Outdoor Action Sustainability Initiative
Posted September 17, 2008; 04:35 p.m.
Students at an Outdoor Action rock climb discuss learning about sustainability in the wilderness as members of the first "eco-trip."
Video Closed Captions
Try and make your way more to the left, okay? Yes. Nice, nice.
I'm Robert McGibbon. I'm a sophomore and I'm climbing support for
Outdoor Action at the Delaware Water Gap.
As each of the four climbing frosh trips move through I'm here
to help out, belay, set up. So very soon the groups should be arriving,
at which point one of the leaders and I will go walk up to the top of the cliff
and set up the ropes. The freshmen and maybe the leaders and I will
climb a little bit, until we're hungry. Then at whatever point we
feel like, we'll have some lunch.
Well, this whole sustainability thing is pretty new for OA. This is the first
year we've done it.
The point of OA is still, even on this trip and the other sustainability trip, is
still to get the frosh out in the woods,
have a good time, meet some people before they get to Princeton, and just
have a good experience.
The whole sustainability thing is sort of secondary to that, and it's woven
into the everyday activities that we do and the meals that we eat.
For instance some of the meals this year are a little different from last year.
Such as: we mixed in some salmon, wild-caught salmon, with tuna.
Some of the packs are made out of recycled soda bottles, some of the
sleeping bags are made out of post-consumer waste. Things like that.
We're not trying to wrap these kids into joining "Greening Princeton" or other
environmental groups on campus.
We really just want them to think a little bit more about their relationship
with the environment.
Let's say we're sitting down and we're eating a meal that was grown locally or produced locally.
Then we might sit down and have a little conversation about it.
We've made baby steps this year through our research and our summer
internships, and with continued vigilance and attention to changing the
environment and economic situation we can continue to make strides
toward making OA have the least impact possible.
It's easy to say to people, that if they follow only a vegetarian diet, then
their impact on the environment will be lessened.
That's not a very difficult fact to get across. What is difficult is to get people to change their habits, and to say "OK, I understand that fact,
and as a result I'm going to only eat meat once a week, or maybe twice a
week, or maybe not at all."
I'm Julia, I'm from Bethesda, Md., a little suburb right outside of
Washington, D.C. I'm clearly a rising freshman at Princeton.
It's so great to feel like I can fend for myself out here. I love that we aren't
generating very much trash. I love that I'm not driving my car around.
It's a great way to start. We've actually been talking a lot about
sustainability. I think, from what I've gathered, the
OA trips in the past have been focused on just packing out the trash. More
like relocating the trash, like we wouldn't leave it in the wilderness,
we'd just put it in a dumpster back at school. Whereas on this trip, we're
trying to just not generate that trash in the first place.
My name is George Che. I'm from Walden, Mass. I didn't really
know much about living in the woods without impacting the environment.
Like, I didn't really know about how to reduce trash and things like that.
We've instructed leaders to separate all their waste into a number of
different categories, and the reason we need to separate these is
because the first group of food waste, which is vegetable and fruit matter,
can be composted. The rest of the food is going to a pig bucket.
The other waste, miscellaneous wrappers and things, are going to a landfill,
and that is the ultimate destination that we are trying to avoid.
I think that having seen just how much transportation goes into the
packaging, and catching, packaging, processing food,
I'm going to be a lot more careful in my own life. I'm really going to take
that with me.
I think this has really opened my eyes to how much we impact the
environment, and, going back home, I think I'm definitely going to
not drive my car so much, and use more natural transportation such as
walking or biking or things like that. And I'll definitely recycle more.
This just really puts everything in perspective. I know I'm going to
appreciate everything a lot more when I get back to school.
We obviously want to decrease OA's carbon footprint as much as we can.
But there is also another component, which is the educational value
of making a couple of changes, doing a lot of research, being able to tell
freshman and leaders that this is something OA really wants to work for.
This is something we are trying to figure out even if we run into a lot of
And hopefully all the people that OA comes in contact with will come away with a different attitude towards the environment.