How To Live A Green Life Essay
You know what it is to be green but, when you’re in college with a busy schedule, sometimes it seems like a lot of time and effort that you don’t have to devote to becoming Eco-friendly.
However, there are small changes you can implement into your daily life that take little to no time or effort and can actually save you a lot of money in the process.
Believe it or not, you can be kind to the planet and stuff your wallet – without much effort at all. Adopting a greener approach to life doesn’t have to be difficult.
Here are 15 easy ways you can live greener while you’re a student:
1. Take Notes Electronically
Thankfully, the world is now digitally focused and your studies can be, too. You’ll save money (and stop wasting paper) on purchasing notebooks and flashcards if you begin to electronically take down what you need to remember in class.
2. Adopt Reusable Bag Practices
Take reusable bags to the store with you to grocery shop instead of opting for paper or plastic. It’s wasteful and unnecessary – and several bags with every grocery trip can add up to a whole lot of garbage over a lifetime.
3. Nix Bottled Water
Reuse old water bottles or purchase water bottles that you can refill instead of tossing out a new bottle every time you need to quench your thirst.
According to The Water Project, it’s estimated that up to 80 percent of water bottles in the United States never get recycled. In addition, it takes three times the amount of water that’s in a water bottle to create the bottle in the first place!
The Water Project also notes that, “U.S. landfills are overflowing with 2 million tons of discarded water bottles alone.”
So getting a BPA-free water bottle shows the earth – and your wallet – love.
By now, this should be a no-brainer. When you’re able, recycle. Whether it’s paper products, plastics or upcycling old items, it’s important to think about which trash can be saved from a landfill.
5. Power Down
When you’re not using appliances or you’re not in a room, turn off lights and other electronics. An easy way to implement this is by connecting your electronics to a surge protector and flipping the switch when you leave the room. Bonus: your electric bill will thank you!
6. Buy Less or Borrow
Only buy what you actually need. In a consumer culture, it’s easy to fall into overbuying habits. If you only purchase what’s necessary, you’ll not only be going green but saving green as well.
If you have the option, borrow items instead of buying them. There are plenty of items available for rent, like DVDs, which can reduce waste. In addition, you can download music and movies electronically instead of purchasing hard copies.
7. Walk or Bike More
In addition to helping you live a healthier lifestyle, trying to cut down on driving can help the environment and save you a lot of gas money as well.
8. Use Energy Efficient Light Bulbs
Try to switch your bulbs to energy-efficient compact fluorescent (CFLs) or LED bulbs. Though they may be a little more expensive, it’s worth it because they can last up to five times longer than regular light bulbs and are very bright so you won’t need to turn on as many lights.
9. Save Energy
Set your thermostats a few degrees lower or your air conditioner a few degrees higher. You probably won’t notice much of a difference, but the environment will!
10. Eat Sustainable Seafood
Stay away from harvested or farmed fish or seafood that’s not sustainable. In addition to being loaded with all kinds of unhealthy additives, the farming systems used are terrible for the environment. Choose sustainably-caught ocean fish as the other methods of capture can have disastrous impacts on ocean ecosystems.
On the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch site, you can learn more about the importance of sustainable seafood and find out where to get sustainable seafood in your area.
11. Decrease Meat Consumption
Raising livestock produces large amounts of greenhouse gases into the environment.
According to a United Nations report, “cattle-rearing generates more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation, and smarter production methods, including improved animal diets to reduce enteric fermentation and consequent methane emissions, are urgently needed.”
Additionally, “when emissions from land use and land use change are included, the livestock sector accounts for 9 per cent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65 per cent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2.”
Eating less meat – even omitting it from a meal one day a week – can positively influence change. When you do eat meat, look for labels that specify free range, organic and hormone and antibiotic free.
There are resources to help you find sustainable food locally so you know exactly where your food is coming from – especially since it can not only affect the environment, but your health as well.
12. Don’t Purchase Aerosol Sprays
With millions of beauty products out there, it’s easy to find products in pump sprays as an alternative. Try to look for items with environmentally responsible brand seals.
13. Think About Your Water Usage
Remember that old adage you’d repeat at the grade school drinking fountain, “save some for the fish?” You can do this in your daily life by turning off water while brushing your teeth, washing your face or shaving.
In addition, cutting down your shower time can save more water and make a bigger impact than you’d think.
It’s estimated that, using an average number of 2.5 gallons per minute from the typical shower head, reducing your shower length by 4 minutes per day would save (assuming you shower every day, ahem) 3,650 gallons per year.
Now that’s a lot of water saved for such a small sacrifice!
14. Support Better Brands
If you’re going to give brands you’re support through purchasing their products, read labels carefully. Look for beauty and cleaning products brands that are responsible in their production, looking for responsible brand seals.
Check out this site, where you can find a list of environmentally responsible brand seals.
While we’re on the topic of being responsible, why not look for items that aren’t tested on animals. It’s a cruel process and showing your support for companies that don’t use animals for testing can end it for good.
