my sustainable experience

Sue Maurer, senior staff assistant in the Office of the Vice President of Academics, 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.

Sue lives in Sunapee, N.H. with her husband, goats and chickens.

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

To me it means being responsible for the impact we make on the environment, people, and wildlife with whom we share space.

What are you doing to live more sustainably?

We gave up one of our vehicles and traded in the remaining large SUV for a smaller vehicle which my husband and I share. We are very careful in our water usage and are conscious of our use of electricity. We grow a lot of our own food, keep chickens for eggs, and make a small amount of maple syrup each year. We also have three angora goats that we shear and make their hair into cloth by spinning and weaving.

We used the trees that we cut off our land to build our home and outbuildings, and we continue to harvest trees carefully to use in furniture making and other wood products. We try to buy local foods and other products and even barter for goods and services. We belong to a church community which is involved in social and economic justice issues.

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

Most of the things we do, we also do for fun. It takes up so much of our time that it has to be fun. We would like to explore using wind or solar power at our home. This is a little too expensive right now, but we're looking into it.

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

I'd like to see GreenROUTES be a resource for those of us interested in exploring new ways of living sustainably.

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

It's great that GreenROUTES keeps sustainability in the forefront of our consciousness. I think students today are aware of environmental issues in ways that I was not at that age and I hope that awareness translates into action.

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

Resiliency – in the face of what seems like impossible odds, nature, humankind and wildlife are amazingly resilient. It gives me hope.