Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What Does Green Even Mean?

Recently, two Park seniors were in charge of a project that resulted in the introduction of new green parking spaces in all three of the campus parking lots.  These spaces ask parking lot users to kindly reserve the spots for eco-friendly vehicles.  These vehicles include electric, hybrid, and diesel cars, as well as cars used for carpooling.  The idea is that drivers are rewarded for being “green.”

At face value, this seems like a great idea; our senior class even gave some of our fundraising money to the project to help pay for the newly painted spaces.  After all, who could argue with the promotion of eco-friendly consumption?  Unfortunately, nothing is ever that simple.

While driving a hybrid car is undoubtedly a great thing for our environment, it doesn’t necessarily equate with environmental consciousness.  Some even go as far as to say that these parking spaces discriminate financially against drivers.  And I think that to a certain degree, they’re right.  It seems kind of messed up that the leader of the CCCP*  might have to park in the back of the lot while someone who couldn’t care less about the environment might have a space reserved for them because their parents paid for a Lexus hybrid.

Obviously, it’s not black and white.  The argument can certainly be made who paid for the car is not important; a hybrid is still helping our environment no matter who drives it.  Furthermore, the spaces are reserved for carpoolers as well, so those who are truly environmentally conscious in their habits will benefit regardless.  Perhaps an even more compelling argument for the spaces is that incentive really isn’t very steep.  An extra 50 feet of walking pales in comparison to the message that the spaces send—the environment matters and it should matter to you.

I have a hard time arguing with the promotion of an eco-conscious community.  At the same time, I’m cognizant of the economic divide that it has the potential to create.  The environment and privilege are two issues that are both incredibly prevalent at Park, and its difficult to quantify the significance of both.  I’m not even going to try to decide which is more important in this particular situation.  What I will say though, is that I have the deepest respect for those brave enough to question an action like this.  It’s easy to dismiss the green spaces as nothing but good, as most people definitely will.  I know I’m curious to hear what others think about this situation because I know I’m not sold either way.

*Climate Change Committee at Park

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


            It seems everyone has an iPhone these days. In fact, recent studies show that Apple owns as much as 1/3 of the smartphone market.
            It's hard to attribute the iPhone's success to any one thing, but the iOS App Store has certainly played a huge role. The App Store allows developers to publish their apps for download, and users can pick from thousands of options, many of which are free.
            An app that has recently piqued my interest is a cute little gimmick called Snapchat. The premise is simple: you take a picture, add a caption, set the timer and send. The receiver then has the allotted amount of time (between 1-10 seconds) to view the message before it disappears forever. Conversation ensues, back and forth, with quick, funny snapshots that are gone as quickly as they come.
            One might ask, what's the point of such a silly app? After all, iMessage allows for easily integrated photos and text as well. But the beauty of Snapchat lies in the surprise inherent in each message. Users have just a few seconds to react before the Snapchat is gone. Sneaky users may try to take a screenshot so they can capture the image forever, but the sender will immediately be notified of this sinful activity.
            Anyway, there's not much more I can say to convince you to try Snapchat. My friends all thought it was dumb at first too. You've just got to trust me on this one. Download Snapchat, and hours of fun are on the way.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Viva La Vida

Featuring Michael Ginsburg, Drew Goldfarb, Nick Halle, and Daniel. Video cred to Abrams.