Sustainability Q&A with Joe Ravin

April 12, 2022
Office of Sustainability

What is your position/department/year/major/club affiliation at Gonzaga?

I am a Junior Environmental Studies major at Gonzaga

What does sustainability mean to you?

Sustainability to me means a lot of different things. On a greater scale it is using the resources we have on Earth in a manner which will allow our future generations to do the same, but that isn’t as easy a concept for me to control in my daily life. For me personally, it means trying to be aware of where the things we consume come from and go. It means not being wasteful. Remembering that everything we purchase has a life beyond the brief time I spend with it. This has really helped me to eliminate some of the single use items I use and switch to things that I can use for the foreseeable future.

How have you been involved in promoting sustainability on campus?

I certainly could be better in this department, as I am not a very involved member of the Gonzaga community. I try to encourage friends to make sustainable purchases and have been involved in a few rallies, but there’s always more I could do.

What are some things you do in your personal life to live sustainably?

Limiting single use items and instead using long lasting items is important to me. Not wasting food, walking when possible, and becoming vegetarian are all some small things I have done. In all honesty, I don’t think any of these things make a considerable difference, and I think that pushing for larger industries to be more sustainable is really the more important battle. Because of this, I think really the most important thing I do in my life to live sustainably is shopping locally. Instead of spending money at large polluting corporations, give those dollars to a small locally owned business.

How could Gonzaga continue to improve its sustainability efforts?

For starters, divesting would be the best. Also, promoting reusables would be great. It pains me to see how many thousands of Starbucks cups get thrown away daily.

How will you continue to promote sustainability at Gonzaga?

Continuing to do the little things and trying to push the powers that be to a more sustainable future. Participating in whatever rallies come around in the spring when it warms up, and actually getting around to going to some meetings.

How do you see sustainability intersecting with social justice issues on an institutional, national, or global scale?

Climate change is impacting underprivileged people at far higher rates than the wealthy, who can simply pay their way out of most issues. Also, living sustainably is a privileged option. Many people do not have the capacities to buy more expensive and long lasting items, and because the cheaper and more socially encouraged option is single use, this is more frequently what people choose. Social justice is an issue that is intertwined with almost all other global issues, and a more just and equal society where people have more economic liberties would be a major step in tackling issues like sustainability and climate change.