Much to my surprise, it’s been an eye-opening week for me. Coming into this project, I was excited to try to lesson my impact, but at the same time I didn’t think much of it. I thought: “What could a college student like me, one so self-involved and focused on her habits, do to make an impact?” I didn’t think eliminating these habits for a week would do anything of significance. And I was right . . . and wrong.
I know that this one week made a small impact in the grand scheme of things. Denison’s water, waste, energy, product, and food usage probably didn’t show even a drop in the numbers. But at the same time, I can’t ignore how much people learned. It was amazing how some threw themselves into this project. Some started out with everything right on the first day, and some did a few things and slowly added the rest, like me. All of us, I believe, learned something. For me, I learned that how I’m living my life now–with all that waste, unnecessary products, endless wrappers–is a joke. How can I feel right living like this anymore? How could I not feel guilty for just ignoring everything we’ve been discussing this semester? Something’s got to give.
Now, I’m not saying that I’ m going to completely change my life and go full-on NO IMPACT wild. I wish I could! But I know who I am, and I know that I do not have the strength to do a drastic change like that. But now I have some of the knowledge that can help me to change my life in small ways ( to start). I will not buy so many things that produce a ton of garbage (again, those individually wrapped snacks!). I’ll pay much more attention to recycling: I need to stop being so lazy and just get up and put the bottles in the recycling bin. Same with paper–it’s not trash! Plastic water bottles are completely unnecessary and are one of my roommate’s and my biggest waste. Energy can easily be reduced just by turning things off. All of these things are completely doable, and by sticking to these things after today, I hope that I can help produce change in others. Starting with my roommate, my family, my friends….they may think I’m being picky or insane, but who cares? If anything, I’ve learned that these things DO matter, and if we don’t try to fix them then they never will be fixed.