Sustainability Guide 2011 / Windward Community College (WCC) is making great strides in sustainability. It’s currently constructing a state-of-the-art environmentally friendly library. To reduce energy consumption, the roof will have solar panels that should produce 200 kilowatts of power. Natural light will provide 75 percent of occupied spaces, and the rest of the rooms will have motion-activated light fixtures.
On a smaller scale, WCC has many sustainable options for students whowant to save money. Its website, [wcc.bookrenterstore.com], allows students to rent, rather than buy, textbooks. This saves resources and has an estimated saving of up to $500 a year. WCC also rents out laptops and cameras.
Or why not opt for an eco-friendly Kindle? OK, so maybe Kindles lack the “cool” factor, but wouldn’t it be worth it to have more than 100 books stored all in one place? It’s a great way to save some paper and help out the environment.
What to Read
Information on how to live more sustainably is right at our fingertips. There still is practical and charming value to having books to guide us on our green way. Some of our favorites are below:
Do One Green Thing by Mindy Pennybacker
Yes, Mindy Pennybacker is a former Weekly editor. But her decades of experience as an environmental journalist put her fun and usable book at the top of this list.
From demystifying the recycling symbols on the bottom of plastic containers, to explaining how to read cosmetic labels, to providing sample shopping lists, Do One Green Thing provides a step-by-step guide to green your life without it becoming a mission impossible. Bonus: It’s printed on recycled paper and has a foreword by Meryl Streep.
Any book by Rachel Carson
The famed ecologist and writer produced several seminal bodies of work on environmentalism. From Silent Spring to The Sea Around Us, Carson’s knowledge of nature, from birds to the ocean, also revealed an advocacy spirit that inspires many environmentalists today.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
The popularity of this book and its author speak to the American public’s growing interest in food systems. Knowing the origins of your food can inform your buying choices and help you make better decisions for your health and the environment.
Edible Schoolyard: A Universal Idea by Alice Waters
The Chez Panisse and California Cuisine-founder, Alice Waters, documents the mechanisms and successes of this school program in Berkeley, Calif. While not a perfectly crafted read, it provides a strong argument for “edible education” in all schools, teaching our young ones to value their environment and understand its connections to their lives.
Cadillac Desert: The American West and its Disappearing Water by Marc Reisner
While there are a number of books documenting our history of water and abuses of it, this work gives a snapshot through the 1980s, and was revised in the 1990s. This longitudinal perspective of water use, policy and consequences makes us rethink time and again about how we view and treat water resources.
Unbowed by Wangari Maathai
This Nobel Peace Prize laureate founded a major green movement in Kenya, despite attacks by a corrupt government. Maathai received a PhD during a time when Kenyan girls weren’t educated, and her memoir illuminates how her green advocacy turned into a democracy movement.
Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution…And How It Can Renew America by Thomas L. Friedman
This Pulitzer Prize-winning author has the ability to tie together complicated historical events into a convincing argument that the destruction of the natural world has been responsible for economic collapses throughout history. Friedman calls for a green revolution to create a sustainable environment and thus, a sustainable America. –Margot Seeto
Cutting Back and Cutting Down: The 100 Things Challenge
While the movement to cut down on consumerism can bleed into the hippie Zen lifestyle that might not be so appealing to some, one cannot deny that cutting down on the desire for material items is better for the planet and for your budget. With books such as The New Good Life, Be Thrifty: How to Live Better with Less and other books promoting a minimalist, anti-American consumerist lifestyle, there are many ways to help yourself start saving. One of the books that has started its own movement is The 100 Things Challenge by Dave Bruno. Getting rid of clutter and living with only 100 things is supposed to benefit your budget, your sanity and your spirit. Should you partake in the challenge, you’ll soon be asking yourself if you really need the same cardigan in 10 colors or that fondue set you got as a wedding gift. –Margot Seeto