Volume 4, Number 15 - June 17, 2014

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René Betancourt

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The Time To Promote Environmental Sustainability Is Now

By René Betancourt

The opportunity in crisis.


The time is now; there are only 24 hours to stray from the course of the inevitable destruction of our planet. Where to begin?

That’s the kind of anxiety needed to promote environmental sustainability. A sense of urgency and with the help of a special group of people. 

As the old saying goes, you can't teach an old dog new tricks, so there's no use beating down the doors of business managers who have conflicts of interest between their corporate sponsors and our planet. It’s best to solicit the decision makers of the future: the college students of today.

That's you.

You may be asking yourself, what can I do? Or, can't somebody else just do it? Here's $5, go plant a tree or something. It's not that simple.

Here's the beauty, the opportunity of crisis. What do I mean? Let's take the example of the Chinese word for "crisis", composed of these Chinese characters "wēijī" meaning "danger" and "opportunity" respectively. 

How powerful is that? We’re at a point and time in history where so much is possible. The challenge we are facing today could be the last link that will bind our human race together and solve the difficulties within the realm of the five pillars of sustainability: Energy, Water, Food, Waste and Ecology.

As Miami Dade College students, we’re part of a group that is more than 165,000 strong, spread across seven campuses and have representations from all across the planet. Is it becoming clear why the change must begin with us? The college demographic is key, with almost 24 million students currently enrolled in institutions of higher education across the nation. That is a whopping 7.8 percent of the overall population of the United States.

Widespread awareness of sustainability must become a primary ingredient of future college curricula - some schools are already ahead. 

"I was impressed with [Arizona State University’s] interest in pushing ideas for sustainability …  creating a culture and sense of pride in their solar panels, recycled goods and waste management." said edible landscaping business owner, Christopher Cuesta during his trip to ASU with the Clinton Global Initiative.

If you want to learn more about the movement and how to incorporate sustainable practices into  your life to create a better tomorrow join club’s like Miami Dade College’s Y.E.S. Club [Youth for Environmental Sustainability] and the off-campus The Hive [monthly think+do tank]. 

After all, it starts with college students just like you and me.

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
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