Are you the type of person who loves taking quick showers, turns off the water while brushing your teeth, takes your reusable water bottle to work, turns off the light when you´re not in the room and worries when people use unnecessary amounts of plastic? Check, check, and check. If your answer was “yes” to most of these questions, then you´re most definitely going to enjoy reading the rest of this blog.
To better understand the severity of the situation, let’s start by looking at some numbers. Did you know that nearly one million plastic bottles are sold every minute around the world, and that approximately 18 billion pounds of plastic waste, ends up in the oceans every year from coastal regions? I bet you didn’t. Even though some may believe climate change is nothing but a hoax, it is undeniable that the environment is going through tremendous changes. Over the last two decades, Costa Rica has been earning international recognition for its major ecological efforts, such as its pledge to become the first carbon-neutral nation in the world by 2050. It’s still a long way away, but for now we are definitely going in the right direction, given that Costa Rica gets 99 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, 80 percent of it generated from hydropower.
While Costa Rica continues to execute its 30-year project, Texas Tech University-Costa Rica has been working on sustainable strategies of its own. Sustainability is a core value for us, and for this reason, we create initiatives that involve not only our students but also the entire community. We have taken every opportunity to increase our position as leaders in sustainability. That is why we encourage our faculty, staff and students to embrace sustainable learning practices so that we can have a positive impact on our community.
Did you know that plastic is one of the most harmful pollutants in the world and that virtually every piece of plastic ever made still exists? You probably did because it is a hot topic of conversation today. Here at TTU-CR, not only do we care about giving our students the best education possible, but we also value the importance of environmental conservation. As Sustainability Gurus we are constantly looking for ways to put into practice environmentally friendly practices. We care about reducing, reusing, and recycling and therefore encourage our students to use the facilities available to help them do just that. One of the many ways we do this is by providing water stations and using cradle-to-cradle furniture and flooring. Most impressive is how TTU-CRmanages to power an entire floor with solar power. The university building has 141 rooftop solar panels which produce 15% of the total energy consumption of the building and power the ground floor of TTU-CR´s campus.
But wait, there’s more. Even though TTU-CR has been up and running for only one year, we have already gotten the attention of highly recognized national media with our sustainability campaigns. Our first initiative was launched in October of last year in commemoration of World Habitat Day. The purpose of the “How Green Can You Be?” campaign was to incentivize the community to use the three R’s through inspiring videos of their practices. The winner was awarded an all-expenses paid trip. The campaign was a great success with a great deal of participation from our students as well as from the wider community. This year, in commemoration of Earth Day on April 22, we launched our latest sustainable campaign “PlasticTon.” We invited the community and our students to collect as much plastic as they could, and the person or company who collected the greatest amount, won an all-expenses paid adventure to watch the sea turtles lay their eggs. Our goal was to raise awareness about plastic use and its impact on the planet. The negative effects that plastic has on marine life is staggering and it is our responsibility to help stem the tide. Motivating people to collect the plastic that they have found discarded on the streets, beaches, and even in their homes is just the beginning of helping people change their mindset.
Here at Texas Tech University-Costa Rica, we take sustainability seriously and opt to add more practices to campus life. Do you want to take part in our efforts, help protect our planet and become a Sustainability Guru? Add one more thing to your list of reasons why you want to come to TTU-CR and become part of our Red Raider family next semester.