This letter is in response to the August 29 Staff Editorial “New green initiatives are simply inconvenient”. This article represents exactly the attitude that is impeding real progress on sustainability.
But first, let’s address the misinformation that was disseminated by the editorial. The author wrote students would “need to carry their plastic box all day if they plan on getting TDR to go.” This statement misrepresents nature of the program, as students who wish avoid having to carry around their box can turn their box to TDR after they are finished eating in exchange for a key tag. Next time they want TDR to go, they can exchange this key tag for a clean, reusable box.
On the topic of plastic bags, we will admit that the policy could have been implemented in a better way. However, the policy itself is well informed and will benefit AU and the greater D.C. community. Disposable plastic bags have a destructive impact on waterways and wildlife and the University was right in eliminating these harmful products from our waste stream.
The editorial spends a great deal of time bemoaning the supposed “inconvenience” of students having to remember to bring reusable bags and containers. Yes, if students wish to make a large purchase at the Eagles Nest or buy their textbooks at the Book Store they will need to remember to bring a bag. Yes, if students enroll in the TDR box program they will have to remember to bring their box, just as students enrolled in a class has to remember to bring their book. Are these small issues really worthy of the article’s hyperbolic tone or its grave imagery of “students struggling to carry textbooks across the Quad because they didn’t have a bag at hand”?
It is important to remember that convenience is a matter of perspective. Sure, having to remember to bring a bag might be a small personal inconvenience, but the large volume of non-biodegradable plastic trash that is deposited in our waterways and ecosystems is a far greater inconvenience. If we only made changes deemed “convenient” to us personally the world would be a stagnant place. Progress is by nature “inconvenient” in that it involves making changes to the way we live.
EcoSense Board Member