Major

Writing and Rhetoric

Advisor

Reynolds, Nedra

Advisor Department

Writing & Rhetoric

Advisor

Rogers, Margaret

Advisor Department

Psychology

Date

5-2013

Keywords

Sustainability; environment; blogging; waste; No Impact Man

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Abstract

“Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Meade

Colin Beavan’s No Impact Man details his yearlong experiment to live without creating any environmental impact. As sophomores we were inspired by Beavan’s journey but also skeptical of living a completely no-impact lifestyle as college-students. Although we were motivated to try to live sustainably, our efforts were dormant until our junior year. That year we decided that we would attempt to live up to the standards set forth by Beavan--understanding that some practices would be harder to achieve than others. Beavan was the motivating force behind our initial attempts to live sustainably, but our thirst for knowledge was not limited to the information he provided. Compelled to know more we began our own independent research--learning about how the environment relates to our health, politics, economy, technology, and livelihood.

Our project is the culmination of this research and a motivation to better the state of the environment on the University of Rhode Island campus. Our primary goal for this project is to raise awareness of the relationship between our environment and human behavior. In order to accomplish this we created a public blog, entitled The Little Green Blog, designed to make materials we found pertinent available, written in an accessible format, to a wide readership. While writing the blog we found that using multi-media examples made the information more comprehensive and enjoyable for our audience. In order to further our audience’s understanding of the material, we included personal photos, images from popular culture, data represented in tables/charts, and Youtube videos. For example, in a post on the environmental ramifications of cigarette litter, we included photographs that we took at the University of Rhode Island to show the extent of the issue on our campus.

In addition to maintaining the blog, we worked with the coffee shop, Bagelz, located in the University of Rhode Island Emporium, to create a free coffee day each Monday during the Spring 2013 semester for customers who use travel mugs. We created this option for travel mug users after noticing the high volume of one-use Styrofoam, paper, and plastic cups discarded on the University’s campus. Since single use cups are destructive to our environment, our hope is to encourage more environmentally friendly business practices and consumer behavior by establishing this relationship with Bagelz. We also hope to stimulate the use of travel mugs and other reusable materials in the University of Rhode Island community.

Our project attempts to reveal the connections between waste, sustainability, and human behavior. We have also worked to promote low-impact practices within the University of Rhode Island community. The Little Green Blog aims to raise awareness and motivate change through knowledge. Having the “Free Coffee Monday’s” at Bagelz gives our readers an opportunity to participate in one sustainable practice, supported in our blog, which reduces unnecessary waste. Our ultimate goal is not only to have created an archive of environmental information, but also to have motivated the University of Rhode Island community to work towards a more sustainable future.