Fact and Fiction
Many great novelists and authors have called Oxford home; however, the fictional pieces below have no place here. The truth is that there are many myths that keep us from acting and bar change from occurring. This resource is intended to help individuals distinguish fiction from fact.
Fiction: There is nothing I can do as an individual to make a difference.
Fact: Making a difference in the effects of climate change depends on the actions of individuals. Individuals have just as much impact on the climate crisis as public officials and industry leaders. For example, if every household in the country replaced 5 regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (link the term compact fluorescent light bulbs to: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=cfls.pr_cfls), it would have the same effect on reducing green house gas emissions as taking 10 million cars off the road. Small, simple actions done by many individuals have a huge impact. For more information, visit http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/home.html.
Fiction: Leaving a light on uses less energy than turning it off and on.
Fact: Turning lights off when you leave a room helps to save energy. Leaving the lights on for any amount of time uses more energy than turning them off when not needed. When you leave a room unoccupied, it is more energy efficient to turn off the lights.
Fiction: Leaving my computer on all the time uses less energy than turning it off when not in use.
Fact: Turning your computer off saves the greatest amount of energy. New computer hard disks are also designed to withstand powering on and off and, in fact, last longer due to reduced heat stress and mechanical wear. Turn your computer off when you leave your desk for several hours or at the end of the day. Your monitor uses a lot of power, so turn it off when not in use, even if your computer is still running. For more information, see the IT Department’s Tech News, http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/it/technews/TechNews-July08.pdf.
Fiction: It is ok for me to not recycle because right now recycling is too difficult to do on campus.
Fact: It is not too inconvenient or too difficult to do—it just takes forming a new habit of doing something differently.
Recycling bins have been strategically placed in central locations on campus, such as the Student Union and the Lyceum. Many students keep their recyclables with them, such as Coke bottles, until they pass by one of these areas where the recycling bins are located. They usually do not even have to make a special trip; they pass by the bins many times each day.
Fiction: Tap water is not as good for me as bottled water.
Fact: Tap water is as good if not better for you than bottled water. The regulations concerning tap water facilities are actually more stringent than the regulations concerning water-bottling facilities. If you bring your own water bottle to campus, you can fill it up in an Aqua Rebel Hydration Station or the water fountain for free. By bringing your own bottle, you save money and reduce the amount of trash you produce. Read more about bottled water at http://topics.nytimes.com/.../bottled_water/index.html.
Fiction: This information does not apply to me because the environment is not as important to me as other issues.
Fact: There are many benefits to doing “green” actions that are not related to the environment. Some benefits that may result from certain actions are:
- Saving money. Using a refillable water bottle at the water fountain saves money. Americans spend more money on bottled water than on gas for their cars by five times as much.
- Burning calories. Walking or biking around campus and around town burns more calories than walking to your car. It is estimated that the average American walks only 300 yards a day. For more information, see http://sierraclub.typepad.com/greenlife/2007/01/fast_fact_1.html
- Consuming fewer calories. Eating less meat and incorporating more vegetables in your diet can help you consume fewer calories and decrease the amount of methane gas emissions, which is a hefty portion of green house gas emissions. For example, eating a PB&J for lunch instead of a burger could save as much as 2.5 pounds of carbon dioxide and 280 gallons of water, not to mention the difference in calories consumed. For more information, see http://www.pbjcampaign.org/.
- Creating a more pleasant campus and a prettier Grove. Cars on campus create a noisier atmosphere and take away from the aesthetics of the landscape. Imagine a campus where most of the sounds you hear on campus was created by people walking around campus instead of the noise of cars passing by. Putting recyclable trash in recycling bins keeps trash off the ground and out of the Grove. A clean Grove is something everyone can enjoy.
There are good reasons to do these actions even if the environment is not your top priority.