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Caring is not enough: Planting the sustainability seed

By Camie LuckewiczSpecial to the Chronicle Spring is a time of regrowth and rejuvenation, and as the seasonal flowers begin to emerge on Hofstra’s campus, it’s not hard to feel a simultaneous surge of positive energy among the student body. However, now that the snow has melted, the evidence of urban ignorance has once again resurfaced: litter. There exists a stark contrast in ambiance between the neatly groomed campus arboretum and the trash-covered roads of Hempstead that can and should be improved. A professor of mine said recently that we students are the “generation of entitlement.” Spreading wealth may not always be easy for a college student, but spreading love and care for the community and environment is certainly doable. It’s not that Hofstra students and staff don’t care about the environment. There are some who do, but not enough of those people are able to carry out their concern, because they are not involved or educated in the various sustainability efforts available.

“Kids don’t think we have ecology here, because we’re in and outside New York City,” said Coryna Herbert, a senior urban ecology major. “But we do. It’s everywhere." Herbert currently works at The Brooklyn Grange, an organic farm situated on a Brooklyn rooftop. The organization is dedicated to turning unused land, transforming rooftops into prosperous farms where the staff grows a variety of fruits, vegetables, fungi, spices and even honey. The products are then made available to local consumers who want the freshest, most natural produce. Rooftop farms are gaining widespread popularity throughout the country and are a rising trend in urban areas like Brooklyn and Detroit. But environmental enthusiasts like Herbert feel that the reason many students don’t participate in such cultures or make the effort to buy organic food is because they don’t realize that it’s available, or they don’t know where to go get it. “Most [students] don’t have cars, so they feel trapped in a Hofstra bubble and have to eat on campus,” she said. Eating from Organic Grille and calling that your good deed for the day doesn’t count. Take a little time to fight the stigma that we’re a “generation of entitlement,” and go out of your way to do some good for the world in which you live. Get in touch with your intrinsic dependence on nature. Students for a Greener Hofstra is a great way to get involved on campus, as are the Sustainability Studies Club and Green Party of Hofstra. Students should value the forward-thinking nature of these organizations and on-campus efforts in order to keep the clubs — and our planet — thriving for many years to come. Whether it’s being conscious of what you eat, getting involved in an environmentally active group, or just taking an extra few seconds to pick up a piece of garbage or actually recycle your plastic waste, your efforts can go a long way. Going green does not require an all-or-nothing approach. It’s not about becoming a farmer or a vegetarian or a hippy; it’s about doing what you can, where you can to regenerate the environment that we’ve all had a hand in destroying.

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