In beginning this project, and especially in focusing on energy conservation and the carbon footprint, I have come to realize how difficult it can be to reconcile ones ideals with the world in which we live. It will be absolutely necessary in the coming years for individuals to make minor lifestyle changes so that we, as a species may reduce the harm we are inflicting upon our planet. And yet, even given the urgency and the current focus given to the issue of global climate change, it can be still be difficult to make the small changes in our own lives that we know to be necessary. I have found myself to be quite unwilling to replace my incandescent light bulbs with fluorescents, even though I know how much energy I could save, because fluorescent lights seem ugly by comparison. It’s easy too for me to linger in the shower in the morning, though I always try to save water. The problem I find is that though individual action is necessary, acting as an individual can be very difficult. This is where community action becomes very important.
When entire communities come together to reduce their carbon footprint, the actions of individuals become much more readily apparent. With encouragement from their neighbors and the knowledge that they are part of a much larger group working to slow global climate change it becomes clear that the benefits of the actions of individual families far outweigh the minor sacrifices necessary to effect change. Many communities already are working to help their members make minor changes to reduce their energy usage, but I hope that over time everyone will see the necessity of decreasing the environmental impact of our lifestyle.
-Win Wharton, Cornell University Student