This is the life that we are going to increasingly have to live if we want a shot at limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius, a threshold that climate scientists believe marks the difference between manageable and catastrophic global change.
The ultimate goal of all of these initiatives should not be alienation of our planet. Rather, it should be to promote a culture and global worldview that sees humans and nature as inextricably linked and that recognizes the need to preserve one, nature, in order to keep the other, human, healthy.
Community occurs organically and should be given room to thrive on its own, not be forcibly structured through the residential college system.
As winters get milder and human populations grow, we will be forced into more contact with bats, and we will have to decide whether to treat this as a conflict or as an opportunity.
The practices which Princeton employs currently — to make every service free, regardless of the resources used — are cultivating a wasteful mindset among us undergraduates which will end up costing us and the Earth more after graduation. Instead of allowing its students to be willfully ignorant within the Orange Bubble, the University should begin charging us on a usage basis, teaching us to be more conscientious and responsible citizens of this planet while helping us to save money in the long run.
Tragically, Tigerbook is a shell of what it used to be.
Recycling allows us to get there, but only if we all participate willingly and enthusiastically. It’s not that difficult to take five minutes to familiarize yourself with Princeton’s recycling guidelines and then change your daily routine to make sure you’re tossing things away correctly.
There are certainly benefits to statistics and dollar amounts – they help us make quick assessments of the worth of a project or the costs of certain actions. Yet it is also up to us to constantly remember what is lost in the quantification process and to learn to recognize and communicate those losses when we can.
In the 21st century, however, with the increasing emphasis on both equitable representation among the undergraduate student body and ethical institutional behavior, there is more to a university than just test scores and salaries post-graduation.
It is in this space of confusion and social angst, wondering whether we as a species can ever come to grips with the permanent damage that fossil fuels will inflict on our planet, where I have found climate activism, such as the upcoming Global Climate Strike on Friday, to be most compelling and useful.