Stephens, Hindman challenge Columbians to go green in March

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 | 11:22 p.m. CST; updated 2:00 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Stephens College is “going green” and challenging Columbia residents to do the same.

After riding into Kimball Ballroom on a tandem bicycle with his wife, Mayor Darwin Hindman announced Wednesday night that the city would be teaming up with Stephens to propose a citywide challenge for Columbia residents to perform at least one green act during the month of March.

10 ways to lead a greener life

1. Keep your blinds open and lights off as much as you can. 2. Turn off lights in spaces that are unoccupied. 3. Power adaptors use energy while plugged in, even if the devices they power are switched off. Plug power adaptors into a power strip and turn off the entire strip when devices are not in use. 4. Replace your light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. CFLs use about 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and last much longer. 5. When buying printer paper, look for recycled paper with a high percentage of post-consumer content and the minimum chlorine bleaching. Print on both sides of the page when appropriate. 6. The greenest paper is no paper at all, so keep things digital whenever possible. Take your name off of mailing lists and never print an e-mail unless you absolutely must. 7. Carpool, take public transit, bike, walk, or use a creative combination of all of the above. 8. Bring lunch to work as often as possible, and use reusable containers and utensils. If you order delivery, place a large group order instead of several small ones. 9. Buy fewer disposable goods. Consume less of everything. 10. On average, produce grown in the U.S. travels 1,500 miles to reach grocery store shelves. Save on fuel by buying from local growers, and favor local products and services in general.

The event featured eco-journalist and environmental activist Simran Sethi. Sethi’s speech, titled “Clean Air, Clean Soil, Clean Water: Environmental Access and Justice for All,” touched on the ways that environmental issues affect everyone, not just a certain group of people.

“That’s the thing about environmental issues, we really are all in this together,” Sethi said.

Stephens’ Student Government Association has been promoting environmental awareness programs throughout the year, including Recyclemania, a national competition among colleges and universities to see who can recycle the most, SGA President Lindsey Weber said.

Weber said she hoped Sethi’s speech would serve as a “final call to arms to get people really motivated to finish up the year strong.”

Living a greener lifestyle is about appreciating the resources we already have, Sethi said, and a list of 10 ways to lead a greener life was distributed at the speech.

At Stephens, students have already been “going green” by holding dorm competitions to see who can conserve the most energy and by working with their food service provider to reduce waste.

Hindman challenged Columbia residents to try some of the 10 suggestions, which include opening the blinds rather than turning on a light, and then return to Stephens on April 2 to talk about whether they were successful.

“I think that there are some things that are harder to do, but I think that people can do at least one, I think that’s possible,” said Stephens senior Ashley Davis.

Trying the 10 suggestions is a good place to start, Sethi said, but it’s important to keep the big picture in mind.

“I believe that we are all environmentalists every day,” Sethi said.

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