The Crimson White: Environmental Edition, April 2022

The Crimson White’s first Environment Edition explores Tuscaloosa’s environmental challenges and sustainability efforts.

The Crimson White’s first Environment Edition explores Tuscaloosa’s environmental challenges and sustainability efforts.


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THURSDAY, APRIL 21, <strong>2022</strong><br />


CW / Autumn Williams<br />

How Bama Dining fights for food sustainability<br />



In the push toward greater food<br />

sustainability, Bama Dining has<br />

led many of the food sustainability<br />

efforts on campus.<br />

According to the United Nations,<br />

Sustainability is the idea that<br />

something (e.g., agriculture, fishing<br />

or even preparation of food) is done<br />

in a way that is not wasteful of natural<br />

resources and can be continued into<br />

the future without being detrimental<br />

to our environment or health.<br />

Often, the idea of food<br />

sustainability conjures up mental<br />

images of leafy greens, vegan<br />

restaurants or miles of farmland in<br />

the Midwest. While those images are<br />

part of food sustainability, in reality,<br />

food sustainability is so much more<br />

than that. Composting, recycling,<br />

energy efficiency and nutrition each<br />

play a critical role in the overall<br />

production of food sustainability.<br />

Bama Dining has steadily<br />

increased sustainability efforts,<br />

starting with recycling initiatives<br />

in 2006, where they began recycling<br />

plastic and metal as well as<br />

eliminating plastic trays from the<br />

eateries in the UA Student Center’s<br />

food court and dining halls.<br />

In 2009, Bama Dining launched<br />

its pre-consumer composting<br />

program. In this program, pre-<br />

consumer matter such as vegetable<br />

and fruit peels, or green matter, is<br />

delivered directly to the University<br />

of Alabama Arboretum, where it<br />

is mixed with the leaves, or brown<br />

matter, to produce rich compost.<br />

Through the pre-consumer<br />

composting program, Bama Dining<br />

has reduced the impact to the local<br />

landfill, Eagle Bluff Landfill, by over<br />

4,000 pounds per week, which is the<br />

number of pounds picked up from<br />

various dining locations.<br />

However, the COVID-19<br />

pandemic impacted how the<br />

University approached sustainability.<br />

Because of the pandemic, students<br />

were required to take their meals<br />

to go, which necessitated the move<br />

to disposables.<br />

Kristina Patridge, the director<br />

of University dining services,<br />

and Bruce McVeagh, the district<br />

manager of the Bama Dining<br />

administration, said the pandemic<br />

was a major obstacle in the efforts<br />

toward food sustainability. <strong>The</strong><br />

initiatives surrounding food<br />

sustainability on campus were put<br />

in the back seat, but not forgotten,<br />

as the administration tried to feed<br />

thousands of students.<br />

As time has passed, Bama Dining’s<br />

efforts toward food sustainability<br />

have experienced steady progress.<br />

<strong>The</strong> University of Alabama<br />

releases annual recycling statistics<br />

reports, which break down the types<br />

and amounts of materials that UA<br />

Recycling processes.<br />

In those reports, Bama Dining’s<br />

recycling profile is divided into<br />

pounds of compost and pounds of<br />

grease. In the 2015 to 2016 recycling<br />

report, 1,555 pounds of compost<br />

were delivered to the Arboretum,<br />

while there were 87,476 pounds of<br />

grease used.<br />

Fast forward to the 2020 to 2021<br />

annual recycling report: 17,930<br />

pounds of compost were delivered to<br />

the Arboretum and 25,869 pounds<br />

of grease were used.<br />

In essence, more fruits and<br />

vegetables were consumed, and less<br />

grease was used for cooking.<br />

“Bama Dining guests have<br />

requested more fruits and vegetables,<br />

and Bama Dining has responded<br />

to those requests,” Patridge said.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re were also more venues<br />

constructed that do not include<br />

fried foods.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> issue of food sustainability<br />

also includes how sustainably those<br />

foods are prepared in terms of<br />

energy system usage. Bama Dining<br />

has directed efforts toward the study<br />

of sustainable energy usage in the<br />

dining options on campus.<br />

Bama Dining has spearheaded<br />

the installation of the ultra-efficient<br />

kitchen hood systems manufactured<br />

by Melink. <strong>The</strong>se kitchen hoods<br />

possess the highest energy<br />

efficiency and filter air and smoke<br />

to ultimately create a cleaner and<br />

safer environment that promotes<br />

healthier cooking practices.<br />

In addition to this, they’ve<br />

introduced energy-efficient oven<br />

systems. On-campus dining places<br />

such as the Fresh Food Company,<br />

Panda Express and Chick-fil-A<br />

have started utilizing these energyefficient<br />

cooking systems.<br />

<strong>The</strong> benefits of these systems are<br />

twofold: <strong>The</strong> environment benefits<br />

due to less gaseous pollutants and<br />

less energy waste, and the consumer<br />

benefits with healthier and<br />

safer food.<br />

Bama Dining is interested in<br />

the shift toward more vegetarian<br />

and vegan options on campus. At<br />

Lakeside Dining Hall, there are stirfry<br />

options and grilled vegetable<br />

options daily, as well as pho and<br />

other bowls offered at Glutinvs<br />

Minimvs. At Fresh Food Company,<br />

there is a dedicated vegetarian<br />

station with various grain bowls,<br />

hummus, crudités and a vegetable<br />

soup option daily.<br />

McVeagh said that in the past,<br />

most of the options for on-campus<br />

dining were limited in terms of<br />

vegetarian and vegan selections.<br />

Now, it is becoming increasingly<br />

more common to see vegetarian<br />

and vegan meat alternatives such<br />

as burgers, sausages and more<br />

as the efforts continue to reduce<br />

meat consumption.<br />

SEE PAGE 4A<br />


1B<br />

Bama<br />


Bug Fest<br />

spotlights the<br />

importance<br />

of insects<br />

3B<br />

NEWS<br />

Meet the campus<br />

organizations<br />

advocating for the<br />

environment<br />


Now Open!<br />

Visit sheltonstate.edu to apply and register!<br />

It is the policy of the Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees and Shelton State Community College, a postsecondary institution under its control, that no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin,<br />

religion, marital status, disability, gender, age, or any other protected class as defined by federal and state law, be excluded from participation, denied benefits, or subjected to discrimination under any program, activity, or employment.<br />

5B<br />


<strong>Environmental</strong> justice<br />

is for everyone, and it<br />

cannot be ignoredw

2A<br />


<strong>April</strong> 21, <strong>2022</strong><br />


editor-in-chief<br />

managing editor<br />

engagement editor<br />

chief copy editor<br />

opinions editor<br />

news editor<br />

assistant news editor<br />

culture editor<br />

assistant culture editor<br />

sports editor<br />

assistant sports editor<br />

chief page editor<br />

chief graphics editor<br />

photo editor<br />

multimedia editor<br />

Keely Brewer<br />

editor@cw.ua.edu<br />

Bhavana Ravala<br />

managingeditor@cw.ua.edu<br />

Garrett Kennedy<br />

engagement@cw.ua.edu<br />

Jack Maurer<br />

Ava Fisher<br />

letters@cw.ua.edu<br />

Zach Johnson<br />

newsdesk@cw.ua.edu<br />

Isabel Hope<br />

Jeffrey Kelly<br />

culture@cw.ua.edu<br />

Annabelle Blomeley<br />

Ashlee Woods<br />

sports@cw.ua.edu<br />

Robert Cortez<br />

Pearl Langley<br />

Autumn Williams<br />

Lexi Hall<br />

Alex Miller<br />


creative services Alyssa Sons<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Crimson</strong> Wh is the community newspaper of<br />

<strong>The</strong> University of Alabama. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Crimson</strong> <strong>White</strong> is an<br />

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<strong>The</strong> <strong>Crimson</strong> <strong>White</strong>, Copyright © <strong>2022</strong><br />

by <strong>The</strong> <strong>Crimson</strong> <strong>White</strong>. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Crimson</strong> <strong>White</strong> is printed<br />

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Tap in with CW!<br />

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ACROSS:<br />

1. It might be taken au lait<br />

5. Big name in K-pop<br />

6. Plastic wrap brand<br />

8. Ratón hunter, maybe<br />

9. Vision orbs<br />

DOWN:<br />

1. Not trans<br />

2. “<strong>The</strong> squeaky wheel gets<br />

the grease,” for one<br />

3. Incursion<br />

4. Make giddy<br />

7. Firm refusals<br />

All material contained herein, except advertising or<br />

where indicated otherwise, is Copyright © <strong>2022</strong> by<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Crimson</strong> <strong>White</strong> and protected under the “Work<br />

Made for Hire” and “Periodical Publication” categories<br />

of the U.S. copyright laws. Material herein may not be<br />

reprinted without the expressed, written permission<br />

of <strong>The</strong> <strong>Crimson</strong> <strong>White</strong>.<br />


For crossword answers see page 4B<br />

Legally<br />

Blonde the<br />

Musical<br />

Marian Gallaway<br />

<strong>The</strong>atre<br />

21<br />

Earth Day<br />

DIY Event<br />

22 26<br />

UA Student Center<br />

Lawn 11 AM<br />

Al’s Pals<br />

Tabling<br />

UA Student<br />

Center Plaza<br />

29<br />

Last Day<br />

of Classes<br />

2<br />

Finals Week<br />

May 2nd - 6th<br />

6<br />

Spring <strong>2022</strong><br />

Graduation<br />

Coleman Coliseum<br />

CW / Wesley Picard<br />

Instagram: @thecrimsonwhite Facebook: @<strong>The</strong><strong>Crimson</strong><strong>White</strong> Twitter: @<strong>The</strong><strong>Crimson</strong><strong>White</strong><br />



Together, we’ve collected 8,000 books for<br />

children in Alabama’s Black Belt!<br />

Sponsors Include: <strong>The</strong> Blount Scholars Program, UA College of<br />

