14 Things We Can Do Daily To Save The Earth

14 Things We Can Do Daily to Save the Earth

Us college kids can do a LOT of good, we just have to try!

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We're all aware of the fact that, as humans, we do things every day that are detrimental for our environment. If you don't, you're lying to yourself, because you know. Not to sound like a pessimist or anything, but our generation can make or break the state of our Earth.

On a POSITIVE note, there are SO many things we can do to change the world for the better! We can be the generation that saves it if we just stop being lazy and do things that are so easy to implement into our every day life! I've always been passionate about the environment, and my friends can attest to the fact that I don't let people that litter into my car, and I WILL stop it and make someone go back and pick it up if they do.

So I decided to compile a list of super simple things we can do as college students to contribute to the health of the world we live in.

1. RECYCLE!

You may think that just because most cities have curbside recycling pick up now, that this is good enough. But there are so many things like water bottles and wrappers that are thrown away multiple times a day out of laziness. If you live in a dorm, UTILIZE THE RECYCLING!

Keep a small bag or bin and just take it out when you take your trash! So many class buildings have multiple recycling bins, so don't be an asshole and use the trash can next to them for paper and plastic. Yes straws can be recycled! So can plasticware! Glass! Glass takes over A MILLION YEARS to decompose. Can you even imagine that your glass bottle will live over 10,000 times longer than you. Just recycle it!

2. Skip the straw

You've heard it before, save the turtles! I get it, fountain coke tastes better through a straw, I'm not going to lie. But buy a reusable one! If you go to a restaurant, tell the server you don't need straws right off the bat, because if they set them down and you get food or water on them, they have to throw them away anyways. So be conscious, you can save so many cute little creatures.

3. Change your search engine

https://info.ecosia.org/what

Ecosia.org is a search engine that plants a tree for each search made! And it's credible too, this company really plants a tree for every use. Support companies like this that do good! It's so easy, just make it your home page for when you open Safari or whatever you use!

4. Turn off the water!

Next time you brush your teeth, don't be thoughtless. Shut the water off until you actually need it! Also, before you shower, don't leave the water running for minutes on end! The good thing about dorms and apartments is that there are so many hot water tanks that your shower instantly is hot. Imagine that! It doesn't need to heat up, so turn it on right before you get in.

5. Spaghetti?

It's true, spaghetti can save the world. Uncooked spaghetti noodles make GREAT coffee stirrers! You don't need a straw or spoon, use a noodle! Sure, it's different. But every little change counts, so encourage your parents or friends to buy an extra box of noodles next time you go to the store.

6. Hang dry your clothes!

For those of us that have to pay for laundry, this is cheaper too! Hang dry your clothes on a drying rack or clothes line. None of your stuff will shrink, and you save so much energy not using a dryer!

7. Carpool, carpool, carpool!

Next time you drive all the way home, or to the store, or to the gym, ask your roommates, the girl from your hometown, your friends, your profs, ANYONE, if they need to go too! We can save so much energy and improve air quality by using our cars less. Take the bus or walk if it's close! Every mile counts!

8. BYOB

No this isn't what you think. Bring your own BAGS! Bring that Lulu or Marshalls bag sitting under your bed, and use it to carry groceries! Less plastic=a happier ocean!

9. Get innovative

Before you recycle that water bottle, get as much use out of it as you can. Use it for that pregame, refill it, mix that energy drink in there, get creative!

10. Tupper where?

Skip the Ziploc, use a Tupperware! Carry your food around and wash it and reuse it! Your fridge will also look very neat and organized if you use these for your leftovers and skip the paper plates and plastic wrap!

11. Don't be gross

Use less napkins if you can help it. If a fast food restaurant gives you a stack, save them! Put them in your car, your kitchen, bathroom, anywhere! Just don't be lazy and throw them away with your half-eaten burger.

12. Use the revolving door!

These doors are scary, I know. But businesses save a lot on heating and cooling by using one of these. So just suck it up and circle it up.

13. Let there be light!

LED fluorescent lightbulbs use so much less energy than incandescents. Switch out your desk and floor lamps, and get a brighter light along with it! The Earth will thank you!

14. Veggieeees!!!

Go vegetarian once a week! Producing meat requires tons of water and you know, kills animals. So cut back just a little bit, and go for that salad or spaghetti meal once a week instead of the chicken and steak!

There are so many little things we can do each day that make such a big difference. So if you can do one thing for me, please take at least ONE of these ideas into account starting tomorrow. We can change the world, we just have to try!

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Are Plastic Straws Really Killing Sea Turtles?

It's no secret that plastic isn't great for the environment, but how sensationalized is this topic actually becoming?

