by: Meghan Hudson, Arts & Life Editor
Courtesy of Amazon.com
Let’s talk about a very relevant trend to kick this semester off… environmentally friendly products, and just being environmentally friendly.
If you haven’t noticed already, selling environmentally friendly products has become a trend across industries. We’ve seen this trend through Starbucks’ recent phasing out of straws, sustainable school supply lines, and organic makeup lines.
Interestingly enough, being environmentally friendly, and owning environmentally friendly products has become an aesthetic. I kind of dig it, because whether or not you believe in climate change, I think we can all agree that for the sake of our animals, and for the sake of ourselves, keeping a clean planet is important.
As a student, trying to understand more about the complexities of the state of our planet and how to be more environmentally friendly can be overwhelming. The level to which any given person incorporates the weight of this conversation into their lives varies drastically.
Miley Cyrus, for example, revealed to Elle Magazine in July of this year that she has decided not to have any children, as she does not believe the earth can handle it, and a child should not be left to deal with our tired earth.
Reading things like this may feel overwhelming to someone who is trying to adjust their lifestyle for the sake of the planet. Do we have to give up having children to truly be environmentally friendly?
The answer is no. In fact, any little thing you can do for the planet is significant. If eliminating straws seems silly to you, maybe focus on reducing your energy consumption in your living space instead. It’s important to find things that you can realistically achieve, and to support causes that actually matter to you (there are many to choose from).
Here’s a basic guide to being more environmentally friendly, or environmentally conscious, as a college student. I challenge you to pick one, and support it for one week!
- Walk! If you can avoid driving to school, either by biking or walking, you’re helping to reduce emissions in your atmosphere. Plus, getting the exercise benefits your own health as well!
- If you don’t already have a recycling bin, I suggest getting one. Most of the trash you accumulate is probably recyclable, especially in a dorm where there is very little cooking. Towson University has a single stream recycling program. Inside of every trash room, and all around campus, are recycle bins. Check out the TU website page for waste minimization to learn more about what single stream recycling means. All university dining halls also contain compost bins. All of your napkins and food scraps can go here to help reduce the amount of trash that gets sent to landfills.
- Support companies that support the planet. There are many companies, such as Unruled., who focus heavily on giving back to the planet, and on the impact their company leaves. Unruled. is a company run by college students who produce notebooks while focusing on environmental sustainability. They have worked with their manufacturer to cut energy consumption by 50%, and have partnered with many environmental organizations, such as One Tree Planted, to continuously give back to the planet.
- Support your local farmers. Local farming has become largely out run by mass production and consumption of food. However, eating locally produced vegetables and meats is actually much more beneficial to you and your community. Many mass producers are forced to use harsh pesticides to keep their crops alive. However, local farmers are able to keep much more contained fields, and avoid such chemicals. Many libraries and main streets also host farmers markets in accordance with local farmers or craft-makers. Towson has a farmer’s market that takes place on Allegheny Avenue every Thursday from 10:45-3:00 from June through November. Kenilworth also holds a farmer’s market at The Shops at Kenilworth parking lot every Thursday from 3:30 to 6:30 from April through November.
- Invest in reusable cups, bowls, silverware, etc. Chances are, many of the paper products you buy will work their way into the trash bin, where they will then be sent to a landfill for years beyond your own. Reusable products cut down on your trash output tremendously.
- Try and reduce your energy consumption. Even just spending more time outside of your home helps avoid energy usage inside. Also, turn down the A/C some. It’s easy to get accustomed to having a freezing cold household, but it’s also easy to get accustomed to a slightly warmer one. Or, even just turn down the A/C on days when you’ll be gone for class.