WOU Sustainability

Living sustainably means that you’re making a conscious choice to live a certain way that will ultimately reduce your impact on the Earth and won’t deplete it’s resources. Sustainability can be found in a variety of ways, and making simple adjustments in everyday habits may reduce your carbon footprint drastically.

Why is Sustainability Important?

  • Food Shortages: Studies suggest crop productivity in America is declining by 2-4% annually due to climate change. This continued decline could lead to a food shortage (or the need to import things like grains, cereals, vegetables, and meats). It could also mean significantly higher prices on everyday staples like bread, butter, and milk.
  • More Forest Fires: The Pacific North West Coast are expected to experience more frequent and more disastrous forest fires as global warming progressively gets worse.
  • Coffee Shortage: The Arabica coffee tree needs a cool mountain slope to grow and thrive, but rising temperatures in areas where coffee grows has pushed farmers further and further up the mountains to find cool enough air. According to a study on Ethiopia, a top producer of coffee beans, the country’s output could decrease by as much as 59% because of climate change by 2100. A coffee shortage wouldn’t only affect avid coffee drinkers – it would also affect the livelihoods of farmers who depend on these export earnings.
  • Decreased Snow Fall: If you enjoy winter sports like snowboarding, skiing, snowshoeing, or other activities involving snow, climate change directly affects you. As climates continue warming, snow fall will drop dramatically and potentially stop altogether in some places.
  • Increased Diseases and Travel Limitations: As waters continue rising from the melting of icecaps, expect more insect-borne diseases like Zika to pop up as well as tick-borne viruses like Lyme disease. As reported cases of these illnesses become known, prepare for limitations on where and when you can travel to certain parts of the world.
  • Limitations on Fishing and Hunting: Warming waters from climate change will greatly alter fish distributions in different parts of the world and even make some species extinct. Above the water, changes in habitats and increased use of land as other parts of the country become less inhabitable means lower populations of commonly hunted animals such as deer or boars. Environmental protections for these species are important not just for their longevity, but also for food supplies.

Ways to Take Action as a College Student

  • Invest in reusable grocery bags.
  • Avoid water waste
    • Turn the water off when you brush your teeth
    • Take shorter showers
  • Carpool
  • Walk or ride a bike instead of driving
  • Recycle
  • Turn lights off when you’re not in the room or when you don’t need it
  • Donate old clothes
  • Buy used items
  • Bring a reusable cup when you get coffee.
  • Buy reusable water bottles
  • Don’t waste food that you buy.


On Campus Resources