As a busy college student, I’m sure it seems as though worrying about the environment is just something else to add on to your never-ending to-do list. However, there are many small adjustments you can make to your daily life (and no, I’m not talking about straws) that will have a real impact on your personal environmental footprint. Here are 5 ways that you can make a difference.
- Get Educated
Stay up-to-date on the current environmental situation. You don’t need to spend every day obsessing over ways to help the environment–that isn’t realistic or productive. It’s ok to cut yourself some slack and do your best when you can. However, it is also important to stay aware of the issues that are going on in the world today. Small steps are the real way to change. If all of the people who had made a difference in the world had said “I’m just one person, it doesn’t even matter what I do,” then the world today would be a much worse place. Realize your power and impact to make a difference!
- Limit Meat Consumption
Try to limit reduce the amount of animal products you’re eating, especially beef. Factory farming is one of the largest culprits of deforestation, water and air pollution. So, opt for a vegetarian meal (try Gardein or Beyond Meat) when you can. (source: Pace Law School Library)
- Thrift Shop
Not only is this tons of fun as it can be easy to get lost in a store for hours with your friends, but recycling clothes is a great way to prevent more buildup in landfills and shop more ethically. Most affordable clothing manufacturing not only creates a lot of waste and pollution, but also mistreats and under-pays workers, many of whom are women and children in developing countries. Although shopping at ethical brands isn’t impossible, many can be pricey since workers are paid fairly, so being on a budget might make brands like these unattainable for college students. That’s why thrift shopping is a great option for being ethical and affordable! (source: The University of Queensland, Australia)
- Be Politically Active
Realize your power as a citizen and utilize that power to vote for political candidates who share your ideals when it comes to the importance of recognizing climate change and environmental destruction. This way, real policy can be made to directly protect our land, air, water, and the animals which inhabit them.
- Set an Example
Not only is it important to learn and practice eco-friendly habits, but it is just as important to remind your friends of the simple ways they can make a difference as well. Real change starts small and grows. You don’t have to be pushy; just make small recommendations such as taking public transportation or biking over driving, or eating at a restaurant that limits plastic waste and offers more plant-based options.
With the current state of the environment and the political strife that surrounds it, it can seem frustrating and impossible to make a difference yourself. But every person has an impact, and it is important to realize yours. These small steps are a good way to improve your effect without drastically changing your daily life. Do your best to align your actions with your beliefs!