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GSU exhibit goes green
Museum show offers tips for saving money, the environment
021612 MUSEUM SUSTAINABILITY 01web
Eaghan Benton, 6, and Emily Hulsey, 2, try out an exhibit that demonstrates the amount of trash Americans discard versus the amount they recycle at the Georgia Southern Museum's new Sustainable Solutions exhibit Thursday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Going green and working to protect the environment does not necessarily call for a new hybrid vehicle or expensive solar-panel-covered home. Saving the world doesn’t have to result in a sacrificed bank account.
That is the message, at least, of a new addition to the Georgia Southern University Museum intended to provide guests with easy approaches for minimizing ecological footprints and simple, cheap lifestyle changes to create a greener world.
The featured exhibit, Sustainable Solutions, opened Tuesday with promise of teaching economically-conscious techniques for protecting the environment through a series of interactive displays and informative posters.
According to Lissa Leege Director of the Georgia Southern Center for Sustainability and curator of the exhibit, the work is intended to show how citizens can “be green while saving green.”
“The goal for the exhibit is to show people what some of our sustainability issues are, and show that there are really simple solutions out there already to reduce our impact on Earth,” Leege said. “There are all kinds of great technological solutions and also simple lifestyle choices, like recycling.”
“There are simple energy-efficiency changes we can make that can significantly reduce our use of energy,” she said. “There are also simple ways to conserve water and simple solutions for buildings, like coated white roofs that help cool and insulate.”
The display hopes to hammer home its message with interactive stations where guests can gather a better sense of the impact everyday decisions have on the environment.
“Stations will focus on solutions for a greener approach to waste, water, energy, food, construction and biodiversity,” Leege said.
In one corner of the room, three light bulbs, ranging from least to most efficient, shine on buckets stationed underneath. The buckets flanking the equally bright bulbs contain an amount of charcoal used to power each light for one month. It is the standard bulb most commonly used in households that burns the most energy — by a full bucket.
In another corner, items commonly thrown in trash cans and sent to landfills all sit on a table. Listed on the bottom of an item — bottles, cans, glass containers — is the amount of time needed for the material to decompose. For some, the number is as high as 1,000,000 years.
“We also have a great section that shows how much waste the average American family produces in a day versus how much they recycle,” Leege said. “And food is another item we’re highlighting, in terms of local sustainable food choices. We want to show that we have solutions right here for reducing the amount of distance food has to travel from farm to plate.”
According to Leege, the exhibit is meant show how easy changes can be.
“This is meant to be a positive, uplifting you-can-do-it kind of exhibit,” she said. “I hope to inspire people to take home with them 10 simple solutions they can do today to make our Earth more sustainable. There is something for everyone.”
Sustainable Solutions, sponsored in part by Pearson Publishing, will be open to the public until May 13 at the museum. Visitors can gain free admission to the exhibit if they donate a pair of denim jeans, which will be recycled into insulation for use in future homes. A reception welcoming the exhibit to the Museum will be held Feb. 23 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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