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Students neglect environmental problems

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Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 9:00 pm

A large portion of Gonzaga students love the outdoors, something I really appreciate about our student body. It's refreshing to meet others that enjoy exploring the outdoors, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to live in a place with close proximity to numerous thriving ecosystems.

Gonzaga is very close to the Rocky Mountains, which are home to the largest assemblage of land-living carnivores on Earth. The Rocky Mountains are unique, and as Dr. Paul Paquet of the World Wildlife Fund says, they symbolize "an almost complete representation of all native large mammals that roamed the great hills before Europeans arrived. From the perspective of the great mountain ecosystems of the world, it's the last of the last."

They are the last fully functioning mountain regions in the world, but how many students who enjoy going to the Rockies know that fact? How many students understand the rarity of such a biologically diverse region in our world?

While many truly love outdoor recreation, there's a huge disconnect between loving it and making sacrifices to protect natural areas that are adversely affected by pollution, urban sprawl, over-development and other actions that cause environmental degradation.

Gonzaga students may appreciate the recreational, spiritual or material benefits that the environment yields, but they often fall short in taking responsibility to reduce humanity's negative impact on the natural world. Through conversations with friends and acquaintances, I've come to realize that many students at Gonzaga don't have enough concern about the environment to take action and help solve one of the most pressing issues of our time.

If you take a look around you can easily see that Gonzaga's campus is not a very environmentally friendly place. This is clearly demonstrated upon entering College Hall and being overwhelmed by heat. Why is it necessary to waste so much energy? Gonzaga's lack of environmental awareness can also be seen by driving into one of the many parking lots and not finding a single spot because students are too lazy to walk to class. The number of cars on campus is extremely alarming considering that most of the student body lives within walking distance!

Some may ask, why should we care? Well, if you pride yourself on living a comfortable lifestyle and appreciate the freedom to go out and buy whatever you want, then you should care about environmental issues. It takes a huge supply of natural resources to make the houses and cars we value, the clothing and appliances we love and especially the food we depend upon for survival.

Natural resources are not infinite, and they will disappear before our own eyes if we continue such un-environmentally friendly actions as polluting, burning fossil fuels and over-developing. Whether you think it directly affects you or not is not the point here. The point is to care about this issue enough to do something about it. I ask you all: What are you doing to help solve the global environmental problems we face today?

Hillary Kingman is a senior at Gonzaga.

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