How to Live a More Sustainable Life

This is my first semester at WashU, so while I haven’t experienced many classes yet, my favorite class so far is Earth’s Future, a course about the causes and consequences of global climate change. I’ve always been interested in Environmental Studies so I knew this class was for me. I’m going to be frank, the Earth is warming rapidly and is in such a dire state that climate change is considered a national security threat. People want to tell you that climate change can be “solved” by not eating meat and becoming a vegan. Well, that’s not true; although not eating meat will help, we need much more drastic solutions. We need to act now as a planet to make every effort we can to protect our precious Earth. Do you want to make a difference?  Here are 10 lifestyle changes that you can make to be the change.


1. Recycle!

WashU makes it easy by putting recycling bins in each dorm! Furthermore, taking the extra five minutes to sort your recycling/garbage in the trash room can help immensely. Did you know that recycling centers can’t take recyclables if they aren’t sorted or are dirty? 


2. Unplug Electronics When Not in Use

The more electricity that is used, the more emissions created. Human emissions of CO2 are one of the main contributors to climate change. 


3. Use Reusable Products

Think metal straws, reusable cups, and although it’s annoying, getting a plate instead of a to-go container at BD/the DUC and using metal utensils. 


4. Eat Less Meat

I’m not saying to stop eating meat, and I’m not forcing “Meatless Mondays,” but, just in general eat more veggies. Not only will it help the environment, but your body will be happier with you too! 


5. Use a Sustainable Search Engine

Have you ever heard of Ecosia? It’s a search engine that donates at least 80% of their profits to reforestation endeavors! How easy is that?


6. Reduce Water Usage

Try turning off the water when brushing your teeth and washing your face, and time your showers. See if you can beat your last shower! If you want to go further, try taking shorter showers. Set a timer on your phone for 10 minutes and try to beat the timer. 


7. Take the Stairs

While I would love to take the elevator to the 4th floor of Umrath and not climb 4 flights of stairs every time I go to my dorm, I take the stairs unless I have a heavy load. 


8. Use Less Paper

Did you know that by taking notes on your computer, not only are you getting them down faster, but you are also reducing paper usage? I know, there’s the whole thing that says physically writing something helps you memorize it (and tbh, that’s why I won’t partake in this one), but if you do use your computer, thanks for helping! Also, use Quizlet! If you’ve been living under a rock, Quizlet is a website that allows you to make sets of flashcards online that you can access anywhere! Their app is really user-friendly too:)


9. Buy More (yes, more!) Soap

Try buying bigger bottles less often versus smaller bottles more often. In other words, buy in bulk.  It’ll also help you save money! Imagine that, saving the Earth and spending less money? What a concept. 


10. Buy Online Textbooks

I am never going to buy another physical textbook, period. That shit is expensive and annoying! This way, you’ll also always have access to it. Check out Chegg or Amazon for the best prices. Oh joy! You can relive that Gen Chem or Bio class for years to come.  


No one’s perfect, and I don’t even do everything I say on this list.  Most solutions that will have a major effect have to be enacted by the government, but grassroots campaigns work too. It’s time to get serious about changing our habits and slowing climate change, and at this point, every bit helps!