5 Ways to Be a Green Argo this Coming Earth Day

Happy Earth Month fellow Argos! If you didn’t know, Earth Day is April 22. While we should be protecting our planet all days out of the year, Earth Day is a great day to reflect on new ways to be an environmentally friendly Argo!

This semester I have had the pleasure of interning with a local nonprofit who focuses on litter awareness and prevention, recycling education and beautification of our community. Although my duties were primarily marketing based, I have become more aware of my unmindfulness of the the environment.

Although everyone thinks they care about the environment and would never admit to littering, there is a small number of us who actually do things to help out. This Earth Day we can reflect and find ways to improve our lifestyle and our environment. Here are a few easy ways to do it, even with the busy college lifestyle.

1. Participate in a cleanup on Earth Day

There are many cleanups happening around our community. However, you can help clean up the campus with the staff of the Outdoor Adventures program.

Argos Go Green will be happening April 22 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. They will be focusing on the Edward Ball boardwalk and nature trails around Thompson Bayou, Nature trail across from Pate Rd, and around University Park. Trash bags will be provided. Various other supplies will be on hand though limited. You are welcome and encouraged to bring supplies. The meeting location will be in Parking Lot E, behind the Recreation Center, (Bldg 72). From there, groups will break up and target one of three campus locations.

You can sign up online or at the front desk in the HLS building (Bldg 72).

Senior trip leader Nic Klinge hopes that everyone will take advantage of this event.

“I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon,” Nic said. “I hope everyone comes out to explore UWF’s different nature trails while making our home a cleaner place.”

2.  Sign a petition

Photo from shopsweetsandtreats.com.

If you ever see students tabling and asking you to sign their petition, take the time to stop and ask about it. You will be surprised what your signature can accomplish. One petition circling campus is to help save the coral reefs. There is a harmful chemical in sunscreens that is dangerous and is responsible for bleaching coral reef ecosystems. By signing this petition, you can pledge to use oxybenzone-free sunscreens to make and impact and help save the coral reefs! 

Another petition that can directly impact campus, is one to replace plastic straws in the Nautilus Market with paper straws. Plastic takes more than 200 years to break down, and plastic straws are not recyclable items. Paper straws are more biodegradable than plastic straws. If you want to show the new vendors arriving in the summer that we are no longer a plastic straw campus, this petition can help.

3. Ditch the plastic bags

Photo from Bonaire Turtles Website.

Plastic doesn’t biodegrade. It’s forever. In the ocean, it breaks down and photo-degrades into little pieces of itself. Plastic sized particles outnumber plankton 6 to 1! It’s mistaken as food by marine animals and kills them. On April 22, you can stop by Ever’man Cooperative from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. to trade in a bundle of 25 plastic bags for a reusable Keep Pensacola Beautiful grocery bag. You can also collect reusable bags through random activities on campus, after painting with CAB, they gave us a reusable bag. Making the switch makes a huge impact!

You can also fit more items into these bags, hello less trips! If you are unable to find or purchase a reusable shopping bag, try asking the bagger at the grocery store to fill each bag as much as they can. Baggers are trained to make the bags light to ensure they don't break. But let's be honest, your loaf of bread does not need its own bag.

4. Ditch the other plastic at the grocery stores

Photo from Shaws.com.

When shopping, for produce specifically, we have been brainwashed to use those thin plastic bags to put our produce in. However, you don’t have to use those! Mind blown. You’re supposed to wash your produce before eating or cooking it anyway, so sitting in your cart won’t do it much harm. If this idea still grosses you out, try only using the bags when you eat the outside of the fruit or vegetable, like an apple. But, corn, onions, bananas, pineapples, etc. do not need that extra protection. Another unnecessary plastic at the grocery store is pre-packaged produce. Opt for single zucchini instead of the ones prepackaged on a styrofoam plate and wrapped in plastic. Most produce is priced by weight, so you may end up paying more for these options as well.

5. Buy a reusable bottle and actually take it out of your home

Photo from NaturalLife.com.

There are so many cute water bottles to buy these days, and I’m sure you’ve collected some for free. The important thing with reusable bottles it to actually bring them places with you! This way you will never have to buy a water bottle from the vending machine, which is both pricey and harmful to the environment. UWF’s campus has many filtered water stations that makes water taste good and safe to drink. You could also get a filtered bottle if you are concerned with filtration. Additionally, some coffee shops like Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts offer discounted coffee if you use a refillable cup. News Flash: it doesn’t have to be one of theirs!

With some ideas of baby steps to take towards improving the environment, you can be a greener Argo. In a perfect world, we would all have a compost pile, recycling bins, and be plastic-free. However, as a busy student, it is not always possible or easy. It is our duty to our planet to make a change and be aware this Earth Day.