe issue. It is about cap-and-trade initiatives, the Kyoto Protocols, fighting corporations and government regulation. It’s something carried out by the far left.

To others, it’s a lifestyle. Dinner every night is organic and products are screened for their environmental impact. Some people have the proper disposal instructions for a broken compact fluorescent light bulb memorized.

This week is Green Week at UA and tomorrow is Earth Day, but these events aren’t just for the Prius drivers among us. They’re for everyone to remember to take a moment out of your day to act in a way that will do minimal harm to the environment.

The easiest and most cliché way to help the environment is recycling. In the past few years, the University has dramatically expanded the access students have to recycling facilities. Such initiatives make the easy part of environmentalism even easier. All of us have the ability to redirect paper, plastic and aluminum that would go to landfills towards a place where they will not only help the environment, but will help keep campus clean and beautiful.

UA students can do other things to help the environment and themselves at the same time. It’s easy to turn out the lights and the TV when you aren’t in a room or when you don’t need the lights on. Just opening the windows to the sun instead of burning electricity cuts back on coal consumption and, more importantly, reduces the University’s electric bill. For those who live off campus, using compact fluorescent bulbs can cut down on both electric bills and light bulb costs, since they last significantly longer than incandescent bulbs.

Green Week also includes a promotion to encourage people to ride bicycles instead of driving. Encouraging cleaner transportation isn’t just an issue of ozone and global warming. It’s about health and simple finances. Cycling is a very healthy form of exercise and a cheap alternative to driving. Since gas prices are extremely high and parking permits on campus are extremely expensive, cycling to class is a great money saving idea.

Beyond the immediate value of “green” acts like recycling and riding bikes, these actions provide a substantial benefit to those around us. By reducing the impact we make on our planet, whether by making sure our water bottles get turned back into water bottles instead of waste, or by reducing the consumption of foreign oil and subsequently toxic emissions, we can make life easier for those whose lives we impact.

Environmentalism isn’t just for environmentalists anymore. Everyone can see and reap the benefits in their daily lives.

Our View is the consensus of The Crimson White’s editorial board.