It’s easy to find cruelty-free brands. You just need to know which labels to look for and there are a lot more options than you might think.
It will make a small difference to you but a world of difference to the animals involved, not to mention, no longer supporting companies that condone such cruel practices. Because, if you support them, it’s kind of like you’re condoning it too, isn’t it?
15. Opt Out of Junk Mail
How much of the mail you’re receiving is mail you actually want? By opting out, you can save resources and save yourself the hassle!
You can get off most unsolicited mail lists simply by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688).
Also, elect to browse online instead of getting catalogs mailed to your home. In this digital age, you can see everything you need to without the massive waste of paper!
All of these tips are easy to implement and will actually save you money. It’s time you go green to save green – the planet and your wallet will thank you!
What other choices can students make to have a greener lifestyle?
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April 18, 2006
How can we live lightly on the Earth and save money at the same time? Staff members at the Worldwatch Institute, a global environmental organization, share ideas on how to GO GREEN and SAVE GREEN at home and at work. To learn more about Worldwatch's efforts to create am environmentally sustainable society that meets human needs, sign up here for weekly e-mail updates.
Climate change is in the news. It seems like everyone's "going green." We're glad you want to take action, too. Luckily, many of the steps we can take to stop climate change can make our lives better. Our grandchildren-and their children-will thank us for living more sustainably. Let's start now.
We've partnered with the Million Car Carbon Campaign to help you find ways to save energy and reduce your carbon footprint. This campaign is uniting conscious consumers around the world to prevent the emissions-equivalent of 1 million cars from entering the atmosphere each year.
Keep reading for 10 simple things you can do today to help reduce your environmental impact, save money, and live a happier, healthier life. For more advice, purchase State of the World 2010 - Transforming Cultures: From Consumerism to Sustainability, a report from 60 renowned researchers and practitioners on how to reorient cultures toward sustainability.
Save energy to save money.
- Set your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer to save on heating and cooling costs.
- Install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) when your older incandescent bulbs burn out.
- Unplug appliances when you're not using them. Or, use a "smart" power strip that senses when appliances are off and cuts "phantom" or "vampire" energy use.
- Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. As much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water.
- Use a drying rack or clothesline to save the energy otherwise used during machine drying.
Save water to save money.
- Take shorter showers to reduce water use. This will lower your water and heating bills too.
- Install a low-flow showerhead. They don't cost much, and the water and energy savings can quickly pay back your investment.
- Make sure you have a faucet aerator on each faucet. These inexpensive appliances conserve heat and water, while keeping water pressure high.
- Plant drought-tolerant native plants in your garden. Many plants need minimal watering. Find out which occur naturally in your area.
Less gas = more money (and better health!).
- Walk or bike to work. This saves on gas and parking costs while improving your cardiovascular health and reducing your risk of obesity.
- Consider telecommuting if you live far from your work. Or move closer. Even if this means paying more rent, it could save you money in the long term.
- Lobby your local government to increase spending on sidewalks and bike lanes. With little cost, these improvements can pay huge dividends in bettering your health and reducing traffic.
Skip the bottled water.
- Use a water filter to purify tap water instead of buying bottled water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it generates large amounts of container waste.
- Bring a reusable water bottle, preferably aluminum rather than plastic, with you when traveling or at work.
- Check out this short article for the latest on bottled water trends.
Think before you buy.
- Go online to find new or gently used secondhand products. Whether you've just moved or are looking to redecorate, consider a service like craigslist or FreeSharing to track down furniture, appliances, and other items cheaply or for free.
- Check out garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops for clothing and other everyday items.
- Watch a video about what happens when you buy things. Your purchases have a real impact, for better or worse.
Borrow instead of buying.
- Borrow from libraries instead of buying personal books and movies. This saves money, not to mention the ink and paper that goes into printing new books.
- Share power tools and other appliances. Get to know your neighbors while cutting down on the number of things cluttering your closet or garage.
- Buy in bulk. Purchasing food from bulk bins can save money and packaging.
- Wear clothes that don't need to be dry-cleaned. This saves money and cuts down on toxic chemical use.
- Invest in high-quality, long-lasting products. You might pay more now, but you'll be happy when you don't have to replace items as frequently (and this means less waste!).
Keep electronics out of the trash.
- Keep your cell phones, computers, and other electronics as long as possible.
- Donate or recycle them responsibly when the time comes. E-waste contains mercury and other toxics and is a growing environmental problem.
- Recycle your cell phone.
- Ask your local government to set up an electronics recycling and hazardous waste collection event.
Make your own cleaning supplies.
- The big secret: you can make very effective, non-toxic cleaning products whenever you need them. All you need are a few simple ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and soap.
- Making your own cleaning products saves money, time, and packaging-not to mention your indoor air quality.
Thanks to members of SustainUS, the U.S. youth network for sustainable development, for contributing their ideas on how to go green and save green at home and at work.
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