At this time of the year we are all caught up in tackling new year’s resolutions we hope will make our lives better. Some of the easiest and perhaps most significant changes we could ever commit to making are those that not only improve our lives, but also have a positive impact on those around us and on the environment too. To give you a little inspiration on what sort of things you can do, we’ve put together a few suggestions:
1. Never buy bottled water again
Swap buying bottled water for refilling at one of the many Tapwater points across campus. Bottled water costs on average 500 times more than tap water and uses 7 litres of water to manufacture an empty 1 litre bottle.
2. Brew your own Fairtrade tea and coffee
For better brewing, choose a Fairtrade product and support farmers and workers as they work to improve their lives and their communities.
3. Remember your reusable bags
With the plastic bag ban introduced in England last year, take your reusable bags shopping, avoiding waste and the 5p charge.
4. Join in Meat Free Mondays
Going meatless one day a week can reduce the risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also reduce the strain on natural resources used in meat production like energy, fresh water, and fossil fuels. Meat and dairy farming produces 18% of the planet’s climate-changing gases; that’s more than all of the emissions from the world’s planes, cars and lorries put together.
5. Eliminate phantom power
Cut out power use in the office by switching off computer screens and PCs when you’re not at your desk. Or, if you know you’re likely to forget, ask a neighbouring colleague to press the off button when you’ve left your desk unattended.
6. Switch to green power
Switching your home to run on green power sounds like a big job, but you can make it happen without getting out of your chair! Call your local energy company and see if they offer renewable options (most do).
7. Make the most of seasonal fruit and veg
Check out a seasonal fruit and veg calendar before you go shopping and make the most of tasty produce when they’re at their best.
8. Donate your unwanted stuff
Charities can always use your unwanted stuff to raise money and help others. Why not take anything you no longer need to your local charity shop next time you’re passing.
9. Support sustainable parliamentary petitions
Want to add your voice to environmental and social campaigns? Members of the public can sign or start petitions on all sorts of issues at https://petition.parliament.uk/.
10. Become a volunteer
Try something new and help others at the same time; check out Team London for volunteering ideas and opportunities.
This list is not exhaustive. There is a lot more that you can do at home, on campus and in the community. The above actions taken regularly will certainly make a huge difference and help create a more sustainable world. And if you ever feel your efforts are insignificant, remember the words of Betty Reese:
Mother Nature Network: 10 easy, green New Year’s resolutions for the Eco-Slacker