I was thrilled to see that my alma mater, Oberlin College, was featured on the front page of the May 26th NY Times, in an article and video (click on "This Green House" in archives) by Sara Rimer that highlighted the college's new sustainability house - SEED (Student Experiment in Ecological Design). In the article, "How Green is the College? Time the Showers," the SEED house was called a microcosm of a growing sustainability movement in college campuses nationwide.
"While previous generations focused on recycling and cleaning up rivers," the article states, these students want to combat global warming by figuring out ways to reduce carbon emissions in their own lives, starting with their own colleges. They also view the environment as broadly connected with social and economic issues, and their concerns include the displacement of low-income families after Hurricane Katrina and the creation of green collar jobs in places like the South Bronx. The mission is serious and yet, like life at the Oberlin house, it blends idealism, hands-on practicality, laid-back community and fun.
Life is certainly different there. The appliances are disconnected, the showers are short, rainwater is repurposed, and organic gardens abound. Call it innovative now, but this may just be a dress rehearsal for the way we really have to live in the near future if the global warming climate crisis is not reversed.
Additional Oberlin "eco" news is a completely "offset" carbon footprint for its 175th green commencement, held last weekend, including the use of all local foods for commencement activities, composting, recycling, and the use of "bioware" plates and flatware. Wow!