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Case Study > Turning Your Life Green With Amer>

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Turning Your Life Green With Amer

 

How a College Student is Living Green

How the Sustainability House is Green

What is Living Green?

What are the Benefits of Going Green?

Easy Beginner Steps to Go Green

How to Turn Your Home Green

How Going Green Saves You Money

How to Get Others Involved in the Going Green Movement

Dangers of Not Living Green

Commonly Used Jargon

 

How College Students Can Live Green

Twenty-two year old Franklin and Marshall College senior Amer Bajwa has been living the green life since he was a young child. There are ways for children to contribute to the green efforts. It is an easy thing to learn that after you use a plastic (or any recyclable) item to put that item in the recycling bin. This is a great lesson for parents to teach their children. Also parents, children should be taught to turn off the water when they are not directly using it. For example, when you are teaching them how to brush their teeth tell them that they should turn off the water while they brush. Also, explain to them the importance of doing so and that it conserves water. It is important for children to learn the basics of being eco-friendly because what they learn and the knowledge they acquired in their youth will carry into their future life.

Bajwa’s mother is the person who introduced him to sustainable living. He recounted a story of her watching the news one day and saw a program showing the benefits of organic food and sustainable living. She took what she saw to heart and began making some changes. Bajwa’s mother began buying organic foods such as produce, vegetables and many other products that are made naturally and with no chemicals. She also began recycling everything they used in the house and conserving energy by keeping the thermostat at a low temperature, turning off the lights and water when not in direct use. All these practices have been strongly instilled in Bajwa and he now performs them daily.

Bajwa began his college career living in typical college dorms. He began finding friends who shared his passion of living an eco-friendly lifestyle. Bajwa and his friends did some research on sustainable living and how they could live a more sustainable lifestyle while at Franklin and Marshall. They found a house that was eco-friendly and supported through Franklin and Marshall. This house is where Bajwa lives now and is called The Sustainability House as a perfect fit for them. It is all students of Franklin and Marshall who live in the house. It is a place for students who are dedicated to sustainable living and have a low impact on the environment.

There is a lengthy process students must go through in order to be accepted to live in The Sustainability House. Students must first fill out an extensive application about how they are living sustainable and what you are doing to benefit the environment. After their application is reviewed they are subject to an interview where they are asked more questions and have another opportunity to explain their green efforts.

There are over 20 people living in the Sustainability House. Each person has a job, which they are responsible for. Some of the jobs are data tracking, garden committee, entertainment and web development. Bajwa is in charge of the web development. He maintains The Sustainability House’s website. He keeps all the information current and is responsible for updates and changes. Another key part of developing the website is figuring out how to get the message out to public of what the house stands for. The two main publics for the site are the administration and keeping them updated on what the Sustainability House is doing for the community and the other key public is the students. Bajwa has the responsibility of reaching out to Franklin and Marshall students and encouraging them to live in The Sustainability House. He needs to appeal to them and show the benefits for students and the environment of living in The Sustainability House.

Students who live in The Sustainability House have their own garden where they grow fruits and vegetables. Gardening creates a large benefit to the environment.

Bajwa is extremely pleased with his decision to apply and live in The Sustainability House. He loves that it gives him a chance to bond with other people who share his passion for being eco-friendly and also share his ideas and philosophies with other people.

Bajwa encourages people to do the little things. There are simple things everyone can do to become more eco-friendly. Some of these things are recycle, lower your water usage and spread the word or sustainability.

As a college student it is easy to think that you have no impact on the world. However, college is a great time and place to make impacts on the world, beginning with going green. College students have access to so many resources such as the Internet, newspapers, professors and other students. No matter what your age is you always have an impact on the world and it is always your responsibility to make constructive decision that will cause positive outcomes.

There are hundreds if not thousands of college student’s everyday all over the world that are making the conscious decisions to live an eco-friendly life. Universities like Franklin College, The University of Utah, Middlebury College, West Virginia University, Arizona State, and The University of California-Berkley are all making initiatives to go green.

