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At School, It’s Easy Being Green

For Kermit the Frog, being green is a burden. But according to Michael McCann, Ph.D., professor of biology and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, being green can be easier than it seems for America’s students.

McCann’s suggestions begin with transportation. He says the most carbon-free way to travel is walking or biking.

The two next best options are public transportation and carpooling, according to McCann, who is also chair of the University’s sustainability committee. “An average car might get about 24 miles per gallon. With two people in the car, that’s 48 passenger mpg. Similarly, if a bus with 40 people on it gets five mpg, that’s 200 passenger mpg.” Both options are less wasteful than driving alone, because they’re transporting more people at once. And they also have the added perk of being able to work while traveling, says McCann.

For lunch, McCann suggests carrying a lunch box or a reusable lunch sack. As for portable refreshment, McCann says be aware of “plastic products containing BPA,” an organic compound used in the manufacture of some plastics, capable of mimicking the body’s hormones to adverse health effects. “More recently, similar questions about hormone mimics from PET plastic—which is what most water bottles are made of—have been raised, too, so a stainless steel bottle or thermos is probably the best bet,” says McCann. Whatever you do, try not to fall into the trap of easy-to-use, but not nearly as easy-to-recycle juice boxes, McCann warns.

When it comes to schoolwork, McCann advises students to use recycled and post-consumer recycle paper products. For work that can be done on a computer, McCann offers simple advice: “smaller is greener.”

Being green can be as easy as making a few changes in your daily routine. After all, even Kermit eventually croons, “It’s beautiful, and I think it’s what I’d like to be.”

McCann can be reached for comment at 610-660-1823, by email at, or by calling the Office of University Communications at 610-660-1222.

McCann | Newswise Science News
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