Thinking about our impact on the environment is important for every person in society. We all call this planet home and therefore it is up to us to ensure we look after it. There are many small and simple gestures that you can do to help the environment. As a student, following a few tips can you help you reduce your impact on the environment. As an extra bonus, they can reduce your energy usage and help you save money!
All these ideas are being used in my student house. They are tried and tested.
Reduce your impact on the environment
- Make sure there’s always somewhere you can recycle separately in the kitchen. In my house we have a large cardboard box we empty weekly into the recycling bin, but any container will do. Ensuring you recycle whatever you can is very important. At the moment only 9% of plastic is actually being recycled.
- Related to the previous point, is don’t buy excessive food. Plan weekly meals out in order to help minimise this and freeze what you can. Always check the packaging it can help you save food that you might not realise you can freeze.
- Walk or use public transport. Using your car to make the 10-minute drive to Tesco might save you some time but with a car, there is a tendency not to waste the space and you might buy more than you need (see the previous point). Walking more is not only good for the environment, but it is good for your health too!
- Cut down on showers, winning imaginary arguments in the shower is always fun but you do not need a 45-minute shower, it’s wasteful for water.
- Turn off plugs at the mains and turn all lights off at night. It’s good to turn off your phone at night and let it charge when you can control it such as during the day. There’s no excessive energy being used.
Improve your impact on the environment
- Don’t fill the kettle up, only fill it up with the water you will use for that cup of tea.
- Look at vintage shops and second-hand apps for clothes and material possessions, depop is a good one to try. We are considered a throwaway society. When new clothes and material possessions can be bought easily online, it becomes second nature to buy the latest style and throw the old one away. Clothing wastage is a big problem, and this can be reduced easily. How many of your old clothes end up in the landfill?
- Cutting out red meat can help improve your carbon footprint. Beef requires 28 more land to produce than pork or chicken. It produces 11 times more greenhouse gases than staples like potatoes. By cutting it out entirely or reducing, you will be reducing your impact on the environment. This is also very helpful for saving money as red meat is generally quite expensive.
- Buy a reusable water bottle. For students, this can help reduce that hangover and make sure you stay hydrated! It also cuts down on the amount of plastic being used for water bottles. There are also many gorgeous ones available on the market, I recommend looking at Chilly’s.
- Take bags with you when going shopping. This may seem like an obvious one, particularly considering the 5p bag charge now but it is surprising how many students forget their bags and have to pay for them. In order to avoid this, maybe buy one that is just for your shopping, you can buy cotton ones and or just reuse plastic ones but make sure they are always in an obvious place so you take them with you.
All these may seem relatively small differences to make in your life but no matter how small it is still a contribution.
A rising concern?
There is a rising concern amongst many people as to the impact that climate change is having on the environment and there is a growing sense that time may be running out. When almost every household has a car, and long-haul holidays are common, there needs to be more done in order to reduce the impact we are having on the environment. The information is readily available for those who are interested and those who are not, well it should be questioned why. This is the only planet we have and it is our children who will be suffering due to our inability to act now.
The UN warns that by the end of the century, the temperature of the planet will have risen above pre-industrial levels meaning that the sea levels will have risen due to the melting ice. Animals found in colder climates will no longer be able to cope there and there will be an increase in more disasters like flooding and wild fires. Diverse ecosystems like the Amazon rain forest will be unable to recover leading to a loss in unique species.
It is important that issues like climate change are not brushed aside due to people’s own personal egos. Everyone will suffer if the planet suffers so let’s act now. Small gestures can go a long way.