These schools all made the news for individual students at their school who are making outstanding efforts to change the world and make it a more eco-friendly world. Middlebury College had a student who that part of a group who convinced their campus to go carbon neutral. Going carbon neutral refers to leaving no carbon footprint. A student from West Virginia spent his spring break forming a student group called Mountain Justice Spring Break. MJSB consisted of a group of students who all spent their spring break working towards environmental change and social justice for Appalachian communities harmed by the coal industry.

There are also local college efforts for going green other than the Sustainability House at Franklin and Marshall College. Millersville University has a recycling center where they try to promote positive efforts to recycle. Lancaster is ranked the 22nd worst area for ozone pollution, which is harmful to humans, animals and plants. Millersville’s recycling centers encourages everyone to recycle and be conscious of the energy and fuel you use. Millersville University are actively involved in recycling efforts.

 

How the Sustainability House is green

The Sustainability House is making many green efforts starting with the creation of a house where students who share the passion for an eco-friendly environment can live together, share their efforts and spread the word of living green.

Everyone living in the Sustainability House conserves his or her water and energy usage by taking short showers, turning the water off when they are not directly using is and unplugging all electronics when they are not using them. The Sustainability House is also in the process of putting solar panels on their roof. Solar panels use the renewable energy from the sun. They are an environmentally and safe way to use and conserve solar energy.

Solar power is a growing invention that is used in cars, cell phones, calculators, electricity, and more. Solar energy produces no pollution or waste and is free! Solar energy is renewable energy because it will continue working as long as there is sunlight.

The Sustainability House also owns a garden. The students living in the Sustainability House are responsible for the maintenance of the garden. They have only been maintaining this garden for the past year. The garden is called Baker Campus Garden and is located on the Franklin and Marshall campus.

 

What is living green?

Green living is a lifestyle, a personal choice that an individual makes when they want to make positive decisions based on helping the environment. There are many different levels to green living and many ways to live green.

Living green or eco-friendly is a person choice but it should not be kept to your self. The effects of going green are so beneficial to people and the environment that you are encouraged to share your knowledge with others and engage with them on the discussion and efforts.

It is always encouraged to do your research on being eco-friendly and to start with the little things. Do not feel pressured to change your entire home and lifestyle in one day. Becoming eco-friendly is an uplifting process that should be enjoyed and done properly in your own time.

This site will help you learn more of what the benefits of going green are and what steps you can take to be eco-friendly.

 

What are the benefits of going green?

Help the environment- There are many different step and stages to going green. All of them ultimately help the environment by reducing the amount of waste lying around on the earth and preserving the natural resources we have. We do not have an endless amount of resources on this earth, which is why it is so important to preserve what we do have and not be wasteful. Some easy ways to help the environment are recycling, walk or ride a bike when you can instead of driving everywhere, limit your use of toxic chemicals, and spread the word!

Save money- By cutting back on only the amount of water, energy and gas you use will save you hundreds of dollars! And who doesn’t need that today? Saving money is something everyone wants to do and by going green you are able to help your self save money and you help the earth by being sustainable.

Your health- Everyone knows natural foods are healthy for you. But your health can benefit from other green things as well! It is also widely known that toxic chemicals are harmful to your health, but did you know those toxic chemicals are also very hazardous to the environment? Toxic chemicals endanger rivers, lakes, oceans, our air, and land. To decrease the amount of toxic chemicals you can buy eco-friendly cleaning supplies. These products are less toxic and are low in VOC’s. Also avoid buying products with danger, warning, caution, poison, or toxic on the label. Eating organic food and using eco-friendly cleaning products will improve your overall person health as well as improve the health of the environment. Using Renewable energy is one of the best ways to promote clean air, which reduces the amount of air pollution we have to breathe in. Air pollution has been linked to causing lung cancer, asthma, allergies, and other cardiac dangers. Air pollution is made up of gases, particles and droplets that reduce the quality of the air. There are both short-term and long-term health effects of pollution. Some of the short-term effects are irritation to the eyes, ears and throat, and upper respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Also headaches, nausea, allergic reactions, and emphysema can be caused by pollution. Some of the long-term health effects from pollution are chronic respiratory disease, heart disease, lung cancer, as well as damage to the brain, nerves, liver, or kidney. Cigarette smoke is also a leading cause of air pollution, which can lead to many if not all of these health problems. There is a group called the Environmental Protection Agency who checks the air quality and reports on it throughout the United States. The EPA measures the amount of air pollution on the Air Quality Index.

