NO PLANET B: A sustainable future starts with you

This is a column part of a monthly series called “No Planet B” written by Sustainability & Energy Management Coordinator Chelsea Malacara and her sustainability interns. This series aims to provide insight on how we can begin to think and make sustainable choices on campus for a better future. 

In 2015 Pope Francis said, “Climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation. When it comes to the care of our ‘common home,’ we are living at a critical moment of history.” The moment to build a more sustainable future is now. In 2015, Univeristy President Michael Lovell signed the Saint Francis pledge committing this university and those of us a part of it, to living out the vision of the “Laudato Si” encyclical and our Catholic faith through prayer, concrete action and advocacy to care for creation and the poor.

We are at a point in history where there is no turning back. We are living through the impacts of a changing climate and the only way forward is to forge a new path. One that prioritizes a healthy planet, equitable social systems that allow everyone to thrive and an economy rooted in supporting sustainable development. Development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of future generations.

Turn on the news any day and the grim realities of our world are at the forefront. Yet, I see a beam of hope and possibility underneath that all too. Here at Marquette, there are several ways you can be the difference this world needs. So, where do you start?

The intent of this monthly column is to present this community with knowledge about relevant sustainability-related topics and ideas on how to act. The writers of the column series will be Marquette sustainability interns who are working with the university’s Sustainability & Energy Management coordinator throughout the academic year. These students represent several different majors and are passionate about building a sustainable community within the university and beyond. Their hope is to inspire readers to be a part of system-wide change whether that is through research, advocacy, prayer, tangible action or modifying your own behavior.

Today I challenge you to commit to an individual action that will reduce your own impact on the environment. Consider:

  • Refilling your water bottle at one of the many water bottle fill stations around campus
  • Grab a reusable Ozzi container from the Alumni Memorial Union or Schroeder Hall if you are getting takeaway from the dining hall
  • If you are going off campus or commuting to take the Milwaukee County bus-unlimited rides with your student pass; rent a Bublr Bike from the Weasler Auditorium station; go pick out a new bike at Vulture Space or Dream Bikes; or if you are heading out to explore Wisconsin, grab a few friends and rent a Zip Car.
  • If you have a lamp in your campus dorm or apartment that does not have an LED bulb, make a commitment to replace the current bulb and get an LED for free. Contact sustainability@marquette.edu
  • Get involved in faculty research focused on climate change and sustainability
  • Start thinking about taking a class next semester that is sustainability-focused
  • Get creative! Is there an initiative, program, or system you want to see on campus you currently don’t and want to make it happen? Contact Marquette’s Sustainability & Energy Management coordinator at

A sustainable future is resilient, equitable and will require all of us to use our gifts to collectively to envision something different. Here at Marquette is where that journey begins.

This story was written by Chelsea Malacara, the Sustainability & Energy Management Coordinator for Marquette University. She is not a staff member for the Wire. She can be reached at chelsea.malacara@marquette.edu