Guilford students vs. their carbon footprint


Jess Castaneda

An art piece made by Jess Castaneda – it was originally a record disc from Reconsidered Goods.

Have you ever gone thrift shopping or brought your own reusable bags to the store without a second thought? Then you, my friend, were reducing your carbon footprint.

According to CNN’s Leah Asmelash, a carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gas emission that is caused by a person, organization, event or product, and these gases contribute to global warming and climate change.

Earth is our home—our parent. It gives us sources of food, water and shelter. Without its resources, none of us would be alive today, but human activities like transportation, shopping and energy usage contribute to the carbon footprint.

 There are many ways for students and staff of Guilford College to decrease their carbon footprint and be more sustainable. They can learn from their peers such as Noely Bernier, a double major in political science and international relations. Bernier is originally from Haiti and realized that the effects of climate change aren’t as “in your face” in the US as they are in Haiti. This realization motivated Bernier to do something to help the environment.

Bernier suggested that the Guilford community should cut down the usage of styrofoam in the cafeteria and instead use reusable containers. She also believes that both students and staff should bring their own reusable water bottles. Bernier emphasized that education about environmental issues such as carbon footprints and sustainability is important.

Jess Castaneda, a second-year majoring in psychology, criminal justice and community and justice studies, said that her reasons for being more environmentally friendly were  because she’s read about oil spills and because she lived in California, an area known for having a lot of forest fires. 

“It sucks that we have to pay more to be eco-friendly,” said Castaneda. “And I’m a college student so I don’t have the funding to be living a more sustainable lifestyle.”

Despite the expenses of sustainability, Castaneda still finds ways to be environmentally friendly. She gets most of her clothes from thrift stores such as Goodwill, and donates to them as well. She also mentioned a store called Reconsidered Goods, which takes in art supply donations and sells them to teachers, children and aspiring designers.

Castaneda acknowledged the difficulties some college students may face when trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

“It’s honestly really hard to be eco-friendly when you don’t have the funds or accessibility,” she said.

So what can you do to decrease your carbon footprint? Turn off lights and devices that you are not using, eat less meat, buy a reusable water bottle, take the bus or carpool with friends to the store. Even the laptop you are using at this moment is decreasing your carbon footprint because it doesn’t require much energy to charge and use, as reported by Renee Cho from the Earth Institute. 

As Castaneda put it: “Think about the future, and how one simple choice can impact a lot of people later on.”