Move to reduce your carbon footprint with 4 small steps
The Garden State has seen bizarrely, summer-like temperatures this week, and although many of us on the Banks have enjoyed the break from the usual autumn chill, it definitely comes at price. It’s late-October days spent in shorts and a t-shirt that should encourage everyone to look at their own contributions to global warming.
Climate change is a massive problem, but there are ways to stop contributing to the effects of global warming on an individual level. Some simple adjustments in your everyday life can eventually have a big impact and help save our lovely, green planet.
As Rutgers students, we already have a leg up on this one because the University has the biggest transportation system of any other school in the country — and it’s free.
But many of us are guilty of waking up just a little too late for the bus and driving to class. So on those days when driving is a necessity, or even if you commute, start to pay attention to your driving style.
Be conscious of how often you needlessly accelerate or speed, and make sure all of your tires are properly inflated. Both of these tips can save you gas money and will help reduce your carbon footprint.
ON THE HOME FRONT
There are a lot of tips that you can bring home with you if you live in an on-campus apartment or anywhere off-campus. With winter right around the corner (or at least, I hope it is), you should monitor your thermostat. Try to find a temperature to stick to instead of moving it around every few hours, then make sure your windows and doors are properly insulated so you’re not losing any warm air.
Another way to lower your carbon footprint at home is to do your grocery shopping at local markets. It sounds expensive, but it really isn’t thanks to all of the work done by the coordinators at the New Brunswick Farmers Market. The market has several initiatives to make their produce more affordable for students and residents of New Brunswick. It travels to three different locations throughout the week and is worth a visit.
This may sound obvious, but it needs to be said. The University has a single-stream recycling system, meaning aluminum, paper, plastic and glass don’t even have to be sorted and separated for you to do your part to properly dispose of your waste.
In the U.S., there aren’t any national laws or penalties to recycle, but in other countries, not recycling can mean fines and penalties. This puts us behind on climate change, but just because there aren’t negative consequences to not recycling does not mean there aren’t positive ones that we should be taking advantage of.
USE LESS PLASTIC
The ubiquitous use of plastic has become so commonplace that you don’t even really notice it anymore, from plastic water bottles to shopping bags, drink straws to chewing gum and the list goes on and on. As a college student, convenience and cost will almost always trump the desire to address climate change, so any adjustments have to fall in between those needs.
The easiest thing to do to reduce plastic conception is to ditch water bottles all together and invest the 20 bucks on a reusable one. This will save you money in the long run if you regularly buy bottled drinks. You can then fill up your reusable bottle at one of the many refill stations on campus or at the dining hall.
Although the issue of climate change was absent from the last four debates, that doesn’t mean it’s not a major concern. It just means we should start relying on ourselves to make a difference.
Even just applying a few of these carbon-footprint-reducing hacks to your day-to-day routine can have a big impact, and hopefully we can keep 80-degree days contained to summer break.
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