A Sustainability Survey

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In the Spring of 2011 four students participating in the Student Leadership Development Series (SLDS) Program through the Center for Leadership Learning (CLL) on the UC Davis Campus compiled a sustainability survey of UC Davis students in order to better understand their sustainability practices (or lack thereof). Shown below are the results of the survey and a subsequent analysis of how to improve current sustainability practices.

1. Food:
A very easy to way to be more sustainable when eating out is to bring your own mugs, plates, and utensils. Bringing your own cuts down on the amount of ‘disposable’ trash produced. While many cafes and eateries use biodegradable cups and utensils a lot of these still end up in landfills and are NOT 100% recyclable. You can cut down on waste entirely by bringing your own! Many places in Davis, such as the UC Davis Coffee House [insert link] also give you a discount for bringing your own mugs and plates.

Survey Results Below:

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2. Water
According to newspaper articles, the major water problem in Davis is wasting water.

Doug Fetterly, a member of the natural resources commission, urged Davis residents and businesses to cut down on water usage.
The average water use per capita in Davis is 160 gallons a day." [The California Aggie, June 1 2010]

People are unaware of the importance of reducing water usage because water is free in Davis. Their habits of using water tend to be non-sustainable. For example, 57 percent of people use their hands (leaving the water running) while rinsing their mouths after brushing.
We use 3.3 times more water when we rinse our mouths with our hands instead of using a cup.
If you use your cup and turn off the water when you brush your teeth, you can save 8 gallons of water a day or over 3,000 gallons a year. [Chicago Green girl, APR 22th 2011]

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3. Recycling

One approach to sustainable living is recycling. By recycling, reducing the waste production and reusing we are better able to conserve our resources, providing a healthier economy and environment. In our survey, 44% of participants sometimes reused second hand furniture, clothing, materials, bikes, books, etc. 33% of them reused the given items most of the time. When we asked: "how often do you recycle?" 40% did always recycle, and in fact near 2% of people never recycle. Basically, people do a better job recycling than reusing. These are some tips for preserving our resources:

1. Use the blank sides of scrap paper for notes before recycling the paper
2. Repair home furnishings, appliances and electronics, and support local repair business
3.Donate items that you no longer use to a nonprofit group or thrift store.

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4. Energy
A question posed in the survey was “What is your mode of transportation to school?” Amongst the students surveyed biking accounted for 65% of the transportation means. The result of the survey confirms that Davis is truly a bike town because the respondents used bikes as their primary mode of transportation. Biking was used more than the other modes of transportation combined. The least sustainable method of going to school would be using cars and the most sustainable would be walking. Based on the distance students have to cover and time to be saved when going to school, biking would therefore be the next best alternative. A car uses petroleum, which is a fossil fuel. Fossil fuels are a non-renewable resource that results by the partial decomposition of organic material. In the drive to be more sustainable one should try to use a transportation means that utilizes the least fossil fuel.

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