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Chicago community colleges teach green

College students have more environmental studies opportunities
College students have more environmental studies opportunities
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Let’s face it, our planet is in trouble and unless we make a collective effort to do something about its destruction, it’s not going to be able to sustain future generations like it was intended to. It is every man, woman, and child’s responsibility to look out for the planet. After all, there are things that can be done to lessen one’s carbon footprint.

The Environmental Protection Agency reports that Americans created about 250 million tons of trash in 2011. Of this number, 87 million tons of trash was recycled and composted. This was a rate of 34.7 percent recycling rate. That’s enough for 4.40 pounds of recycled goods per person per day. Implementing new construction techniques and components can greatly reduce waste.

Wright community college offers a Building Energies Technologies curriculum that instructs students in the emerging technologies used in construction and operation of energy-efficient and energy-independent structures.

Oakton Community College has a green marketing program that examines how the green movement is impacting the marketplace, develops environmentally sensitive offerings and how to engage consumers with environmental programs.

These two programs are leading the local areas colleges in green program development. This translates into students who become more green aware in both the home and work setting.

In the Home

When looking for a new home, people have a tendency to think bigger is better. That’s not necessarily the case because it takes more energy to power, cool, and heat larger houses. Before moving, consider how much space you and your family really needs. Then pare down your belongings so you can comfortably live in a smaller location with ease.

Look for green features. Built Green and Energy Star certification means big savings. You can also request to see some of last year’s utility bills. This will give you an idea of how energy efficient the home is.

At Work

Place recycling bins throughout the workplace in locations where they won’t be bothersome. If it takes extra effort to recycle then far fewer people will participate. So, make sure recycling is easy to understand and not an inconvenience. Require that all plastic, glass, and paper waste be put into them. Change the settings on the copy machine to print on both sides of the paper. Encourage everyone to use refillable coffee cups and water bottles rather than Styrofoam cups to drink out of. Get your staff to pitch in with local charities at least one day a year. Many companies offer paid time off to the willing philanthropists.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the task at hand. Stand your ground and start somewhere. There are number of areas where you can focus your efforts beginning with your own home.

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