If you want to see a change in the world, you have to start with yourself. The effects of people’s inconsiderate treatment of our planet have become more noticeable and more devastating. Luckily, people are turning more towards an eco-friendly lifestyle to contribute their part in taking care of the environment.
You may not be able to change your school’s environmental policy, but you can be the change you want to see in the world. Going eco-friendly can raise awareness of environmental issues, and possibly get some of your friends to join the cause.
However, you should focus on doing your part first of all. On that note, you can start by making small but relevant changes. Here are some ways that can help you go green.
1. Embrace Recycling
How many soft drink cans, papers from lecture notes, plastic water bottles, and snack food packaging does every high-school student throw away? More than we could count! But you can do something about it. Dedicate your attention to recycling.
Most areas have curbside recycling, so make sure that you place the recycled waste in the right bin. However, there is more to recycling than organizing items in the right bins.
You can also recycle your study books and old clothes. Rather than throwing them away, resell or donate them. If you want to sell your textbooks, go to student groups online, and you’ll find your buyer.
To donate your books, use GiveNow or give them to someone you know. For your clothes, you can give them to a local charity or a second-hand store.
2. Take Notes Electronically
Why not take advantage of living in an era of technology? Use a digital device such as a laptop or tablet to take your notes.
This will stop paper waste and also save you a ton of money! In case you don’t have a tablet or laptop, purchase a budget-friendly device. You don’t need something super fancy, and there are lots of devices to choose from that will do just fine for note-taking, research, and writing papers.
3. Opt for Sustainable Transport
The emission of air pollutants from transport is one of the biggest enemies of a healthy environment. To reduce the environmental impact of transport and improve public health, use sustainable transport.
Switch from car rides to riding a bike. Also, if you are hanging out with your friends nearby, take a walk. In addition to reducing air pollution, you’ll also keep your body healthy.
Angela Hammond, an environmentalist and writer, shared why students should consider a two-wheeled solution for transportation.
“Cycling can keep our students healthy and reduce local air pollution. Since it generates zero air pollution, it is the perfect daily mode of transport. In case they have a long ride to school, public transportation is a better option than driving a car as it reduces traffic congestion,” said Angela.
4. Eat Some Greens
You don’t have to turn into a vegetarian, but you might want to consider boosting your greens. Vegetarian meals are good for your health, and they have a lower carbon footprint.
According to a United Nations report, “Cattle-rearing generates more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation, and smarter production methods, including improved animal diets to reduce enteric fermentation and consequent methane emissions, are urgently needed.”
Start off by introducing a meat-free day once a week. Besides, you can prepare your lunch at home and use food that is sourced locally and ethically.
If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, think about growing your own fruits and veggies. You can even join your local community garden to learn some tips and tricks.
5. Purchase Products Made of Recycled Content and Reusable Products
There are plenty of products that are made of recycled content, just as there are many reusable products that can replace your current options. Here are some suggestions on how to use recycled and reusable products:
- Buy pens and other stationery that are made from post-consumer waste
- Get an eco-friendly pencil case (if you can’t find them anywhere near you, you have a variety of options on Etsy)
- When you have to print, use 100% recycled paper
- Carry a reusable drinking bottle to school
- Use reusable and recycled bags
6. Reduce Power Usage
Stand-by power wastage isn’t a myth, it’s a reality. Reduce your power usage by turning your appliances off at the wall when you are done with them.
You can also make sure to regularly switch off the lights both at home and in the classroom. Consider using energy-smart LED light bulbs as they use about one fifth the energy regular light bulbs use. They also last longer, so ultimately they will save you some money as well.
7. Start an Eco-Friendly Student Club
Who knows how many like-minded people are there in your school, but you’ll never know unless you give them a good reason to speak their mind. Show some initiative and start a club for eco-friendly students.
Gathering a group of people who support your green thinking can help you take some bolder actions. For example, you can raise funds for green initiatives, create a school-wide recycling program, organize planting days, etc.
Not only will you have some backup for making positive changes, but you can also learn teamwork and leadership.
You CAN Make a Difference!
Take these simple actions and your planet will be thankful. No one is born with green living embedded in their minds, but having the will and desire to learn more about it and introduce eco-friendly changes is more than enough.
Don’t stress about what other people do but focus on doing your part. Not all high-school students are considerate of the environment but having people like you in this world is what promises a better (and greener) future!
About the guest contributor
Diana Nadim Adjadj is a writer and editor with a Master’s degree in Psychology. She is also a passionate environmentalist. She loves to write, travel and meet new people.