Sustainability for the Next GenerationSeptember 24, 2012
Meriwether Hardie, manager of the Rainforest Alliance’s college outreach initiative, on our efforts to engage college students in our sustainability efforts
Last December, I spent an afternoon with a student sustainability group in New York. When I asked them why they thought college students were such an important part of the environmental movement, they answered, “Because we know what’s up and because we are passionate and motivated to make real change. Because we are the leaders of tomorrow and because we want to be decision-makers at every level of society. Because our voice matters.”
We couldn’t agree more. That’s why the Rainforest Alliance is inviting students to submit two-minute videos to our 2012 “So Practical, It’s Radical” College Video Contest. Our goal is to get students to share their stories and ideas for radically practical change, from starting a recycling program and planting a school garden to greening the theater program and investigating their campus food sourcing policies. We want students to inspire each other by showing how their sustainable initiatives, large and small, can lead to meaningful impacts.
Our prizes include:
- Tickets to the Broadway musical Wicked, including a backstage tour. Wicked is currently a member of the Broadway Green Alliance (BGA), an industry-wide initiative that seeks to educate, motivate and inspire the theater community and its patrons to adopt environmentally friendly practices. For example, the BGA has worked to change all of the lights on Broadway to energy-efficient LED and CFLs — that’s more than 100,000 actual bulbs, saving over 700 tons of carbon a year. The BGA’s Education Committee works to expand greener practices in educational theatre programs. Following guidelines from the National Resources Defense Council, one of the BGA’s main principles is that climate change did not result from one large negative action, but rather from the cumulative effect of billions of small actions. Progress comes from millions of us doing a bit better each day. Now that’s practical.
- A Renovo bicycle made from lumber grown, harvested and milled in the Appalachian region of the US. As the Renovo website notes, “Not since the heyday of American manufacturing has a rider been able to own a high-performance bicycle frame made in America of American materials!” No transoceanic shipping, no sweatshops, no iron or aluminum strip mines or smelters, no titanium chloride, no carbon fiber involved. Now that’s sustainable.
- Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)/Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM iPhone cases from Twig Case Company. In October of 2011, John Woodland and Jon Lucca founded Twig Case Company and began making iPhone cases from Richlite, a unique US-made plant product produced from FSC-certified wood. Twig’s cases are more durable than wood and bamboo grass cases, and what’s more sustainable than not having to replace your iPhone? Richlite is also made in the US. “It’s sad that manufacturing a product like a cell phone case in the US is ‘radical’,” says Jon Lucca. “We’re happy to prove it’s not only doable, you can make a business out of it.”
- An FSC/Rainforest Alliance Certified Grow Anthology skateboard. For Grow Anthology founders Scott Hansen and Ben Roosa, aesthetics are just as important as performance when it comes to crafting their boards. Clean, simple and modern define their designs. “FSC certification is important to us because sustainability is our only option,” explains Scott Hansen. “Not considering the future is irresponsible, both in business and in life. What is practical and radical about their boards? “Our skateboards are made from paper, and there is nothing more practical than paper,” says Hansen. “We write on it, print on it, mail it and find a thousand other uses for it before we (hopefully) recycle it. But make skateboards out of it? Radical.”
Do you know students who are participating in exciting sustainability projects on campus? Tell them about our contest!
Submissions are due by October 28, 2012. Visit our website for more information about the contest and prizes.