Facts About Green

Going green may have taken a while to catch on, but it is quickly becoming the standard. Just read the articles in this issue and you will see why going green makes sense. If that doesn’t convince you … look at some of the facts highlighted in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Schools – 2012 Edition presented in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council. (A free copy of this guide can be downloaded from www.centerforgreenschools.com/greenguide.)

For example, did you know that:

  • Biodegrading in a landfill takes 90 years for an aluminum can, 700 years for a plastic bottle, 1,000,000 years for a glass bottle.
  • Buildings in the U.S. are responsible for about 40 percent of CO2 emissions.
  • One ton of paper made completely from recycled scrap saves 7,000 gal. of water, 4,100 kWh of energy, three cubic yards of landfill space, and 17 trees.
  • Just 1 percent of Australia’s untapped geothermal power potential could provide enough energy to last 26,000 years.
  • Lighting contributes up to 34 percent of the electricity consumed by the U.S.

While the environmental movement has gained steam in recent years, it is not all that new. In 1948, Congress passed the first piece of legislation to lay down federal regulation of water quality: the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. An October 1948 incident in Donora, PA — where 20 people died and more than 600 were hospitalized due to sulfur dioxide emissions from a nearby steel and wire plant — was the impetus for the first U.S. conference on air pollution in 1950, sponsored by the Public Health Service. In 1952 the Paley Commission released “Resources for Freedom,” which details the United States’ increasing dependence on foreign sources of natural resources and argued for the necessity to transition to renewable energy. In 1955, the Air Pollution Control Act passed Congress, becoming the first piece of legislation to address air pollution.

The list goes on and on, but it appears we are finally taking action. As of April 4, 2013, there were 665 signatories to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Sustainability efforts on campus have become essential as college hopefuls are now adding a “green campus” to their selection criteria!