Courtesy of Creative Commons
To many of its students, Presentation High School is often synonymous with a socially conscious community. It makes sense, given that the Pres motto is not words but deeds. And when it comes to issues concerning the environment, the attitude Pres has is no different: more needs to be done to protect the earth.
However, it is apparent that even with this attitude, some students still don’t do enough. Being environmentally conscious takes effort, and some students may not know where to start, or think they are too busy to help.
But even doing one thing has a good impact on the environment, no matter how small. There are actions you can take right now in your school life that could give the earth the hand it desperately needs:
Throw away your trash: Pres has a big problem with not throwing their trash away during lunchtime. Ms. Schrader shouldn’t have to remind you to do it and the janitors shouldn’t have to clean it up for you. Trash or recyclable items should be thrown away when you are finished eating. By doing this you are reinforcing a good habit that benefits everyone.
Get rid of waste correctly: Going along with the point above, Pres has waste bins scattered all around campus for different types of waste. They are even labeled for your convenience. It may be easy to throw away your waste in the bin that is closest to you, but make an effort to put your waste where it needs to go. Then, landfills aren’t being filled with items that could easily be recycled.
Carpool or take public transportation: If you live near a friend and both of you drive to school separately, ask them to carpool. Not only will it cut down on gas consumption, it can be really fun to play music and catch up before and after school. Even carpooling with someone you don’t know could blossom into a great friendship. If driving is not an option, public transportation always is. It’s cheap, and although it takes a little longer, it allows you to see more of the city and meet new people.
Use reusable trays: Making and taking your own lunch to school can help you avoid the long lunch line and eat healthier. And taking your lunch with you in a reusable container creates less waste than what is made from the food served at the cafeteria and those single-serving cups of mac-n-cheese.
Unplug your charger when it’s not in use: In elementary school, we all learned about the vampire that sucked the energy out of your outlet; that vampire is your charger. Although it may be annoying to have to plug and unplug your charger, it’s not necessary to have it plugged in always and it saves on electrical bills. If it seems like too much of a hassle, buy a power strip. Just don’t forget to turn it off when you don’t need it.
Go vegan or vegetarian: Vegans and vegetarians aren’t always seen in the best light. However, environmental sustainability is at the core of the movement. By avoiding meat, there is less of a demand for the animals who produce it. In turn, the demand for land used for grazing and producing food for those animals diminishes. Eating less meat and other animals products also promotes animal welfare and a healthier lifestyle.
Borrow books at the library: The smell and feel of a brand new book is one of the best experiences. But after that wears off, it doesn’t matter whether the book is old or new; the content is all the same. So instead of spending money on a new book, go to the library either at Pres or one near your home and borrow a book. You are able to borrow more than enough without having to commit to purchasing a book you may not end up liking.
Go paper-free when it comes to school work: It may already seem like this is happening at Pres because almost everything is done on the iPads now, but paper is still being used in many classes. Although using paper may sometimes be out of your control because a teacher requires it, try to use electronic copies of your books and school work if it is available and the teacher allows it. You will have less things to carry in your backpack, which will help alleviate some of that back pain.
Buy less in general: The simplest but hardest rule to follow is buying less; we are a consumerist society. However, half the things you buy, you don’t actually need. Don’t base your purchases on things you want, and you are guaranteed to create less waste. To take it even further, if you do need to buy a product, try to choose the one that contains the least amount of packaging. And if you feel like you have too much, you can always donate it to those who need it more, so you don’t have to throw it away.
Now that you know how to make this earth a little better, go out and do it!