College professor hasn’t used paper in a decade

Gerald Smith Religion professor Sewanee University of the South

Living green isn’t just for trendy young hipsters. 68-year-old Gerald Smith, a religion professor at Sewanee, University of the South, hasn’t exchanged a piece of paper with one of his students in more than a decade!

Stick that in your “they’re just set in their ways” pipe and smoke it.

The Tennessean says,

The ecologically oriented religion teacher has stuck to a pledge more than 15 years ago to conduct paperless classes.

The Middle Tennessee educator, a mainstay of the school 90 minutes southeast of Nashville, doesn’t line up with the traditional approach to environmental activism.

Focusing on a polluted stream, for instance, won’t fix things, says the Devils-advocate kind of guy.

The solution to keeping water, land and air clean isn’t “out there,” rather it’s inside everyone, Smith said. Recycling isn’t the answer so much as acquiring and using less stuff is.

“We must attack the sources and causes of pollution, not the forms of pollution,” he wrote once. “And those sources are in our consuming hearts, not in the factories, mines, cars, landfills.”

That’s kind of a cool point of view, don’t you think? It’s like a seemingly too simple “chicken or the egg” discussion.

Of course recycling is awesome. Finding cleaner sources of energy that keeps our land, air, and water cleaner is a great idea. And reducing our consumption of “stuff” is something that will bring us another step closer to a sustainable future.

I’d like to encourage you to not get wrapped up in or bogged down by the weight of Smith’s apparent minimalistic, and possibly even anti-consumerism, convictions. He’s just one example of a cool guy doing some cool stuff.

What matters most in the end is that you do whatever matters most to you. Now that I’ve mentioned it, what does matter most to you?

[Photo: sewanee/Flickr]

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About Jeffrey Davis

Yo, I'm Jeffrey, founder of and editor in chief here at Eco-Snobbery Sucks. I live in Nashville, TN and am a writer, personal trainer, web designer, and wookie hugger. I hang out on Twitter some but you can find me more active on Facebook. Enjoy the site!