The Importance of Reducing Your College Carbon Footprint

As a college student, each day consists of endless responsibilities, countless hours of studying, and an abundance of assignments. It’s hard to take care of yourself, let alone take care of a dying planet (literally). Yet, it is fundamentally important that we all play our individual part in helping reduce the rapid, impending temperature increase. A great way to do this is by being informed on how to reduce your carbon footprint, even in college.

First of all, if you haven’t read the latest IPCC report, you need to know that in as early as 2030, the planet will reach a 1.5 degrees Celsius increase. While that may be hard to comprehend as horrifying in terms of environmental destruction, I’ll break it down for you:

The temperature increase does not simply mean that we are going to be cranking up our AC a bit more during the peaks of the summer. It’s far worse and far scarier than a simple fix. Rising temperatures due to the greenhouse gases that pollute our air (and the incredibly large amounts of energy we utilize each second) will have catastrophic consequences. These include intense higher temperatures, heat waves, and heavier storms, just to list a few.

Still not convinced? According to CNN, between 70 and 90 percent of coral reefs are expected to die off, an irreversible consequence which humanity will not be able to revive. In other words, hundreds of thousands of years of colorful, vibrant, incredible sea life will be gone almost completely due to mere human abuse.

Solving climate change won't be easy. As one New York Times op-ed put it, “Solving climate is going to be harder, and more improbable, than winning World War II, achieving civil rights, defeating bacterial infection and sending a man to the moon all together."

But while it’s easy to feel helpless in the midst of a capitalistic society where environmental considerations are rarely given a second look, there are ways to play your part in reducing your carbon-footprint, despite living the life of a full-time student:

1. Reduce Your Paper Usage

Students are constantly using paper whether it be for taking notes, quizzes, assignments, exams, etc. So whenever given the opportunity, try and utilize the better option of electronic notes on your laptop via Microsoft Word or Google Docs. Saving paper means saving trees and preventing deforestation, which is a major cause of climate change.

2. Reuse

Another great way to reduce your carbon footprint is by leading a “reusable” lifestyle. For instance, bring reusable bags next time you head out for a Target run. Invest in reusable dishes and utensils instead of using wasteful plastic disposables. This will decrease the amount of waste you contribute to that pollutes our planet’s beautiful lands and oceans.

3. Cut Back on Meat

One hugely impactful effort that you can make to reduce your college carbon footprint is by eating less meat. Eating meat in general isn’t the most eco-friendly of diets, but cutting back on beef alone is crucial. Cattle farming utilizes almost 10 times the land, water, and energy resources of other livestock, while producing the most greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. To start off, perhaps try out Meatless Mondays, and you too will be an individual contributor in improving our planet’s current situation.

So, unless you enjoy the idea of over-flooding, the eradication of islands and coastlines, the extinction of an immense amount of species, polluted lands and airs, tree-barren lands, empty oceans, and the utter destruction of our beautiful planet, do your part and help stop climate change.

Images: 1, 2, 3