by Holden Foreman '21
We’re back with you for Part 2 of how to be green, live green, and earn green at Stanford – check out our earlier blog post if you missed it!
1. Riding a USED, non-motorized bike is the coolest and most efficient way to travel on campus.
Forget the boosted boards or motorized vehicles. Why waste electricity when you can look like a total G riding a bike. It builds character and calf muscles. Plus, If you practice a bit (or know already), you can ride with no hands and up your G factor by a thousand, easily. Trust me. I didn’t realize how fun this is until I learned myself. DISCLAIMER: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. PLEASE WEAR A HELMET, AND DO NOT ATTEMPT ON BUSY STREETS.
2. C is for California and [water] Conservation - ditch the 15-minute shower
For those of you who aren’t already CA residents, you may be aware that our beautiful state is on fire and/or parched 98% of the time. Reducing your personal water footprint by washing only full loads of laundry, limiting your showers to 5 minutes, and generally not wasting can save well over 2,500 gallons per year, per person – and that makes a big difference in our drought-prone state! Conservation is a way of life in California, regardless of current drought status.
3. There is a GREAT vegetarian/vegan community at Stanford.
After moving to Stanford, I stopped eating meat, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only is the meat industry objectively terrible for our environment, but Stanford (California in general, for that matter) is home to some of the best vegetarian food out there! Even if you eat meat, try to minimize your consumption because meat products require much more energy (and water) to produce than plant-based foods.
4. The filtered water available in dining halls is amazing. Take a reusable water bottle everywhere!
And if you can’t get to a dining hall, there are water bottle re-fillers across campus (there is one in the Huang basement, for instance). Don’t waste money and resources by purchasing bottled water.
5. The bookstore sells pens, notebooks and paper made from recycled material!
There is a special section of the store for these materials, but you can also buy recycled materials online to save money! Check out Sustainable Stanford’s Green Office Supply Purchasing Guide for more inspiration.
6. It is super easy to donate unwanted items at the end of the school year with Give & Go! Save your extra stuff until then!
I donated my aforementioned refrigerator with ease by carrying it to the front of my dorm at the end of the year. There will be Give & Go bins around campus in early June to collect materials to send to Goodwill, so that you can pass on some of your belongings to someone in need. You’ve got a whole school year ahead of you before you need to worry about packing, but it’s helpful to remember before trashing something that could still be useful to someone else.
Check out Stanford's Student Sustainable Living Guide for a full list of ways to shrink your environmental footprint in your dorm! There is a ton of general sustainability advice and information on the Sustainable Stanford website.
Thank you for reading, and we hope you find these tips helpful as you begin your journey at Stanford! You’ll have a lot to think about and do in the upcoming weeks, but we hope you’ll keep these tips in the back of your mind as you transition into college life!
Please feel free to email me, Holden Foreman (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Students for a Sustainable Stanford leader Spencer Robinson (email@example.com) if you have any questions about campus sustainability or want to get involved!
by Holden Foreman '21
Welcome to Stanford! As an incoming frosh, I knew I was passionate about the environment and sustainability, but my first few weeks were so busy that I wasn’t sure where to start. Now, as a rising sophomore and a member of Students for a Sustainable Stanford (SSS), I’ve put together a list of the “Ten Things I Wish I Had Known About Living Sustainably on Stanford’s Campus (spoiler alert – you can save $ and earn $ in the process).
Before I begin, check out the very honorable mention below, which allows you to EARN PRIZES FOR BEING SUSTAINABLE!
Very Honorable Mention: My Cardinal Green
In addition to preserving the rich and lush environment surrounding us through performing sustainable actions, you can also enrich your wallet! In spring 2017, the Stanford Office of Sustainability launched My Cardinal Green, a sustainability platform that LITERALLY REWARDS YOU FOR LIVING SUSTAINABLY. Simply sign in with your SUNetID, take the survey and receive a customized list of recommendations and resources for how to reduce your environmental footprint. Not sure where to start or how to find the time? Not to worry: there are over 300 easy, quick actions you can take that actively reduce campus waste, save water, and conserve electricity, all while earning you points toward your $75 reward. Sign up now to start earning points for completing many of the actions listed below!
And now, let the list begin! (FYI we’ll be breaking this into a 2-part blog series since there is way too many good sustainability tips for just one post)
1. Paper is almost completely unnecessary for most courses. But many professors like to hand out papers. Make sure to only take what you will use and recycle when done. Also, old worksheets and handouts make for great scrap paper! Stanford’s campus is “littered” with recycling and compost bins, and February-March are designated waste reduction months as part of the annual RecycleMania competition. When you need to print, double-sided printing is your friend! Finally, sign up for a free waste training by emailing the Office of Sustainability for (you guessed it) MORE points in My Cardinal Green.
2. You can buy almost anything you need on Facebook USED (and for a steal, too)! Buying USED items in general is a great way to conserve.
All you need to do is join the Stanford Community on Facebook, and then you will have access to many groups, including “Textbook Exchange” and “Free & For Sale.”
Buying and selling items in groups such as these will not only save you money but will also keep perfectly useful books, supplies and even furniture out of the trash!
3. I brought a dorm mini refrigerator and left it unplugged for most of the year.
Dorm refrigerators are usually a waste of time and energy. If you do decide to bring one, you should always unplug it when not in use. At the very least, I would recommend coordinating with your roommate to make sure you do not have TWO refrigerators in one dorm. The dining halls will feed you well, plus, you can store food in a community refrigerator.
Stanford may be getting 68% of its electricity from renewable sources like solar, but that doesn’t make it any less important to practice what we preach and conserve energy. Turning off room lights, unplugging your mini fridge when not in use, and turning down your room’s thermostat are all key actions you can take to reduce your energy footprint – especially when you’ll be gone for more than a few days like during Winter Closure!