 

Easy beginner steps to go green

Recycle- Recycling is one of the easiest ways to go green. By recycling you save trees, oil, water, and energy. Begin with putting all your plastic containers that you would usually through in the trashcan and put them in a recycling bin. You can get these bins from your local township and should be put outside with your garbage cans for disposal. Save all the plastic bags you accumulate from shopping and use them to line your garbage cans. This is a creative way to recycle what you already have. Instead of throwing away clothes that you no longer wear, donate them to your local Salvation Army. By doing that you recycle clothing and are giving to those in need.

Conserve water- Lowering your shower time is a great and easy way to conserve water usage in your home. Also, turn the water off when you are brushing your teeth or washing your face and are not directly using the water. You can also use a water filter instead of using plastic water bottles. This decreases the amount of plastic waste that will build up in our environment. However, if you do use plastic water bottles make sure you recycle them when you are finished with them!

Buy locally grown products- This means that you should buy your produce from your local farmer markets. This does more than just help your local economy, which is also a benefit! By buying locally you support the preservation of open space in which they grow their crops and this helps farmland from being developed. Your produce will also be healthier when you buy locally because they have not traveled hundreds of miles. You will get the freshest and healthiest produce!

Conserve energy usage in your home- This includes keeping your thermostat and refrigerator down, lowering your water usage, turning off lights when they are not being used, unplug appliances when they are not being used and use compact fluorescent light bulbs. These are all very easy ways to help the environment and all of these things will also save you money!!

Be aware of products that use harmful toxins- Toxic chemicals endanger rivers, lakes, oceans, our air, and land. Some easy ways to decrease the amount of toxic chemicals is from buy eco-friendly cleaning supplies and paint. These products are less toxic and are low in VOC’s. Also avoid buying products with danger, warning, caution, poison, or toxic on the label.

Reuse- Some people say reusing is even better than recycling! Reusing what you already have is an easy way to be eco-friendly. After a shopping trip and you have accumulated plastic bags do not through them in the garbage. As an alternative use them to fill your garbage cans instead of buy new garbage bags. After a large meal save your food! Do not throw it away! You can put all your extra food in containers and save it in the refrigerator for the next day. You can also reuse containers and zip lock bags.

 

How to turn your home green

There are countless ways to turn your home and everything in it green. Your appliances, bed and bath products, clothing, furniture, office, kitchen, and even your pets can be eco-friendly.

Light bulbs- Changing your light bulbs to compact fluorescent light bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs will save you money because CFL’s last up to 10 times longer. They also use 75% less energy.

Cleaning supplies- Non-eco-friendly cleaning supplies contribute to indoor air pollution and are hazardous to touch, smell and ingest. When you are buying cleaning products read the label. Choose products that give full discloser of what is inside. Some great things to see are “Organic”, “Natural”, “No Chlorine”, “No Ammonia”, “Nontoxic”, and “Dye and Fragrance Free”.

Make up and personal products- Virtually every product you use can be found made in an eco-friendly way. You can buy eye make up, shampoo, nail care, lotions, lipsticks, and more! Some tips to finding eco-friendly make up are use products that contain less than 10 ingredients, avoid products with dyes in them, fragrance, mercury, and nanoparticles. Many times natural product will say organic on them. This means the product was made naturally and does not use harmfully chemicals that are bad for you and the environment.

Paint- The next time you are painting a room in your house try an eco-friendly paint! Latex paints have a lower volatile organic compound levels and are water based. There are four other main types of eco-friendly paints; natural paints, milk paints, white washes, and recycled paints. These are all natural and have a low level of harmful toxic chemicals and will help your health as well as the environment.

Washers and dryers- Many home appliances will have the energy-star on them to show that they are environmentally friendly. These eco-friendly washer machines use up to 50% less energy and 60% less water.

