It strikes me as a great irony that by being in grad school for environmental studies I am prevented from living the environmentally friendly lifestyle touted in my classes. The number one constraint to such a life: time. Between a full-time course load, working 15 hours a week, and attempting to complete a thesis, the simplicity required for a low ecological footprint is, simply, impossible. I would love to have the time to grow my own food, can it in the fall, and cook every one of my meals using local ingredients. Yet even finding the time to go to the farmer’s market once a week often proves challenging.
The other major constraint to every student’s life is money. Buying “green” is beyond the college budget. While this may be beneficial in certain regards by reducing overall consumerism, one area this can cause difficulties is in purchasing organic food. The cheapest, quickest food is usually in order when running from class to class or finishing that paper late into the night. Not only does this increase our negative impact on the environment, but it increases the negative impact on our health.
In the end all we can do is our best, recognizing our limitations. I am not a believer in guilt as a tactic. But an acknowledgement of this contradiction between what we are taught and what is demanded of us in order. It will be interesting to see if anything changes after graduation, or if work obligations will perpetuate the same cycle.