The Bahamas #8: Final Reflections on Sustainability

For 1 week, 12 students traveled to the Cape Eleuthera Institute to explore the marine ecosystems of Eleuthera while deepening their understanding of the realities and challenges of sustainability. Below are excerpts from the students’ final reflections on sustainability. 

Jill O’Connor ’19

To practice sustainability at home, I am going to take shorter showers, and be more mindful of the plastic and trash that I use. At Deerfield, I want to try and make the community more aware of how harmful plastic and trash can be. In terms of traveling, I want to practice ecotourism, and just be more aware in general. Instead of going to the restaurant that serves that area’s endangered species, I’ll go to the restaurant that serves lionfish. In general I want to be more aware and make decisions every day that might be beneficial to the environment (or at least not harm it).

Selena Martineau ’19

Sustainability means…maintaining resources to supply and satisfy the current generation while maintaining sufficient supply for future generations. This would require the protection of the environment and reflecting on the resources we utilize.

I will try to include 60 seconds showers to minimize my water usage. As well, I will be aware of my plastic usage and minimize the plastic I use. I can continue to use reusable materials such as my water bottle and my bag.

Dominique Whitney ’19 on ideas to practice sustainability…

  • Shorter showers
  • Turning off the lights when they aren’t necessary
  • Not wasting food
  • Trying to find sustainable hotels/giving back to communities you travel to
  • Solar and wind energy
  • Not using plastic bags or other single stream plastics
  • Recycle
  • Pick up trash outside

Sarah Wright ’20 on what is sustainability

Sustainability is finding ways to provide for the needs of current generation while leaving sufficient resources for the next. When using sustainable practices, you need to consider 3 pillars: 1. society, 2. economy, 3. the environment. To be as sustainable as possible you need to find a balance, like a venn diagram, that provides all 3 pillars.

Kevin Gu ’18 on ideas to practice sustainability…

  • Water usage: showers, tooth brushing, washing hands
  • Reduce plastic use: through re-usable water bottles
  • Stop shipping things as much
  • Reduce food waste in the dining hall

Josh Stevens ’18

Sustainability as a person, student, young-adult starts with us. We first have to accept the challenge of being proactive with out decisions in what we do. Being sustainable can be hard to do at first…As a student at DA, I can definitely spread the word of sustainability, because it is something that I am aware of and it is all around us. We can’t get away from it. I can now be proactive in my decision making towards how much food I eat and how much I throw away. This was an amazing trip and I can say I successfully figured out how to be a good human and we just need to put it into play.

Morgane Dackiw ’19

At Deerfield, I think what we do well sustainability-wise is buying from local places for food to decrease our carbon footprint. However, I now see much clearer how much food is wasted. Even though some gets composted, a lot of it goes to landfill. With the abundance of food comes even more waste in forms of plastic, paper, cardboard, botttles…Even though a lot of it gets recycled, a lot doesn’t which ends up in landfills, as well. What needs to be brought to DA is the awareness and mentality of the waste that we way to quickly dispose of.

Melisa Gurkan ’19

At home, I definitely use too many grocery bags. My mom has a reusable big bag that she uses when she goes to the market. Although I use a lot of plastic bags, I also use them as trash bags….Deerfield makes a lot of extra food, and I don’t think they completely throw away all of it, but I am not sure what they would do with it. As a tourist, I will try to reduce the amount of snacks I buy and maybe try to buy in bulks to reduce the amount of plastic waste I create.

Erin Tudryn ’18

A list of things I will do to continue the conversation about sustainability:

  1. Buy/carry reusable utensils
  2. Continue my art and spreading the message about plastic pollution
  3. Email Ms. Creagh to speak at school meeting in order to further spread awareness
  4. Take shorter showers
  5. Research more about the impact of plastics and better understand why they have become so engrained in society
  6. Advocate more for sea turtles, and further my knowledge about them
  7. Being more aware of the plastic I use

Ali Fujiyoshi ’19

Sustainability is providing for the current generations but also leaving the world secure for future generations. The three pillars of economy, society, and environment need to be balanced to nail the sweet-spot of sustainability. [In the future] I will research what materials/resources I will be using as well as keeping the conversation going…and bringing particular awareness to certain things.

Sophie Opler ’19

I really like the idea of a school-wide challenge of carrying around all the plastic waste we produce for a week. I think this would give Deerfield students a greater awareness to the extent of our plastic usage and could hopefully persuade students to decrease the amount of plastic we use on a daily basis. Another program that i think could be relatively simple to put in place would be to eliminate straws on campus. It would be one very small step that could have a significant impact long-term.

Bailyn Pritchett ’19

At Deerfield we need to educate the community about the effects of water use and plastic on the environment. One way which we could do this is by asking the community to take only a one-minute shower for one day and track the decrease in water usage on the Dashboard. We could then present this data as well as information about how water usage can harm the environment at school meeting in order to encourage people to make the decision to decrease their water usage on their own. In terms of plastic, we could ban single-use plastic chips from school meeting. In order to justify this change, we could conduct an experiment where everyone has to carry all of their waste around their waist for the entire day in order to educate our community about the enormous amount of waste we produce daily and encourage use to be more conscious of our plastic usage.