9 Little Acts To Living A More Environmentally Friendly Lifestyle

9 Little Acts To Living A More Environmentally Friendly Lifestyle

Ways to be more environmentally cautious while living on a college dime.
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When living on a college campus, the way to pursue an environmentally-friendly lifestyle is often not at the forefront of our minds. However, there is a myriad of small things we can do that takes little to no effort at all - we just need to become more aware of the ramifications of our daily actions. Here is a list of 9 minor but effective acts you can employ into your everyday life on campus.

1.No lids, no problems

Ask the cashier at Starbucks to not add a lid to your coffee next time you make an order - the less plastic we consume individually, the better!

2. Throw your trash and recyclable objects in the correct bins.

This one sounds like a no-brainer, but it is crazy the number of times I have seen plastic thrown in a normal garbage bin!

3. Unplug everything - especially your chargers!

Chargers continuously draw power when they are plugged in, even when they are not actively charging your phone or laptop. Although the amount taken could be small (usually around 0.25 Watts of energy), every bit adds up if this is a careless act you perform every day.

4. Buy products with less plastic

Although I know it is sometimes difficult to be extremely cautious of your plastic consumption on a college budget when you have the opportunity to choose individual apples that are on the shelf instead of grapes in a plastic container aim to take it! Often times the food with less packaging will be healthier for you anyways.

5. Bring your own bags.

When making a purchase at a local market or store, remember to bring your own reusable bag. This will ensure that you don’t use unnecessary plastic bags that you’ll later want to throw out anyway!

6. Turn off the water while shampooing!

This is something that many don’t think to do, yet is very simple. While showering, turn off the water when you are doing things that do not include the use of water. This could include the time spent while shampooing, conditioning, or shaving.

7. Eat less meat

When considering the environmental impacts of meat, environmentalists often focus on red meat: the meat that comes from cows. Cows produce a greenhouse gas called methane that, when released into the atmosphere, contributes to the increasing problem of climate change.

8. Print Less!

We all face this struggle: our annoyance with our professors who make us print out ungodly amounts of paper for annotation credit. However, when possible to avoid, do not print. Rather than printing out a 20 paged Biology 200 study guide, study from your laptop or a computer at the library. Not only is this better for the environment, it will save you a bit of money as well!

9. Join environmental groups on campus.

College campuses are the hub for all innovative and creative ideas. Most campuses will have one to multiple environmental organizations that you can join to help make your campus a more earth-friendly one!

Cover Image Credit: Thomas Richter

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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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Sorry People, But #BelieveWomen Is #UnAmerican

Presumption of innocence is a core American value

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There's a saying: "Lack of faith and blind faith - both are equally dangerous". Believing sexual assault accusers who are women just because they are women besides being the very definition of sexist - prejudice based on sex - is setting a harmful precedent on the way justice is served in this country. See, what this movement has done is changed justice from "prove guilt" to "prove innocence", an important and incredibly dangerous difference. Where is the due process that our Founding Fathers envisioned, fought, and died for?

Due process is an integral part of the reason why we have the United States of America. It was so important to our Founding Fathers that they included it in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eight (the Bill of Rights), and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution. It galls me to see how privileged modern day feminists are - so privileged they seemingly forget the freedoms this country affords them, so they may live their life, expect liberty, and be unhindered in their pursuit of happiness.

#BelieveWomen is a vigilante movement - and with vigilante justice the innocent always hang with the guilty, one of the very reasons for due process. I've heard the argument it's better to let innocent men rot in jail than have rapist men walk free, an argument, despite being incredibly moronic and unAmerican, that would not be made if the accused was a man close to the woman's heart. Because with the change to "prove innocence", the assumption will be guilt, and a confirmation bias will be created. Whereas if the assumption is innocence, the jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has occurred. I understand that a high percentage of rape accusations are truthful (I believe the number is in the high 90s), but the small percentage that are not means we cannot, in good conscience, assume guilt. To assume would damn some men to a fate they do not deserve, a fate they would have to endure simply because of their sex. Any real feminist should be appalled at how sexism is implicitly encouraged in this movement.

If you choose to #BelieveWomen in spite of everything I outlined, that is your prerogative, but you must #BelieveAllWomen. If your father, husband, boyfriend, or son gets accused, you must #BelieveWomen and stand with their accuser. Any less and your feminist privilege will show. Vocal #MeToo activist Lena Dunham has already shown her privilege - accusing actress Aurora Perrineau of lying about being assaulted by her friend Murray Miller. When the going gets hard, feminists rarely stick to their principles. And sadly, feminism - and the double standards it always brings - rears its ugly head once again.

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