Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Kate Reynolds – On Personal Behavior Change

Kate Reynolds – Colgate Staff, Bookstore
Interview by Gergana Mouteva '09, Colgate Sustainability Intern (SI)

Sustainability Intern (SI): When did you first become interested in sustainability and what drives your personal commitment to sustainability?

Kate: I was always interested in nature. I studied at a marine lab, which was on an island and so everything we got came and went on a boat. You had to be as self-sufficient as possible, and recycle everything that you could. We had to import and export as little as was feasible. Now, I pay attention to these things.

Practicing sustainability is hard - some parts come easier than others. The key thing for me is that we live in a beautiful part of the world and I want to continue living here and keep it the way it is now. I also want to make sure that I leave it for other people to appreciate too.

So I guess what sustainability means for me personally is keeping my piece of the planet clean and happy. This is not always easy to do, but you do the best you can.

SI: In what ways do you get involved?

Kate: I go to the Campus Ecology Group meetings, because I am interested in what is going on. At the bookstore we try to carry products that support sustainability. I also volunteer at Rogers Environmental Education Center in Sherburne, which is part of the environmental education program sponsored by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

SI: What do you think Colgate does well in terms of sustainability and what do you think we need to work harder at?

Kate: We have a lot of enthusiasm. People are very excited about sustainability. The problem is that we go in many different directions: the campus doesn’t work together on one single thing.

Everyone picks their own different project; focusing only on it, one by one people run out of energy and are unable to complete the projects by themselves. I think we need more collaboration.

SI: Other things you’d like the Colgate community to know?

Kate: Small things are easy to do. My latest kick is that it is really easy to carry a reusable shopping bag all the time. I want people to know that this is an option and that there are many others like this, which don’t take much effort and at the same time matter.

SI: Future ideas about sustainability?

Kate: I would really like to see people getting into better habits. It is not the one-time actions, but rather the tiny little things and the everyday habits that we need to change in order to get where we need to go.

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