10 Easy Ways To Show Our Planet Love At UNC

Our Planet Deserves To Be Shown Some Loved, And Here Are 10 Easy Ways For You To Do That Here At UNC

You can help save the earth, starting right here at UNC!

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At UNC there are a lot of opportunities to help the earth, and you should be taking advantage of them! Here are a few easy ways to get started!

1. Recycle

If this dog can do it, so can you!

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This is an obvious one, and not specific to UNC at all, but just do it. It's easy. The hardest part is learning what can and cannot be recycled but there are plenty of opportunities to be educated on that on campus.

2. Don't waste food

Food is good, just eat it, don't throw it away.

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Always remember that you can go back for more food or you can take it home for later. Don't just throw it away!

3. Use reusable water bottles

You can be this refreshed too, without destroying the earth, with your own reusable water bottle!

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You can buy reusable water bottles for really cheap, and they last a long time. Additionally, reusable water bottles will save you money in the long run because you won't be wasting money on plastic water bottles.

4. Compost

Don't these flies make you want to compost?

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We are lucky to live on a campus that uses compostable packaging. Take advantage of this opportunity to help the earth and make sure to compost whenever you can! There is a composting receptacle in Lenoir dining hall, and all of the dorms will give you a composting bin if you ask for one.

5. Partake in meatless Mondays

If he can do it, so can you!

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Reducing your meat intake can help reduce emissions. There are also many easy meals that you can make without meat or with meat substitutions. UNC's dining hall also offers many great vegetarian and vegan choices.

6. Use a reusable grocery bag

Don't be like the Simpsons, bring a reusable grocery bag.

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There is a lot of plastic waste on this planet and we should be doing whatever we can to reduce that waste. A simple way to do that is by using reusable grocery bags.

7. Partake in UNC's plastic film recycling initiative

Do not contribute to this issue!

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UNC recently started an initiative where students can recycle their plastic film by bringing it to the front desks at their dorms. This is another easy way to cut down on plastics.

8. Don't litter

Again, don't be like the Simpsons.

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This is pretty obvious, but just don't litter. Even when it seems easy to maybe just throw something on the ground, find a trashcan.

9. Take shorter showers

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

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I know it can be relaxing to take long showers, but you can easily take a quick shower and still bathe all necessary parts of yourself without dillydallying.

10. Use hand dryers instead of paper towels in the bathroom

Just do it.

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Hand dryers may take longer than paper towels, but they help so much in reducing paper waste. Give em' a try.

Help the earth, go green, and make a difference!

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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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6 Small Ways To Live More Sustainably

Here are a few easy tips that will help you protect the beautiful planet we live on.

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Living sustainably has been a major focus of my life recently after finding out that it's not that hard for me to do my part. We live on a beautiful planet that contains the resources that help life as we know it to operate. We are dealing with problems that are caused by humans such as smog, trash in the oceans, and polluted waterways. While we can't fix pollution by ourselves, we can do our small part to help keep our planet clean and safe. So here are some easy, tangible tips that all of us can do to live more sustainably.

1. Recycle 

In elementary school, we all learned about reducing, reusing, and recycling. Recycling is one of the easiest things we can do because most colleges and communities already recycle and it just takes a conscious effort to differentiate your waste between trash and recycling.

If your community doesn't have an easy recycling process, you can still put in the extra effort of taking it to the local recycling plant or request curb side pickup. The reason we need to recycle is that trash in landfills can release both harmful chemicals and greenhouse gases into the environment so we are cutting down the amount of trash that ends up in landfills and allowing our goods to live longer lives.

2. Rely on your car less 

Motor vehicles account for most of the United States' carbon monoxide pollution according to the EPA. Some easy solutions to this problem would be to carpool more, drive a car or scooter that get's really good gas mileage, walk or bike to school or work, or use public transportation.

3. Use less water 

This is an incredibly easy change that you can make in your life that will help out the planet. Take quicker showers, turn the water off when you are washing your hands or brushing your teeth, and try not to take baths often. Not only will this limit your impact on the earth's already small amount of fresh water, but it will save you some money on your water and energy bills every month.

4. Buy quality goods 

Whether it be clothes, household items, or equipment for whatever your hobbies are, spending extra money on something that will last you a long time rather than wasting money on cheap stuff that you will end up throwing away after a few months will save you money in the long run and will help you reduce your trash output.

5. Repair your goods 

Extending the lifetime of your items has the same benefits as the prior point. You'll be saving money and you get the added benefit of an emotional connection to an item because you've fixed it and it's been in your life a long time. Whether you're patching up a hole in your coat or repairing the soles of your shoes, you're keeping that item alive and out of a landfill.

6. Get yourself a reusable water bottle 

This one is the easiest out of all of them. Single-use plastics are one of the worst environmental impacts humans are having on our oceans. In 2012 there was a reported 165 million tons of plastic in our oceans. While a lot of is does degrade after about a year, the degrading plastic releases harmful chemicals into the water and more plastic is going into the ocean every year. Marine animals are also being harmed by plastic in the oceans if they try to eat it or are caught in it. Reusable water bottles help cut down on plastic pollution. If you don't like the taste of your tap water, I'd recommend getting a water filter! Plus, you can cover your water bottle in stickers which makes it personal to you!

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