Student-led activism: Reduce and reuse

Tyler Pesce

While older environmentalists preached the value of recycling, today’s college students are more focused on reducing the amount of waste they create and reusing clothes and other products, Tyler Pesce notes.

“Thrifting and upcycling items have become popular trends for people in my generation,” says Pesce, a junior at Mars Hill University and president of the school’s Environmental Action Club. “Thrifting for new clothes or buying other used items has become something friends can go do together.”

Social media have played a role in promoting sustainability as well, she continues. “We can sign online petitions from halfway across the world.”

Below, Xpress speaks with Pesce about her role with EAC and the ways she stays motivated to combat climate change.

The interview has been condensed and lightly edited. 

What sustainability efforts on your campus are you most proud of?

The stream and campuswide cleanups the Environmental Action Club hosts every semester. We usually have a decent turnout with students, faculty and staff showing up to help pick up trash. For the stream cleanups, we team up with the Ivy River Partners. I am also proud of the composting bin we have planned for the Honors Garden on campus.

How do you keep yourself motivated in light of the lack of meaningful national or international efforts to combat climate change?

I try to focus on the good stuff. For every meaningless or failed effort, there are tons of success stories. I also try to make small sustainable choices every day, whether it’s using a reusable shopping bag, taking a shorter shower or making the time to help a local conservation effort. I also try and keep myself up to date on local environmentalism problems like the Save Ivy River campaign.

What’s one thing you would like to see Xpress readers do to promote sustainability in WNC in the coming year?

Get involved with local groups. Asheville GreenWorks is an amazing organization that works to promote sustainable living in our area. Another important thing for readers to consider is to pay attention to local elections. If sustainability is a concern for you, then be sure to check out your candidate’s stance on environmentalism. There are also a lot of lifestyle changes you can implement into your day-to-day life. Recycling, cutting down on consumerism, using reusable shopping bags and composting are all things anyone can take a part in if they so choose.


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