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The Campus Chronicle, an online newspaper
for University of West Georgia faculty and staff, is the official
source for UWG news and information for all members of the campus community.

West Georgia Voices

Happy Birthday, Mother Earth!
Submitted by Ron Reigner, College of Education

Many may know me as the professor who gave a Centennial Lecture a few years back on Paolo Soleri and the Arcosanti project in Arizona. Dr. Soleri was recently awarded Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt Museum Lifetime Achievement Award. Back in my “younger days,” I was an Arcosanti drone for several weeks at a time on three separate occasions. Building a self-contained city for more than 7,000, believe it or not, requires a lot of respect for Mother Nature and the environment. As an example, if one ate a stick of gum at Arcosanti, the paper wrapper went into one recycling bin and the silver foil inner wrapper into another!

Happy Birthday, Mother Earth!During my nine years here at UWG, I have been proud to have done my little part for the west Georgia environment. From the faculty kitchen shared by two departments in the Ed Annex, Curriculum and Instruction and Counseling and Ed Psych, I took on the responsibility of asking those who used the facility to “Please rinse and recycle: aluminum, glass, plastic, and metal cans.” Every Friday, I collected what was in the bin to take to a close-by recycling center.

My office is now located in the West Georgia PreK/Reading Clinic addition to the Ed Annex. Here the sixty children served by the program daily go through a lot of plastic milk jugs, not to mention other recyclable materials. Twice a week, I now find myself taking home a trunk load of plastic collected from the Pre-K in addition to the materials recycled from the C & I/Counseling & Ed Psych kitchen.

After reading that local property taxes went up considerably due to the increase in tipping fees at the closest landfill, I was one of many who continued to pester the local government for a stronger push for local recycling. Why pay more to throw stuff away that ought to be recycled in the first place? Why fill up a land-fill with materials when we can save reams of energy by recycling versus creating the same thing from raw materials? According to americanchemistry.com, 20-24% of a landfill’s volume is plastic. And though plastic is lightweight, strong and durable, those qualities also insure that a piece of plastic discarded today will still be here in 500 years.

Recently, the city of Carrollton started curb-side recycling and my trips to the local convenience center have dropped off considerably. Still, before even recycling one should seriously consider reducing and reusing. With perfectly good water coming from each and every faucet here on campus, why buy water in small, plastic bottles? Those who do need to seriously consider somewhere other than the classroom trash can for the destiny of that bottle. Why get water from those five-gallon water stations scattered across campus. Not only is the cost of the service needless, but the environmental cost of bottling that water in the first place and then delivering it in gas or diesel-powered trucks across this region of the state could and should be eliminated.

Happy Birthday, Mother Earth!

Ron Reigner

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