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Distance Learning is Greener

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There are many things about distance learning to love: sitting on your couch instead of in a class (PJs need I say more?); saving money on the gas that you didn't have to use; and being able to take the courses at your own pace. Let me add another thing to the list that you might have missed. Did you know that distance learning is greener? That's right; I said distance learning is greener.

Distance learning is mostly digital, while traditional schools still use paper heavily. You need maps of campus; schedules; syllabi; tests; essays; as well as other paper assignments. In the United States we use about 90 million short tons of paper per year. I wonder how many trees that is. According to the kansasgreenteams.org, it takes 17 trees to produce one ton of paper. The communication occurs in a digital environment with distance learning, from the study guides to the online courses, many times you don't have to print anything, it's all digital. Imagine all the paper being saved!

Think about this for a minute: you don't have to commute to school, which means no car exhaust. Cars produce CO2, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere each time you turn the key. Cars in the US account for half of the world's total CO2 emissions.

Full-time students have to drive to and from school almost every day, increasing the problem at a startling rate. Some students might take the bus or car-pool, but exhaust is still emitted. When classes can be taken at home, you don't have to drive anywhere which means no emissions at all. That's a rate of emission that you can't beat.

No college campus also means that energy is saved. There are no long hallways to keep lit up, no cafeterias, no huge parking lots that need lighting, and no giant buildings needing climate control. Yes, you will still use energy for your computer and your home, but just think of all that energy that isn't being used up by large facilities.

Who knew distance learning could be so earth friendly, not to mention cost effective? Getting an education from afar is as good as... well, green.


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