4. If you’ll be planning or hosting any events during the year, there is a free Green Event training program and student organization that will pick up leftovers from the event for you! Less trash and more donating!
The Cardinal Green Event Program will work with you for free to make sure your events are as sustainable as possible, plus you’ll earn points in My Cardinal Green for participating! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a session with the Office of Sustainability.
The Stanford Project on Hunger (SPOON) is a group that donates leftover food from campus events to local shelters. You can reach out to any SPOON member, including myself, and we will save leftover food from an event hosted by you or someone you know. Please reach out to me (email below) for any questions about the club and what we do!
Stay tuned for Pro Tips for Living Cardinal Green Part 2, coming your way soon!
by Andrea Contreras, Miranda Vogt, Spencer Robinson
This Spring Quarter, Students for a Sustainable Stanford prioritized hosting a series of public events to boost awareness of environmental issues. Our team saw continued involvement from all of our general members, especially freshmen in preparing and hosting many of the events for Earth Month. Two of the highlights of April were Earth in Color – a music & arts festival centering the narratives of people of color in the environmental movement; and Earthfest – a celebratory gathering of different environmental-focused community service groups for admitted students and the greater Stanford community. Other ways in which SSS was publically present was at the Admit Students Activities Fair, at the Celebrating Sustainability Festival. To cap off the quarter, Marc Tessier-Levine’s recent commitment to be 80% carbon free by 2025 and zero waste by 2030 (from the Stanford Vision Paper) were very rewarding results after a year of engagement in the Long Range Planning Process.
We now have a new leadership team that will be accelerating the momentum we’ve built this year as well as starting exciting new projects for next year. This quarter, we’ve focused on transitioning to the new leadership team, which has already begun taking on important responsibilities and crafting a vision for SSS’s future. Next year’s project groups will be Environmental Justice, Sustainability Education, Climate Justice, and Transportation.
by Becca Nelson '20
Eco-poetry is a genre of poetry that focuses on social-ecological issues, emphasizing interconnection between people and the environment. In the 21st century, climate change poetry emerged as a part of ecopoetry, examining how climate change and its consequences alter people’s relationships with the environment. Climate change poetry can make discussions of climate change more accessible to nonscientists, while also conveying the social and environmental consequences of climate change in a way that fosters empathy and inspires action. Climate change poetry can connect people with different backgrounds through creating a space for storytelling.
Here are some examples of climate change themed poems that I have been really inspired by. You can click on the hyperlinks to view the different poems.
1. "Yolanda Winds" by Isa Borgeson. Isa Borgeson is a Filipina American slam poet from Oakland, who uses poetry as a means to approach activism. Her poem "Yolanda Winds" tells the story of her mother's experiences surviving supertyphoon Haiyan (which was a locally called Yolanda), a devastating storm that hit the Philippines in 2013. In a description that accompanies the poem on You-Tube, Borgeson writes, "This piece, titled "Yolanda Winds" is dedicated to my mother, a survivor of the super typhoon, who struggles to forgive the sea. A reminder that we are a people of the sea. And for some of our families, sharing our stories about climate change, typhoon seasons, and rising oceans - is an act of resistance, necessary for our survival. "
2. “Dear Matafele Peinam” by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner. Jetnil-Kijiner is a Marshallese poet and climate activist whose poetry focuses on environmental justice issues in the Marshall Islands. Her poem "Dear Matafele Peinam" is an address to her baby daughter. Jetnil-Kijiner expresses her concerns that her daughter will become a climate change refugee as floods occur in the Marshall Islands. She concludes the poem with a defiant and rousing call to action, emphasizing the urgency of enacting climate change mitigation policy. She performed the poem as spoken word in 2014 at a climate summit to an audience of United Nations delegates.
3. "Atlas" by Terisa Siagatonu. Siagatonu is a Samoan poet and community organizer. Her poems often address issues of social and climate justice. In "Atlas", Siagatonu draws parallels between how colonialism and climate change have affected island communities. In the poem, Siagatonu writes, "When people ask me where I'm from/they don't believe me when I say water." You can find more of her poetry on her website.
These poems have really inspired me to continue writing, thinking, and taking action on climate change. Poetry has a visceral power to share the stories of people who have been directly impacted by climate change. Climate change poetry can serve as a medium for artists and activists to broaden the conversation about climate change and environmental justice. Ultimately, climate change poetry has the power to inspire action and help build community-based resilience in response to climate change.
by Hannah Findlay
Environmental labels have been around for more than three decades now, and their popularity has been growing ever since. This shouldn’t come as a surprise taking into account that the global community has been facing many environmental challenges. However, the popularity of green labels has brought confusion, as well.
What does being green mean today?
Green labels should indicate that the product is environmentally friendly. However, with so many different green labels on the market, it’s hard to know what each of them means. Eco-labels are often confused with environmental labels, and these terms are used interchangeably in everyday language, which is not always correct. Environmental labels are an umbrella term for all labels relating to the environment, while eco-labels are a subgroup of environmental labels which identify overall environmental performance of a product, based on life-cycle considerations. What makes eco-labels different from other types of environmental labels is the fact that they are voluntary certifications which are granted by third party organizations. This aspect makes them more reliable, and less prone to greenwashing. A third party organization grants an eco-label to a product or service only if the product or service is in compliance with the criteria of the ecolabelling scheme. The awarded eco-label suggests that the product or service achieves a higher standard of environmental performance compared to average products in the same product category.
Check out the interactive infographic below and learn more about most common eco-labels, their managing organizations, and products they apply to.
Welcome to our blog!
This is a forum for students to share their writing on intersectional environmental topics, curated by Students for a Sustainable Stanford. Writers of all backgrounds, abilities, and perspectives are welcome.