A few weeks ago, I went to a beach near my home in New Jersey where I spent many days of my childhood. My parents would take my brother and I weekly; we would run through the water, play in the sand and search for seashells. I went back to the beach for old times’ sake and when I got there, I was completely shocked. I found bottle caps nestled between shells and plastic bags floating on top of the water.
How could we let this happen?
Our environment is changing due to our actions as human beings, which has only magnified global warming and its effects. Many people are trying to slow down the effects of climate change and help our environment, but is it enough? College campuses all over the country are forming groups and initiatives to spread the word about protecting our planet and home, such as NextGen Climate. But more people need to listen and take action.
I can’t help but notice that in my dorm building, Race Hall, most students do not separate recyclables and trash. I see plastic bottles, glass and paper mixed in with everything else. Millennials say they care about the environment and want to make a difference, but many of those same individuals do not take action and make small changes in their lifestyle that would help protect our planet against harmful human actions.
There are many other ways that we, as college students, can help our environment. Small lifestyle changes can make a huge difference. First of all, I know many people already carry around reusable water bottles, but it is still worth mentioning that every time someone refills a reusable water bottle, that is one less plastic water bottle in the landfill or ocean. Plastic bottles take between 400 and 1,000 years to decompose. Not only is it bad for our environment, it’s bad for our health. As more and more plastic enters sea waters, small fragments are consumed by fish. The same fish which are then ingested by people. So please, even if you don’t care about the environment, stop using plastic bottles for your own health.
College students should also be ditching plastic bags at grocery stores. Most grocery stores now offer a small discount for using reusable bags. You can save money, prevent plastic from sitting in the landfill and get a nice tote bag. Aren’t we all on budgets, anyway? Every little bit counts.
When it comes to the bigger effects of global warming, students can still do so much to slow down climate change. Although most Drexel students already use public transportation to get around Philadelphia, it still bears repeating that public transportation and carpooling can decrease the amount of carbon dioxide entering our atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is the main pollutant that contributes to global warming. Riding bikes, taking the subway or train and using UberPOOL are great ways to make a small difference.
Lastly, students should print as little as possible. We have all had that professor that wants every 10-page paper printed or wants students to copy down every single note on physical paper.
Unfortunately, this is detrimental to the environment, as they should understand. If you have a professor like that, ask them if you can email your paper to them or take notes on your laptop. If you definitely need to turn in a physical copy of a long paper, ask them if you can print on both sides. Most professors should understand students’ concern about the environment and would be willing to let you print on both sides.
We, as college students, can help the environment by making small lifestyle changes that can make a big impact. If every single person reading this article followed these suggestions, we could protect our planet for all of the generations to come.