Posts Tagged 'college students'

Students’ small steps stem climate damage

The communal kitchen in my college flat has three rubbish bins, of which two are of a smaller size and one larger. Above the two smaller bins signs have been put up to clear out what is supposed to go in the bin and what isn’t. One sign for each bin.

Both signs have the prominent heading “Recycling”. On the left sign it continues: “Paper and Cardboard” and a bit further down it says “Please flatten all boxes and cartons”. The simple, but well functioning, print out also has pictures of cardboard boxes and newspapers to emphasize the message and clarify to university students what to chuck in what particular bin. On recycling sign number two is written “plastic bottles, tin cans, drink bottles, wine bottles, beer bottles, plastic containers”.

In all the bins, however, people have chucked cardboard boxes, beer bottles, egg shells, plastic bags, spounges, left over food, tea bags, youghurt containers and newspapers. Stuff that usually goes in bins. Unfortunately there are all sorts of rubbish in all three bins. For some reason the very neat and polite message on the signs doesn’t seem to have got through to most students. Even though they have pictures.

The cleaner comes every morning and empties the bins so that students don’t even need to bother carrying their rubbish down the stairs where the dustmen will pick it up.

On the 28th of July Adam Morton wrote in the Age about how “Small steps can reduce climate damage”. His discussion is primarly about climate change and what sacrifices it takes to actually prevent it from happening. Or, in fact, stop what is already happening. In the second paragraph Adam Morton points out that polls have shown that people “want action to stem global warming and are prepared to make sacrifices to get it”.

Further, he states the fact that “there is plenty that can be done on a local level that is being ignored”.

I agree. There is definitely plenty that can be done on a local level. But that people should be prepared to make sacrifices to save the planet, I sincerely doubt. Quite a few are, but not enough.

Seeing young, intelligent people that are simply too lazy to be bothered frankly, pisses me off. Recycling is a way of saving energy and in the long run that is a way of prevent global warming. It’s one of the small steps that Adam Morton writes about in his article. My floor mates are not even prepared to make such a minor sacrifice.

Where I come from the system looks a little different. People put what is to be recycled in one bin and what isn’t in another. When the kitchen bins are full you’ll have to take your trash to the closest recycling station (which hopefully is in walking distance) and put cardboard in the cardboard bin, newspapers in the newspaper bin, metal in the metal bin…

Nobody will make the effort here either. But my point is that for me and my floor mates it’s just so easy. And still, the majority don’t make the effort it takes.

I don’t know if it’s true that human being are lazy by nature, but my experiences tell me that that’s a fact. That people “want action to stem global warming and are prepared to make sacrifices to get it” is probably true, but it won’t happen as long as we’re too lazy to take the “small steps [that] can reduce climate damage”.