Of course, your campus doesn’t have to go this far, especially if the usual suspects like recycling and composting are not yet in place. If this sounds like your school, one place to start might be the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). AASHE provides tons of help to member campuses, such as how-to guides, workshops and an online resource center. Dorm vs. dorm sustainability challenge, anyone?
Need some more ideas? Students from Middlebury College in Vermont pushed the board of trustees to approve a plan to make the school carbon neutral by 2016. Oberlin College in Ohio created a web-based monitoring system in some of their dorms to show students how much water and energy is being used at any given time, helping change consumption habits. Amazing what a bit of inspiration, coupled with some perspiration, can achieve.
Speaking of Inspiration
With many denominations stating that responsible stewardship of the earth is a moral imperative, it only makes sense to see what impact our churches themselves have on the earth. Many congregations have success stories to share, from purchasing renewable energy as many Unitarian Universalist churches are doing, to planting community gardens on church grounds, like at Church of the Holy Spirit in Baton Rouge, LA.
If you’re interested in helping your church to become greener, there’s an Energy Stewardship Guide for Congregations available to help churches in their energy conservation initiatives. And don’t forget about the same types of initiatives that are being applied elsewhere – from recycling to carpooling, these programs can make a big difference.
Regardless of the circles that you inhabit, opportunities abound to create change from the inside. If you have any other ideas for groups that can make a difference, let us know!