Blog & Insights
Attention student eco warriors: How you can help save the planet!
Environmental awareness is at an all-time high and it’s a topic that impacts most modern lifestyle decisions. The gradual shift in public opinion means more and more people are in favour of supporting sustainable businesses – and students represent a large part of that group. As active supporters of climate awareness and campaigns for change, students are perfectly placed to advocate for more sustainable business practises. How are our Universities keeping step with changing environmental conditions? And how do you play your part? Here’s some easy ways to get that eco-train moving.
How does your Uni generate power? Is solar energy on the agenda? Some universities are embracing their social responsibilities by committing to renewable energy usage. Making small changes to your personal energy usage can also have a big environmental impact. Switch the lights and air-con off when you go out and always let the sun be the first way to heat up your space. Pull on a jumper before you hit the heating button and change over to energy efficient light bulbs. Use lamps rather than overhead lighting, they are more energy-efficient to run and kinder on your bills. Slow up on your water use, keep the showers short and always turn the tap off while brushing your teeth!
Travelling enriches our experiences, but we should also consider our carbon footprint before we head off for the weekend. Whether you’re travelling to and from Uni or further afield, take a bike or enjoy simply walking in the fresh air. If you are lucky enough to be located close to campus, travelling by foot is the perfect carbon-friendly solution that also gets your heart rate moving as an added healthy bonus.
Seemingly basic, but often
overlooked, recycling is hugely important in helping combat our environmental
impact. Bins should be amply provided at University but if there are not enough
to meet demand, contact administration to request some more. Consider using
recycled products yourself such as notepads and pencils, and encourage your
University to subscribe to the same principles. Single-use plastic bags are a
big issue so be sure to have your reusable shopping bags handy and close by. Suggest
the appointment of recycling monitors to oversee collections and establish
strategies that ensure the principle is embedded and fully supported within the
University culture. Extend this behaviour beyond the bins to textbooks and
furnishings; re purposing items is a great way to recycle and reuse.
Boycott the bottles
Ditch the plastic bottle, invest in a BPA-free newbie and stick to drinking tap water. With plenty of water dispensers distributed around campuses as well as the city streets there really is no reason to be wasting all that plastic. As for your coffee habits, many cafés now offer discount incentives for reusable cups, so you can still get your caffeine fix and save money along the way.
With Aussies discarding 85% of textiles into landfill each year, we have a pressing duty to think about our consumer buying habits – and how to change them. Fast fashion is a modern reality that sadly lends itself to a quick-fix solution of wear and chuck. Counteract this by organising clothes swap opportunities at your student accommodation or on campus and encouraging others to donate unwanted clothing to second-hand stores. Shop locally in your area and help support the local high street businesses. When it comes to food shopping, evaluate how far that produce has travelled to get to where it is sold and support those businesses that are supporting the environment. Have you considered the impact your cleaning products or toiletries are having on the environment? Seek out more earth-friendly produce at your local store and avoid any products that are unnecessarily over-packaged.
Many of the measures above such as reduced energy consumption, recycling and taking social responsibility all help contribute to a more sustainable living practice. Adding more plant-based foods to your diet will automatically reduce your consumption of animal products, which again in turn helps support the environment.
If you feel your University could be having a greater environmental impact, set up or join an environment-focused club or committee. These are useful to have as a central organisation that can lobby where necessary and act as one central voice when action and correspondence is required. That one voice will help translate good intentions into a better reality.