By: Kirti Moteka
Being a student can be time-consuming, you have homework, assessments, extracurriculars, classes, and so much more! Attempting to reduce your carbon footprint between all this can be difficult, so here are some easy ways that students should consider towards saving our planet:
- Composting: Creating your soil may not seem like a very fun task, but it is a necessary one. There are two main ways of composting, commercial or backyard, that you can choose from. Commercial composting is collecting scraps and depositing them in a local community compost. Backyard composting consists of using your food scraps to create soil in your backyard and may involve adding worms for certain types of food. Composting reduces emissions of greenhouse gases and therefore works to reduce methane emissions in the environment - furthermore, food scraps often end up in the waste, so composting is an easy way to recycle those scraps into nutrient-rich soil for your very own garden.
- Avoid driving: This is one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint and your spending. Especially this year, avoid unnecessary driving trips and try to stay home. If safe, try to carpool, especially for longer journeys. Try to walk or bike to your destination if you have some extra time on your hands and would like some physical exercise. As of 2017, the carbon emissions from transportation exceeded the carbon emissions from electricity, according to the New York Times. This is because many newer electricity procedures use renewable resources, while nonrenewable resources are still the primary type of fuel for cars. During this pandemic year, take the opportunity to avoid flying and driving if you can.
- Try Meatless Mondays: Cut down your meat intake! If going vegan is too much of a stretch for you (although, cutting off dairy is known to improve acne problems, which may help during teenage years), try becoming vegetarian or pescetarian. The key is to reduce red meat (which is unhealthier for you too) because red meat production requires tons of energy. It has been noticed that vegetarians have nearly half of the carbon footprints of meat-eaters - even if you don’t want to cut off meat permanently, try avoiding meat once a week.
- Donate or sell your clothes: This is not only a way for you to reduce your carbon footprint, but also a super-easy way to recycle old material! If you choose to donate your clothes, you are helping out someone in need. If you choose to sell your clothes, you can earn some extra pocket money! Regardless of which route you choose, by giving away your old clothes, you are helping reduce the production of new clothing.
- Avoid fast fashion: You can do this by searching for sustainably sourced clothing or by thrifting! The fashion industry is the second largest contributor to pollution and is especially destructive with fast fashion - clothing that is mass-produced rapidly. Therefore, try to avoid this kind of fashion by reusing or repurposing your outfits, thrifting, or researching sustainable clothing brands (if you don’t want to wear secondhand clothing). Plus - as a student - thrifting is an easy way to save some extra money yet have a stylish wardrobe.
These are five easy ways that students can reduce their carbon footprint easily from the comfort of their home! Climate change is now more important than ever, so let's all do our part to make the world a much cleaner and healthier place.