In light of recent terrifying climate change related revelations, you might be asking yourself if there is anything you can do to help slow the inevitable destruction of our planet. If you’re not asking yourself that question, have a think about the future with all its painful, global-warming related disasters and get asking.
Every year there is a day when our consumption of the Earth’s resources is greater than the production of them. In 2000, ‘Earth Overshoot Day’ occurred in October. This year it took place on August 1st. As it stands, we are currently using 1.7 Earths to get the resources we ‘need’ (according to overshootday.org) and, worse still, the world’s superpowers (including the UK) are using double the amount of resources they produce. This behaviour is obviously not sustainable, so why not make sure you’re minimising your impact as much as you can and read the following guide on how to reduce your carbon footprint as a student.
Forget fresh creps and wavey garmz™and start thinking about the environmental cost of the things you buy. Between 1960-2000, the Aral Sea lost around 70% of its volume due to the diversion of its water to be used in the desert for cotton growing. Cotton is one of the most common natural fibres in clothing (accounting for around 33% of all textiles) but it requires 2,700 litres of water to make one t-shirt (according to wri.org). To put this into perspective, this is the amount of water the average person drinks in two and half years. Polyester production isn’t any better, releasing around 706 billion kilograms of greenhouse gases in 2015. So next time you find yourself hesitating outside Primarni and Urban Outfitters, save your bank account and the planet and take yourself to Oxfam.
So you can’t live without bacon, and halloumi is important to you, but just remember you can’t enjoy those things when the planet is destroyed and you are dead. You don’t have to go vegan overnight, just having a couple of meat and/or dairy-free meals a week will have an impact. After all, the livestock industry is responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This might not sound like a lot, but it is the same amount as the whole transport sector.
Plastic and packaging manufacturing have a huge impact on global emissions. Buy a recycling bin for your flat/housemates to share; recycling is definitely cooler than killing the planet. And instead of pissing money down the drain, bring a reusable bag with you when you do your shopping. Nothing feels as good as knowing you haven't spent 5p damaging the planet. You don’t have to bring a flask to pres but reuse any plastic bottles you have instead of buying a new one every time you go out.
Even turning the lights off when you leave a room and not leaving the bathroom tap running while you brush your teeth is better than nothing. Try and spend less time in the shower too. Instead of Google, use ecosia.com, a carbon-neutral search engine which plants trees when you search for something (over 50m trees have been planted by Ecosia users so far) and trees are what we need right now.
If you’re interested in calculating your carbon footprint go to http://footprint.wwf.org.uk and see how much you’re fucking up the planet.