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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

Wherewe are


When does something no longer take a deliberate and conscious act, but instead become so routine,

ryan deuel

reports on where we are now in our quest for sustainability, while

louise gava

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?

Are we



illustrations by edmon de haro


Using the workshop

kindly offered by local

boat-builder Everett

Smith, Sustainability

Semester students

Anna Hughes ’17, left,

and Will McMaster ’16

fabricate parts for a

new water heater at

the Semester’s site.