Steps toward sustainability prove steady

In a crowded classroom filled to the brim with Santa Monica students and community members alike, individuals gathered to discuss the many changes occurring at SMC to make it a more sustainable campus.

On Sept. 7 the Center for Environmental and Urban Studies hosted "Making Santa Monica College More Sustainable," the first lecture in their Environmental Lecture Series. The program is organized to bring to light the many environmental issues affecting everyone on the planet. 

The lecture allowed the community members and students in attendance the chance to take a look at their lifestyles, many of which include never ending coffee cups, plastic water bottles by the thousands, and the act of taking a car a few blocks in place of walking. 

After this meeting, it is evident that changing the ways of SMC as a whole campus is a step in the right direction towards changing not only our campus but the world as a whole. The addition of more recycling bins and the restrictions placed on plastic water bottle distribution are those steps already being taken in the right direction.

The lecture stressed the urgency of applying many changes at the college to address the harmful impact that it's practices are having on the earth. 

Genevieve Bertone, Sustainability Projects Manager at the CEUS, has implemented many sustainable projects throughout SMC. She explains that sustainable development "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations". 

Bertone stressed that it is important for our campus to adapt to the ways of sustainable development in order to make a better future for everyone. Ultimately we are the ones who should care, for as she says, "Who's using the worlds natural resources? It's us". 

The lecture highlighted Sustainable Works, an environmental education program that was created twelve years ago out of the sustainable city plan for Santa Monica. It's purpose is to help people and businesses save money by saving resources. They have been influencing students to get involved as well as to save the environment and have a new outlook on environmentally friendly living. 

One of the programs offered by Sustainable Works is Sustainable Crews, which is comprised of 10-15 students and one crew leader. Members meet once a week to learn about environmental issues, get involved in the community, and make new friends. They also receive three hours of community service credit for involvement with the program. 

In addition to the lecture series and Sustainable Works programs open to the public, the school has created the Clean and Green Campaign and is attempting to "brand SMC as one of the greenest community colleges in the state" according to Burton. 

The American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), is an additional help to the college as a task force within SMC attempting to completely eliminate greenhouse gases being released by the college as a whole within two years. 

New solar panels have recently been installed on top of the parking structure as well, allowing our school to take the road toward solar energy use. 

Aside from the student clubs and school run projects that are being created, professors have begun to push for sustainable additions to the campus as well. 

"I'd rather be in my garden than anywhere," said Dana Morgan, an English professor at SMC. And so began her battle for The Peoples Garden, which is to be created the spring of (this year...what year?) on the Main Campus. 

The idea of a community garden at the college was developed by Club Grow. As Morgan says, gardens are an important part of the new sustainable living lifestyle, by allowing individuals the opportunity to grow their own food. 

Aside from focusing on the bigger changes made to the school, the lecture offered simple solutions to those who want to help create a greener tomorrow in their daily life. Save money and a tree by bringing your own coffee mug to campus seeing as coffee is only $.75 with your own reusable mug.

 

SMC students can also take "Any Line, Any Time" of the Big Blue Bus for free. Refilling water bottles instead of buying new ones, and looking for school supplies with recycled products are more ways to start living a greener life.

With so many ways to make the world of tomorrow a greener place, there is no reason to not get involved. Start making a difference today! As Justine Rembac, AS director of Sustainability said, "Now is the time to make a change."

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