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How you can switch to a sustainable student lifestyle

Must we make a case for why climate change has not stopped being our problem? Well, we will. And we will give you 3 areas in which you can overhaul your lifestyle for the good of the whole planet.
BY Skendha Singh |   24-03-2020

The world seems paralyzed by the pandemic, but after decades there are report of dolphins in the Venetian canals, birdsong is audible in Wuhan, and the concentration of fine particulate matter in New York is 28% less than it was in 2019.

Countries which have stringent lockdown measures due to the spread of coronavirus have reaped unintended benefits – a noticeable drop in pollution and greenhouse gases. They are unintentionally experiencing a temporary reprieve from the harshest effects of climate change.

BrainGain Magazine
  Source: Internet

And why it matters is because, in the long run, climate change is as much a threat to humanity as the virus. To make a significant impact, governments across the globe will need to face the challenge and make structural changes to their economies. That’s how we can hope to meet the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals in 2030. More importantly, that’s how we can hope to survive as a species.

Luckily, according to the National Union of Students (NUS) survey in the UK – 91% students care about climate change. And, therefore, sustainability.

BrainGain Magazine
Photo by Saph Photography from Pexels

So, if you’re a student who is ready to contribute towards a better tomorrow for the planet, you should aim at living a sustainable lifestyle today. Besides a sustainable lifestyle is as easy on your pocket as it is on the planet. It encourages thrift, mindful consumerism, and quality investments.
BrainGain Magazine has a few recommendations to enable students like you to go green.
  1. Cut the meat:

    BrainGain Magazine
    Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel from Pexels

    Did you know that animal agriculture is #1 source of greenhouse gas emissions? And here are a few ways in which it burdens the planet: deforestation to make way for livestock depletes our carbon sinks. This is followed by methane emissions from cows and fertilizers. Its by-products also pollutes streams, rivers and ultimately oceans.

    Avoiding meat and dairy is therefore your #1 route to reducing your impact on the earth (The Guardian).

    If you can not bear to be a vegetarian, we encourage you to take baby steps. Here are a few to get you started:
    • Reduce the frequency: Eat meat every alternate day, and then maybe twice a week, and then once a week.
    • Source it right: Eat responsibly harvested seafood, eggs and meat. You can look for organic, sustainable or free-range labels.
    • Explore vegetarian options: Tofu, paneer, and mushrooms are popular. However, this change is easier if you don’t just look for a substitute of texture and flavour. Instead, you should savour ingredients for what they are. Experiment with recipes. (We can vouch for the Nando’s veggie burger though!)
    • Ask your student’s association to support you: For example, Goldsmiths, Universit of London, has scrapped the sale of beef from its campus. It makes the resolution to stay away from meat easier.

    Remember this is the single biggest way for you to make a contribution to your planet. Make it count.

  2. Reuse, recycle, and reduce:

    BrainGain Magazine
    Photo by Musa Ortaç from Pexels

    Did you know that England bins 5 billion straws a year? That is one country and one product. Can you mentally picture the waste you create every year?

    In some places, there is government support for reducing waste. The EU, for instance, is phasing out single-use plastics by the year 2021. But, there is plenty you can do on your own. Here are handy tips from us:
    • Bring your own containers to buy food. And reusable coffee cups or flasks for drinks. Also, swap plastic straws for metal ones. You can save hundreds, if not thousands of plastic objects from finding their way into the land and the water.
    • Use cloth bags: You can buy them, or if you’re feeling nifty, make your own. Upcycling workshops are frequent in many cities. Otherwise there are always YouTube tutorials. Don’t waste money on buying poly-bags.
    • Say no to bottled water. Invest in BPA free containers. You can even opt for copper or steel bottles.

  3. Slow down your fashion:

    BrainGain Magazine
    Photo by Wallace Chuck from Pexels
    As a student, fast fashion is the seemingly reasonable choice to make. It’s cheaper, trendier and more accessible. There’s variety – brands like Zara offer up to 24 collections a year.

    But the environmental costs are, sadly, huge. According to the World Economic Forum, one garbage truck full of clothes is burned or dumped in the landfill every second. Approximately 60% of these clothes are polyester. Producing polyester releases 2-3 times the carbon emissions that producing cotton does. And polyester does not break down. (WEF) It means your cheap wasted clothes will spoil the oceans for centuries. And the soil.

    Slow fashion is more expensive but each piece can make a statement. Plus, slow fashion products last a long time, support artistic communities, and are sustainable.

    Ready to be stylishly sustainable?
    • Check out The Good Trade: It lists affordable eco-fashion brands.
    • Explore Instagram: Many slow-fashion brands are open about their manufacturing practices and have clear mission statements. You can chat with them to find out.
    • Pro-tip: Invest in pieces that reflect you, not just the current moment in fashion.

      Additional ways to quick-fix your fast lifestyle:
    • Try eco-friendly sanitary products. Regular sanitary products can have carcinogens like ditoxin. So, a switch can be as good for your health as it will be for the planet’s.
    • Wash your clothes at a lower temperature. This will also lower your utilities bill! Also, use a clothes horse instead of the tumble dryer when possible.
    • Power down: We don’t want to sound like your parents but please switch the lights off. And that computer when you’re not using it.
    • Walk or bike to campus. If it’s too far, take the bus or the tube.
    • Don’t earn those frequent flyer miles. Flights must become the other big cutback on your carbon emissions.
    • Use paper mindfully.

      Are you living the sustainable student lifestyle? Share your tips here!



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