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Why Be Green?

Polly Linden

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I dare not use the “S” word lest you shut your computer down and run away screaming. So, call it what you will–environmentally conscious, green, eco-friendly. As co-chair of Harpeth Hall’s newly formed S-committee, I am here to shed some light on the reasons for my actions, in hopes of convincing even one of you that S—is not actually a four-letter word.

Why, you might ask, would I clean out a moldy bottle of spaghetti sauce and drive it across town to recycle it when I could just throw it in the trash and spare myself the science project? Why would I collect green waste and pay to have it composted once a week when I could just let Metro Nashville haul it away for free? Why would I walk all the way back to my car to retrieve my reusable bags when Publix can easily bag my groceries in plastic? Imagine the money, the labor, and even the time I could save if I just took the easy way out.

I have learned over the years that I am a visual person. When I am a trying to conjure up your name, I first see it in my head. When I am taking a math test, I can picture the problem we worked on the board in class yesterday. Similarly, when I throw away that science-project-of-a-spaghetti-jar, I picture its final destination—the landfill. If not redirected by consumers like you and me, all trash ends up in a landfill. Just this past weekend, I had the pleasure of driving by one of Nashville’s landfills just off Briley Parkway, past USN’s River Campus. You may have seen it. To the untrained eye, landfills often look like the rolling hills of the Harpeth Valley. But look a little closer, you might notice the flock of seagulls circling or the white pipes jutting out of the ground like smoke stacks (releasing methane gas). Landfills are quite literally mountains of trash and that trash is frequently made up of items that could otherwise be reused, recycled, or composted.

Of course, there are innumerable reasons why I try to be environmentally conscious, but in pinch, when I am feeling too lazy to care, I simply conjure up an image of my glass spaghetti jar in a landfill. It will not be gone in a week or a month or even a year; most items will remain in the landfill forever. So, is the five dollars I spend or the five minutes I use or the five steps I take to avoid sending my trash to the landfill worth it? Absolutely. And yours would be too.

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The news site of Harpeth Hall
Why Be Green?