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Student Interview about sustainability - Essay Example

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An interview was conducted with Lin Sing-Yee Lucy from Environmental Science and Engineering about her thoughts on sustainability, ostensibly to understand whether her thoughts were similar to those from a Materials Science and Engineering course, which I take. The first…
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Student Interview about sustainability
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INTERVIEW ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY An interview was conducted with Lin Sing-Yee Lucy from Environmental Science and Engineering about her thoughts on sustainability, ostensibly to understand whether her thoughts were similar to those from a Materials Science and Engineering course, which I take. The first question I asked her was what sustainability is, to which she answered that she believed in attainable sustainability. According to her, sustainability is living in a manner that allows us to use resources at a rate that is renewable, while also ensuring that the rate at which waste is produced allows it to be assimilated by the environment. In her words, sustainability refers to how biological processes remain productive and diverse. She also identifies the different takes on sustainability by various fields, including in economics, business operations, and use of natural resources. Moreover, she was quite emphatic that the way we live in the US has a direct impact on the rest of the world and that sustainability, therefore, must be a global undertaking.
I also asked her whether there was anything, which our school could do about sustainability that other schools she knew about were doing. She immediately identified composting, while also noting that the use energy on the campus could be improved and that we had a long way to go before attaining sustainability. She said that our campus is “over-lit” in many areas and that, even when the sun was out in force, there at least four lights on in the hallways. She noted that Bowdoin College has already decreased their use of electricity in the last twelve months by some 17%, while the use of electricity at our campus has been increasing as the population continues to increase. However, she also noted that, in spite of the campus population growing, she does think that there is room for the campus to make tremendous steps towards energy saving.
Her answer led me to ask her about the steps that she thinks students, staff, and faculty can take to ensure the campus is more sustainable. In her opinion, the most important thing at the moment is about switching off the lights after leaving one’s room, as well as the use of translucent roofing to light lecture halls during the day. Moreover, she also seems to think that computers on campus are left on the entire day even when not being used. Indeed, according to her estimates, switching off each computer when not in use would save the campus $50 every year, which would compute to $50,000 in electricity savings estimating the number of computers at one thousand. She was particularly emphatic on the need for carpooling, in which staff and faculty could drive together, saving energy and reducing environmental pollution.
From her answers, it is quite clear that her views are predicated on environmental sustainability through our every day actions, most likely because this is the focus of her course. Her views on sustainability are similar to my own, especially with regards to the fact that we both believe in recycling and actively conserving water and energy. This is in direct agreement with the sustainability aspects considered in materials science and engineering. However, it was interesting to note her ideas on the importance of physical activities and using less mechanical forms of transportation to minimize environmental pollution. In my case, sustainability is more about ensuring that the materials used in construction are sustainable and have as little impact on the environment as possible. Her views compare to mine because we both believe that our actions are responsible for ensuring that we live sustainably. However, I also think that it is critical to take sustainability of materials used in construction into consideration, especially in the context of the environment and society. Whereas the interviewee believes in choosing the right raw materials that are friendlier to the environment just as I do, issues concerning costs and ethics must also be included in any discussion regarding sustainability (Thiele, 2013).
Reference
Thiele, L. P. (2013). Sustainability. Cambridge: Polity. Read More
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