Communication and Information Sciences, UA Honors College, UA<br />

Museums, UA Student Government Association, the Tuscaloosa<br />

Public Library and Vestavia Hills High School in Alabama.<br />

uaced.ua.edu/books-for-the-black-belt<br />

Questions? Contact Sally Brown 205-348-8344 or uced@ua.edu


<strong>April</strong> 21, <strong>2022</strong><br />

3A<br />

CW File<br />

OUR VIEW: Sustainability isn’t simple<br />


All those in the conversation<br />

surrounding<br />

environmental<br />

sustainability are familiar with a<br />

common phrase: “Everyone can do<br />

their part!” From taking shorter<br />

showers to carpooling to work to<br />

reducing the use of single-use plastics,<br />

there is no shortage of advice on<br />

how individuals can, and must, stop<br />

contributing to climate change.<br />

This kind of advice, while wellintentioned,<br />

places the responsibility<br />

of saving the world on overworked and<br />

busy individuals that are attempting to<br />

manage both their finances and their<br />

time. For college students, this burden<br />

of environmental responsibility<br />

represents just one more thing on<br />

their busy schedules. Between classes<br />

and extracurriculars, they are tasked<br />

with preventing ecological disasters.<br />

<strong>Environmental</strong> sustainability isn’t<br />

a simple achievement or a few boxes<br />

to check off and disregard. Rather, it<br />

is an evolving attitude that one must<br />

embody. <strong>The</strong>re is no definitive way<br />

to be “environmentally sustainable.”<br />

Instead, college students and citizens<br />

alike must examine every aspect<br />

of their lives and surroundings.<br />

In adopting a comprehensive view<br />

of sustainability, we may one day<br />

enact change.<br />

Individual decisions<br />

College students make countless<br />

decisions every day that either<br />

contribute to or harm the cause<br />

of environmental sustainability.<br />

Regardless of our awareness of our<br />

impact, we are actively shaping the<br />

earth for the next generation. Through<br />

simply increasing our knowledge<br />

about these decisions, we may begin<br />

to ensure they advance the cause of<br />

environmental sustainability, one<br />

move at a time.<br />

Food<br />

College students may find it difficult<br />

to navigate dining halls while on a<br />

specialized diet. While dining halls<br />

may boast some vegan- and vegetarianfriendly<br />

options, these options are<br />

often rather limited compared to their<br />

nonvegan counterparts.<br />

Take, for example, Ithaca college,<br />

who boasts an A-plus rating for<br />

vegan dining hall options. Despite<br />

the recognition, options are severely<br />

limited, repetitive and lower quality.<br />

While the most recognized institutions<br />

fall behind the curve, the rest struggle<br />

to implement basic menu choices.<br />

This leaves most vegan students in a<br />

double bind: they can either search<br />

for sustainable alternatives or eat<br />

repetitive, unhealthy vegan options<br />

that do not satisfy basic dietary needs.<br />

<strong>The</strong>n there’s our campus.<br />

Despite efforts to include vegan<br />

accommodations, marginalized<br />

dietary needs often remain outside<br />

the scope. Student interviews last<br />

year exposed dining hall options to<br />

be severely limiting for students with<br />

religious or moral dietary restrictions.<br />

In addition to most vegan options being<br />

processed and sodium-filled, students<br />

find themselves “hodgepodging a few<br />

sides together” to make a meal. While<br />

most students in these situations turn<br />

to mobile ordering or other means,<br />

it remains difficult to find accessible<br />

limited diet options at dining halls.<br />

Clothing<br />

In addition to sustainable eating,<br />

college students are faced with<br />

another environmental challenge:<br />

sustainable fashion.<br />

College students are especially<br />

prone to engage in fast fashion, or<br />

rapidly produced clothing to follow<br />

evolving trends. In the age of social<br />

media and market trends, fashion<br />

represents social capital. When this is<br />

the case, it is understandable that the<br />

average college student may navigate<br />

toward Shein for their next date party.<br />

Doing so is a quick and inexpensive<br />

way to ensure that students feel<br />

confident and comfortable on their<br />

night out.<br />

However, college students must<br />

examine their own consumption<br />

habits if society is to see an end<br />

to the environmental degradation<br />

and human rights abuses inflicted<br />

by fast fashion, an industry that<br />

accounts for one-tenth of the water<br />

used by industries that produce and<br />

clean products.<br />

This is easier said than done. Truly<br />

sustainable fashion presents a higher<br />

cost of clothing due to its value of<br />

labor, sourcing and transparency.<br />

Students can instead seek to be more<br />

sustainable in their clothing choices<br />

by simply becoming more mindful<br />

of them. This may look like reducing<br />

consumption itself: Next time you’re<br />

buying a dress for that one formal,<br />

ask yourself if you already have one<br />

that would suffice. Go thrifting<br />

with a new friend and turn it into a<br />

day out. Support local businesses<br />

around Tuscaloosa.<br />

Though these choices may appear<br />

insignificant, we must recognize the<br />

value of our “dollar”. Corporations will<br />

continue to pollute our environment<br />

as long as we let them. It’s time to<br />

show them that their consumers value<br />

ethical practices.<br />

Activism<br />

Though individual decisions are<br />

undoubtedly meaningful to the cause<br />

of environmental sustainability,<br />

they cannot exist in isolation. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

must be coupled with systemic and<br />

lasting change.<br />

If one goes to a campus Starbucks,<br />

this kind of change is evident. Due to<br />

a decision in <strong>April</strong> 2019, all Starbucks<br />

are phasing out plastic straws and<br />

navigating toward paper and wooden<br />

utensils. This action represents<br />

just one in the “anti-plastic straw”<br />

trend that is sweeping the globe.<br />

However, this trend reflects a flaw in<br />

placing the burden of environmental<br />

sustainability choices. National<br />

Geographic has revealed that plastic<br />

straws make up just 0.025% of the<br />

plastic found in oceans every year.<br />

When consumers are told they’re<br />

morally reprehensible for using straws<br />

by the same companies responsible<br />

for ecological disasters, it is easy to<br />

become jaded. A 2017 report by CDP<br />

revealed that just 100 companies are<br />

responsible for over 70% of carbon<br />

emissions. How can the average<br />

college student compete with figures<br />

such as these?<br />

<strong>The</strong> feelings of fear and despair that<br />

often result from this helplessness in<br />

the face of ecological destruction are<br />

known as climate anxiety, and they<br />

are plaguing young people at alarming<br />

rates. In the face of climate anxiety,<br />

college students have a powerful<br />

tool: activism.<br />

As young people, our voice carries<br />

weight. We have the opportunity to<br />

influence the world our children will<br />

grow up in, the world of the next<br />

generation. One needs only to look at<br />

examples such as Greta Thunberg or<br />

Vic Barrett or countless other youth<br />

activists to understand that we have<br />

the power to change our surroundings.<br />

With the Clean Water Act under<br />

threat by the Supreme Court,<br />

environmental concerns are more<br />

relevant than ever. It’s time for<br />

college students to act. Do the<br />

research. Educate yourselves on<br />

local environmental concerns. Find<br />

an environmental bill you support<br />

and call your representative about it.<br />

Though these actions may not seem<br />

monumental now, they surely will in<br />

the future.<br />

Here at home<br />

While environmental sustainability<br />

may be an elusive goal, it is a goal<br />

worth pursuing. We don’t have to wait<br />

to enter the “real world” to advocate<br />

for a healthier world. We can start<br />

now, in our own communities.<br />

To support environmental<br />

sustainability on campus, college<br />

students simply need to start<br />

conversations on the environmental<br />

impact around them. In doing so,<br />

students will surely find that every<br />

aspect of campus could be improved<br />

toward the cause of environmental<br />

sustainability. From our dining hall<br />

practices to the water used to maintain<br />

the Quad, environmental impact is all<br />

around us. It’s up to us to pay attention<br />

to it.<br />

If you have a concern about<br />

environmental sustainability<br />

on campus, address it! Consult<br />

organizations such as the<br />

<strong>Environmental</strong> Council. Arrange<br />

meetings with administration. While<br />

you may not see immediate results,<br />

but you will change this campus<br />

simply by bringing attention to<br />

overlooked issues.<br />

Instead of demonizing someone<br />

else’s consumption choices or giving<br />

up in the face of a complex world, view<br />

environmental sustainability as a life’s<br />

endeavor. We simply cannot make<br />

every ethical and mindful decision all<br />

the time. Together, however, we can<br />

start a revolution.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Crimson</strong> <strong>White</strong> Editorial Board is composed of Editorin-Chief<br />

Keely Brewer, Managing Editor Bhavana Ravala,<br />

Engagement Editor Garrett Kennedy, Chief Copy Editor Jack<br />

Maurer and Opinions Editor Ava Fisher.

4A<br />


<strong>April</strong> 21, <strong>2022</strong><br />


As Bama Dining continues its<br />

efforts to reduce meat consumption<br />

and increase vegetarian and vegan<br />

options, the administration has<br />

sought to purchase products locally<br />

in the name of sustainability. As<br />

stated on the Bama Dining website,<br />

all Bama Dining managers are<br />

required to purchase locally grown<br />

and produced products whenever<br />

available.<br />

Bama Dining receives its locally<br />

sourced produce from FreshPoint.<br />

Bread is purchased from the local<br />

Flowers Bakery in Tuscaloosa, and<br />

milk is purchased from the local<br />

Dairy Fresh distributor.<br />

In addition to the local food<br />

purchasing, Bama Dining also<br />

provides fair trade coffee. Fair trade<br />

coffee must meet strict international<br />

criteria, provide credit to farmers and<br />

give technical assistance to farmers.<br />

“Regulations and the high<br />

demand for resources make it nearly<br />

impossible to partner with a local<br />

farm, but produce does come from<br />

local producers,” McVeagh said.<br />

Due to the high volume of students<br />

at <strong>The</strong> University of Alabama, a local<br />

farm would not be able to sustain the<br />

food needs on campus. As a result,<br />

locally sourced produce is received<br />

from FreshPoint, which is North<br />

America’s largest wholly owned<br />

produce distributor.<br />

While it remains to be seen<br />

whether a local farm partnership is<br />

in Bama Dining’s future, for now, the<br />

administration plans to continue its<br />

efforts to purchase local.<br />

<strong>The</strong> principal obstacle that<br />

Bama Dining faces in its food<br />

sustainability efforts is the funds<br />

that are needed to be<br />

sustainable.<br />

Patridge and<br />

McVeagh said<br />

that due to the size<br />

of Alabama’s campus,<br />

it takes a significant<br />

amount of resources to<br />

be sustainable. With a<br />

campus of nearly 40,000<br />

students, Bama Dining has the<br />

responsibility of feeding a small<br />

city, so to speak. <strong>Environmental</strong>ly<br />

sustainable resources and products<br />

are generally more expensive than<br />

their unsustainable counterparts.<br />

McVeagh and Patridge said<br />

another obstacle is students’ lack<br />

of engagement in reducing food<br />

waste. Food sustainability is just as<br />

much about proper disposal as it is<br />

production and consumption.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y said the first step toward<br />

