sustainability… meh

I just rolled my eyes really hard after reading an email, and I feel bad about it.

So Gore is coming to speak at Harvard at the launch of the greenhouse gas reduction program on October 22.  I should be excited, right?  I mean, this is the kind of stuff I want to work on, and a big name place making an effort is something, right?

But I’m feeling underwhelmed and overcome with a sense of “we are just slapping more celebrity status on something since we actually don’t lead compared to other (poorer) universities in the area, we’re just old and rich and famous.”

Example… there was a TON of press over having a zero impact beginning of fall party yesterday here… except that the pats of butter were on non-recyclable and non-compostable material (aluminum paper stuff from Cabot).  Now… there was only recycling bins and compost bins because it was a “zero waste” event.  This means butter wrappers were going in a container in which they had no use, and causes sorting work.  Caterers kept taking my plates from me when i wanted to reuse them, and when i argued I kept getting “no worries, they’re compostable.”  When I got a beer, it was in a cup which is compostable.  That’s nice… i was hoping not to need a cup at all, but I can see the reluctance in having glass bottles all over the place since I have worked events before. Still, there’s no need to roll your eyes or look at me frustrated when i want to reuse that cup for a second beer.  Just because it’s compostable doesn’t mean i should use things wastefully.

I can’t help feeling like this is the intrinsic nature of sustainability measures here, so it’s “better” than it was, but we shouldn’t be patting each other on the back for being good.

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