Studies have shown that it takes two weeks for a habit to form, and in those two weeks it’s possible to acquire a habit that can better one’s self and the environment.
For the first two weeks of October, students at the College have used the EcoChallenge as a chance to push themselves to adopt a new, healthy habit in order to reduce their impact on the environment.
“The EcoChallenge is a two- week competition that asks you to try one environmentally-friendly habit for fourteen days in the hopes that it will become a permanent positive change,” said Tarika Mahal, sophomore self- designed environmental public health major and site leader of the Bonner Environment Team.
People sign up by promising to change one habit for the planet, such as conserving water, recycling more often, turning lights off when they aren’t in use or using more efficient ways of transportation.
Simple things such as turning off lights, unplugging chargers and not leaving the water running can truly make a huge difference. In fact, leaving the water running wastes five gallons each minute.
EcoChallenge is a competition that began at Oregon’s Northwest Earth Institute and has since spread across the nation. In fact, out of 177 teams across the country, the College is the fifth largest.
The idea to have the EcoChallenge at the College was brought up last month at the President’s Climate Commitment Committee, during which Winnie Fatton explained that Sustainable Jersey is an initiative for N.J. towns to do “green” things, such as conserving water or organizing community clean-ups, all of which give the town points. These points then go toward bragging rights as being the most eco-friendly community.
After hearing about Sustainable Jersey, the Bonner Center decided that it would be a good idea to attempt something similar at the College. There are 35 members on the EcoChallenge team.
“I am by no means a perfect environmentalist,” Mahal said. “I still get coffee in paper cups for meal equiv and forget to turn off the fan in my room. These past two weeks and for the week to come, I have been trying to stop buying plastic water bottles at the café.”
However, when a large group of people works together to make a bunch of small changes, it really can make an impact.
As Mahal said, “Sometimes people feel that by recycling one water bottle or turning off the lights for a few hours are too petty to actually make a difference. But if every one of us did those small changes, it would aggregate to be a major positive force.”