Greener world starts with you

Don’t wait for institutions or policymakers to catalyze change.

ThereâÄôs a lot of buzz about the University of Minnesota getting green, from expanding our recycling and composting services to ensuring that the new TCF Bank Stadium is up to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification standards. These are good steps, but I donâÄôt think they hold a candle to the efforts of the citizens of Vauban, Germany. This 5,000-person community has given up almost all of its automobiles in exchange for streets clear of traffic and better public transportation options. When someone needs to drive, they turn to established car-sharing clubs, common in Germany. All of these people made a personal sacrifice in order to facilitate substantial change, and thatâÄôs something we as Americans, with all our âÄúfree choice,âÄù often fail to do. We consider it our right to use as much energy as we can afford and often fail to consider the impact our decisions have on economies and ecologies. One person may not think he or she can make an impact, but mindsets add up remarkably fast. Do more to be green. Sort your recycling well, take the bus or ride your bike instead of driving, invest in energy-saving appliances and turn off lights when not in use. The benefits might extend further than you imagine. If there had been a stronger push in America for high-efficiency, high-mileage cars 10 years ago, automakers might not have become the financial shambles they are now. Get on your legislators about adopting stricter standards and regulations for those with a bigfoot carbon print. ItâÄôs your world; make the free choice to keep it moving.