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By Madison Medeiros

I spent my summer months reading horrific headlines concerning record-breaking temperatures, deadly heat waves, countries running out of water, toxic and contaminated ponds throughout every state, melting glaciers, raging wildfires, and devastating habitat loss not only for humans, but also the animal kingdom.

The short of it is– we no longer have time to be denying the ecological crisis our planet is facing. I am a 24-year-old college student planning for a future that I am not even 100-percent sure will exist. The problem does not reside in the scientific research, but the ignorance and unwillingness of those in power to make simple, small behavioral changes.

This is why together as a campus and a community, we must encourage the Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) administration to implement sustainable, long-lasting initiatives.

I do recognize and appreciate the green initiatives we already have in place: solar panels, a few water refill stations, charging ports for electric cars, a sustainable science building among its way– but it is still not enough.

The 4Cs administration believes we have time, we must stay loyal to our contracts and suppliers– whether it be the vending machine companies that constantly steal your money, or the Unidine Corporation serving foods wrapped in plastic in the Grossman Commons. Please stop telling us time is on our side when the harsh reality is that it’s not. We are just sitting idly watching it run out.

There are simple solutions 4Cs can implement that will benefit the college as well as the environment– starting with the reduction in plastic consumption.

The plastic bottled beverages sold in vending machines can simply be replaced with aluminum or glass products. The only reason we are not utilizing these alternatives is simply because 4Cs just renewed its contract, and Unidine is no different.

The Boston corporation is the current 4Cs food distributor. Although, purchasing produce from local food distributors, such as Guaranteed Fresh, Ring Brothers, Hyannis Food Service, will help support our Cape Cod community and its business, all the while reducing travel time and carbon emissions significantly.

Unidine could also help our college decrease its carbon footprint by serving a handful of vegan and vegetarian options– aside from the salads and veggie burgers. Reducing meat consumption can help shrink carbon footprints, even if it is just for a day.

The plastic food packaging also has negative effects on our environment. Plastic can be found everywhere– it is in the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe. I certainly do not want to see it around every corner of the campus, especially as a tuition payer.

4Cs should be working diligently to make these sustainable changes. There is no excuse, aside from finances, why our campus cannot take these necessary steps. You can easily place a monetary value on these product replacements, but you cannot place a value on a human’s life.

The future is moving forward and I suggest we all encourage 4Cs to follow in suit before it is too late. We have done our part in expressing our concerns. Now it is up to 4Cs to listen to our voices and take action.