SWITCH: Senior Thesis Process Blog

A Rambling Freewrite about Getting Green Done...

Getting Green Done: Hard Truths from the Front Line of the Sustainable Revolution by Auden Schendler

We are conditioned to think that as individuals we can individually make a change in the future of the climate. Told to recycle, told to close the fridge and save energy on a personal level. Told to not leave the car running. As Ive been reading this book, the individual mentality is early pointless in the greater scheme of climate change. It is going to take major drastic unified steps and large corporations to make changes. Unless everyone will make these changes, recycling one can won’t make a difference. Banning plastic bags from a company doesn’t make a change. This is a big picture issue, and focusing on the small takes away or distracts from a larger focus. It is easy, the book says, to focus on the tangible and hard to focus on something that seems impossible. It is too grand a scale to be able to conceptualize it and fully understand. It requires everyone, people individually and corporations alike to delve into the daunting unknown of the bigger picture. We need to make bigger moves. We must also change our overall mentality to not judge individual choices, such as SUVs, because this just further dividues the people that care to make changes. Everyone on a general scale wants to make good choices, most people arent malicious in their intent. It is a problem, in many ways, of unity. 

My initial idea to change the way skis are made as far as the manufacturing goes isn’t logical, it is a small scale change with possible negative side effects. Melting bags isn’t going to do anything, except perhaps release more into the atmosphere. Sustainability is about large corporations making changes and skis are pretty good the way they are. Ive looked into the companies that are making a change and am inspired by it. I think that a cognizance among people who care and individual steps to make change is important. Maybe it is an idea to keep in the back of my head. I think the statistics of climate change are really interesting, and the idea of changing a large scale mentality is really cool. It isn’t an individual effort. but it is a necessary one. It has been the goal through history to leave it better than we found it, no matter what it may be. This isn’t what is happening. it is going to take a big mental change to do so. Not doing anything large with the fear of failure doesn’t get anywhere. Experience, they say in the book is often what people call their mistakes. They go hand in hand, so even if we fail and make mistakes, the experience we gain will at least bring knowledge to the future. But people have done research, and they have ideas, its a matter of bringing these ideas to fruition. Straying from the book, I watched a TED talk a few weeks ago about sustainable design, and how the electric tea kettle boils too much water for someone that really wants one cup of tea.The amount of space it allows thus leads people to pour too much water, which uses extra energy, and this sum of energy used by all of the people becomes a staggering statistic of waste (Leyla Acarolu). It is making changes like smaller electric tea kettles that don’t produce waste. I’m no sustainability expert by any means. Ive done a bit of research, and read a bit of a book, watched a few TED talks. But as someone who grew up on the slopes of a mountain, who over the course of my life has seen the weather changing on the glacier of Whistler Blackcomb in the summers when I would go up to ski at camp, and who has experienced some really crappy winters, and who genuinely loves to ski, climate change hits close to home. Retrospectively, I see this, but it wasn’t until recently that I internalized this and REALLY realized it. The issue of climate change goes beyond the ski industry and the mountains, it will affect everyone in one way or another. 

Sydney ShafferComment