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Students in Sustainability: Advice From an Animal Lover

By: Brandi Young

The health of our Earth has been in decline, so it is only natural that more people are getting interested in the different types of solutions to reverse the problem, or at the very least, reduce the rate of decline. As a part of GreenHawks Media's “Students in Sustainability” highlights, I took it upon myself to interview someone who is not directly involved in sustainability leadership here on campus, but rather someone who is still interested in pursuing a career in sustainability. Our interviewee for today is sophomore Brianna Louis. She has majors in Zoology and Environmental Science. Read on to hear about what Brianna has to say about environmental science and sustainability as a whole.image1   Why did you choose Environmental Science as a co-major?“I am really interested in animals and trying to help save species. I chose the co-major to learn more about how we can make the environment better and how I can apply that knowledge to helping animals.”   Why is sustainability important to you?“Sustainability is important to me because the more sustainable we can be as a society, the better our lives and the lives of animals will be in the future. Sustainability is also the key to keeping the earth habitable.”   What do you think the individual person's responsibility is regarding sustainability?“The biggest thing is that we need to move away from industrial agriculture and move towards getting food from local organic farms. We also need to try and use more reusable things like sandwich bags, straws, and shopping bags to reduce the amount of trash we’re putting into landfills.”   Are there any practices that you currently do or recommend?“I would recommend at the very least to recycle. Recycling is really important to get in the habit of doing and it really helps to reduce the amount of waste going into landfills. Another thing I recommend doing is composting because it also reduces waste in landfills, and it can be used as natural fertilizer in landscaping and gardens. I also recommend growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs even if you don’t have a lot of space. Some of these things, especially herbs, can be grown in pots that don’t take up a lot of space. Growing your own food can also save money in the long run if you keep with it. Another thing that I try to do that is super easy is use reusable snack bags, straws and grocery bags whenever possible. Also when you go to the grocery store and they have paper bags to put your groceries in, use those because they are much more sustainable than plastic bags.”   How do your work experience/hobbies fit within your environmental interests?“I enjoy hiking, and so seeing litter and pollution in the environment when I go hiking is really sad. I hope that by trying to save species, I can help save their habitats as well by reducing pollution.”image2

Brianna on duty at the Cincinnati Zoo!

  What advice do you have for other students looking to become more involved in sustainability?“I would advise trying to educate yourself on sustainable habits and practices and then try to implement them into your life and your community.”    I think that no matter who you are or what you do, it is important to take the health of our planet seriously. You don’t have to be perfect, but baby steps are better than nothing. I’ve had the great privilege of writing with GreenHawks Media this last semester and I look forward to it in the future. With New Year’s right around the corner, my challenge for you is to see where you can improve when it comes to having a more sustainable lifestyle and make that your resolution. My personal goal is to completely eliminate my use of single-use plastics in every way that I can. Have a great break and good luck!  

Responses adapted from written communication with Brianna Louis

Photos courtesy of Brianna Louis