Editorial: Clean up your act

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Turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth.

Switch off the light when you leave a room.

Unplug your charger when you’re not using it.

Purchase a recycling bin for your house.

These are simple habits that can play a small but effective role in the fight for sustainability.

It’s intimidating to think about how impactful global warming is on our earth, especially because people often cannot see the immediate effects of human pollution and inaction.

There are, however, various steps that each individual person can take to be sustainable — so this intimidation likely stems from not knowing where to begin.

There is a wide variety of actions Americans specifically can take to reduce their ecological footprint, like eating local and in-season produce, driving less or bringing reusable bags to the grocery store.

Those of us here at Lehigh, the student body and the administration alike, do not do enough to be  environmentally conscious.

Waste management is something anyone and everyone should actively participate in. In most campus buildings, residence halls, Greek houses and outdoor spaces, there are separate bins meant for recyclable paper, metal, glass and plastic.

It takes minimal effort to place a water bottle in the recycling bin, just as it takes minimal effort to place waste in the waste bin and not contaminate an entire bin full of recyclables.

But just because the bins are present, doesn’t mean that they are being properly used.

With as many recycling options as there are on Lehigh’s campus, if a clear bag meant for recyclables is filled with more than 10 percent waste, the entire bag is contaminated and therefore labeled as waste. All of the recyclables within that bag are not recycled as a result.

This is a common issue on campus and has resulted in Greenstar Recycling in Northampton, Pennsylvania, rejecting our materials.

Recycling is one of the simpler acts everyone can take, but our community must put in actual effort. Our lack of effort may jeopardize the forward strides the community has been making.

Not everyone can do everything, but being aware and picking a few things to improve upon is a considerable first step.

It is common to see community members showing indifference about their individual ecological footprints, especially since we live in a society where we have constant exposure to superior technology that cleans our water and provides a constant source of electricity.

There is no added inconvenience to leave the faucet unnecessarily on for a minute or to keep the bedroom light on while eating dinner in the dining room.

Wasting resources isn’t okay.

We are humans on this deteriorating earth, and each individual person can and should make small changes in their everyday habits to positively impact our ecosystem instead of blindly hurting it.

Those who can afford to spend the cash on unnecessarily high electricity bills should instead, for example, put those funds toward purchasing locally grown, organic produce or even a bike to reduce the need for cars.

It is easy to roll your eyes at the people who constantly remind others that our earth is being negatively impacted by our actions.

It is easy to ignore and thoughtlessly refute a blatant fact if you don’t see firsthand the substantial amount of pollution occurring.

We have nothing to lose and everything to gain from being proactive in this regard.

If we all find something that works for our lifestyles, we can easily make a difference.

We have to begin somewhere.

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