Meet this Sustainable Lady: Why the Environment Matters in your Twenties

Being in your twenties is exhausting. Juggling school, work, relationships, responsibilities, and everything else life brings can be pretty tough. It can get pretty difficult these days to care about much of anything when you’re doing your best to get through the day, but somehow Jessica Maliszewski finds the time.

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Jessica is the average every day college student. She’s a 21 year old  Sustainability major at Stockton University, and if you ask her about what she does she’ll tell you she just does what everyone else should.

Sustainability isn’t just a major to Jess however, it has become a part of her lifestyle.

“Sustainability is the happy medium that a person can meet without destroying the environment.”, she says.

Jessica has been in the sustainability game for a while, being a senior and all, and as an average college student with some pretty above-average goals, we thought she would be the perfect person to sit down with, ask about sustainability, and how to incorporate it in the ‘complex life’ of a millennial.

Why did you choose sustainability as a major?   

Originally I wanted to choose environmental science, but sustainability had more opportunities for me to apply my knowledge to real-life situations.With sustainability I can focus on the political aspects of it.

Why is it important to care about politics in sustainability?

People need a voice and someone has to go out there and speak about the real problems our planet is facing and be able to make laws. It is important to know the facts, but if you don’t have the influence to apply that knowledge and enact change then it becomes useless. Where we fail in making change is when our government isn’t on board.

What are three things that you do personally to become more sustainable?

Well I think it is really important to buy from small businesses and buy locally grown food. It helps the local economies and is a super easy way to be both helpful and mindful without being too extreme. I also don’t use disposable plastic bottles and use a reusable one instead, and I recycle properly.

What is your issue with plastic water bottles?

People need to realize that plastic water bottles are probably the dumbest invention ever. You are literally paying for water when it comes out of your faucet! What is next really, bottled air? The FDA regulates bottled water. The EPA regulates tap water, and they have higher standards. If you look at any plastic water bottle closely you will probably see bottled tap water as an ingredient.

When you say you ‘recycle properly’, what does that mean?

The important thing about recycling that a lot of people don’t realize is that each township or town or company used to recycle has different guidelines and and standards that they follow. In the town that I live in we follow the ACUA, or the Aqua Atlantic County Utilities Authority, which recycles plastics numbered 1 through 7. Not all towns do that. Most people don’t even know what each plastic is or that they are numbered. 1 through 7. They don’t know how its made, what it does to the environment, and how it is properly recycled. Its important to know what can and cant be recycled. Most websites like ACUA have a recycle item guidelines that clearly list what can and cannot be recycled.

Do you think it is important for people our age to be involved and care about the environment?

It is so important for people to get involved. Right now we are getting educated and eventually we will be the ones in charge. I like to think that if I’m making a small difference now, then in the future I will be able to have more influence and will have a strong background and knowledge of the issues i want to fix.

I think its important for people to stay educated on environmental issues, even if it’s not necessarily a passion for them. If you live in a town, you want to know if something good or bad is happening in that town. So it only makes sense that your home, your world is just as important and when something good or bad is happening to it you should want to know about it.Whether you want to believe in climate change or not, or if you care or not, it affects each and every one of us, and the things that affect climate change affect us as well.

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Anticipation for Before the Flood

There are two topics in this world that people do (and if not) should love. Those topics are Leonardo DiCaprio, and the Earth. Luckily the recent Oscar winner decided to give us both. In his new documentary, Before the Flood, DiCaprio calls for an end to climate change, and just happens to look lovely doing it.

The documentary, produced by DiCaprio himself, and directed by Fisher Stevens, known for his film, The Cove, focuses on the current state of the planet by taking a closer look at the climatic changes seen all over the world. While the film won’t be released in the United States until October 21st, there is much anticipation for the film, generated from its trailers.

The film trailers feature DiCaprio traveling the globe searching for answers, and conversing with world leaders. In the trailer he says, “This is the most important issue of our time.” The film depicts DiCaprio with many leaders, including Pope Francis, United States President Barack Obama, John Kerry,  and politician and statesman Ban Ki-Moon. The documentary also features prominent environmentalists and promoters of sustainable business such as Elon Musk, Enric Sala, and Sunita Narain. These people all have an opinion on the state of the environment and if we have gone too far to fix it.

According to Toronto International Film Festival documentary programmer Thomas Powers’ recent review of the film, DiCaprio makes a point to travel  to Alberta, Canada to see its toxic tar sands, observe the abnormal flooding in Miami beach, Florida, and uncover the reason behind the thick smog in Beijing, China. He also delves into the Palm oil industry and the rapidly occurring forest fires in Indonesia.

What seems to be the most obvious issue within the trailers and the film itself, is the escalated rate at which the ice is melting in the Arctic. DiCaprio can be seen visibly surprised at the sheer violence of the melting ice and the lack of an environment for Arctic marine life, and the threat it poses to the already endangered Narwhal population. In another short promo for the film DiCaprio stands next to Enric Sala, and looks out in wonder at the Narwhals and their beautiful purr-like calls. Enric says softly, “I don’t want to be on a planet without these animals.”

For just a second, in the  deafening quiet of not hearing those animals, and not seeing them, it makes that environment an incredibly lonely existence for the two man standing on a glacier in the middle of nowhere. Thinking of a world without these creatures seems like something that could never happen. However, it happens every day. Every day species are lost, and every day people refuse to believe in the existence of climate change and choose to live their lives for today, rather than plan for a tomorrow.

This film isn’t even about Leonardo DiCaprio. It isn’t about the environment.This documentary is about people. it is about what we have done to get to this point, and it is about if we can undo it, and make things better. It is not about living for today, or even a tomorrow. it is about making sure that years from now people will have the opportunity to stand on a glacier and hear Narwhals, or breathe clearly in China, or not have to worry their homes are going to flood. This film is a rally for change, and perhaps maybe through the words of an incredibly handsome and environmentally aware Academy Award winner – people will listen

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