Growing Local Roots

An Environmental Awakening

By Schyuler Slone


In my youth, I never once stopped to think about the environment, never really even cared, to be completely honest. Up until this class it was just some idea that I thought only crazy people concerned themselves with. I would question who in the world had time for such things, then continue about my daily duties. I never knew what we were really doing to the environment behind the scenes.


Carbon foot printing was a foreign concept in my mind. I had no idea that I could make any sort of serious impact on a world that is full of polluters and people who don’t care about such things. Then one day it dawned on me while I was doing an interview with Anand Sankey, director of maintenance at Western Michigan University, just how bad we were harming the environment. He explained to me the concept of sustainability and made it easy for me to understand the whole premise of going green and the positive effects it could have on the environment. I was both shocked and disturbed by his estimation of the amount of pollution that we are putting into the atmosphere.


After that conversation, I started doing some serious thinking about my impact on pollution, and wondering if there was anyway I could make a difference. What I inevitably realized is that although my contribution might not be that big on my own, if I cut down my pollution maybe others would follow and together our combined efforts might make more of a difference. I sadly couldn’t convince many to try to make the necessary changes with me, and after a while even I started falling back into the routine of using more than I needed.


 It wasn’t until I put together a slide show project for this class on community gardens that I realized I needed to once again try to cut down on my own polluting emissions. I know that alone it will be hard for me to make a difference, and I realize the frustration of that idea for most people. Why do something if the outcome isn’t going to make much of a difference?


The thing is if enough people were educated about the problem maybe more would be inclined to do something about it. If you can educate just one person and make such an impact that they start to make changes in their life, then you’ve succeeded in doing your part to help the environment and make mother Earth a better place for future generations.


The point I’m trying to make is that doing something is better than doing nothing, and every little bit helps. If enough people just decided that even if it only helped a little bit they would do their part, then collectively they could make a difference.


I have had many ups and downs over the course of working this environmental beat, but I feel like the experience was worth it. I now know that unless more is done and we all chip in, the future looks grim for our planet and our own future generations.