22 September 2008

As a member of The Green Campus Initiative, I would like to respond to some of the criticism we received in the Monday Paper of 18th August (vol 27 #13, 18-31 August).

Green Week was criticised for using tape and paper to stick signs to the ground and to put posters and flyers on Campus. This was a relatively low cost form of advertising. How else were we supposed to attract attention to the recycling initiative and how much more of these similar resources are used in all the other departments of UCT and in most advertising on campus? It was said that we must "prevent the creation of the recyclables", yet we are only asking people to make use of recycling facilities, rather than demand that we stop generating any kind of waste (let's at least be practical).

This was not some radical drive to stop "global warming"; it was simply trying to deal with some very prominent issues of this country and the Cape Town area; namely getting around fuel prices and reducing the amount of unnecessary waste being sent to the already overloaded municipal landfill sites.

If you want to make an omelette, you'll have to break some eggs. We could NOT achieve our goal without using some resources. Our aim was to offer some solutions, where people have always been bombarded with questions and problems. We needed to spread this information through advertising.

Green Week was aimed toward a more sustainable way of living our lives; it did NOT mean that we must stop living. We would not suggest that everyone must stop consuming everything. We are simply saying that there is a better way of disposing of our waste. So go ahead; enjoy your Coke, but when you're done let's recycle the can or glass, or plastic. Put it in the correct bin which has been provided, and we will send it somewhere better than a landfill site.

Some might speculate about this newspaper: "the ink and paper's environmental cost is not worth the news". But what GCI is saying is "it is necessary to have the newspaper, but let's recycle the paper when we are done with it." That applies for most of the goods we consume.

We have not asked anyone to lower their standard of living, but rather, by offering a means to a cleaner local environment, we are trying to point the way to a higher standard of living. By considering the environment, you are considering other people. And consideration is the basis of a functional society.

It is up to the staff and students to make use of the separated bin system. In the article by Myolisi Gophe, Susan Botha said that Green Week was poorly supported by staff. I trust that those who have been critical of Green Week and have their own ideas are going to take action to bring about their envisioned changes. Less talk, more action please! You can join GCI's Vula page and attend meetings.

Oliver Bonstein

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