For many of us here on Earth, the environment isn’t really a priority when we consider how to live our everyday lives. This becomes glaringly obvious when simply searching for environmental statistics online. Eric Leech from treehuggers.com pointed out that “…the United States makes up less than 5 percent of the population on Earth, yet we easily consume over 30 percent of its resources.” He goes on to say that with the way our population is burning through resources, we are on the verge of a mass extinction. Yet we continue consuming. This clearly demonstrates that the environment is just not on the minds of most people.
While many scarcely think of more environmentally-friendly choices, some people think about it constantly. I spoke with two very passionate individuals on the matter. The President, Isaac McInnis, and Vice President, Lilia Theisen, of the UW–Stout organization GreenSense told me how wonderful it is to be part of a community of people that all share the same passion towards contributing to a more sustainable lifestyle.
McInnis shared that the main goal of GreenSense is to increase awareness of the importance of a healthy environment and teach others how to live a sustainable lifestyle. Theisen agreed with McInnis that the concept of the organization is simply being more active in creating sustainable habits. Theisen also strongly enjoys how fun it is being around so many likeminded people, all discussing how to make their Earth a better place to live.
GreenSense has bi-weekly meetings with another student organization at UW–Stout called Just Food. Together they make sustainable food that is cheap, easy and clean. McInnis especially enjoys these meetings because they present the opportunity to get creative with inexpensive plant-based foods and create a tasty meal. He loves showing others just how easy living this way can be. Theisen also agrees, and adds that she enjoys it because it is “good for the body and mentality.” She loves the aspect of collaboration when learning how to put the environment first in their day-to-day choices.
Theisen explained how GreenSense meetings are much more than discussions. They go on hikes in the warmer months and do clean ups for places like Tripp Falls and Devil’s Punchbowl. They are also planning on rock climbing in the near future at Stout Adventures, setting up yoga-meditation in the Tropical Room and much more. The Tropical Room is one of the greenhouse rooms up in Jarvis Hall. Anyone is welcome; there are beautiful plants in every area and the temperatures get up to 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. GreenSense uses this area to experiment, learn about and grow plants. Theisen also talked about an Earth Fair they plan to hold. If all goes well, it will be held the week before Earth Day, with the main day of the event being April 20 where they will have all the sustainable activist groups on campus come to the Amphitheater of the Memorial Student Center. Keep an eye out for it!
McInnis recognized the largely activist side of the organization. He spoke of how great it is meeting people that think the same way and have the same passion for the environment. They discuss greatly in environmental politics, keeping members aware of what is going on around them. He says they are planning to do a march this upcoming March. Theisen and McInnis also attend many conferences where they learn and meet more environmentally passionate people. They love bringing knowledge back and getting people excited.