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When I first saw a video of a sea turtle getting a plastic drinking straw removed from its nostril, I was obviously upset like any other viewer would be. I care a lot about the environment and about animal life and it was upsetting to see that a product of human consumption and ignorant waste was destroying precious parts of our world. I wholeheartedly jumped on the bandwagon of "plastic straws kill sea turtles!!!" but only knew about the issue from this video and what I heard from people or saw on social media. The whole topic of plastic waste into the ocean remained in the back of my mind until the recent pledge of Starbucks to stop using plastic straws in stores by 2020 reminded me of the issue.

As the topic of plastics and their pollution of the environment (largely the oceans) has become so recently powerful I decided to do some research of my own. If I was going to tell people to stop using plastic straws because they were killing sea turtles, I wanted to be sure that I wasn't just repeating everything I heard from social media.

Turns out, plastic straws are hurting sea turtles and other marine life, but a lot of what I thought about plastic waste was exaggerated (at least from what I had heard from others). Sea birds are the most impacted creature by plastic straws, not sea turtles. About 1 million or more seabirds die every year from ingesting plastic straws and choking on them. In research from recent scientific studies, 80-90% of seabirds have some kind of plastic inside of their stomachs. Also, the ecological footprint that plastic straws alone leave on the planet is actually pretty small compared to food waste or fossil fuels.

However, all the buzz about sea turtles may come from the fact that globally 86% of sea turtle species are known to be affected by plastic debris. Overwhelming amounts of plastic garbage in the ocean have caused a steady decline of the leatherback sea turtle over the past several years, so much that they have been placed on the endangered species list. Plastics can hinder eating and consumption, breathing abilities, and even reproductive capabilities of all kinds of sea turtles.

So while plastic straws may not be killing sea turtles in hordes, they are killing sea birds, and plastic overall have caused huge and deadly effects to many sealife species. We have known that plastic is bad for the environment and the oceans for quite a while, given the fact that the Great Garbage Patch was discovered almost 20 years ago, so it's more than time to start caring about the problem. If we can eliminate single-use plastic straws that aren't biodegradable, we can stop using other single-use plastics and make a better effort to reduce our harmful impacts on the oceans. Individually, we can move towards small changes, which can move our society to a more sustainable and healthy place. If you are more interested in this topic, I would suggest reading about how you can make a change or looking at this article and checking out this scientific journal.

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Vinicius Amano

@viniciusamano

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Being Sustainable Is Hard But It's Not Impossible

Although we've all heard of climate change and have witnessed the disastrous effects that humans have had on the environment, it still seems like most people are not subscribing to the ideals of sustainability.

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Sustainability is a tricky term. Most people that hear about it eventually put in the back of their minds, the same place they put "student loans" and "crippling depression." Most people know that to adhere to this ideal would mean to change how they live.

Sustainability is about adopting behaviors and systems that will ensure that the Earth is around for many generations after ours. Sustainability aims to preserve the Earth in terms of seven generations ahead. Seven generations after ours and societies on Earth will be using entirely different systems than what we do now, therefore, we should start this process now to ensure that they will be able to live comfortably and sustainably.

This is where most people tune out, understandably so. It's hard for us to think about the implications of our actions and how they will affect life on Earth much after our own deaths. It suddenly seems like an incomprehensible problem that no one person can ever solve.

"My actions won't make a difference," most people say, convinced that just because they stop eating meat or buying plastic or start drinking from paper straws, that nothing will change. However, what they fail to consider is how their actions will influence the minds of others around them, and one person who stops eating meat or using plastic sends a ripple effect through the people surrounding them. One person making lifestyle changes in the name of sustainability leads others to suddenly consider, "maybe I should eat less meat?" or "maybe I won't use single-use plastics anymore?"

The idea is not that any one person picking up plastic on the beach is going to save the planet, but rather that through education and awareness, we will all take small steps to preserve our home. Large groups of people all taking small steps leads to big changes, and politics and the economy will follow the demand of the people.

The most difficult thing for most people to do is to adopt those small behavioral changes. Not everyone can afford to stop eating meat, but everyone can afford to opt out of single-use plastics. Buying a personal water bottle is one easy way to do this. Stop buying plastic water bottles just to throw them away. If you need to buy them, make sure to recycle them. Instead of taking plastic silverware and straws from restaurants, bring your own reusable set.

Understandably, most of you are already cringing. It's hard to go against the grain and commit to living a plastic-free lifestyle for the sake of sustainability. And what about when you go to Chipotle with your zero-waste kit and somebody asks you a question about why you have that? Fear or convincing themselves that it's "inconvenient" will keep most of you from adopting these little changes that, over time, make a huge difference in the amount of plastic we put in our oceans.

Although we can't all be leaders of huge sustainability efforts to clean our oceans or buy an electric car, we can all make small changes to mitigate this tragic problem. On our current track, the last half of our lives will be starkly different from the first half, for the worse. Educate yourself and be part of the solution instead of the problem.

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