furthering the cause of food<br />

sustainability on campus begins with<br />

awareness.<br />

<strong>The</strong> efforts ideally need to be<br />

student-led, such as with student<br />

ambassadors. <strong>The</strong> students are the<br />

force behind <strong>The</strong> University of<br />

Alabama’s campus, and the fight for<br />

food sustainability is no exception.<br />

Being mindful of recycling and<br />

putting trash in the correct place<br />

are small things that ultimately can<br />

make a difference.<br />

<strong>The</strong> University of Alabama<br />

<strong>Environmental</strong> Council understands<br />

how difficult it is<br />

to live<br />

CW / Autumn Williams<br />

sustainably on campus, especially<br />

as a freshman living in the dorms.<br />

However, students can still actively<br />

participate in sustainable practices<br />

despite challenging circumstances.<br />

“We are actively working to<br />

improve the sustainability on<br />

campus, whether it be through<br />

recycling practices, working with<br />

Bama Dining to reduce the amount<br />

of plastic in the dining halls, and,<br />

hopefully, to start a community<br />

garden on campus. If you are truly<br />

passionate for sustainability, it’s the<br />

place to be,” said Megan Neville,<br />

the co-director of social media for<br />

the organization and a freshman<br />

majoring in hospitality management.<br />

In addition, the <strong>Environmental</strong><br />

Council provides other ways in which<br />

students can become<br />

involved in the efforts<br />

towards sustainability.<br />

“Other ways students<br />

can engage in sustainable<br />

practices on<br />

campus is to<br />

bring their<br />

own reusable<br />

utensils to the<br />

dining halls,<br />

use reusable<br />

bags at the<br />

grocery stores,<br />

ditch plastic water<br />

bottles for a reusable<br />

one, carpool or utilize<br />

the <strong>Crimson</strong> Ride buses,<br />

and consider reducing<br />

their meat and animal<br />

product consumption. It may<br />

seem silly to suggest such small,<br />

simple things, but once you start<br />

doing a few of them, your impact<br />

truly adds up,” Neville said.<br />

McVeagh brought up the shopping<br />

cart model that the grocery store<br />

Aldi utilizes and how it represents,<br />

in his view, the ideal model of food<br />

sustainability. In this model, Aldi<br />

shoppers pay 25 cents to use carts,<br />

and then, when they return the cart,<br />

they receive their deposit back.<br />

Such a model represents how<br />

consumers should treat the<br />

environment with respect, and<br />

this idea is the foundation for food<br />

sustainability. Without a healthy<br />

environment, food sustainability<br />

cannot thrive.<br />

Economic and environmental health are compatible<br />



Charles Scribner, the executive<br />

director of the Black Warrior<br />

Riverkeeper, a local chapter of the<br />

national Waterkeeper movement, said<br />

politicians should not make it seem as<br />

if economic health is incompatible with<br />

environmental health.<br />

Nearly 67% of adults in the United<br />

States believe the government is not<br />

doing enough to control climate change<br />

according to a 2019 Pew Research<br />

Center study.<br />

In a recent press release, the United<br />

Nations Intergovernmental Panel<br />

on Climate Change warned that<br />

inaction regarding the environment<br />

and climate will pave the way for<br />

future disaster.<br />

“To avoid mounting loss of life,<br />

biodiversity and infrastructure,<br />

ambitious, accelerated action is<br />

required to adapt to climate change, at<br />

the same time as making rapid, deep<br />

cuts in greenhouse gas emissions,” the<br />

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate<br />

Change wrote.<br />

While the report said the<br />

infrastructure and tools necessary to<br />

combat climate change are presently<br />

available, and the world could halve<br />

emissions by the year 2030, emissions<br />

must peak by the year 2025 to keep<br />

global warming under 1.5 degrees<br />

Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, a<br />

threshold for continuing on with a<br />

comfortable life.<br />

CW / Shelby West<br />

"When politicians say or imply<br />

that folks must choose between the<br />

environment and the economy, that is a<br />

false choice,” Scribner said. “According<br />

to the Outdoor Industry Association,<br />

outdoor recreation is a multibilliondollar<br />

industry for Alabama every<br />

year. Degrading Alabama's beautiful<br />

waterways and land will diminish public<br />

participation in recreation, harming our<br />

environment and economy together."<br />

In 2020, the Bureau of Economic<br />

Analysis reported that outdoor<br />

recreation makes up 1.8% of the United<br />

States gross domestic product, at a little<br />

over $370 billion.<br />

In 2020, the Outdoor Industry<br />

Association reported that income<br />

from outdoor recreation in Alabama<br />

is similar to that of the national level,<br />

coming in at around 1.9% of the states<br />

gross domestic product, hovering just<br />

below $4 billion.<br />

Ellen Griffith Spears, a New College<br />

associate professor with a specialty in<br />

environmental history, said the state<br />

could be doing more in terms of the<br />

environment, especially in comparison<br />

with its history.<br />

"In the early 1970s, Alabama passed<br />

one of the tougher environmental<br />

laws in the southern states. ... It<br />

added more significant fines for<br />

violations than many of its neighbors,"<br />

Spears said.<br />

According to the Encyclopedia of<br />

Alabama, the laws covered solid waste<br />

disposal, air and water pollution, safe<br />

water and surface mining reclamation,<br />

and hazardous waste legislation.<br />

"It's possible, and there's a lot more<br />

leadership that could be shown at the<br />

state level, both legislatively from<br />

the executive branch, and from<br />

the regulatory agency that<br />

handles it," Spears said.<br />

According to an<br />

article by the American<br />

Bar Association,<br />

in Uniontown,<br />

Alabama, residents<br />

have been<br />

fighting against<br />

environmental<br />

injustice for<br />

decades. <strong>The</strong><br />

town, which<br />

is 93% Black<br />

and has 40% of<br />

its population<br />

living under<br />

the poverty line,<br />

fought and lost<br />

a 2007 battle<br />

against a landfill<br />

permit allowing<br />

33 states to bring<br />

toxic pollution and<br />

coal ash into the<br />

area. Since then, the<br />

Arrowhead Landfill<br />

continues to alter<br />

the health and lives of<br />

the residents.<br />

According to the article,<br />

Uniontown is considered a victim<br />

of environmental injustice and still<br />

“urgently needs attention at local, state<br />

and federal levels.” In other parts of<br />

Alabama, some local officials have been<br />

taking note of the current environmental<br />

crises and their effects.<br />

Selected as a welcome speaker for the<br />

American Water Resources Association<br />

<strong>2022</strong> Spring Conference, Maddox has<br />

been nationally recognized due to his<br />

response to the 2011 Tuscaloosa tornado,<br />

which killed 53 people and injured<br />

1,200 more.<br />

Extreme weather events like<br />

tornadoes are set only to increase in<br />

both magnitude and occurrence if the<br />

climate is not put under control.<br />

When politicians say or<br />

imply that folks must<br />

choose between the<br />

environment and the<br />

economy that is a<br />

false choice.<br />



Maddox has committed himself and<br />

the city of Tuscaloosa to environmental<br />

stewardship; after the 2011 tornado, the<br />

city doubled down on recycling.<br />

Under Maddox’s lead, Tuscaloosa<br />

has worked to protect lakes Nicol<br />

and Harris, created an environmental<br />

coordinator position to make sure<br />

the city follows the law and improved<br />

its stormwater management system,<br />

winning the city an award from<br />

the Water Environment Federation<br />

in 2015.<br />

In 2007, Maddox signed the U.S.<br />

Conference of Mayors’ Climate<br />

Protection Agreement, which vows to<br />

reduce carbon emissions along with<br />

other climate protective measures.<br />

While at the time Tuscaloosa was<br />

making strides in using cleaner energy<br />

sources for vehicles and more efficient<br />

lighting, it is unclear if the city has kept<br />

up these efforts to fight climate change,<br />

although Tuscaloosa still remains on the<br />

agreements’ 2019 list of signatories.<br />

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has shown<br />

skepticism when it comes to the<br />

bureaucratic nature of government<br />

aid for the environment. In 2017,<br />

she disbanded the Alabama Water<br />

Agencies Working Group, which<br />

was established in 2012 to create a<br />

water plan for the state of Alabama<br />

and was supported by nearly 80% of<br />

Alabama voters.<br />

Although dictated by state code, the<br />

Alabama Department of <strong>Environmental</strong><br />

Management is managed by a small,<br />

independent board, leading many<br />

environmentalists inside the state to<br />

believe there should be more state<br />

involvement.<br />

With this oversight by the state,<br />

environmental stewardship once again<br />

falls into the hands of concerned<br />

citizens. This is the type of work<br />

Waterkeeper organizations across the<br />

country do, including the local branch,<br />

Black Warrior Riverkeeper.<br />

Scribner said this year is the 50th<br />

Anniversary of the Clean Water Act,<br />

a federal statute that Black Warrior<br />

Riverkeeper uses frequently to hold<br />

polluters accountable in the Black<br />

Warrior River watershed.<br />

“When Congress passed the Clean<br />

Water Act in 1972, they wisely included<br />

citizen enforcement provisions because<br />

they realized that local, state or federal<br />

government agencies may not always be<br />

as interested or effective as citizen-based<br />

organizations, such as Waterkeepers, in<br />

addressing Clean Water Act violations,”<br />

Scribner said.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Black Warrior Riverkeeper<br />

website has resources available for<br />

concerned citizens to reach out to<br />

elected officials and find environmental<br />

agencies and events.<br />

“Additionally, elected officials are<br />

often swayed by receiving multiple<br />

messages from citizens requesting<br />

various forms of environmental action,”<br />

Scribner said.<br />

Spears said taking environmental<br />

action and weighing the truth of<br />

politicians’ promises and claims are<br />

important steps for citizens interested<br />

in making change.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> environmental movement has<br />

been active with groups like the League<br />

of Conservation Voters and making<br />

sure that people understand where<br />

various candidates might lie in terms of<br />

their perspective on the issues. And so<br />

making sure that we have full access to<br />

voting is really an environmental issue,<br />

because we want to make sure that<br />

popular opinions about conservation do<br />

get reflected in governance,” Spears said.<br />

This sort of activism is not blindly<br />

encouraged; Spears said results have<br />

been achieved through this sort of<br />

participation, and in Alabama no less.<br />

Amber Buck, the co-leader of the<br />

Tuscaloosa Chapter of the Citizens<br />

Climate Lobby, said the organization<br />

strides toward education in<br />

these fields.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>y [Citizens Climate Lobby]<br />

train folks on how to lobby members<br />

of Congress as citizens and how to use<br />

various tools to convince members of<br />

Congress that this is a particular issue<br />

that constituents are concerned for ...<br />

and then also trying to raise awareness<br />

around people in terms of climate<br />

change issues,” Buck said.<br />

Spears and Buck both mentioned<br />

the importance of voting with the<br />

environment in mind, as marginalized<br />

and poor communities both generate<br />

less of a response from environmental<br />

agencies and will deal with the effects<br />

of environmental issues more than<br />

their wealthier counterparts. By<br />

voting in local and national elections,<br />

Americans can make change for<br />

the environment.


