The Butterfly Effect

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Most people don’t realize that the things they do, no matter how big or small, can have a huge impact on someone or something else. As college students, our minds are somewhat self-centered. We are worried about our grades, the number of classes we’ve skipped, and the lies we’ll tell professors so we can send in late homework without a penalty.

College students have the mentality that everything they do in college disappears after graduation. Yet in reality, that is not the case. Unknowingly, college students affect the environment each and every day and don’t think twice about it. In order to be honest about sharing the blame, we need to admit that it’s not just the students at fault, but the institution as a whole.

New England College accumulates a ton of trash every single day. Just from the fall move in days alone, there are several pounds of cardboard boxes and plastic accumulated in incorrect dumpsters. This means the trash that could be recycled will not be because they won’t be sent to the correct facilities. Then of course there is that garbage that doesn’t quite make it all the way to the dumpster due to pure laziness. That trash eventually finds a home outside on the ground and ventures into surrounding habitats, drains, rivers, and even the bellies of small animals.

Not only is the trash a problem, but usually after all that moving everyone is hot and sweaty so they shower. The amount of water used in these hour to two hour rub downs is insane. Most will argue that they need to detangle, deep condition, and most importantly, exfoliate. Since these showering habits are so essential to students no one will cut time down on them because “who is it hurting” due to these actions?

Little do students realize it’s hurting the environment. Hot water is not naturally produced. It is created through a series of machines that boil it, cool it, then serve it to students through the pipes. These machines use lots of energy and produce excessive amounts of carbon that is later sent into our atmosphere. Then once a shower is finished, students will be hungry after a long day of working, so they make their way to Gilly, take a look around, realize that all the food looks too “iffy” and end up grabbing a sandwich. Of course they take one bite and realize that it was all a trap and the food is trash, so they throw it away.

Now what students don’t realize is the impact of unnecessary waste. All the “iffy” food that was passed up gets wasted and thrown in the trash. In addition, that sandwich the student bought and didn’t finish eating was wasted as well. That bread, meat, and cheese could have been saved for another day for another person that actually wanted it. This food is transported on large, gas guzzling trucks that release a ton of fossil fuels, on roads that were needed so badly that miles of forests were cut down just to construct them.

Also the animals used for meat, such as cows, release methane. Once they are butchered they can no longer take in carbon, yet it is still released at their time of death. The veggies play a factor as well. Farmers use pesticides to preserve them which is extremely harmful to animals and affects the make up of the soil in general.

All of these things seem extremely minor and probably never crossed the average college student’s mind. I mean why would they? We are college students. We are worried about the things that directly affect us in our day to day lives. But the real question is that since you are now informed what will you do with this information? Will you feel bad for an hour then go right along and do it again, or will you change a few things?

The choice is up to you.

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