Behind the scenes of Earth Week

Chris Toomey/The Watchdog
Chris Toomey/The Watchdog

There were a number of people that are a part of the sustainability department at BC who did their hard work to making Earth Week a fun and educational time of the year for everyone. One such person was Patrick Green, BC Sustainability Program Coordinator.

Green provides the support for various projects initiated for better sustainability efforts on campus. In terms of the infrastructure of sustainability at BC, he said, “We work in infrastructure: the hardscape of college, teaching and learning, also the culture on learning components. I wear a lot of hats. I’m actually only here a limited number of hours. I work a lot with Deric providing extra support,” Green said. “Leadership is involved and funds available to get things such as solar panels installed, that moves pretty quickly. Bellevue College students change every year, almost every quarter. In a strategic planning sort of sense we try to meet students with where they’re at. I’m a part of providing the services of giving what the students want to learn.”

Strategic planning is usually a multi-year  process. It’s a gradual building and development process that involved working with the sustainability advocacy students and making sure that projects are online for a longer trajectory. Green works very often with teachers and instructors, making sure that they actually have the resources they need as well as appearing in classes to teach about the ethics and economic side of sustainability. Green explained that “what I do actually encompasses a lot of random tasks but it is a little more student oriented and a little more on the culture side of things.”

Everyone knows how stressful college life can be. Green’s advice to college students is to “have an open mind about learning new things. The idea is that we’re working with students’ willingness to want to learn about these things and stay motivated to keep at it. I’m always amazed at how inquisitive the students here are, no matter what stance they have on a certain topic.” He went on to explain that as long as students are taking about the topic, it’s spreading the awareness and influence of sustainable living. “Students are willing to talk about it and learn about it. If these are things that they really care about—whether they’re for or against it—to challenge themselves and to learn the issues in an institution where knowledge is its business, then my advice is to keep doing that.”

There are a number of factors that go into the process of choosing the films and speakers and events during Earth Week. Green explained that “some of the decision-making in terms of what to showcase during Earth Week is based off of who’s familiar with Bellevue College, who can be drawn quickly.” In terms of the educational benefit, the sustainability staff tried to tackle the different disciplines such as ethics and our individual considerations, physicians and social responsibility, computer science and how software can play a role in environment. The goal is to have a little bit of something for everybody.”

When asked about what he does on a daily basis to lead a “cleaner” and “greener” lifestyle, Green said “Some of it is simple decision like making sure the light is off when I leave a room. But these daily little practices of taking shorter showers or turning the faucet off when you brush your teeth, I think these daily decisions make you think more of the bigger picture and how you make other bigger decisions.”

Sustainability can be a very broad term used in all media. For Green, “sustainability is about ethics. We’re always talking about the long-term so for me being involved as an ethical person would be someone who keeps in mind the future generation and what they need. I used to think the same way: that it was silly to do these little things. In my house, we separate our organic waste and before I never thought I’d do something like that on a daily basis. These changes aren’t just bottom-line helping the environment, but they’re also these things we can do to lead a better lifestyle.” As advice to all students needing that push of motivation to pay attention to the daily things they do, Green explained that everyone has personal things they care about. “Some of the things we promote in sustainability can help accentuate the things that people definitely care about, such as their diet and exercise and their overall health.