Sustainability of the UW Campus

Before one can understand the concept of sustainability, we must first have a general definition of what sustainability means to us:
Using our resources in a sensitive and protective manner for our spiritual and intellectual fulfillment in all aspects of life, without compromising future generations ability to do so.
Currently the UW campus is not a sustainable system, because there is no equilibrium between production and consumption, which creates waste. Recycling and composting programs lack scale, focus and especially widespread participation. This lack of participation results from inadequate environmental education throughout most of the UW faculties. At the time of construction of most of the UW buildings, energy conservation was not given much consideration. In turn, this has resulted in the inefficient use of resources.

One of the most important characteristics of a sustainable ecosystem, such as the UW campus, is maintaining a closed system. Within our closed system the ideal goal is self sufficiency in terms of consumption and production. This means that we as inhabitants of an ecosystem will be solely responsible for all our needs such as food, energy, and water as well as our waste. All aspects of our closed ecosystem will be highly integrated so as to ensure maximum efficiency.

In order to establish our closed loop system we must first evaluate our current production and consumption patterns and alter them so as to create a dynamic equilibrium. Our main goal is that we assimilate all waste back into the production processes to ensure zero waste. This will be achieved through a comprehensive recycling/composting program which will facilitate the re-integration of all materials. We also need to drastically reduce our consumption patterns, in order to be fully conservatory.

Since energy is our main driving impetus behind all forms of production and consumption, we need to focus on maximizing the efficiency of our energy system. This can be further enhanced through the use of renewable energy sources(ie. photovoltaics, wind energy etc...). The ideal of natural conservation can only exist through the implementation of these various energy forms and can only serve to benefit our closed system further.

The foundations of every society is their collectively preconceived ideas attitudes and norms. Before we can begin to create or achieve our sustainable ecosystem, we first need to fundamentally alter our curren attitudes and awareness. The basic idea for any change in society i education. Through this education, participation arises and awareness increases. Education is nothing without participation and participation is nothing without education. Participation is necessary to achieve our final goal of sustainability.

Sustainability includes all aspects of societal concerns and values. In order for our community to feel satisfied we need to establish a feeling of security, accessibility and aesthetic beauty throughout the system. Aesthetics not only involves natural beauty, but also incorporates a harmonious relationship between humans and their surroundings. Through this we can also begin to understand and manage wildlife in a way which preserves the diversity of the campus.

The ultimate satisfaction is knowing when you have achieved your final goal; our goal being a sustainable UW campus. How will we know when the outlined characteristics have been realised. To maintain a closed loop system, an equilibrium between production and consumption must result in zero waste and a self sustaining community. One hundred per cent education and participation in respect to the design characteristics set out, would be and indicator that sustainability on campus is readily achievable. Finally, when society has reached a symbiotic relationship with all integrated parts of the system, sustainability will have been achieved.