By Jawaun Jackson
While we see our world as an okay place to live sometimes, it’s hurting, and man’s actions upon our earth have caused drastic changes to the status quo. In recent centuries we have accelerated the natural changes of the earth’s progression. Scientists have found that the earth naturally will warm up and then freeze over, but this change takes thousands of years to complete. Thanks to us humans, we are cutting the time by hundreds of years with our current ways of living. As a college student it may seem too hard or tasking to live a more “green” lifestyle, but here are eight easy ways college students can help the environment.
1. Plate Usage
It may not sound like much, but if we can use less plates while eating in Ames or even at home we can save water, energy, and chemicals because there will be less dishes to wash. Also, if we only eat what we can carry it will help battle against food waste. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “more than 34 million tons of food is wasted each year in America,” making it the largest component filling landfills today.
2. Reusable Water Bottles
Plastic water bottles are not biodegradable, so switching to a reusable water bottle cuts down on the use of plastic bottles. The lifespan of the plastic is close to infinite. Plastic water bottles are often used on the go and are mostly thrown away into landfills where they can begin to degrade, but never completely, leaving almost indestructible pellets behind. By using reusable bottles, the lifespan is longer and more sustainable, plus it’s much kinder to your wallet than buying cases of water. With multiple spots on campus to refill reusable water bottles, a student can never pay for drinking water for as long as he or she is attending McKendree.
3. Carpooling/Biking/Walking/Bus (Bogey)
By cutting down on the use of your car and taking alternative ways to class you can cut down your CO2 output. Some of the positives of this would be not worrying about campus parking and saving gas as well as gas money. The environmental impact would be taking CO2 out the air, which is one of the major greenhouse gases causing climate change.
And no, this has nothing to do with Macklemore popping tags with only $20 in his pocket. In all seriousness, this is about you, the college student who’s popping tags with only $20 (if not less) in your pocket. While it may not seem glamourous, thrifting is a wonderful way to reuse and save money. “Americans on average throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person each year” (Earth911.com). Do the math. That’s 68 x 300 million (roughly), which is a lot of clothes and fabric going to waste. Why not find some affordable and earth saving secondhand clothing?
5. Ditching Plastic Bags
Similar to the plastic water bottles, plastic bags are non-biodegradable objects. But never fear, reusable bags are here, and they are made from organic materials such as cotton, wool and hemp. With some states charging for plastic bags, reusable tote bags have become an excellent substitute, as they are cheaper in the long run and sturdier. These bags can also be more spacious and stronger than plastic bags, making “one trips” possible.
6. Simply Recycle
About 25% of Americans do not recycle. Don’t be some statistic! Go and recycle! We’re the generation of tomorrow and if we don’t recycle there will be no tomorrow for us. So, try taking advantage of the Green Team’s recycle events; they’re normally posted on the various bulletin boards around campus. Some recyclables are also worth money, so if you’re in need of funds, head to the local recycle center and earn some cash for saving the environment.
Blackle is a search engine that is powered by Google. The environmental twist is that the website background is black. The black background makes your computer use less energy. By using Blackle, 1 person can save 750 megawatt hours a year. This can also help your phone or laptop save battery for the important things like Snapchat and other social media outlets.
8. Meatless Monday
Now this one may be hard to do with Dairy Queen’s McKendree Monday, but nonetheless college is all about challenges and finding yourself i.e. “coming of age.” So, go find yourself. If you’re not up for the challenge, giving up meat on any old day of the week religiously will still work. This can improve the environment and your overall health. Giving up meat once a week can lower the possibilities of diabetes type II, stroke, heart disease, obesity and certain cancers. It’s important for the environment because the meat industry produces nearly 1/5 of all greenhouse gasses. Cutting the demand for meat will result in a reduction of those gases. If you would like to take the challenging pledge, go to meatlessmonday.com.
These eight ways can help you save the environment. Try giving them a try and see if it helps. If you’re not about the environment, meatless Mondays helps with your health. Switching to reusable bags and water bottles will save you more money in the long run. Also recycling always pays back if you recycle for money. So, if the environment is not your forte you can always make money, improve health and/or save money.