<strong>April</strong> 21, <strong>2022</strong><br />

5A<br />


Now Open!<br />

Visit sheltonstate.edu to apply and register!<br />

It is the policy of the Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees and Shelton State Community College, a postsecondary institution under its control, that no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion,<br />

marital status, disability, gender, age, or any other protected class as defined by federal and state law, be excluded from participation, denied benefits, or subjected to discrimination under any program, activity, or employment.

6A<br />


<strong>April</strong> 21, <strong>2022</strong>


<strong>April</strong> 21, <strong>2022</strong><br />


highlights the importance of insects<br />

1B<br />

A student volunteer cradles a praying mantis, one of the many bugs available for<br />

observation at the Bama Bug Fest. CW / Natalie Teat<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>2022</strong> Bama Bug Fest was held inside of the Alabama Museum of Natural<br />

History, located next to Gorgas Library on campus. CW / Natalie Teat<br />



<strong>The</strong> Alabama Museum of Natural<br />

History might best be known for its<br />

60-foot ancient whale skeleton, a<br />

wooly mammoth skull and the Hodges<br />

meteorite. But on <strong>April</strong> 9, the museum<br />

hosted a festival of dinosauric<br />

proportions in the celebration of some<br />

not-so-dinosaur-sized creatures.<br />

Bama Bug Fest celebrates the insects<br />

and bugs that shape our environment<br />

and make big impacts despite their<br />

size. With thousands of attendees<br />

in the span of just four hours, Bama<br />

Bug Fest filled all three floors of the<br />

Alabama Museum of Natural History.<br />

Volunteers on the first floor handed<br />

out maps and flyers while ushering<br />

attendees up the grand staircase.<br />

On the second floor, Flow<br />

Tuscaloosa had a lantern-making<br />

space with insect cutouts and markers<br />

for attendees to decorate their own<br />

lanterns, which will be lit during a<br />

parade at the Tuscaloosa Riverwalk<br />

on May 21. Across the way, <strong>The</strong><br />

University of Alabama Fashion<br />

Archive had a display about insects<br />

in fashion, particularly focusing on<br />

silkworms and cochineals.<br />

<strong>The</strong> vast majority of<br />

insects have nothing to<br />

do with us, other than<br />

[that] the planet that<br />

we live on would not<br />

survive if there weren’t<br />

insects in the way that<br />

we know it.<br />


<strong>The</strong> third floor had insect artists,<br />

worms, bees and microscopes for<br />

attendees to get up close and personal.<br />

Bama Bug Fest had a little something<br />

for everyone. <strong>The</strong> University of<br />

Alabama Department of <strong>The</strong>atre<br />

and Dance projected bug drawings<br />

onto the wall and the West Alabama<br />

Beekeepers Association showed off a<br />

live beehive. A booth on entomophagy<br />

taught people how to cook food<br />

with bugs.<br />

“Everyone has a fascination with<br />

insects,” said Kendra Abbott, the<br />

research and outreach coordinator<br />

for the Alabama Museum of Natural<br />

History and an ecologist. “It may<br />

not always be a positive fascination<br />

or an appreciation. It might be more<br />

that they’re scared or intrigued, but<br />

everyone has a fascination with them.<br />

And more often than not, people<br />

really want to learn about them.”<br />

John Abbott, the chief curator and<br />

director of research and collections<br />

at the Alabama Museum of Natural<br />

History, became interested in insects<br />

after his father, who was also a<br />

scientist, exposed him to them at a<br />

young age.<br />

Kendra and John Abbott, who<br />

are married, are no strangers to<br />

celebrating bugs. Before they entered<br />

their positions at the University,<br />

they started an “insect siesta” at<br />

their previous jobs at the University<br />

of Texas. After moving to Alabama,<br />

they wanted to bring their love for<br />

bugs and insects to the Capstone and<br />

greater Alabama area.<br />

“At its crux, we just love to share<br />

our passion for insects, and that’s what<br />

it boils down to,” John Abbott said.<br />

“We can’t take credit for the idea of<br />

an insect festival. <strong>The</strong>re are a number<br />

of these all around the country, and<br />

some of them are substantial. <strong>The</strong><br />

North Carolina Museum of Nature<br />

and Science brings in something like<br />

40,000 people in one day for their<br />

insect festival. Purdue has the Purdue<br />

Bug Bowl, where they bring in more<br />

people than to a football game. ...<br />

<strong>The</strong>re’s not one in Alabama, and we<br />

just see it as an opportunity and a<br />

niche that we could fill.”<br />

Bama Bug Fest started in 2019 with<br />

more than 1,500 people celebrating<br />

the insects. With the 2020 and 2021<br />

Bug Fests held online due to the<br />

COVID-19 pandemic, the Abbotts<br />

hoped that their in-person return<br />

for <strong>2022</strong> would yield big results, and<br />

it did.<br />

Bama Bug Fest has grown in<br />

more than just attendance; more UA<br />

students than ever before have been<br />

helping with the preparations, from<br />

manning bug art stations to taking<br />

care of the bugs during the semester.<br />

Emily Otter, a sophomore majoring<br />

in geology, signed up to work with<br />

UA Museums at Get On Board Day<br />

and has since worked in the “bug<br />

room” in the Alabama Museum of<br />

Natural History.<br />

While the bugs typically stay in<br />

their room during the year unless a<br />

researcher moves them, Bama Bug Fest<br />

gives them the unique opportunity to<br />

be celebrities for a day.<br />

“I think Bug Fest is important just<br />

overall for the University, so we can get<br />

people outside of the college involved<br />

in the science that we’re doing here<br />

and the research that we’re doing here,<br />

and just show what students are doing<br />

and what is happening on campus,<br />

especially for the museum,” Otter said.<br />

Cockroaches, particularly<br />

Madagascar hissing cockroaches,<br />

ruled the day with two events. On the<br />

third floor, volunteers dipped them in<br />

paint and let them walk across a piece<br />

of paper to create bug art for guests.<br />

Here, Otter volunteered to help the<br />

cockroaches paint across the page and<br />

make their artistic mark.<br />

In a second-floor lecture hall, the<br />

cockroaches raced across a miniature<br />

raceway lugging tiny tractors while<br />

four children chosen out of the crowd<br />

tickled them with feathers to get them<br />

to move.<br />

Otter hasn’t always been so keen<br />

to work with bugs though. Before<br />

volunteering at the museum, she said,<br />

she was terrified of them, and she<br />

isn’t alone.<br />

In Chapman University’s Survey<br />

on American Fears, it was found that<br />

nearly 25% of respondents are afraid<br />

of insects or spiders, which is more<br />

than the percentages of people scared<br />

of violent crimes and germs.<br />

Bama Bug Fest<br />

hopes to change<br />

minds just as the<br />

museum changed Otter’s. By getting<br />

up close and personal with the insects<br />

and learning about their diversity, the<br />

Abbotts want to change the way we<br />

interact with bugs.<br />

Kendra Abbott said 75% of the<br />

animals on earth are bugs, with over<br />

5 million species around the world.<br />

Despite the magnitude of insects, only<br />

around 1 million species have been<br />

described and studied.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> No. 1 thing that I would love<br />

people to walk away with is that they<br />

don’t need to kill every bug they see.<br />

Not every bug is a pest,” Kendra Abbott<br />

said. “<strong>The</strong>y’re beneficial, and they do<br />

so many things for us. Take a second<br />

look at that mantid or cockroach that<br />

you see and say, ‘You know what? I’m<br />

okay, I’m good.’”<br />

Kendra Abbott said the biggest<br />

misconception about bugs is that<br />

they're dirty, when they’re actually<br />

constantly cleaning themselves.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> only reason a roach might be<br />

dirty walking across your counters is<br />

if you’ve got dirt on your counters,”<br />

Kendra Abbott said. “<strong>The</strong>y’re only<br />

dirty if you’re dirty.”<br />

To help demonstrate the difference<br />

between good bugs and bad bugs, the<br />

<strong>2022</strong> Bama Bug Fest was sponsored<br />

by Burnum-Hahn Exterminators,<br />

a Tuscaloosa-based, family-owned<br />

business that’s been serving the West<br />

Alabama community since 1946.<br />

Clay Hahn, a vice president and the<br />

third generation at Burnum-Hahn,<br />

said the company joined Bama Bug<br />

Fest to get more involved with the<br />

community and to help the Alabama<br />

Museum of Natural History educate<br />

people about insects.<br />

“We think that everybody should<br />

learn about insects and become aware<br />

of the good and the bad about insects,”<br />

Hahn said. “It’s a time where you can<br />

celebrate insects that are beautiful to<br />

look at, like caterpillars that turn into<br />

butterflies and insects like that, but it’s<br />

also important to be aware of insects<br />

like roaches, mosquitoes and fire ants<br />

that could bring harm to you or any of<br />

your loved ones.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> number one thing<br />

that I would love<br />

people to walk away<br />

with is that they don’t<br />

need to kill every bug<br />

they see. Not every bug<br />

is a pest.<br />

KENDRA<br />

ABBOTT<br />

While some bugs can cause harm,<br />

such as venomous spiders and viruscarrying<br />

mosquitoes, the majority of<br />

bugs stay out of the way.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> vast majority of insects have<br />

