The Student Organization for Sustainability held a Campus Litter Cleanup to commemorate Earth Day where they helped clean up campus as well as collect recyclables.
“To me, Earth Week is important because it is a part of a larger historical movement. It raises awareness this week of the issues that affect us daily,” Connie Frey-Spurlock, associate professor of sociology and criminal justice, said.
President of the Student Organization for Sustainability Dana Wynn said she got the idea from her own community in Alton and decided it would be beneficial to implement it on campus.
“It is important for students to care about sustainability because it is ongoing. We are all going through life, so it’s important to invest in something that is good for you and the earth,” Wynn said.
It can be difficult to take part in more earth-friendly practices, yet, according to Wynn, there are simple steps you can take to begin.
“Start with food — everybody eats,” Wynn said.
Growing your own foods and simply eating more sustainable foods can make a great impact.
According to Frey-Spurlock, it can be difficult for students to identify exactly how sustainability and taking the extra step toward greener practices can benefit them.
“Our daily lives are viewed through a human lens,” Frey-Spurlock said. “Our current practices are not considerate of other beings. We do things in the name of having more stuff with little concern for others. If beginning a more sustainable practice causes any inconvenience to us, we do not want to continue.”
Using empathy in science does not follow the typical objective approach most scientists take, yet Frey-Spurlock said it is vital.
“We think of science as being unemotional,” Frey-Spurlock said. “We have this idea from a scientific standpoint that we have to be objective.”
According to Frey-Spurlock, you cannot separate the subject from the research. Frey-Spurlock said a balance is necessary.
‘‘Am I doing good for the world?’ — it’s a science question and a love question,” Frey-Spurlock said.
Frey-Spurlock compared the connection between science and daily life to the connection between violence against the earth and violence against women.
“The land has little value in and of itself, so we exploit it just like women’s bodies, marginalized folks and other things less powerful,” Frey-Spurlock said.
According to Frey-Spurlock, sustainability is an important factor of happiness. She said people will continually have a need to posses more until they accept that they do not need more material possessions.
“That want of more is a response to a need for connection,” Frey-Spurlock said. “Whether it be in music, the earth or people. The garden is where the revolution is taking place.”