A guide to being a sustainable student: Part 2

​As a student, each one of us has the responsibility of utilizing our education to figure out new ways of becoming more sustainable and eco-friendlier. The clock is constantly ticking and it’s now up to us, to redefine the future of our environment for the better. 
Chalmers campus

As the discussions on climate change, carbon footprints and plastic waste get more relevant and turn into serious issues with every passing day, it is very important to try to become more eco-friendly. 

In a previous blog post, linked here, I shared some simple tips that help me watch my carbon footprint and create an environmentally friendly lifestyle. It led to some really interesting discussions among my friends as we all tried to come up with more ways to bring about a good change. There were a lot of good ideas floating around and I have rounded up another bunch of some of the most effective ones that also require minimal effort from your end.

1. Thrifting for a change. Most of the clothes are thrown away in the first year of their making due to fast fashion or poor quality. This makes the entire fashion industry the second largest global pollutant in terms of emissions and wastage of precious resources like water and generated energy.
Choosing to thrift shop is a big step everyone can take to mitigate this effect. It not only helps to stay sustainably fashionable but also offers the chance of re-discovering the old trends and maybe finding some rare, pricey gems amidst the old garments. There are various colorful stores, strewn across the town which make the whole experience fun and engaging. Most of them also allow the customers to drop off the things they have outgrown or simply no longer need, which further reduces the waste.

Other things like furniture and kitchen or home goods and products are also available at most stores or online marketplaces. These offer a large selection of used items that can be easily upcycled. They are often good to use as is and in most cases, can be perfected with some small repairs.

2. Minding the electronics (including the mails!). Do you know how much energy is required to keep you updated and connected to the global network at all times? How about the power you waste by keeping your devices constantly plugged in? According to one study in 2018, 37% of carbon emissions came from the overall electricity production in the United States of America. In yet another study, it was found that if every person in France deleted 50 emails, it would be equivalent of switching off all the lights on the Eiffel tower for 42 years!

These numbers are huge and something you can help bring down. A simple act of clearing your junk folder every once a while, can help greatly reduce the energy consumption in the long run. By unplugging all the electronics not in use, you can not only reduce the emissions but also save some dough on that electricity bill.

A vegan food platter3. Going vegan! Or at least, adopting more vegan friendly dishes in your meals. Now, hear me out for this might cause a divided reaction. I get that changing your diet seems like an aggressive approach and not to mention, a time-consuming endeavor. And a big-mac or a juicy pizza sounds like the best meal at the end of a hectic day! Believe me, we have all been there.

But transitioning to a more vegan diet has proven to have significant benefits in terms of controlling the carbon emissions, combating the climate change, and even maintaining your student budget. As someone who is currently making this transition, I was pleasantly surprised with the available vegan options at Chalmers.

From the morning coffee to the fulfilling lunch, Chalmers has a lot to offer on the vegan menu. Almost all the student cafes, restaurants and pubs on campus have an alternative available at any given time. So, the next time you order a ‘kott’ or a ‘fisk’ meal, try going vegan for a change. Some of the dishes may even surprise you!

4. Campaign and raise awareness. The UN has recently released a bunch of articles expressing serious concerns over the rising CO2 levels and the global temperatures. We have already crossed the safe, and even uncertainty, environmental boundaries for the biosphere integrity and the biochemical flows. Few of them have not yet been identified or quantified enough to even begin the measurements. The further we stray from the safety limit of the environmental boundaries, the harder and trickier our path of return becomes.
At this point, I’m sure that you are somewhat aware of the impact your personal lifestyle has on the environment. Imagine multiplying it with the population of the globe! Now, think about what we can achieve if we all pitched in little ways to help control it.

The clock is constantly ticking and it’s now up to us, to redefine the future of our environment for the better. As a student, each one of us has a responsibility of utilizing our education to figure out new ways of becoming more sustainable and eco-friendlier. I hope this piece was helpful to you in some ways and ​you are prepared to join the movement to combat the different challenges that surely lie ahead.

All picture credits go to Unsplash and Chalmers image bank.
Picture of unibuddy and author, Smita

Author: Smita

Page manager Published: Wed 30 Mar 2022.