By Ulises Araiza ’11
Last year’s Summit on Human Dignity, Renewing our Commitment to Sustainability and Stewardship, was supposed to engage Brophy students in dialogue, possibly encouraging us to adopt new, “green” ways of living.
Many teachers incorporated the ideas presented in the Summit into their classes, offering extra credit if students participated in after school events and made “environmentally friendly” changes in their daily routines.
Eight months have passed since February and for many students the ideas of the last Summit on Human Dignity are now but a faint memory of Eustace Conway, the man who lived out in the forest by himself, and Sustainable Dave, the California man who saved all of his trash in his basement for a whole year.
Is that really what Brophy intended for us? Just to have faint memories of the Summit?
I think not.
I’m not saying we all need to go to the Amazon rain forest and strap ourselves to trees so that they are not cut down to make paper in a factory somewhere or pave the way for super developments.
Neither should we completely leave all technology behind and lead a lifestyle like that of Conway’s.
However, we should not forget the ideas presented to us in the Summit and incorporate them into our lives.
Whether we start riding the bus or light rail, buy local produce at a farmer’s market or plant a small garden in our backyard, there is something we can all do to foster the ideas of our last Summit.
So how is Brophy living up to the Summit?
Many students and teachers have made positive changes in their lives.
Many people make sure that the lights are turned off when they leave a room, take alternative transportation and unplug unnecessary electronics.
Last year Brophy began selling stainless steel water bottles for $10, and offered students and families the opportunity to buy produce through Crooked Sky farms, a local farm, as an alternative to buying fruits and vegetables that may have come from thousands of miles away.
The drawback: The bottles sold through Brophy are small and have to be filled continuously. In some cases, the rubber that holds in the bottle cap wears off, causing the cap to fit loosely on the bottle. Many students and teachers have had to buy new, larger bottles elsewhere.
Unlike at the grocery store, one has no say in what they get through Crooked Sky Farms. Basically you get what is in season, and may still have to resort to the grocery store to get what you want.
What can Brophy do better?
Brophy did a good job last year with the post-Summit hype in making environmental changes, encouraging students to use re-usable water bottles and putting recycle bins all around campus.
If the push towards environmental changes continues, the ideas of Summit will be fostered for the benefit of us all.
As a community we can all work together and join in dialogue and action to attain sustainability.