nothing to do with us, other than<br />

[that] the planet that we live on would<br />

not survive if there weren’t insects<br />

in the way that we know it. Now if<br />

all of mankind was to disappear, the<br />

planet might, in my opinion, be a<br />

better place. If all of the insects would<br />

disappear, mankind would disappear,”<br />

John Abbott said.<br />

John Abbott said that without bugs,<br />

the economy would suffer too because<br />

bugs save humans $57 billion per year.<br />

From helping leaf litter decompose<br />

and eating dead things to pollinating<br />

plants around the world — which<br />

is done by beetles and butterflies as<br />

well as bees — the world would be<br />

drastically different without insects,<br />

and humans would have a hard time<br />

finding food and generally surviving.<br />

It’s a time where you<br />

can celebrate insects<br />

that are beautiful to<br />

look at, like caterpillars<br />

that turn into butterflies<br />

and insects like that,<br />

but it’s also important<br />

to be aware of insects<br />

like roahes, mosquitoes<br />

and fire ants that could<br />

bring harm to you.<br />


“<strong>The</strong>re’s lots of reasons why insects<br />

are declining: pesticides, climate<br />

change, light pollution,” Kendra<br />

Abbott said. “But there is evidence<br />

to suggest that there is a huge decline<br />

in the abundance of the biomass of<br />

insects globally. ... Again, that’s a<br />

really bad thing.”<br />

Despite bugs suffering from climate<br />

change and environmental problems,<br />

the Abbotts said there are many ways<br />

to help the bug populations.<br />

John Abbott said ditching<br />

monoculture and manicured grass<br />

lawns and instead allowing the<br />

natural flora to prosper is a great<br />

way to help insects in your own yard.<br />

Many homeowner associations have<br />

a minimum amount of space that has<br />

to be made of grass in yards, but by<br />

planting native plants, people can<br />

enable the pollinators to work better<br />

and more effectively.<br />

“It’s a rethinking of ‘What is pretty<br />

or attractive?’” John Abbott said.<br />

“For some people at golf courses, a<br />

homogenous grass line that they cut<br />

is pretty, but that is not very good<br />

for insects. But a meadow of flowers<br />

growing and a bush rolling lawn can<br />

be very attractive in so many different<br />

ways. So it’s just kind of thinking<br />

about it differently that way.”<br />

Whether attendees walked away<br />

from Bama Bug Fest with new<br />

ways to save the endangered insect<br />

populations or with a little less fear of<br />

bugs than they had before, Bama Bug<br />

Fest is happy to give insects their own<br />

special day of celebration.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re is something there for<br />

everybody of all ages: the enamored,<br />

the curious, the fearful, everybody,”<br />

John Abbott said.<br />

CW / Pearl Langley

2B<br />


<strong>April</strong> 21, <strong>2022</strong><br />

Landscaping and grounds staff impact<br />

UA’s natural environment<br />



Year-round, <strong>The</strong> University of<br />

Alabama’s facilities and grounds<br />

employees work to create and maintain<br />

the Capstone’s lush landscape.<br />

From the beds of blooming flowers<br />

that surround various building<br />

entrances to the vibrant green grass<br />

and picturesque trees that cover the<br />

Quad, the scenery around campus<br />

draws in tourists and students<br />

alike. Southern Living highlighted<br />

it as one of “<strong>The</strong> South’s Most<br />

Beautiful Colleges.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> University of Alabama was<br />

named Tree Campus USA for the<br />

seventh consecutive year.<br />

<strong>The</strong> facilities and grounds<br />

department has been ranked the<br />

No. 1 grounds department among<br />

100 universities across the nation<br />

and even received an award for<br />

effective and innovative practices<br />

from the Association of Physical<br />

Plant Administrators.<br />

“We have over 12,000 trees, so it’s a<br />

big deal to take care of our trees and<br />

be recognized for that year in and<br />

year out,” said Bryant Anderson, the<br />

director of the grounds department.<br />

With over 50 species of trees, the<br />

University is home to some that have<br />

been here for over 100 years. Oaks<br />

and magnolias are most prevalent,<br />

while the Chinese pistache trees are<br />

the rarest, gifted by the Queen of<br />

England in the mid-1800s.<br />

We put so much work<br />

in the campus, and it<br />

doesn’t take but one<br />

football game for you<br />

to see where it has<br />

been beaten up.<br />

BRYANT<br />


According to the Arbor Day<br />

Foundation, having a campus<br />

that is dedicated to cultivating an<br />

environment with many trees, flowers<br />

and plants can help absorb carbon<br />

dioxide in the atmosphere, reduce<br />

amounts of energy used on campus,<br />

provide mental health benefits to<br />

students and staff, and encourage<br />

<strong>The</strong> trees on the Quad are part of the collection of over 12,000 trees on the<br />

campus that earned UA the title of Tree Campus USA for the seventh consecutive<br />

year.CW / David Gray<br />

physical activity.<br />

Josie Gillette is a freshman<br />

majoring in Spanish and economics<br />

who previously worked at a state<br />

park and currently volunteers at local<br />

parks near Tuscaloosa. She said the<br />

green space and outdoor areas drew<br />

her in when she considered attending<br />

Alabama. As a runner, she loves that<br />

the University has a large campus.<br />

“I have heard so much from other<br />

students about how the constantly<br />

green grass makes them feel happy<br />

on a rough day, it definitely rings true<br />

for me too,” Gillette said.<br />

In a 2019 study, researchers from the<br />

American Psychological Association<br />

found that contact with nature is<br />

connected to increased happiness<br />

and well-being and decreased mental<br />

distress. Additionally, it was shown to<br />

promote positive social interactions<br />

and a sense of meaning and purpose<br />

in life.<br />

Anderson has been working for the<br />

University for 11 years. As director of<br />

the grounds department, he oversees<br />

over 100 grounds personnel, ranging<br />

from managers, groundskeepers,<br />

irrigation technicians, and garbage<br />

truck and street sweeper operators,<br />

to tree trimmers and landscapers.<br />

<strong>The</strong> department has grown<br />

some as the campus expands, but<br />

Anderson said the largest challenge<br />

his team faces is taking care of such<br />

a large area of land. <strong>The</strong>re are only 70<br />

groundskeepers in charge of taking<br />

care of about 1,500 acres.<br />

During the spring and summer, the<br />

campus rapidly grows and changes;<br />

whether it’s weeds that need to be<br />

removed or the upkeep of flowers,<br />

there is always work to be done.<br />

While it may look less lively<br />

during the winter as the trees lose<br />

their leaves and the flowers wilt, the<br />

campus comes to life as the season<br />

transitions to spring.<br />

Alabama has a humid, hot climate<br />

that creates issues when it comes to<br />

keeping the grass green, keeping<br />

flowers alive and keeping the large<br />

trees sufficiently watered. It can<br />

be difficult for the groundskeepers<br />

to give attention to all areas in the<br />

summer with so much land to cover.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> biggest challenge is to keep it<br />

looking the same week to week and<br />

month to month,” Anderson said.<br />

<strong>The</strong> employees work from 6 a.m.<br />

to 2:30 p.m. During football season,<br />

they may work for up to a month<br />

straight because game days require<br />

intensive cleanup on Saturdays<br />

and Sundays.<br />

“We put so much work in the<br />

campus, and it doesn't take but one<br />

football game for you to see where it<br />

has been beaten up,” Anderson said.<br />

“It all goes back to that bigger picture.<br />

It is for the good of the University,<br />

for the good of Tuscaloosa, just for<br />

the people to be able to come and<br />

enjoy themselves.”<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is a landscape strategic<br />

plan in place for the department to<br />

ensure a standard for the style of the<br />

landscaping and groundwork.<br />

“We created a standard that is kind<br />

of like Nick Saban football,” Anderson<br />

said. “All our leadership expects<br />

the campus to look this way all the<br />

time. <strong>The</strong>re is a little bit of added<br />

pressure on us to make sure we keep<br />

that standard.”<br />

One hundred and four<br />

people are dedicated<br />

to take care of the<br />

campus and make it<br />

safe and beautiful for<br />

you all.<br />

BRYANT<br />


Anderson said his job requires trust<br />

between him and his employees.<br />

“One hundred and four people are<br />

dedicated to take care of the campus<br />

and make it safe and beautiful for you<br />

all,” Anderson said. “[Students] are the<br />

reason we’re here. It’s all about making<br />

the campus look good for students,<br />

family, faculty and staff.”<br />

Hannah Shedd, a freshman<br />

majoring in environmental science,<br />

said the large outdoor space and<br />

overall feel of the campus caught her<br />

attention and was important to her<br />

college decision.<br />

“UA stood out to me because it<br />

didn’t feel urban, and I believe that<br />

it’s due to the many outdoor spaces on<br />

campus,” Shedd said.<br />

Kim Byram, the associate manager<br />

of the grounds department, has seen<br />

the campus grow and change in his 11<br />

years at the University. He is in charge<br />

of six individuals who are responsible<br />

for turf installation, planting trees and<br />

assisting with the flowers, fertilization<br />

and use of herbicides.<br />

Byram encourages students to<br />

appreciate his department’s hard work<br />

seen by this department as they walk<br />

to class.<br />

“Enjoy it while you're here. You get<br />

caught up doing the things that you<br />

want to do and you miss the forest<br />

for the trees per se,” Byram said. “And<br />

that's pun intended.”<br />

At a landscaping conference he<br />

attended, Byram learned how other<br />

schools better manage their organic<br />

waste, which he hopes to see soon at<br />

<strong>The</strong> University of Alabama.<br />

When it comes to being<br />

environmentally friendly, Byram said<br />

there is always more they can do.<br />

“I would hope to use less water. We<br />

can cut back on water usage, but that<br />

might mean the landscape at periods<br />

may not look as nice, so there's a catch<br />

there,” Byram said.<br />

Shop Boots,<br />

Jeans, & Hats<br />

at <strong>The</strong> Wharf<br />

in Northport<br />

220 Mcfarland Blvd N (205)-752-2075


<strong>April</strong> 21, <strong>2022</strong><br />

‘We deserve better’:<br />

Campus organizations push for a greener future<br />



With over 300 members, the UA<br />

<strong>Environmental</strong> Council is the largest<br />

environmental student organization<br />

on campus.<br />

<strong>The</strong> organizations<br />

Rilyn Todd, a sophomore in the<br />

New College program, is a member<br />

of the <strong>Environmental</strong> Council. Todd<br />

got involved with the organization at<br />

the beginning of the fall 2021 semester<br />

because she was interested in activism.<br />

<strong>Environmental</strong> justice is a priority<br />

for her following her selection as the<br />

organization’s vice president for the<br />

upcoming academic year.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re are a lot of people who I talk to<br />

