This past May I had the opportunity to study abroad in Denmark through the McIntire School of Commerce in order to learn more about sustainable business practices. It was such an awesome experience, and I learned about so many different aspects of sustainability while there. We also got to do some really cool, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, like climbing to the top of a 50 meter wind turbine! While we learned so much, there were some things that really stuck with me that I would like to share.
The most important lesson I learned in Denmark was that nothing will work “right out of the box.” As simple a lesson as this is, I think it is one that many people might forget. It is so easy to get excited about a sustainability project you have seen elsewhere and want to bring that to Grounds or to your home, but many times it will fail if you just try to replicate it. You need to think critically about the problem you are trying to address and how it is embedded in the culture, which will look different from place to place. A lot of places have similar problems, but they may not have similar solutions, and which is an important thing to remember if you want to actually solve the problem you are addressing.
Another lesson I learned is how important it is to be sustainable in ways that work for you. We learned a lot about food, and all the different ways you can be sustainable with your food choices, like joining a CSA, growing your own food, or buying organic. All of these are awesome ways to become more sustainable, but you need to be realistic. I am a really picky eater, so it would be difficult for me to join a CSA because I would not eat most of what is in the basket. However, I may have more time on my hands than the average person so I could start a garden to grow foods that I really like to eat. My point is that everyone can do something to be more sustainable, you just need to do what works for you.
See y’all next month!