Sustainability in the Digital World

Sustainability. It a word I basically can’t get through my day at Oberlin without hearing, much less without using. But what really is sustainability? A lot of different people are going to answer that in a lot of different ways, and they’d probably all be right. That’s the problem with language sometimes–when we try to condense concepts and ideas into words, they often become trivialized, and lose their original meaning.

But sustainability is one thing we shouldn’t lose sight of. In our increasingly developed world, as we seem to be moving further and further from nature, the voices of those calling for a sort of “natural-reneissance” are gaining volume. And yet, “sustainability” still seems to be this nebulous, multi-faceted thing that people are working towards. We all know that it’s important, that it’s something we should be trying to incorporate into our lives, but oftentimes its perceived intangibility keeps us from making our best effort.

That’s where an unlikely ally comes in: technology. Nature and technology may seem like opposing forces in our lives, but they can actually be a really powerful duo. Technology brings us to parts of the world that we’d never ordinarily be able to visit, and allows us to communicate with the rest of the globe instantly. Most importantly, technology lets us share anything, anytime.

My job with the OES is all about utilizing technology to help foster sustainability here at Oberlin, and beyond. Some things are simple: I keep the website up-to-date so that everyone has access to accurate information, I update the Twitter and the Facebook to get the word out about events happening on campus. It goes so much deeper than that though. Through this information–simple text and pictures–I’m helping people connect to sustainability in a substantial way. Sharing eco-tips, inviting people to learn more by attending talks, posting pictures of student activists, squirrels in Tappan, smiling community members at the farmer’s market–these are some of the things that come to mind when I think of sustainability, and I’m so glad that I have the opportunity to share them with you.

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of sustainability? Share it with us in a comment below!

Thanks for listening!

-Mae Kate Campbell, Communications and Web-Initiatives Intern

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