We have all by now heard about our plastic problem and the threats that our planet is facing. The Great Barrier Reef has been facing some devastating mass bleaching events and plastic is polluting our environments. Even the most remote places like in the Arctic and the in the very deep oceans have seen the effect of plastic pollution. It is estimated that we will have more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.
The pressure that our generation will solve all the problems and save our planet might seem like a huge responsibility but it is actually quite easy to start making a difference yourself. By being an environmentally friendly role model, we can inspire others to do the same and we can then all make a difference together. I am writing this blog post to give you some tips on what you can do as a student to make a difference.
Image: Plastic Free July (http://www.plasticfreejuly.org/)
Bring your own coffee cup and food container to uni
Reusable coffee cups and food containers reduce our use of single-use items when we buy food and drinks. You can usually get discounts both at uni and around Townsville if you bring your own and as a uni student, we are always looking to make food and coffee cheaper.
Ride your bike to uni
Using your bike instead of your car to get to uni reduces a lot of carbon emissions and you are doing the environment a big favour. You also get the exercise you need for the day and doing exercise every day has been proven to improve your results too.
Use reusable bags when shopping
Ditch the single-use plastic bags and get your own. It is a free option and you can use them as many times as you want. If you don’t have one or don’t want to buy one you can make your own from an old t-shirt. Make sure to always have a couple in your bags or tied to your bike and then you won’t feel bad if you forget to pack them.
Use a metal straw and ditch the plastic straw
Start bringing your own metal straw instead of using the single-use plastic ones. A plastic straw is made in 10 minutes, used for 20 minutes and never goes away because they are not biodegradable. They are making a lot of harm to marine animals and turtles especially. A lot of businesses around Townsville have stopped offering plastic straws and it is now also really easy to get your own metal straw. You can buy them a various shop like Kmart and online.
Always bring your own reusable water bottle
Invest in your own reusable water bottle. It’s really easy and you never have to go around thirsty. A disposable PET bottle contains chemicals which are released into your drink and you will avoid this by getting your own reusable water bottle.
Buy second hand
Start buying things second hand. We all buy way too much stuff every year and a lot of it gets thrown away because we don’t use it or don’t like it anymore. By selling and giving away old stuff it can get a new life. We don’t need to produce and buy more stuff, there is already plenty out there for all of us. And you would be surprised by how many cool things you can find second hand. More than half of my wardrobe is second hand and walking into an OP shop is like opening a treasure chest.
Buy your fruit and vegetables at the farmers market
A lot of our fruit and vegetables in our supermarkets are wrapped in plastic and a lot of it has also been shipped a long distance. By going to the farmers market instead of your fruit and vegetables you can buy locally produced food usually free from plastic wrapping. You are also supporting the local farmers so that can continue their businesses and it is usually cheaper.
Eat more plants
Producing animal-based food is really bad for the environment and the energy, land use and water that’s needed to produce enough meat for everyone on the planet is not sustainable. Growing plants for food is using way fewer resources and gives enough food for everyone. I know it can be hard to give up meat but even starting having a few more plant-based meals a week definitely makes a difference for the environment.
I hope these tips will help you to do a little bit more for the environment and I am really excited for an all the great work we can do together for a healthy and happy mother earth! Let’s save the planet!! 🙂
You can also test how big your ecological footprint is and how many planets we would need if we live the way we do today:
Here are also some useful links where you can read more about what we can do and where you can get some cool environmentally friendly products: