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Most green professor on campus

Submitted by Melissa Ibbotson on September 19, 2011 – 1:21 pmNo Comment

Photo by Matt Johnson

UALR biology professor Steve Yanoviak is as environmentally friendly as they come, and as such, was recently named UALR’s most “green” person on campus. Yanoviak was chosen after The Forum asked for nominations from the campus community for the title.

“I think it’s a dubious distinction, to be the most green person on campus,” Yanoviak said. He said he is just an example of people who are conscious of the environment.

As a biologist, Yanoviak said he has been aware of the environment and has always tried to be conscious of it. He said he believes we have an obligation to make sure future generations have a healthy living environment.

Eileen Turan, Program Administrator for the Donaghey Scholars program, nominated Yanoviak because for him, “being ‘green’ begins in the small day-to-day things and extends to the significant purchases and decisions he makes.”

The big things include driving a Toyota Prius to reduce gas consumption, though Yanoviak said even that has consequences for the environment. He believes cars are slowly going to become all electric. “I think hybrids are a positive step in that direction,” he said. “I also think they are a way to get the public on board with that technology.”

He has installed a tankless water heater at home, which he said paid for itself within two years with a tax incentive. He has also replaced the insulation to increase efficiency. He uses flourescent lightbulbs, uses low pressure shower heads, does not use pesticides or chemicals in his yard and he limits the amount of processed food he eats.

“It’s very expensive to eat healthy,” Yanoviak said. “We try to be conscious of what we eat, and it costs us a fortune.” Because of this, Yanoviak has started a small vegetable garden. He also tries to grow other plants that are native to this area, such as azaleas and wildflowers, which will help reduce the amount of watering he has to do.

Yanoviak said one of the biggest things a person can do to protect the environment is to pay attention to how much energy you use. He said he is always aware of what is running in the house, and makes a point of turning things off when he isn’t home. Energy companies provide a graph on the bill that shows how many kilowatt hours you use each month, and he compares that to previous months and years.

For fun, Yanoviak runs. He has run the Boston Marathon twice and runs the Little Rock Half Marathon each year. He also does wood-working, and uses recycled doors and old construction lumber for his projects.

While he doesn’t teach about being green specifically in his classes, he is co-teaching a scholars course called Science and Society this semester. “This course addresses environmental issues head-on,” he said. “We talk about our dependence on oil and alternative energies.”

Yanoviak said climate change is happening, and said he believes it cannot be denied. However, he knows the environment is not number one on most people’s minds right now, with the economy the way it is. “Unfortunately environmental issues have always been a luxury.”

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who caused it,” he said. “We have to face it.” He said people will have to start thinking about the environment because “we don’t have a choice.”

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