Excessive display of unsustainability

By Hedda Rosenberg, Norway (AC 08-10)


Things are happening. The times are changing here at AC. The latest idea and innovation comes from the World Café. During a discussion on how to make the college more sustainable, a new idea came to life: Excessive Display of Unustainability (EDU). This would be a new rule, along the lines of Excessive Display of Wealth (EDW), to not waste power. While EDW works to limit the amount of contrasts between rich and poor, EDU would work to encourage sustainable actions.

A practical example would be to tell your friends “EDP!” when they leave the light on in their dorms. Although not an implemented rule by this date, a debate has slowly been started. And the ideas are many.

So, should we hide our pollution just like we hide our phones? No, you should simply not pollute.  Perhaps some environmentalists today fear judgement from their peers for advising them what to do. “With EDP however, being environmentally friendly could turn to be something positive,” states Charlie Young, one of the creators of the new rule.

It’s all about consciousness. “Being conscious about our carbon emissions, and making conscious decisions,” says Peter Cutler, another founder of the idea. He has many concrete examples of where the rule would be implemented. “Only boiling enough water in the kettle for you; not using the dryers and switching off lights.” Charlie goes even further and starts to talk about flying; flights to Ireland, for example, he considers EDP.

“Everyone feels like they don’t do enough for the environment. So to therefore have something in the back of your mind, reminding you to be environmentally friendly, could be really useful.” These are the words of Rebecca (Becky) Pedrick-Case, who really wants a discussion on the topic and is therefore one of the founders of the World Café. “Does anyone have a better idea? I am actually asking a question here.”

For some however, this does not sound good. Being told by your peers, that you are breaking “yet another rule”, is not all that tempting for some. “If someone told me EDP I would probably tell them to fuck off,” states a student who prefers to remain anonymous. Several students seem to imply that it would simply cause more tension, if some told others what to do. Others see it as a way of putting their own morals upon the rest and not really solving any problems. Does it actually change any problems, not using the dryer?

The eager environmentalists at the school do admit that perhaps not changing anything in a direct way, it could stop making matters worse. Their general idea seems to be that “it is not making the world a better place; it is just not making it a worse one.” Whether it is worth imposing a rule that will annoy some will be for the future to tell.


– United World College Student Magazine –


2 thoughts on “Excessive display of unsustainability

  1. “Others see it as a way of putting their own morals upon the rest and not really solving any problems.”
    Of course it is, but I guess it would only be a polite suggestion – we’re supposed to learn from eachother, right? So as long as it doesn’t get too ecoterrorist-y, everything should be Roger in Cambodia…

  2. It seems to me like a terrific initiative, and after the success the EDW system had in our college (there is utter respect for that rule), I’m sure that for a good cause, EDP will also become a tradition that may not change the world, but definitely assist our community in becoming more enviornmentally aware.

    Now, when are we going suggest the EDA? (excessive display of affection)

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