Infographic: How Higher Learning Affects the Environment


via: SubmitInfographic



  1. I think this can be applied to almost anything. “Save trees, gas, and money, work from home.” If we lose higher education institutions, think about everything else we will lose: social and leadership opportunities, potential friendships, a sense of community and belonging.If this is the trade off for a supposed better environment, then count me out.

  2. I don’t think the graphic is saying we should completely get rid of higher education. I agree that would be terrible. I think it’s critiquing the infrastructure of waste it produces, which yes can be applied to almost everything. But! academic environments are usually the forefront of ideas and leaders in trends, so they should work more to setting environmental standards.

    I think there are some classes that wouldn’t work well if offerred online, but there are classes that do. Universities can take advantage of that. I think the main take-away for this is that there’s potential for improvement.

  3. I think the graphic is wrongly targeting higher education institutions merely to advertise for their soulless online alternatives. If anything, higher education institutions are some of the most sustainable institutions available. Take Texas A&M’s new policy for LEED only certified buildings for new construction, or Cal Poly’s method of lawn care: sheep. Where there is always room for improvement, many higher education institutions are in fact the leaders in sustainability.

  4. Well, it’s nice to see that you’re so passionate about something on DD!

    I agree that there are universities making steps for sustainability, but hardly a significant proportion.

    A building being LEED certified doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s sustainable. Consider the impact of the new construction and what is lost in its place… grassy knoll?!? The importance is holistic planning, not mass construction with paper certificates.

    You can’t save the planet with simple tasks like feeding sheep. The entire infrastructure has to change.

  5. The standard of sustainability you speak of doesn’t exist anywhere, unless you are in a remote tribal village with grass huts and semi-cladded indigenes. LEED may not be fully sustainable, but it’s the best we can do to fit the functional and practical needs of a major university or other institution. And you CAN save the planet with simple tasks like using sheep to cut your grass. That’s the whole point, doing little things that will add up to make a huge difference.

    Again, this smear campaign against traditional campus based universities by is ridiculous. They are obviously just taking advantage of the environmental conscious generation to benefit their pocket books. I think it’s shameless. Not to mention the fact that all of the schools the website promotes have huge corporate offices and physical campus locations throughout the country. How sustainable are these places and how is the environment impacted by the thousand’s of employees that drive to them each day? Remember, behind every “Environmental Impact” poster is an environmental impact.

    I also don’t understand why a website that is promoting higher learning, titles their findings “How Higher Learning Affects the Environment”. It seems counterintuitive.

    And please leave the personal attacks and contemptuous mockery out of your rebuttals.

  6. Oh gosh, Tyler. Personal attack?

    The problem with simple tasks saving the environment idea, is that most people think that one task is enough. Often this does more harm because it shifts attention away from real solutions, which is changing the infrastructure (addressed more thoroughly in Cradle to Cradle, and many other books).

    Now, I’m not saying that everything needs to revert back to grass huts and I’m not attacking universities. I’m just saying that there’s room for improvement (as there is with everything).

    I’m sorry you’re so offended by the infographic. But as far as distance learning, it’s not something these people just made up as a smear campaign. There is significant quantitative data of its positive impact… and is also why work-from-home is being promoted. BUT! obviously it’s not for every situation.

    Also, keep in mind this is just an infographic. A lone infographic won’t solve the world’s problems, they just display info. I must just be reading it differently than you, because I don’t see an attack on traditional education but more just a promotion of some solutions… I mean the first part addressed recycling which is something traditional universities can implement. While this infographic’s solution to gas consumption is through online courses (which I’ve said before is valid… some classes work in online environments… AND A&M is also implementing this with certain english and math courses), traditional universities can address the problem by offering better transportation services if the city doesn’t already provide it.

  7. Let me start off by saying I agree with you, addressing one problem and neglecting others doesn’t make a huge difference, but everyone must start from somewhere. I believe as we continue into the future, new techniques and solutions will be implemented further on traditional campuses throughout the globe. However, I still do not think you give the traditional campus enough credit for the sustainable initiatives that they are currently implementing and continue to improve upon.

    Do you have an infograhpic for online courses? I will love to see one. I’m still not convinced that distance learning, along with the corporate offices behind them, make that much of a difference. Having taken several distance courses, often times I would have to drive 2 hours round trip to have my exam proctored. Where as if I took it at a traditional campus, I could walk or ride my bike. Thousands of students do the same.

    Am I offended by this infographic? That would be an understatement, I am livid. I never said these people made up distance learning to attack traditional campuses, I am simply saying they’re accusing higher education for high environmental impacts, just to promote their business which may, and probably do cause similar impacts.

  8. My take on the info-graphic would be its simply is askin students not to say print 130 pages of ppt slides in order to study for the exam. YES using a computer takes energy which most likely comes from a coal plant. Also, paper is a renew able resource.

    I don’t think A&M is really making strides to be sustainable (incessant watering and mowing of their increasingly scarce bremuda or st. augustine lawns, keeping entire buildings at 55 degrees in the summer, complete lack of composting, trucking in their bio fuel for their buses from Houston)

  9. […] the weekend there was some chat benefits from distance learning and telecommuting, and then a subsequent request to see more […]

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