Refrigerator- Refrigerators are one of the most energy consuming appliances in your home. If you do not want to buy a new refrigerator that is more eco-friendly than the one you currently have there are other options. Make sure you keep the doors closed when you are not in the fridge. Also monitor the temperature so that you are not wasting energy keeping it too low. If you are interested in buying a new eco-friendly refrigerator here are some tips for you. When you are shopping in the store look for the energy-star showing that the refrigerator is an eco-friendly product. Refrigerators are most energy efficient when the freezer is on top followed by those with the freezer on the bottom. Automatic ice makers use 14-20% more energy. It is most eco-friendly to simply use ice trays to make your ice.

Conserve water and energy- Taking shorter showers, turning the faucet off when you are not using the water, keeping your thermostat lower, and turning off the lights when you are not in the room are a few ways to conserve water and energy. Another key way is using energy efficient appliances.

Solar Panels- Solar panels use the renewable energy from the sun. They are an environmentally and safe way to use and conserve solar energy.

For more information, please visit the Home Depot home improvement Web site.

 

How going green saves you money

Conserving energy- Not only does this help the environment but it also helps your wallet. By lowering your thermostat, using compact florescent light bulbs, unplugging appliances when you are not using them, and using a drying rack instead of a machine dryer (just to name a few!) you will save yourself money!

Saving water- By using less water you will lower your water bill so when you are not directly using water (ie. When you are brushing your teeth or washing your face) turn the water off!

Use less gas- Walking or biking, instead of driving, are great ways to help the environment. They will also save you gas money, which we all know adds up! And a bonus of walk to biking is that it is a great workout for you!

Don’t use bottled water- Bottled water can get expensive and causes excess plastic waste. Instead use a water filter. It will save you money by buying a reusable water battle and refilling is with purified water. Brita’s are a great investment for this!

 

How to get others involved in the going green movement

Tell your friends and family that you are going green! Share with them the things you are doing to become more eco-friendly and how they too can help. Also share with them the benefits that going green will give them and the environment.

Be the one to start discussions on the green movement. Most people know about going green but everyone is on a different level. You will be able to help people with your knowledge and you will learn new things yourself!

Use the resources you already have to reach out to your friends and peers. If you use a blog, Facebook, Twitter, or other Internet communication form talk about how you are going green and invite other people to join in on the movement!

When you see someone putting a plastic bottle in the trash can stop him or her. Tell them they should recycle that bottle!

 

Dangers of not living green

Hurting the environment- Pollution is one of the most well known dangers to the environment. The major greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, is directly affected by human activity and is increasing. Human activity is increasing other greenhouse gases, which is becoming harmful to us because it warms the atmosphere. This warming is what many people refer to as global warming. There are many causes and speculated causes to global warming one of which is the increase in greenhouse gases caused by human pollution. It is inevitable that humans will and do have a large part of the climate change but by cutting back on the pollution we case we can stop the damaging effects to the environment.

Hurting your personal health- A large part of our personal health involves the air we breathe. Keeping our air clean is also a necessity for our environment. Using toxic chemicals produces waste in the air that will cause harmful effects to our health. Not recycling or reusing has the same effect. Piles of trash and waste only leak into the air, which we than are forced to breathe in.

Damaging the future- It is our responsibility to preserve the earth for future generations. Carbon footprint is the amount of green house gases emissions produced by a person, organization, or events. When we do not recycle or reuse things we cause piles of waste in our environment. This is extremely harmful to the air we breathe, the life of animals, the food we eat that is grown outside, and also horrible odors.

 

Commonly used jargon

Sustainable living- Is a lifestyle that begins with a personal choice to reduce the amount of earths natural resources.

Going green- Is the act of being eco-friendly. The green movement is a huge phenomenon that is taking over for the best!

Eco-friendly- Is living in a way that treats the earth in a friendly manner.

Recycle- A process of turning old products into new products to prevent waste, reducing pollution and reduce energy usage.

Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFB’s or CFL’s)- Energy efficient light bulbs that contain 75% less energy and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

Carbon footprint- Carbon footprint is the amount of green house gases emissions produced by a person, organization, or events.

Solar Panel- Solar panels use the renewable energy from the sun. They are an environmentally and safe way to use and conserve solar energy.

Carbon Neutral- Going carbon neutral refers to leaving no carbon footprint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


This site was created by Katherine DiRico (stacey.irwin@millersville.edu) who is a student at Millersville University of Pennsylvania

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