Green Space: November 2013

Green Space is for anyone who wants to contribute to or learn about green initiatives at Olin and the world. Want to submit an article about green initiatives? Please do! Want to learn how you can make a difference in your own life or at Olin? Easy! Want to learn about cool things people are doing at Olin (and elsewhere) to reduce our impact on the environment and improve sustainable technologies?

Dude, we got you covered. So please, read on and listen well, because, you know, this is your world too.

A better place
As a “Little Known Fact” from the last Frankly Speaking pointed out, it is very easy to get caught up in the Olin bubble in an alarming way. There is so much going on here at Olin that one can forget to pay attention to anything else, from current events to struggling with what we want to work for.

One of my favorite ways to describe Olin is that we’re more “context focused” than other schools, in that it’s not just about what we’re engineering, but why and how. We do some of that really well; we think about the “how” whenever we talk about curriculum or project-based learning, and we talk about the “why” when we work on design, but people’s broader motivations may be less clear.

I’d like to propose a question: What are you doing to make the world a better place for the people who will and do live here?

I find it important to think about those who will come after us, making the world a place where human life has the potential to flourish indefinitely. If you’ve heard anything about global climate change, ecosystem destruction, or depleting natural resources, you know we have a very serious challenge ahead of us.

I urge you to think of ways that you can help. It should start with habits: turning off the lights when you leave the room should be natural (if you’re coming back in soon, you can turn them back on soon); eating better food; buying fewer products that you don’t need; raising the blinds instead of turning on the lights; being conscious of napkin use in the dining hall, paper use in the computer lab, and paper towel use in the bathrooms; biking instead of driving. These are just a few examples of what you can do every day. Hopefully, you’ll choose to do something more too, perhaps working for a cleantech company, pushing for sustainability initiatives here at Olin or wherever you work, or some other way of making a bigger impact.

The easiest way to start making changes is to start making changes. The more you do, the more you realize that living for a better world just about always means living for a better you.