Every Friday since August 2018, a 16-year-old Swedish student named Greta Thunberg sat outside Parliament, urging someone with power to listen to her message about climate change. Friday 15th March 2019 was the day when they had no choice but to listen as more than one million students around the world skipped school for the day to protest with her. Today, Thunberg still protests every Friday and intends to do so until change happens. While it’s necessary for governments around the world to take action, individuals need to take personal responsibility too. As a student, there are so many easy changes you can make to do your part, from buying an energy efficient laptop for school work to using metal straws at parties.
What’s the point?
Maybe you’re not an eco-warrior yet and you don’t see how one person making changes can help anything? Well, more and more people are starting to wake up to the impact humans have on the planet. As Greta Thunberg is proving, people can collectively make a difference. However, if that isn’t enough to motivate you, the energy you save by making simple changes will result in financial savings. Switching to reusable products will save you money as you’ve only got the cost of a one-off purchase. In general, living green means reducing how much stuff you buy and use overall, and that results in savings. The best thing about all these savings is that you can put them towards paying for your education that can further help you to fight climate change.
Buy energy efficient appliances
Most students will buy a laptop to help them with their studies or may be moving into their own place for the first time and need to kit their home out. Look at the energy rating a product has and pick an appliance or gadget that is energy efficient. Not only will this help you to save energy, but the savings will be reflected in your bills too. Some energy efficient items may cost slightly more to purchase initially but the cost of running them results in a saving within a few months to a year in most cases.
Use recycled products
The first thing you should do before going out to the store and purchasing new stationary and supplies is to check what you already have. You don’t need new pens, pencils and a notebook just because you’re starting college if you already have supplies from last year that can be used. However, if it is time to restock, look for products made from recycled materials. Some stores will have options, but if not looking online is a good way to guarantee you can find what you’re looking for.
Replace single-use plastic
4 trillion plastic bags are used each year worldwide and, shockingly, only 1% of these bags are reused or recycled. Per person, this equates to 307 bags each year being thrown out each year in America alone. Switching to canvas bags or simply reusing plastic ones can make a massive difference. Other eco-friendly and easy switches include declining plastic straws at bars and pubs and bringing your own metal ones instead and buying a reusable water bottle and coffee cup. Some shops even offer a discount if you take your own reusable coffee cups as a thank you for doing your part.
As a student, you have the power to make change happen, both individually and on a larger scale. Getting in the habit of doing small, simple changes that have a huge impact on the planet is a great place to start to set yourself and future generations up for a sustainable planet.