Reflecting on Earth Week

April 1, 2013

Goshen College recently celebrated Earth Week from March 18-23. Each day had its own theme with a variety of speakers and activities to get involved with ranging from herb planting to upcycling art projects.  All of these events led up to Earth Hour, 60 minutes in which everyone was encouraged to turn out their lights and unplug their electronics. Many students participated, and some even took on their own challenges.  A few students share their personal reflections on their experiences throughout the week in evaluating their consumption of resources:

Aaron Stiffney, “Giving up meat”

I gave up meat this week because I’ve never experimented with being vegetarian. And also because I’m aware of how inefficient it is to raise meat compared to growing food. I didn’t think it would be very difficult before starting, but by the second day I was already tired of it. As the week went on it got much easier and I got used to it. The experience made me realize how eating habits formed at a young age carry into the rest of your life. My family ate meat at almost every meal when I was growing up making it difficult to completely drop it from my diet. Over all it was a really good experience being vegetarian for a short period. I think someday if I’m dedicated enough I could give up meat for an extended amount of time.

Jacob Putnam, “Using less water”

This week I cut down on my water consumption. While I still drank water every day, I wanted to see what little, simple things I could do to save. So naturally I did what any good college student would do: a quick Google search of, “ways to conserve water,” and it gave me some pretty nice tips. When I washed dishes, instead of constantly running the tap, I closed both drains and filled the sinks with water- one for washing and one for rinsing. I also used the same glass for drinking water to cut down on washing use. While brushing my teeth I turned off the water. But my hardest task was limiting my shower time to 5 minutes. Unfortunately these things did not come naturally to me. I had to constantly remind myself at the beginning, but with time I got used to it and have since been a lot better.

I decided to work on this not only because I never back down from a challenge, but also because I know how important water is. Many people don’t have access to clean water, yet it is something we take for granted. Earth is our home and in order to live, water is a vital part of that home. But we have to learn to protect our environment in doing so. Sure I might not be able to reap the direct benefits of saving water for myself, but I’m sure somewhere down the road my grandkids will say, “Boy, I sure am happy Grandpa Jacob taught us how to save water.”

Irene Schmid, “Giving up hot water”

Even though I only gave up hot showers for a short period of time, it still taught me the importance of water in my everyday life. As I reflect over my weeks of cold showers I have begun to recognize how I so frequently take water for granted, and yet continue to waste it. I realize that I am not the one who suffers the repercussions of wasted water from thoughtlessly idling in the shower. When I need water, I can always go and turn on the spigot. But when I take hot water out of my daily life I can begin- albeit only begin- to experience what it is like to not have the luxury of continuous water. I hope that in the future I can further learn from this experience and appreciate the impact that water has on my life.

–By Kristina Lopienski