in the organization, like in meetings and<br />

through other events, that are interested<br />

in the same kind of thing,” she said. “A lot<br />

of people, including myself, are frustrated<br />

that environmentalism, especially in the<br />

South, is perceived as just recycling and<br />

using metal straws and stuff like that. We<br />

really want to get involved in actually<br />

pushing for legislation.”<br />

Last semester the <strong>Environmental</strong><br />

Council began petitioning the City<br />

Council of Tuscaloosa to declare a<br />

climate emergency or create a plan<br />

to combat climate change and limit<br />

carbon emissions.<br />

Delanie Williams, a junior majoring<br />

in environmental engineering, is the<br />

incoming president of the <strong>Environmental</strong><br />

Council. Williams has served as treasurer<br />

of the organization for a year and has<br />

“loved every second of it.” She raised over<br />

$500 for the Black Warrior Riverkeepers<br />

and wants to increase outreach.<br />

“I wanted to run for president for<br />

the <strong>2022</strong>-2023 year to help expand<br />

our membership and club outreach<br />

efforts,” Williams said. “I think everyone<br />

nowadays is aware of the climate crisis,<br />

and they just need the opportunity to<br />

get involved and organized to make<br />

a change.”<br />

Williams wants the organization’s<br />

efforts to be more “member-led.” She<br />

highlighted the danger of eco-anxiety,<br />

the fear around climate catastrophe in the<br />

present and future.<br />

“To help combat eco-anxiety, I think<br />

it is extremely important for members of<br />

our community to feel they are helping<br />

to address the climate crisis,” she said.<br />

“This involves grassroots organizing and<br />

Campus Development, the University of<br />

Alabama department that plans, manages<br />

and delivers infrastructure services across<br />

the Capstone, is looking to strike a balance<br />

between style and sustainability.<br />

University Lands, which reports to<br />

Campus Development and is part of<br />

the University’s Division of Finance<br />

and Operations, provides long-range<br />

campus planning, entrepreneurial<br />

development and management of the<br />

University property.<br />

<strong>The</strong> University’s land management<br />

has been expanding since the school<br />

was founded in 1831. Most significantly,<br />

in <strong>April</strong> 1884, Congress voted to grant<br />

the University 46,080 acres of public<br />

lands to increase the<br />

University’s endowment<br />

and strengthen the<br />

institution’s total<br />

academic program.<br />

Tim Leopard, the<br />

senior associate vice<br />

CW / Anna Butts<br />

support from our executive team.”<br />

Thomas Franzem is the outgoing<br />

president of another environmental<br />

organization on campus: Conservation<br />

Biology Society. <strong>The</strong> organization<br />

discusses conservation literature,<br />

organizes litter cleanups and more.<br />

Franzem said he initially wanted to get<br />

involved with the organization because<br />

he likes “getting outside and seeing cool<br />

plants and animals.”<br />

“That’s been a thing throughout my<br />

whole life,” he said. “As I've gotten older<br />

and more educated, I’ve realized that<br />

we're actually doing a lot of harmful<br />

things to nature, which gives so much<br />

to us. I guess my motivating thing is just<br />

trying to advocate for the stuff that can’t<br />

advocate for itself and just try to effect<br />

change as far as society's relationship to<br />

nature and to the environment.”<br />

Franzem said his goal for the two year<br />

old Conservation Biology Society is to<br />

have it exist 10 or 20 years from now.<br />

He said it makes him feel optimistic that<br />

new people will be taking the reins this<br />

academic year.<br />

<strong>The</strong> University’s efforts<br />

Todd said the “extent” of environmental<br />

efforts on campus is the University’s<br />

recycling center and bins placed in<br />

classroom buildings.<br />

“That's about it,” she said. “Recycling is<br />

better than nothing, but it's not even that<br />

great in terms of sustainability. So things<br />

that the University could do first and<br />

foremost, they need to divest their assets<br />

from fossil fuels. I think it's irresponsible<br />

of them to be funding fossil fuel<br />

companies with their endowments when<br />

they claim to be educating their students<br />

for the future. If they're preparing us for<br />

a future that they're actively destroying,<br />

it just doesn't fit very well. It's kind<br />

of hypocritical.”<br />

Franzem said the University could<br />

help by treating land in a way that benefits<br />

the environment and surrounding<br />

ecosystems. Franzem said he would<br />

suggest incorporating native landscaping<br />

into the University’s work and utilizing<br />

wildflower gardens.<br />

Franzem argued that the University’s<br />

use of much of its land for lawns<br />

is detrimental to the environment,<br />

particularly for insects, birds, and other<br />

organisms who would benefit more from<br />

more natural environments.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re's a little patch of wildflower<br />

gardens past Marr’s Spring, but it's maybe<br />

15 feet long, and they need to do more to<br />

really make a difference,” he said.<br />

3B<br />

<strong>The</strong> UA Conservation Biology Society recorded hundreds of observations across the span of<br />

two days during “bioblitz” on October 9, 2021. Courtesy of UA Conversation Biology Society<br />

Williams said the <strong>Environmental</strong><br />

Council is currently working with Bama<br />

Dining to reduce waste and the use of<br />

single-use plastics, but she believes UA<br />

leaders could always be doing more.<br />

“I think UA also needs to investigate<br />

food waste programs, develop a glass<br />

recycling program in the dorms and<br />

encourage native species biodiversity on<br />

campus,” she said.<br />

Todd said the <strong>Environmental</strong> Council’s<br />

wants the University to localize food<br />

production. <strong>The</strong> organization is currently<br />

trying to implement a community garden<br />

at the University to help achieve this goal.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Student Government Association<br />

has an Executive Cabinet member<br />

designated as director of environmental<br />

affairs. <strong>The</strong> outgoing director is Heisman<br />

Olszewski. <strong>The</strong> incoming director has not<br />

been announced yet, and will be selected<br />

by SGA President Madeline Martin.<br />

Todd said she feels disappointed<br />

by a lack of effort from the SGA<br />

on environmentalism.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>y have no contact with us,” she<br />

said. “No collaboration whatsoever. <strong>The</strong><br />

extent of their work this year was when<br />

he [Olszewski] proposed a project to<br />

make a place where people could hang<br />

their hammocks. It's not great. We<br />

deserve better.”<br />

Olszewski did not respond to multiple<br />

requests for comment, and SGA press<br />

secretary Olivia Davis declined multiple<br />

interview requests.<br />

<strong>The</strong> future<br />

Todd said she would encourage<br />

students to join the <strong>Environmental</strong><br />

Council if they want to get involved.<br />

“Organizing and finding like-minded<br />

people is going to be really good for your<br />

mental health if you're anxious about<br />

environmental stuff,” she said. “Second<br />

of all, it is a great way to get things done.<br />

If we have more people working on these<br />

projects that I've already mentioned,<br />

they're going to get done faster and<br />

they're going to be way more effective. Put<br />

pressure on the people in these positions<br />

that are failing you right now. What is<br />

important to you, and what should they<br />

be doing?”<br />

Franzem pointed out the mission of the<br />

Conservation Biology Society in relation<br />

to making positive change on campus.<br />

“To address all the crises that humanity<br />

is facing, we need big changes at high<br />

levels, but you have some power to effect<br />

positive change,” Franzem said. “I think<br />

that's an important message that really<br />

needs to get out there more. We can help<br />

nature. We can help the environment just<br />

by doing things in our everyday lives.”<br />

Williams said students dealing with<br />

anxiety over climate change can make<br />

a difference.<br />

“Climate anxiety is very prevalent<br />

currently, and I think a lot of people<br />

feel like they can’t make an impact, but<br />

I promise you can,” she said. “Small<br />

changes build up, and one less singleuse<br />

plastic is better than nothing.<br />

I also highly encourage joining a<br />

group to try and make a collective<br />

difference. It’s empowering and makes<br />

a bigger impact. Might I suggest the<br />

<strong>Environmental</strong> Council?”<br />

UA seeks balance between style and sustainability<br />



president for Campus Development,<br />

said that investment in the University’s<br />

appearance and structural layout has<br />

contributed directly to the growing<br />

student body.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re’s a lot of proof over time that<br />

the look of a campus has a tremendous<br />

impact on recruiting and retaining<br />

students,” Leopard said. “We feel that<br />

if the University can get a student to<br />

campus [before enrollment], we have a<br />

90-plus-percent chance of getting them.<br />

A lot of that is based on what they see<br />

on campus — the look, the feel, the<br />

people, the programs — so we think that<br />

what Campus Development does is very<br />

important to that.”<br />

Leopard said that this attraction is based<br />

on the way prospective students see people<br />

interact with the campus when they come<br />

to tour.<br />

“When you walk on<br />

campus<br />

a n d<br />

y o u<br />

see that collegial feel, with a quad and<br />

green space and trees, and see people on<br />

scooters and bikes and walking around,<br />

it makes a dynamic and vibrant place,”<br />

Leopard said. “It makes you want to<br />

come here for what you think of as a<br />

college experience.”<br />

Along with his team, Leopard has<br />

added 5,000 beds to campus residence<br />

halls and overseen the construction of<br />

Shelby Quad. Currently, the Campus<br />

Development team is restoring the Bryce<br />

Hospital campus, which includes a new<br />

welcome and performing arts center.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Building Bama webpage outlines<br />

the University of Alabama’s ongoing and<br />

upcoming capital projects. This includes<br />

access to dates for bidding on campus<br />

projects, the capital projects portal and any<br />

impacts to campus activity.<br />

<strong>The</strong> portal currently lists 31 active<br />

campus projects, including the new<br />

Tutwiler Residence Hall, an Athletics<br />

Competition Area, the Peter Bryce<br />

renovation, a performing arts academic<br />

center and more.<br />

With projects always underway,<br />

Leopard strives to minimize the impact<br />

of construction on campus by working<br />

hardest when students are away.<br />

“We work each year over Christmas,<br />

over spring break and over the summer to<br />

do a tremendous amount of work just to<br />

minimize that impact,” Leopard said.<br />

When it comes to the environmental<br />

impact of construction on campus,<br />

Leopard and his team work to balance<br />

the economic feasibility of a project with<br />

its sustainability. When buildings are torn<br />

down, parts are often saved to apply to the<br />

next project.<br />

Brick and wood flooring from the<br />

original Bryce Hospital has been set aside<br />

to use in the ongoing remodeling.<br />

“Resiliency and long-lasting things are<br />

very important for sustainability, and so<br />

we work really hard to create a beautiful<br />

campus,” Leopard said.<br />

While the team looks to reduce its<br />

contribution to ongoing climate issues, the<br />

cost of greener options sometimes holds<br />

it back.<br />

“Carbon and greenhouse gases are<br />

tremendously important, but it all has to<br />

make financial sense,” Leopard said. “If<br />

there were a better mousetrap out there<br />

that was more efficient and effective, I<br />

promise you we'll be using it. I mean, why<br />

wouldn't we?”<br />

<strong>The</strong>re’s a lot of proof<br />

over time that the look<br />

of a campus has a<br />

tremendous impact on<br />

recruiting and retaining<br />

students.<br />


Currently underway, Leopard said,<br />

is a $28 million project dedicated to<br />

enhancing the energy efficiency and<br />

comfort of several campus buildings. <strong>The</strong><br />

Campus Energy Delivery Optimization<br />

and Efficiency Project is an initiative to<br />

enhance the effectiveness and efficiency<br />

of the system that provides reliable heating<br />

and cooling to many buildings on campus.<br />

<strong>The</strong> financial benefit and return were<br />

considered, along with the performance of<br />

the system throughout its life cycle.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Campus Development team also<br />

recruits UA students to join them in their<br />

efforts at the Capstone. <strong>The</strong>se positions<br />

range from engineer to analyst.<br />

“It is tremendously humbling to have<br />

been doing something that matters for so<br />

many people,” Leopard said. “You have<br />

the opportunity to support people doing<br />

incredible things.”

