It has not been hard at all to meet my goals throughout the week. My cold showers are working well, reduced faucet use as well. Energy is simple; reducing use of my laptop and phone for unnecessary tasks and turing off power strips and lights is easy. I have essentially reduced waste to zero by avoiding Slayter, and the new recycle bin in my room has caught on with my roommate. I had to use a Denison van today to get to Bg Brothers Big Sisters, but carpooled with 6 other people.
Food is a more difficult problem than it seems. No dining service on campus provides meals that completely eliminate impact. Main courses hog energy by sitting on metal trays that are kept warm with heated water below. Other foods are cooked in energy intensive ovens; dishes are washed en masse in huge dishwashers. These services do not provide many non-processed choices either. I have been eating salads more often, which seem more sustainable, and greatly cutting back on meat intake, as well as composting. Given the bleak options we have, I think this is the most one can hope for. individual students can reduce some impact, but the majority of the responsibility is up to administrative change in dining hall options. How are we supposed to indicate our desire for organic or local options if Denison or Sodexo does not allow us some kind of option in the first place?
No impact week has made me pretty depressed about the whole state of society. My behavioral change has made me aware of not only my former impact, but of others’ impacts. It seems futile to think your own abstinence from packaged Slayter meals will offset any net impact of the tons of students we see everyday trashing so much.