I’m about to travel in one of the dirtiest means of transportation we have: flying.
I’m flying from New Brunswick to India, so other options such as taking a bus or train just aren’t going to cut it.
I don’t have to go on this trip. It’s voluntary, but educational and I like to think that I’ll get a lot out of being able to go, but when I sit down and think about it there’s going to be a lot of waste involved. Not only is the flying bad but there’s also other things such as knowing that I will only be drinking sealed bottled water, eating a lot at restaurants especially while travelling, and I have purchased a lot of “travel sized” items because I am not taking a check bag, just a carry on.
I know this is all bad for the environment, but it’s hard to say no to an all expenses paid trip to a international conference on the area of business I want to turn into my career. Sure I might be able to get experience some other way, but as an undergraduate I tend to jump at anything that might help me stand out once I need to graduate and find a “real” job.
Should I have passed on this amazing opportunity because of environmental concerns? Individually it’s really easy to say no, but as soon as I think about it on a collective basis the answer is clearly yes to me.
I find myself really wishing that technology and science would catch up with our wants and desires already. It would be great if we could sustain the globalization of our world without having to do it with technologies that damage the earth so much. I suppose it comes down to wishing we could have our pie and eat it to; to live better without sacrificing to get it. I always think I should go into the sciences and start to find some of these solutions, maybe I will someday. Or more likely help make sure that the scientists have the funding, organization, and support to do what they do.
Social Enterprises for the Development of Sustainable Technology?
I wish that kind of technology revolution had happened already, but hopefully I can be a small part of it happening in my lifetime.
Regardless, I’m off to warmer climates!
So I have hit my first example of my resources limiting (and even possibly changing) my consumer choices.
I work while I’m at school, and while I had part-time hours last semester, my hours for this semester have been cut back slightly, making me feel more money conscious. The same day I found this out, after adjusting my budget, I also went to the grocery store for the first time since starting this blog (I try to only go once a week).
Now, I did remember to bring reusable bags with me, though I was already out of the house and down the driveway before I remembered them. But as soon as I was at the grocery store I can’t say I thought any further about sustainability beyond meeting my own sustaining needs via nutrition. My focus became getting the staples that I needed for the lowest cost. Honestly I did pretty well under those criteria, spending below even what I had budgeted, but I purposely bought the non-organic carrots because they were a bit cheaper, didn’t think twice about the packaging of the products I was buying, and wasn’t overly concerned about what went into the process of producing the meat I bought.
As soon as I stepped into that store, the price signs became the most important aspect of a product to me, especially with the added pressure of having money on my mind anyway.
I feel like this is a prime demonstration of what my classmate was talking about that I mentioned in the first blog. We may want to make better choices , but making those choices a priority, especially under financial pressures, is much harder.
I suppose the next time I go to the grocery store, I’ll just have to try harder to at the very least remember to take into account sustainability issues other than my own, though right now I’m not sure if that would have changed my buying habits or not.
Let me start with the fact that I’m not originally from New Brunswick. I’m not sure if people who are find it any easier to understand the whole “Wet-Dry” waste system they have here, but it’s always been a bit mysterious to me. Usually when I go to throw something out it ends up coming down to a guessing game on my part. Up until today, the best description I had heard of how to sort things was if you wouldn’t want it put on your head, it goes in the wet bin.
I figure the best first step to reducing my consumer waste is learning what happens to the things I already throw out. It will be no good buying things I think are “recyclable” if New Brunswick doesn’t recycle it, and it may be possible to reduce my waste simply from sorting my trash properly.
An example of something I find especially difficult to sort is used bags of milk. My distribution of this is more or less completely random. Sometimes I rinse it out, some times I don’t, sometimes I put it in wet, sometimes I put it in dry.
Apparently the waste management system in New Brunswick is run by Westmoreland Albert Solid Waste Corporation. They have some, but dated (the most recent date I can find is 2004), useful information on their website about what to do in your home. For example, apparently I’ve been doing things wrong for the bottom styrofoam platters that come with meats at the grocery store (the styrofoam apparently gets rinsed and put in the Dry, not the Wet garbage). The City of Moncton’s website states that Westmoreland recycles 51% of consumer waste.
Top things I’ve learned about Wet-Dry recycling:
- It’s important to rinse/clean items before putting in the dry
- Milk bags do go into the dry after all!
- Sorting actually does make a big difference and isn’t just all thrown into the landfill (which was a rumor I had heard around town)
They have a cheat sheet that I’m going to post on my apartment’s fridge (using paper which isn’t very environmentally friendly, but I’ll at least try to find some recycled paper) so that we can more properly sort our garbage. Apparently proper cleaning and sorting of the home waste helps keep other items from being contaminated and/or not properly recycled. I was a bit disappointed to not be able to find any specific information on things that can’t be recycled. The best I found was that normally recyclable things that are contaminated are sent to the landfill.
So small first steps, but at least a beginning of being more aware and reducing my consumer waste.
Hello Web World! I am a university business student about to embark on a journey about learning what it would really take to improve the consumer choices I make. The inspiration of this blog comes mainly from a class discussion last semester regarding sustainability and corporations. A student made the argument that it isn’t that […]