my sustainable experience

David Levine, desktop technology specialist in Information Resources, is one example of how individuals in the Colby-Sawyer community of faculty, staff and students walk the talk of sustainable living to which Colby-Sawyer is committed.

Colby-Sawyer's GreenROUTES is a campus-wide initiative to eliminate the college's greenhouse gas emissions, integrate sustainability into the curriculum and overall educational experience, and achieve our shared vision of personal well-being, social justice, financial security and environmental stability for ourselves and our larger global community.

David lives in Bradford, N.H. with his wife, a horse, a pony, a cat, and a "Jack Russell Terrorist." He was Colby-Sawyer's 2008 Employee of the Year.

What does it mean to you to live a satisfying and sustainable life?

It means living as simply and economically as possible. It means trying one's best not to contribute to the polluting cloud generated by mindless materialism. It means ignoring a whole lot of consumerist advertising which relentlessly tries to subvert green living, even using it against itself. Beware!

What are you doing to live more sustainably?

We have large gardens and grow many vegetables and some fruits organically. We don't spray them so our apples are kind of scabby. We use an efficient wood stove to cut our use of propane and retrofitted our home with extra insulation. We spend a lot of time at home. That sounds simple, but not driving here there and everywhere to do this that or the other is a good way to not use your car.

What is the most fun or interesting action you're taking to reduce your environmental impact?

I do a lot of bicycle riding in the warmer seasons. I would like to ride my bike to work more often, but the road I'd have to take is not great for biking and would lengthen the commute to an hour (from 20 minutes). Plus I'd be all sweaty when I got to work and would be stuck if the weather changed during the work day. So, at least I can feel thankful that I have a short commute.

What project or idea would you like to see our GreenROUTES initiative tackle next?

It's been wonderful to see the photovoltaic solar arrays installed on four campus buildings, and now there's a demonstration scale wind turbine in front of Ivey Science Center! The gardens behind the library and Ivey expand every summer … maybe someday the college could have a working farm with livestock. We already have gardens, an orchard, and maple trees we tap to make syrup.

What benefit do you feel the GreenROUTES initiatives are offering our students, now and in the future?

Awareness of the finite nature of our planet is knowledge critical to our survival. We need to keep the momentum of GreenROUTES growing, because there are powerful forces working against sustainability. Without green knowledge and lifestyles there will be no future.

In the face of all of the challenges in the world, what keeps you hopeful?

That people like Thoreau saw the importance of sustainable living so long ago gives me hope that there may be a chance to pull through, even though the tipping point on carbon pollution has passed us by. That people are becoming increasingly aware of the consequences of unchecked greed and fear gives me hope. That people are beginning to realize the failings of dogma gives me hope.