Mathematics, Sustainability, and Global Learning

I honestly think certain issues are best understood through specific, smaller-scale examples.

For instance, there’s the broad issue of global warming and climate change and human use of fossil fuels and all the corresponding problems that arise as a result. Yet instead of trying to tackle the issue broadly, I think it best to start small and work your way up. Which is why my paper focused on the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia, a relationship centered almost entirely around 2 fundamental, core values: cheap oil and defensive guarantees.

For too long, in fact since the end of World War II, the United States of America has guaranteed Saudi national security and defense in exchange for a reliable supply of cheap oil supplies. We have overlooked Saudi offenses and atrocities time and time again, to the detriment of our own values and the sacrifice of American lives.

The issue, of course, is U.S. reliance on Saudi oil supplies. On a daily basis, Saudi oil supplies represent roughly 5% of U.S. oil consumption (U.S.E.I.A.).  Obviously, this dependence results in an unwillingness to abandon Saudi Arabia’s record of abuse in favor of what we believe.

As a result, we sacrifice our own values as well as the present and future of our environment in order to maintain the status quo. Clearly, this trade-off is unsustainable to say the least. It requires necessary and immediate change, in both U.S. energy and foreign policy.

Shouldn’t we all be Swell?

Within the past decade at Union College, students and faculty have been working extremely hard to decrease the fossil fuel and carbon footprint of the school. This has been a beneficial contributes to the school because now we have more recycle bins around the school and distributed toilets where we can choose the “type of flush” that we want. For this proposal, I propose that every incoming freshmen will get a free aluminum – swell type water bottle. Every year, 17 billion barrels are used to create at least 50 billion disposable water bottles in America alone. Also, reusable bottles such as the well can save an American about 200$ per year. Plastic bottles have also been linked to contain BPA (which is a plastic linked to cancer). So why not, where we can decrease our own risks and the rest of our student body’s risk? Furthermore, this being said, investing in the metal water bottles is very costly, but as a school that has a student body dominated by athletes, this would be a great investment to decrease out plastics purchase and increase our reusable bottle community. Although we are a small population, if all colleges and universities take part in this, the rate of oil required for plastics can decrease significantly.