In Baker Hall’s back hallway, there’s a really cool refill station for water bottles. Installed by the Housing Department over the winter, it has a digital counter that shows how many times it’s been used; as of last week, more than 24,000 water bottles have been refilled in three months.
So when Anderson Cooper’s producer toured campus last week taping the University of Colorado’s green activities for a segment on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” (airing Wednesday), we took him by Baker for a look.
As we were standing there getting ready to film it, in walks a big burly CU police officer. He whips out his refillable water bottle, unscrews the lid and pops it into the refilling station.
The CNN reporter strikes up a conversation with him. Turns out the cop is pretty chill, recycles at home, refills his water bottle, drives a Prius.
After the cop leaves, the reporter exclaimed, “Dang, you got to love CU; even the cops are green!”
Indeed, we didn’t have a very hard time finding green activities to videotape.
Bikes for one. Bikes on the sidewalks, bike paths and choking the bike racks. While some of us complain about no place to rack a bike, visitors see this as a sign of success: bike mania.
Bikes have the coolest stickers too: “Have an out of car experience,” or “Get behind bars for life.”
Look for lots of bike video on the AC360 segment.
Every Wednesday at the end of his show, Anderson Cooper does the “One Simple Thing” segment about people, organizations and communities that are making a difference in the world in simple ways that have the potential for wider implications.
Bikes have wider implications. CU has wider implications. Our ranking as the Sierra Club’s No. 1 greenest campus in the nation has wider implications.
We went on taping zero-waste offices, compost collections in the University Memorial Center, recycling facilities, solar PV panels on the roof of the Coors Event Center, biodiesel powered buses, green buildings, water refill stations, bus stops choking with people.
We started talking about the wider implications of CU’s green legacy.
CU students have been leading a green revolution for more than 40 years. Indeed, on Earth Day 1970 — the first Earth Day — CU students founded the CU Environmental Center. Ever since, succeeding generations of students have been leading the charge for the next green thing. Forty years of leadership.
And 40 years of greener graduates going into the world making a difference; creating wider implications.
This month, the Environmental Center will turn 40 years old. More than ever, students are stepping up to push green initiatives forward. And they know that for all we’ve done in the last 40 years, there’s more to do. Lots more.
And in Boulder — where even the cops are green — we have the capacity to do more. Lots more.
We are blessed with smart people, a legacy of achievement, a culture of green, national research labs, great natural resources like wind and solar, a bunch of scientists, a stronger economy than most places, and reasonably supportive leaders from the locals on up.
And that’s just it: If Boulder can’t get green right, how can we expect other places with less assets to nail it? Indeed, that is Boulder’s responsibility: We must get it right, show the world how to do “sustainability,” how to live green.
We have the wherewithal to do it, so we must.
Those are the wider implications of Boulder’s “One Simple Thing.”
Dave Newport is the director of CU’s Environmental Center.