What Sustainability Means to Oxford

By: Olivia Bauer

At this year’s annual EarthFest, “green” minded individuals and organizations from the Miami University and Oxford community gathered in the Oxford Community Park to end their Earth Week celebration in April. With all these like minded people gathered in one place, I decided to use GreenHawks Media’s table to investigate Oxford’s perspective on a buzzword of today: sustainability.

Sustainability is traditionally defined as the ability to maintain conditions over a period of time. When asked “what sustainability means to you,” the majority of responses were similar and involved one overarching theme– the future. Overall, the community believes sustainability involves creating a balanced, just future that ensures an enjoyable and liveable environment for future generations.

However, as a place that brings together a multitude of people with different backgrounds, experiences, beliefs and passions, Miami is not always traditional. This is exemplified by a few responses from EarthFest participants that show how sustainability means something different to everyone.

A member of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) said that sustainability involves regeneration. Rather than simply retaining what we have now, she believes that we as a society should focus on bringing things back to what they used to be. What we are doing not is not sustainable, so we should focus on adapting practices that start fixing the problems we have already created rather than continue adding even more to the problem.

To members of Zero Waste Oxford, a new club on Miami’s campus, sustainability means less waste. This is a method to become more sustainable by limiting the amount of waste sent to landfills. Advocates say this begins with small life changes to reduce waste from different areas of their daily lives. Learn more about this movement here, or contact Zero Waste Oxford at zerowasteoxford@gmail.com.

As a member of the IES community during my four years as an undergraduate, I have learned a lot about sustainability, both in theory and in practice. I wholeheartedly agree with and support all the responses on my poster, and I feel honored to have been part of a community that pushes for a more sustainable future.

Screenshot 2019-05-16 at 9.19.18 AM

Photos by Olivia Bauer and Caroline Roethlisberger

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