4B<br />


<strong>April</strong> 21, <strong>2022</strong><br />

<strong>The</strong> intersection of economics, environment and equity<br />



<strong>The</strong> basic economics of the<br />

environment, such as resource<br />

management and conservation<br />

policy, have far-reaching impacts.<br />

Polluting a waterway with<br />

carcinogenic chemicals will lead<br />

to increased health care costs<br />

for nearby residents. Declining<br />

property values can lead to a lack<br />

of external investment in a city.<br />

Destroying ecosystems in Indigenous<br />

communities can further harm<br />

already disenfranchised populations.<br />

U.S. gross domestic product<br />

increased from $1.051 trillion in the<br />

first fiscal quarter of 1970 to $24<br />

trillion in the fourth fiscal quarter of<br />

2021 — the highest GDP in history.<br />

While the wealth of nations is<br />

generally increasing, the wealth gap<br />

between the economic elite and the<br />

working class is widening. According<br />

to a Pew Research study, as of 2016,<br />

upper-income families had 7.4 times<br />

as much wealth as middle-income<br />

families and 75 times as much wealth<br />

as lower-income families.<br />

According to the Swiss Re Institute,<br />

this gap is only going to become more<br />

pronounced with climate change,<br />

which threatens to “wipe up to 18%<br />

of GDP off the worldwide economy<br />

by 2050 if global temperatures rise<br />

by 3.2°C.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> United Nations’ High<br />

Commissioner for Refugees found<br />

that since 2010, weather emergencies<br />

and environment-related disasters<br />

have “forced more than 21.5 million<br />

people per year to move, on average”<br />

and concluded that weather-related<br />

crises have “triggered more than<br />

twice as much displacement as<br />

conflict and violence in the last<br />

decade.”<br />

Ellen Griffith Spears is a professor<br />

in the New College and the<br />

Department of American Studies<br />

who specializes in environmental<br />

history and ethics. Her research has<br />

focused heavily on environmental<br />

justice, including the book “Baptized<br />

in PCBs,” which examines a fight for<br />

climate justice in Anniston, Alabama,<br />

a town about two hours away<br />

from Tuscaloosa.<br />

Students have been<br />

involved in terrific<br />

ways in community<br />

gardens and supporting<br />

community-based<br />

agriculture.<br />


SPEARS<br />

“[Anniston] is one of two places<br />

where the Monsanto chemical<br />

company manufactured PCBs,”<br />

Spears said. “<strong>The</strong>y knew from the<br />

1930s, and the world knew beginning<br />

in 1966, that they were quite<br />

hazardous to human health, but the<br />

people who lived there did not find<br />

out about that until the 1990s.”<br />

Aside from the numerous health<br />

impacts of PCBs, or polychlorinated<br />

biphenyls, which include impacts<br />

on the immune and reproductive<br />

systems, the long-term economic<br />

impact of contamination can be just<br />

as severe.<br />

Spears said the <strong>Environmental</strong><br />

Protection Agency estimates more<br />

than 45 miles of waterways south of<br />

Anniston have been contaminated<br />

by PCBs, impacting thousands of<br />

residents and habitats surrounding<br />

the area.<br />

In Anniston, the waterways<br />

contaminated hogs, chickens and<br />

other animals since it was used as<br />

livestock drinking water. PCBs'<br />

main form of contamination is<br />

through consumption.<br />

“Owning their own homes is,<br />

for most people, the main way of<br />

accumulating value and passing it on.<br />

So [contamination] greatly reduces<br />

home value and in some cases makes<br />

it impossible to sell,” Spears said. “But<br />

there are much larger questions, such<br />

as the tax burden of maintaining the<br />

water system. <strong>Environmental</strong> justice<br />

is deeply connected, and is not only<br />

placed in communities of color<br />

but then damages their long-term<br />

economic prospects.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Environmental</strong> Protection<br />

Agency defines environmental<br />

justice as “the fair treatment and<br />

meaningful involvement of all<br />

people regardless of race, color,<br />

national origin, or income, with<br />

respect to the development,<br />

implementation, and<br />

enforcement of environmental<br />

laws, regulations, and<br />

policies.”<br />

Though her research hasn’t<br />

focused specifically on the<br />

University, Spears said she would<br />

like to see the University address<br />

its relationship to environmental<br />

justice. Spears recommended<br />

a sustainability survey to take<br />

stock of what is being done across<br />

different departments.<br />

“One is what buildings and<br />

maintenance is doing on the recycling<br />

front. Two is what kinds of student<br />

activities exist so that people could<br />

know where to plug in. <strong>The</strong> other is<br />

the breadth of research, an overview,”<br />

Spears said.<br />

A common argument levied<br />

against climate policies is their<br />

immediate economic impact. Critics<br />

argue that the multitrillion-dollar<br />

price tag of plans like the Green New<br />

Deal would destroy the economy<br />

and cost millions of people jobs. <strong>The</strong><br />

Green New Deal aims to shift the<br />

United States’ economic resources<br />

into building mass sustainable<br />

infrastructure to combat climate<br />

change, including social safety nets<br />

like guaranteed housing, universal<br />

healthcare and tuition-free public<br />

education. However, research from<br />

Scientific American shows that the<br />

negative effect of inaction would be<br />

far greater in the long run.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> kind of investment we can<br />

make now is extraordinarily costsaving<br />

in the future,” Spears said.<br />

“Interestingly enough, it’s not just<br />

the environmental movement now<br />

that’s talking about it, but certain<br />

corporate entities have realized that<br />

switch in a very short time frame.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> focus then becomes policy.<br />

Spears said that sometimes, it needs<br />

to start from the basics.<br />

“I think it's really good that <strong>The</strong><br />

University of Alabama is focusing a<br />

lot of attention on water,” Spears said.<br />

“Food is another big area. Students<br />

have been involved in terrific ways in<br />

community gardens and supporting<br />

community-based agriculture.”<br />

Michael Price is the Dwight<br />

Harrigan Endowed Faculty Fellow<br />

in Natural Resource Economics in<br />

the Culverhouse College of Business.<br />

As a trained behavioral economist,<br />

Price specializes in researching ways<br />

that conservation efforts can be<br />

effectively marketed and promoted<br />

to consumers.<br />

Price said treating sustainability<br />

efforts as a competition<br />

would have economic and<br />

environmental benefits.<br />

“I think competitions are nice on<br />

a lot of dimensions because they give<br />

potential benefits and you’re not<br />

necessarily relying just upon people’s<br />

intrinsic motivations ... so you can<br />

engage a broader set of people,”<br />

Price said.<br />

Sustainability competitions could<br />

include comparing residence halls’<br />

energy use against one another,<br />

with the most energy-efficient<br />

residence hall winning a prize. <strong>The</strong><br />

University used to operate an energy<br />

dashboard called the <strong>Crimson</strong><br />

Energy Connection that “uses smart<br />

meters to track electric, natural gas,<br />

chilled water and hot water data in<br />

real time.”<br />

From Sept. 30 to Oct. 13, 2019,<br />

<strong>Crimson</strong> Energy Connection hosted<br />

the “Battle of the Halls,” in which<br />

residence halls were pitted against<br />

one another to see who could save the<br />

most energy within the allotted time<br />

frame. <strong>The</strong> winning residence hall<br />

received a “special prize provided by<br />

the Residence Hall Association.”<br />

In total, 890 million British<br />

thermal units and $12,142.06 were<br />

saved from the competition. <strong>Crimson</strong><br />

Energy Connection’s website reports<br />

that the University spends over $20<br />

million annually on energy resources.<br />

Price said the pandemic also<br />

played a role in energy efficiency and<br />

environmental change.<br />

“In Germany, people adopted<br />

more strategies and behaviors in the<br />

home that would save energy during<br />

the pandemic and reported that<br />

they engage in these behaviors more<br />

frequently during the pandemic<br />

than they had beforehand,” Price<br />

said. “<strong>The</strong>re have been articles<br />

that have come out in Science and<br />

Nature showing that the skies over<br />

Beijing are clear and that there are<br />

reductions in air pollution. Now,<br />

part of that was an artifact of less<br />

industrial production, but if some of<br />

it is coming through the consumers,<br />

or even the businesses ... people<br />

became more cognizant.”<br />

If you can engage<br />

a large number of<br />

students in small<br />

changes, they add up,<br />

and over time, you [...]<br />

you develop habits…<br />

and you learn that<br />

change isn’t as painful<br />

as you think.<br />


PRICE<br />

Sustainability is about individual<br />

incentives, but it’s also about<br />

the sustainability practices of<br />

corporations, businesses and public<br />

entities like universities. From an<br />

economic perspective, it’s imperative<br />

to consider the interests of a<br />

conglomerate: money.<br />

“What are they trying to optimize?”<br />

Price asked. “For a university, it’s<br />

attracting better students, it’s longrun<br />

engagement, it’s faculty. ... Is<br />

it something that will change the<br />

demand for seats at the university?<br />

Is it something that alums or outside<br />

groups would come in, and will it be<br />

a new source of financing for them?”<br />

Price suggested integrating<br />

environmentalism and sustainability<br />

into the undergraduate<br />

research experience.<br />

<strong>Environmental</strong>ism encapsulates<br />

all fields of study, from economics<br />

and business to technology,<br />

engineering and design. Not only<br />

could research-driven sustainability<br />

practices improve the local and<br />

statewide environment; they<br />

could also raise the demand for a<br />

spot at the University. With more<br />

demand comes more opportunity to<br />

raise funds.<br />

CW / Autumn Williams<br />

“If you can engage a large number<br />

of students in small changes, they<br />

add up, and over time, you hope that<br />

you develop habits … and you learn<br />

that change isn’t as painful as you<br />

think,” Price said.<br />

Price said history has proven<br />

humans to be creatures of habit.<br />

Creating new and meaningful habits<br />

must begin on an individual level,<br />

because change comes in aggregate.<br />

Sophomores Rilyn Todd, a<br />

sustainability and environmental<br />

engineering major, and Jacob<br />

Hegelson, a marine sciences and<br />

biology major, are vice presidentelect<br />

and secretary-elect, respectively,<br />

of the UA <strong>Environmental</strong> Council, a<br />

campus environmental advocacy and<br />

awareness organization.<br />

Todd and Hegelson have bold<br />

visions for what a sustainable campus<br />

could look like.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>re’s a long way to go, but [a<br />

