For my fall semester, I decided that I wanted to add a class on sustainability. I ended up adding a course called: Facets of Sustainability. I was particularly interested in this class because of the adjective that was chosen to accompany this practice. Within the first week, we were taught to embrace the idea of interconnectedness and how to approach it by thinking in systems. This prepared us for the coming weeks when we were to work as a team to become more sustainable.
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.” ⟼ John Muir
We were split into groups and were tasked with implementing sustainable practices into our daily routine. At first, I was not sure what I would be changing in my daily routine. But I quickly found that the project was not necessarily about adopting new practices, but modifying current ones. In order to keep one another accountable for our goals: eating less meat, consuming less plastic, and driving less, we created a spreadsheet.
So how are we approaching this?
We have been measuring our consumption levels on a scale from “none” to “high.” In order to be more accurate, we created scales that correlated with the size or number of our usage. So far, I have seen an improvement in my meat consumption. I have also been more mindful of taking public transport when available and suitable to my schedule.
For me, this project has been incredibly inspiring. For our “social impact” portion of the project, we decided to create an Instagram page which would be geared toward local students and local citizens. This is what has enriched me the most because I know that we are reaching a broader audience outside of our group of five. This project has already taught me so much about keeping oneself accountable and focused on a goal. I also feel good about this project because it has pushed me to live more sustainably. I have accumulated less trash just by purchasing products with less wrapping or packaging. When we throw something away, there is no “away,” which is really important to keep in mind as we do our daily shopping.
Here are some practices that I have adopted:
- Leave the house with a full reusable water bottle. Ditch those plastic ones!
- Bring your own coffee cup to Starbucks and they will give you a discount. (Extra plus: I have found that they fill my 27 oz cup up to the top when I paid for a discounted 20 oz beverage).
- Bring your own reusable grocery bags to the store.
- Bring your own reusable produce bags to the store. The plastic bags are unnecessary. The “living” phase of a plastic bag is much…much shorter than its “dying” phase.
- Read up on what can be recycled in your community. Not all places are the same. For example, Starbucks cups cannot be recycled by Gainesville.
- Take public transportation when it is convenient. Sustainability is not about perfection, but about mitigating our personal footprints.
- Eat less meat. Cows are the cutest.
- Read articles from sources that are focused on sustainable practices. I really like Eco Warrior Princess and The Good Trade.
- Avoid palm oil.
- Have discussions with your friends about sustainable practices. If they do not take steps to reduce their footprint, listen why.
What ways do you live sustainably? What are some practices that you have adopted? If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
Thanks for reading!