Green New Years Resolutions for Students

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Let me start out by saying that I hate New Years resolutions. They kind of piss me off for two big reasons. First, they are almost always vague. Lose weight, be healthier, listen to more people,... seriously? None of these actually mean anything. Second, they aren't really resolutions... most people choose things that are better classified as common sense. So this year I propose GREEN resolutions that are precise and demonstrate resolve.

1. Get a reusable mug and actually use it!
I know you have been told this like a thousand times but seriously.... get a mug and use it. I know it is tough to carry a clunky mug around with you everywhere but I am sure you can deal with it. Find a solution that works for you and go for it. You will save yourself about $20 to $50 bucks a year and you will be taking a chunk out of landfills.

2. Submit your homework electronically
It is tricky handing things in electronically. The classic argument is that their professors won't let them submit their work electronically because it hurts their eyes or something. Well from our surveys we found that there are very few profs that don't let their students do this. And if push comes to shove, you didn't hear this from me but send a letter to the dean of your faculty explaining your outrage and I think you will get some results.

3. Make an effort to recycle properly
I get it, recycling is complicated.... so many different products going to so many different places. But, this is an institution of higher education. If you can't take the time to figure out how to recycle properly what chance does the rest of society have? It only takes a minute to figure things out and if you need some help, check out our website for a recycling cheat sheet.

4. Practice your ABCs (Anything But a Car)
Admittedly this is a tougher one; not everyone has easy access to the campus. But this is also the one that can have the biggest impact on the environment and your wallet. The campus offers an avalanche of tools to get here by foot (foot patrol, pedestrian malls), by bike (bike share, bike parking, bike coop), by bus (u-pass, eco-pass), and even by car (car share, ride share, carpooling) if you have to.

5. Eat a little less meat
I would love to shock with all the facts related to eating less meat (better for your health, your wallet, and the environment) but I simply don't have enough room. I also understand that getting some people to eat less meat is like asking them to cut off a finger. So I will only ask that you try eating one less meat meal a week. The impacts are huge and it will give you something interesting to talk about with strangers (you know.... if you are into that kind of thing).

I realize that this list is pretty big. I am not saying to do all of them. Try one or two or three if you would like. Just keep in mind that making an impact for the environment is not a one-off, it takes a shift in lifestyles. One day at a time you can make the planet better!


Photo credit: Jonathan Rausseo

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