sustainable campus] would look like<br />

net zero emissions — not meaning<br />

net zero as in the promise of net zero,<br />

where we rely on future technologies,<br />

but net zero as in we don’t produce<br />

carbon,” Todd said.<br />

To accomplish this, Todd listed<br />

several steps the University could<br />

take, ranging from cleaner public<br />

transport, localized food systems,<br />

permaculture gardens, all the way to<br />

divesting University assets from fossil<br />

fuels and reinvesting in renewable<br />

energy initiatives.<br />

Todd and Hegelson believe that<br />

current economic practices will<br />

ultimately fail in the face of the<br />

climate crisis but could be revitalized<br />

through innovative approaches to<br />

sustainability and equity.<br />

“I honestly think switching<br />

to sustainable conditions would<br />

ultimately, in the much longer term,<br />

increase the stability of economics,”<br />

Hegelson said.<br />

Todd and Hegelson have said that,<br />

for the longest time, sustainability<br />

has been interpreted as a compromise<br />

between wealth and Earth, but it<br />

doesn’t have to be this way.<br />

“It goes back to the idea, or the<br />

fact, that our economic system<br />

doesn’t make sense for the real world,<br />

and it doesn’t apply to the planet that<br />

we live on, because it assumes that<br />

natural resources are infinite, and<br />

that’s not true,” Hegelson said. “It<br />

also makes a lot of assumptions about<br />

human nature that are also not true,<br />

so we just can’t continue with this<br />

extractive capitalist system in which<br />

we just take whatever we want.”


<strong>April</strong> 21, <strong>2022</strong><br />


NOW!<br />

<strong>Environmental</strong><br />

SUMMER<br />


Get ahead or catch up.<br />

Save money and still<br />

have fun in the sun.<br />

All online,<br />

all summer!<br />

Summer Tuition at<br />

Spring Hill College<br />

is $399 vs $420<br />

at University of<br />

Alabama per<br />

credit hour.<br />


OPINION:<br />

Everyone deserves<br />

environmental justice<br />



injustice refers to<br />

environmental practices disproportionately<br />

affecting minorities, people of color and<br />

low-income communities. This often looks<br />

like pollutants being diverted to minority<br />

communities and inequity in access to<br />

sustainable options.<br />

This can have devastating impacts. As<br />

with most social justice issues, minority<br />

and low-income communities are most<br />

impacted. From air and water pollution<br />

to unequal access to quality outdoor<br />

recreational spaces, environmental injustice<br />

is pervasive, and it cannot be ignored.<br />

<strong>The</strong> environmental justice<br />

movement<br />

<strong>The</strong> environmental justice movement<br />

had a tragic beginning. This movement<br />

took off in 1982, in the impoverished<br />

areas of Warren County, North Carolina.<br />

<strong>The</strong> state government brazenly dumped<br />

6,000 truckloads of soil containing toxic<br />

chemicals for the purpose of creating a<br />

waste landfill.<br />

Residents of Warren County detested<br />

the introduction of chemicals into their<br />

community and united against the landfill.<br />

<strong>The</strong> protests included acts of defiance such<br />

as marches and lying in the pathways of<br />

trucks to impede their movement. <strong>The</strong>se<br />

actions resulted in over 500 arrests, the first<br />

time in United States history that arrests<br />

were made over the sitting of a landfill.<br />

Unfortunately, the government of<br />

Warren County prevailed. Toxic waste<br />

overtook these innocent residents’<br />

community. However, the battle was<br />

not completely lost: It drew national<br />

media attention, which jump-started the<br />

environmental justice movement.<br />

Low-income and<br />

minority communities<br />

It can be difficult for individuals to grasp<br />

the damage that is inflicted by landfills,<br />

incinerators and other environmental<br />

health risks impacting low-income areas.<br />

<strong>The</strong> average person does not calculate every<br />

outcome of their carbon footprint when<br />

they toss their waste in the garbage can, but<br />

odds are it’s contributing to the health issues<br />

of impoverished residents.<br />

How does garbage contribute to diabetes,<br />

lung cancer, strokes, heart diseases and<br />

other detrimental diseases in minority and<br />

low-income areas? To answer this question,<br />

we must look at the journey of waste<br />

in America.<br />

Let’s say you just finished a nice, cold<br />

bottle of soda. You toss the empty bottle<br />

in the nearest trash can and continue with<br />

your day. Now, a garbage truck will pick up<br />

all of the waste in that garbage can and send<br />

the bottle on its journey. After a network of<br />

transfer trucks, the soda bottle eventually<br />

arrives at one of three places: a recycling<br />

center, a landfill or an incinerator.<br />

Hopefully it would end up at a recycling<br />

center since it’s a recyclable; however,<br />

more often than not, it will end up in an<br />

incinerator or a landfill. <strong>The</strong>se landfills and<br />

incinerators are most likely housed in lowincome,<br />

minority communities.<br />

Landfills and incinerators contribute<br />

to a catastrophic amount of air and water<br />

pollution. Through targeting minority, lowincome<br />

communities with landfills, the<br />

government is contaminating the drinking<br />

water of these communities.<br />

Not only are these communities' water<br />

supplies threatened, but their air quality<br />

is also negatively impacted through<br />

the proximity of landfills. Landfills<br />

exude dangerous toxins into the air of<br />

communities close to landfills. <strong>The</strong>se toxins<br />

have been linked to a variety of health<br />

conditions, including birth defects. Beyond<br />

h e a l t h<br />

concerns,<br />

CW / Autumn Williams<br />

these residents’ quality of life is drastically<br />

impacted. Through living near a landfill,<br />

residents face noxious odors that make it<br />

difficult and unpleasant to breathe.<br />

Through the burning of waste, pollutants<br />

like mercury, lead, arsenic and carbon<br />

monoxide are released into the surrounding<br />

air. <strong>The</strong>se communities are now at risk of<br />

a variety of health conditions, including<br />

cancers and respiratory diseases. <strong>The</strong> ash<br />

created through burning waste is also toxic<br />

to the environment and further exacerbates<br />

health conditions in targeted communities.<br />

<strong>Environmental</strong> injustice in the<br />

Black Belt<br />

Often, when considering social justice<br />

issues, we think of these issues as distant<br />

threats. However, the environmental justice<br />

crisis is affecting areas in close proximity to<br />

<strong>The</strong> University of Alabama.<br />

It is not shocking to discover that<br />

Alabama’s Black Belt is heavily targeted<br />

regarding environmental injustices.<br />

Originally named for the dark, fertile<br />

soil of the region, the Black Belt has been<br />

historically marginalized and still struggles<br />

with high poverty rates.<br />

To truly understand the environmental<br />

struggles that Alabama’s Black Belt is<br />

facing, one must examine an especially<br />

environmentally targeted town:<br />

Uniontown, Alabama. In late 2008, millions<br />

of tons of coal ash were transported from a<br />

predominantly white area in Tennessee<br />

to a landfill in Uniontown. Uniontown’s<br />

population is 84% Black, with 49% of<br />

residents living below the poverty line.<br />

Throughout a two-year period, this<br />

coal ash was dumped as close as 100 feet<br />

from some residents’ front porches. Some<br />

chemicals that this coal ash released into<br />

the air of the community include arsenic,<br />

lead and other radioactive elements.<br />

In turn, residents started experiencing<br />

respiratory problems, severe headaches,<br />

nausea and dizziness, among other health<br />

issues. Additionally, residents were forced<br />

to endure pungent odors and extreme<br />

dust, which contaminated all aspects of<br />

their lives.<br />

Residents of Uniontown banded<br />

together and filed a civil rights complaint to<br />

Alabama’s Department of <strong>Environmental</strong><br />

Management. However, the <strong>Environmental</strong><br />

Protection Agency denied the complaint on<br />

the basis of “insufficient evidence.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> denial of this complaint has only<br />

exacerbated the situation in Uniontown. As<br />

of 2018, the landfill is owned by developers<br />

based in New York and New Jersey. This<br />

change of ownership has caused this landfill<br />

to receive around a million tons of out-ofstate<br />

waste. <strong>The</strong> recent effects of this landfill<br />

have been detrimental to the community,<br />

causing residents to either give up their<br />

homes and relocate or face potential health<br />

risks and extreme odors.<br />

Outdoors for all<br />

5B<br />

Historically, environmental justice has<br />

pertained mainly to waste management.<br />

However, a new issue has arisen regarding<br />

environmental injustice: the lack of quality<br />

outdoor recreational spaces in minority and<br />

impoverished areas.<br />

A bill titled the “Outdoors for All Act”<br />

has recently been introduced in the Senate.<br />

This bill would create funding for the<br />

Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership,<br />

which supports projects involving outdoor<br />

recreation opportunities in low-income<br />

areas and works toward closing the gap in<br />

environmental injustices.<br />

<strong>Environmental</strong> injustice issues are<br />

unacceptable and are getting exceedingly<br />

worse everyday, but there are ways that we<br />

can combat this issue.<br />

First and foremost, recycling can<br />

c u t down on the amount of<br />

waste sent to landfills<br />

and incinerators.<br />

Through cutting down<br />

on this waste, we can<br />

lessen the chance<br />

of impoverished<br />

communities facing<br />

extreme health risks.<br />

Recycling not only<br />

benefits the environment but<br />

also benefits vulnerable communities.<br />

Keep that in mind the next time you toss<br />

a plastic bottle into a trash can instead of a<br />

recycling bin.<br />

We must raise awareness and amplify the<br />

voices of these vulnerable communities.<br />

However, there is only so much we<br />

can do without the government’s help in<br />

settling these issues. While we must wait on<br />

the government to make positive changes<br />

regarding these issues, we do not have to<br />

wait silently.

6B<br />


<strong>April</strong> 21, <strong>2022</strong>

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