Lay off the Tea Party movement

Regarding your editorial about Republicans and the Tea Party movement (“Republicans need to control rhetoric,” March 29), I think it is absolutely absurd that you think the Tea Party movement is becoming dangerous and Republicans should distance themselves from them.

Most people in the Tea Party are average, hard-working people. They are moms, dads, students, doctors, lawyers, etc. These people are protesting peacefully because they don’t like the way the government is trying to control their lives.

There are a few people involved who do make inappropriate remarks (although there is no proof anyone made derogatory statements to members of Congress) and don’t take responsibility for their actions, but this is the exception rather than the norm.

Republican lawmakers and conservative talk show hosts, such as Glenn Beck, have urged people to protest peacefully, and most Tea Party protesters have done so.

There are extremists in both parties. A liberal protester bit someone’s thumb off at a town hall meeting in 2009, yet no one called on the Democrats to reign in their protesters.

The Tea Party movement should be celebrated for everyday people trying to make a difference in their government.

They should not be belittled by the media because a select few do things no one agrees with. Republicans should embrace the Tea Party, and the media should lay off criticizing the Tea Party and talk about the real issues facing this country.

Jordan Wood
IU junior

Oberlin College: Giving back to the environment

Where can you get paid to poop? OK, it may only be a quarter a dump and only at certain educational events, so it’s not as exciting as it seems.

However, what about a place where your classroom actually functions as a part of your education, what about learning in a building that is environmentally sustainable and socially responsible?

How exciting would that be?

The Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies at Oberlin College, a small liberal arts school in Ohio, does exactly this.

In addition to being fueled by a large collection of solar panels, lit largely by natural light, and built from local and recycled materials, the building recycles its water via an innovation called the Living Machine.

In this process, wastewater from sinks and toilets is purified by sealed tanks of anaerobic and aerobic bacteria and then sent to vats full of tropical plants and fish — essentially miniature wetlands — to be further cleansed of nutrients and sludge.

After this step, the water is sent to a clarifier that separates the remaining solid waste, which is returned to the sealed tanks to feed the bacteria. The water then undergoes denitrification again in another wetland habitat.

Once this is completed, the water is disinfected and used to fill toilets and irrigate campus.

Thanks in part to the Living Machine, “the building uses 54 percent less site energy and has 50 percent lower energy costs than typical educational buildings of similar size,” according to Oberlin’s sustainability report.

Furthermore, as it is operated by students, the building itself becomes an educational tool and an example of a technology that does not have harmful external costs on ecosystems and communities elsewhere.

In the words of Professor David Orr, “to these ends the Adam Joseph Lewis Center will serve as a part of the larger education of the Oberlin community aimed to promote the practical skills and analytic abilities necessary to reweave the human presence in the world.”

Hopefully IU can follow suit and become an example of progressive and ethical technology that can serve as an example for Bloomington, other universities, and the world.

Emily Winters
IU freshman

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