How Students Can Reduce Their Carbon Footprint

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

AdobeStock_255913176Simple Things Students Can Do to Go Green This Year

Everyone should do their part to protect the planet, and for some students “going green” can also be a valuable opportunity to explore a pressing cause that has become a major focus in the US lately. Recent reports have found that the Earth is warming much faster than previously thought – raising concerns among teens around the globe. A recent survey found that a majority of US teens are worried about climate change and 1 in 4 have participated in some form of activism on the topic of the Earth’s climate.

When students are in the midst of preparing for college it can be easy to become totally consumed with SAT scores and personal statements. While preparing for college and making the most of their high school experience is certainly important, students can also remain mindful of their surroundings and find simple ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Especially for students where environmentalism is a particular topic of interest or specialty, it’s important to lead by example. Whether you want to be the next Greta Thunberg – the teen climate activist making headlines – or you just want to do your part to help reduce your carbon footprint this semester, keep reading to learn some simple eco-friendly steps you can take.

Rethink Your Plastic Bottle Habit
Buying plastic water bottles may seem like a convenient solution, particularly for students on the go. However, constant plastic use is not doing the environment any favors. Instead of relying on single-use bottles to quench their thirst students should consider picking out a reusable bottle and carrying it with them throughout classes and extracurricular activities. Not only is this a far more eco-friendly option, it can also cut down on spending in the long run. There are plenty of innovative water bottle brands, so don’t be afraid to spend some time perusing options before settling on a brand and design that matches your personal style. Students can also encourage their schools to go plastic bottle-free and advocate for water filling stations on campus.

Ditch the Plastic Straws
Straw use may seem pretty inconsequential, but constantly opting for plastic for your beverages can add up in a pretty negative way. Switching from plastic to paper or metal straws is a small step students can take to reduce their carbon footprint. Many coffee shops have made the switch to paper straws and metal options are easy to find online. If your local shops don’t offer non-plastic options, consider making the suggestion to a store manager or salesperson. This is also another area where students can advocate for their school to go green by suggesting alternatives to plastic straws in the cafeteria.

Find Alternate Transportation
Biking is more than a solid exercise option! It’s also a fun and easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. Constant car use is harmful to the environment, so students should consider looking into alternate modes of transportation including biking, walking, and public transit like buses and trains. Biking not your thing? Consider other options like skateboarding, scooters, or even inline skates! While it may not be feasible for some students to take alternative transportation to school everyday, replacing short car rides with cycling or other modes of transport can be a great way to reduce your carbon emissions while also upping your physical activity for the day.

Put Down the Hamburgers
Reducing your meat consumption is another relatively easy way for students to become more eco-friendly. Greenhouse gas emissions from the agriculture industry are a major concern for the environment, so consider incorporating more meatless meals into your diet. Students can get creative by exploring alternative protein sources such as tofu, tempeh, and seitan as well as opting for beans, nuts, and legumes. While there’s no need to forgo meat entirely, even cutting back can have a significant impact on your carbon footprint.

Forgo Fast Fashion
While buying cheap and on-trend clothing from major fashion retailers is always tempting, it’s not always an eco-conscious choice. Buying fast fashion contributes to massive annual textile waste as well as major contamination issues due to the vast amount of pesticides used on the genetically modified cotton many clothing items are made of. Instead of buying in bulk, consider investing in a few ethically made wardrobe staples you can repurpose for years to come. Buying clothing second-hand at local thrift stores is also another eco-friendly option that can help students go green while also saving some green! Second-hand clothing tends to be more affordable and can help you reduce waste – not to mention you can often find some one-of-a-kind pieces!

By making a few simple changes students can reduce their carbon footprint and feel empowered to take action against climate change. Whether it’s environmental advocacy or another cause, it’s important for students to make an impact within their local communities. If you are looking for more ideas on how to make a change and highlight it throughout the application process, our team of college admissions experts are here to help!




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