College students are busy. You have classes, clubs, sports, work study jobs and social activities. Taking care of the environment can seem like the last thing you have time to do. In addition, your living situations can even make environmental friendliness more difficult.
However, there are small things you can do as a student to make a difference for the environment. You don’t have to major in environmental science to make an impact on the environment in significant ways, but that doesn’t hurt.
1. Using Energy Wisely
Taking just a second to turn off the lights, your computer, etc. when you leave a room, or keeping the heat a degree or two lower and the air conditioner a little bit higher can reduce the amount of energy being used. Each degree the thermostat is lowered (in winter) and raised (in summer) saves about three percent of the total energy used, on average.
Another easy way to save energy is to switch to energy efficient light bulbs. If your dorm or apartment isn’t already using LED light bulbs, you could invest a few dollars in switching over your lighting. The bulbs last a lot longer than traditional incandescent ones, and they use up to 80 percent less energy.
2. Use a Reusable Water Bottle
Using disposable water bottles may seem convenient, but the empty bottles are a drain on landfills and even recycling them uses some energy in the process. The best option is to purchase a reusable water bottle and refill it yourself. If you are concerned about the quality of your local tap water, there are bottles that have a filter built in. You can also get a filter for your faucet or a pitcher that filters water and can be kept in your dorm fridge.
3. Reduce Water Consumption
Taking shorter showers will not only help the environment by saving water resources, but it will also get you to class faster. You might not have any control over whether the dorm or apartment uses a low-flow toilet or showerhead. You do, however, have control over how you use those resources. Not running the water continuously while brushing your teeth is another way to reduce the amount of water you use.
4. A community garden has numerous benefits for the environment.
Start a Community Garden
When the community grows some of its own food, there are many benefits for the environment. There will be less pollution if fewer trucks are needed to haul food to stores. Gardens also filter rainwater and keep water sources cleaner. Oxygen is also added to the air from the plants, which reduces air pollution. It’s a relatively simple way to reduce your environmental impact — and you get the benefit of fresh veggies!
Florida Institute of Technology offers an Environmental Science degree where students can learn about the science of conservation. Download the degree in Environmental Science brochure for more information.