Environmental Consciousness on Campus
by The Milton Measure on Friday, June 8th, 2012Wherever you turn your head at Milton, you can spot colorful recycling bins, all sporting the classic recycling logo. The vestibules in the student center, the science building, and Ware Loop all are well-stocked with recycling receptacles. Nevertheless, Milton’s efforts to reduce its enormous environmental footprint have a ways to go to create a truly sustainable campus.
Milton is a remarkably large school. Sprawling over 125 acres, its campus boasts numerous athletic fields and impressive art installations. Its sustainability, however, is not ideal. Because of Milton’s sheer size and age, the school’s consumption of resources is immense. It does, however, make an effort to reduce its environmental impact on the surrounding area. Compared to many schools of like size, Milton not only meets the standards for careful watch over its carbon and waste emissions, but exceeds them. As one member of Class IV said, “It’s actually pretty cool how Milton is so green. Anywhere I walk, it’s nearly impossible to miss Milton’s efforts for greener surroundings.” Furthermore, every year Milton continues to step up its efforts to be environmentally conscious. However, what truly distinguishes Milton in its green mission is the passion that both students and faculty feel for the cause of saving the planet from global warming and pollution.
Hannah Cabot and Anna Roberts, both of Class I, worked to create a Milton compost system for their senior project. Observing the patterns in which Milton students throw away their food, they discovered that students frequently take more food than they are able to finish, consistently wasting compostable substances such as fruit and vegetables. A compost system, in which the remains of different foods such as fruits and vegetables are allowed to decompose and ferment, would result in highly nutritious, organic soil that could be used as fertilizer. Such a system would allow Milton to reduce its enormous food waste by putting the food we throw away to better use.
Other troubling environmental questions remain: Why do the boarding houses consume so much energy? Why have the cooling and heating systems in Ware not been updated to more effective and efficient systems? Thankfully, dorm heads have begun encouraging students to be more sustainable, and the sustainability board is currently hosting a competition where the pair of brother-sister dorms that uses the least amount of energy wins a trip to go paintballing. This incentive encourages boarders, who spend the most time on campus and therefore use the most significant amount of the school’s energy, to reduce their environmental footprint. Unfortunately, changing the temperature control systems in Ware proves more challenging because the aging structure would need serious and costly renovations to accommodate such changes.
Ultimately, sustainability at Milton is in the hands of students. When faced with the choice of throwing a plastic bottle into the nearby trash or walking an extra five yards to a recycling bin, we too often choose the easy route. But the small blue bins in every classroom at Milton serve a purpose other than to add a dash of color to the room. We should repay these efforts to be environmentally conscious by making use of the many ways to help that Milton provides.
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