Colin White, 2017 Homecoming Court Representative
August 30, 2017
The toughest thing about coming to age in this current era is the attention that the media puts on to all the terrible things happening in our cities, our country, and across the globe. It is hard to wake up every day and to see the headlines about nuclear threats, refugees having to leave their war-torn countries and political gridlock. As terrible as these issues are, in my mind, one stands above the rest. The most pressing issue that I see our global community facing is the ever-worsening effects of climate change. If I could change one thing about the world it would be to make society sustainable on a global scale.
The definition of a sustainable society is relatively straightforward. It is the idea that as a society we are able to continue to grow and use of natural resources without affecting the usage of these resources for future generations. A keystone of this is obviously preserving our natural resources, as they are limited, and stops any activities that will negatively affect any life human or other. I have been lucky enough in my education at MSU to come across countless Spartans that are working towards this same goal. In one of my MSU courses I got to hear from a different speaker about their research or projects each week; these projects covered everything from water preservation in the Great Lakes to a 13-dimensional program for distributing land in New Zealand. One of the major things I took away from this class was that it doesn’t matter who you are, or what your major or profession is, you can make major change in the world. To take it further, the class taught me that anyone and every organization can, and must, make meaningful progress towards a more sustainable society.
In my future endeavors, whatever they may be, “greening” of the company I work for will be a top priority for me. I also think that it is easy for a company to set up a “green” program and to throw up recycling centers and automatic lights in their building and then move on. In order to make significant change it will require a complete revolution of the way we, as a society, think about just about everything. Whether I work for a nonprofit focused on helping these changes come to fruition or for a corporation whose primary goal is not necessarily to make these changes, I will make it my personal goal to work towards advancing society’s ability to grow sustainably.
To develop a more sustainable society progress must come from the bottom up, it is a movement that would have to start at the grassroots. If there is any group that can help this movement to gain significant momentum it is the Spartan nation. As I mentioned there are already countless Spartans working to make a difference. It is inspiring to see everything that the MSU community has already done to start working towards a more sustainable society. Everything from the new solar panels in the MSU parking lots to becoming coal free. So to amend my initial statement, if I could change one thing about the world, it would be to grant everyone the Spartan’s Will to push themselves, and society as a whole, to become completely sustainable.