As a college, FIT does a good deal to promote the goals of sustainability. But in the end, those lofty goals will go nowhere if we do not make them personal and take individual responsibility for putting them into practice: recycle our trash, consume mindfully, turn out the lights and so on. This week, FIT is joining a host of other colleges and universities for seven days of “green” activities–designed to raise our collective consciousness–called “No Impact Week.”
Sponsored and organized by the FIT Sustainability Council, it has already generated great buy-in from our entire community: students, faculty and staff–and this does not surprise me given our record on sustainability. Over the course of the week, opportunities to improve the quality of our lives will be offered in many different ways: field trips–to a recycling plant one day to see what happens to our waste and to Coney Island Beach another day to observe marine wildlife; safe biking lessons; a green market on our breezeway with local farmers selling fresh produce; a “weave-a-thon” using salvaged yarns and textiles ; lessons in LEED and a potluck vegetarian dinner–among many others.
I don’t know if any of us will ever be able to match the “achievements” of Colin Beavan, the man behind “No Impact Week,” who, with his wife, children and dog, famously lived a zero-impact life in the middle of New York City for a year. They used no paper goods, no electricity, no carbon-fueled transportation; they ate only local organically grown foods, etc. and he lived to write about it. The experiment became the subject of a popular book and documentary. I don’t know how many of us want to go that far in our attempt to heal the planet. But certainly we owe it to ourselves and to our community to try–if even with small steps–to do as much as we can to lower our impact on the environment.