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Environmental change is happening all over our planet — global warming, energy crises, drought, war, pollution. It can be overwhelming.

Luckily, we as young people have the power to create change. We have consumer power as well as the power to make smart choices that add up to huge differences in the world.

Our generation has to be the one to make a real impact.

A good place to start is by signing a CU Buffs Live Green Pledge. By signing it, you’ll join thousands of other students, faculty and staff on campus who have committed to making sustainable changes.

If you pledge to live green, CU has your back.

For every person who signs the Live Green pledge and commits to changing three things (they can be as easy as putting your computer to sleep), the school puts $5 toward sustainability projects on campus.

So by living green, you’re minimizing your impact as well as the school’s carbon footprint.

This isn’t news, but there is a reason we keep talking about it, and a reason why CU is investing real money in it: this stuff is important.

And, like you’ve heard time and time again, the responsibility doesn’t fall to any one person. We all need to step up to the plate.

That’s why it’s crucial to start taking steps, even small ones, to reduce your waste, or limit your consumption, or curb your energy use. You, yeah you. Not your friends, or the city of Boulder or Barack Obama, although they all have responsibilities, too. Everybody has to step up to the plate.

Live Green is motivation and inspiration to do that, but it’s also a way to keep yourself committed.

With more than 3,000 pledges to date, that amounts to $15,000 for campus sustainability projects that will reduce CU’s carbon footprint. We need a lot more pledges to come in this semester to bolster the campus’ initiatives.

The projects that need to happen are building energy efficiency upgrades like windows, insulation and lighting. These aren’t the most exciting projects, but they are most essential.

CU needs to reduce the amount of energy consumed first and foremost. Any dip in energy consumption saves real dollars and translates to less carbon emissions, too.

So, what can you commit to, to do your part? How about riding the bus instead of driving to school, or turning the water off in the shower when you’re shaving, or unplugging your computer when you’re not using it.

All of these things are easy. Really easy. And they can legitimately make a difference. The trick is to commit to things that you can actually do, that will fit into your everyday life.

For instance, if your professors will let you send assignments via e-mail, do that. It saves resources and your energy. You’re already sitting at your computer, right? Living green can make your life easier if you approach it the right way.

That’s the goal of the Live Green Pledge, to incorporate real, sustainable change in to as many people’s lives as possible, so that our actions can add up to big changes.

For more information, or to sign the pledge, visit: ecenter.colorado.edu/livegreen.

Heather Hansman is communication coordinator for the CU Environmental Center.

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