sustainability has been a buzzword in media and on university campuses for at least 20 years.
It received quite a bit of attention surrounding the Kyoto Protocol on climate change in 1997 and
again in the mid-2000s, as energy prices soared and seriously affected our day-to-day routines. In
June 2008, the average per-gallon price of gas topped $4 for the first time in the United States.
Heating our homes took up a larger portion of our household budgets, especially when heating
oil was required. Businesses frantically searched for ways to cut energy expenditures. Costs for raw
construction materials grew to staggeringly high prices. We began to look for ways to save.
It’s not that sustainability was a new concept before then. People understood the significance of
recycling, and they often did. But they didn’t necessarily
to recycle. We knew that proper in-
sulation in our homes and businesses could reduce energy use, but we could still afford to crank up
the furnace on a sub-zero day. We knew that smaller, more fuel-efficient cars got better mileage and
would save us money, but not all of us wanted to give up the comforts of our seven-passenger SUVs.
By 2008, however, all of that had changed, and the nation as a whole had become consumed
by the buzz of sustainability.
That same year, the St. Lawrence magazine produced a sustainability-themed issue, outlining
BY RYAN DEUEL
When does something no longer take a deliberate and conscious act, but instead become so routine,
reports on where we are now in our quest for sustainability, while
tackles the difficult question of where St. Lawrence goes from here.
so engrained, that it becomes a habit? And at what point do those habits simply become part of our culture?
illustrations by edmon de haro
Using the workshop
kindly offered by local
Anna Hughes ’17, left,
and Will McMaster ’16
fabricate parts for a
new water heater at
the Semester’s site.