Well, I’m glad that you ignored the title of this article informing you that this is not the Wednesday Hump and that, unfortunately, you’re an entire day late for the article you were truly hoping to peruse. Perhaps you just have some time to kill in the UCen between classes, or maybe you’re truly happy to see that the Daily Nexus has included an environmental column in its pages.
This column has been created for the purpose of increasing the environmental knowledge that you obtained while sitting in Environmental Studies 1: Introduction to Environmental Studies (which you took as your Science G.E. freshman year) with the hopes that through the following weeks you will be inspired to change some of your daily practices for those of a more sustainable nature.
I’m assuming this is where some of you have decided that you’ve had enough of the liberal eco-hippy mumbo jumbo and are considering placing this (recyclable) paper in the trash. I urge you not to do that until you take a quick gander at the five quick easy things I believe everyone on campus or in Isla Vista can do to live a bit more sustainably. Note: these are not the only things you can change, nor are they the most sustainable choices you can make.
Shower less. America is one of few countries where a fifteen-minute shower is the norm. What are we even doing in there? Did you know that it’s actually bad for your hair to wash it every day? Take a day off and just take a rinse or, better yet, consider taking a shower every other day. Turn off the water while you shave. If you know you’re heading to the gym later, don’t take a shower now! I know there’s a cute boy/girl there but you’re going to be sweaty anyway and I’m sure they’ll respect your water conservation by only taking one shower … later you can conserve even more by showering together!
Change your eating habits. I’m not telling you to become a vegan or only eat local food. I’m not even telling you to buy organic. I’m simply saying that by adding a few more sustainable choices into your diet (even just once in a while) you’ll be helping to cut back on your foodprint. A few quick ideas? Follow the lead of the Environmental Affairs Board and Campus Dining and go meatless on Mondays! Check out the farmers market for local, delicious and seasonal produce (which is normally raised with organic practices even though many of the farms cannot afford an organic certification). Check out the I.V. Food Co-op! They have local, organic, vegan, raw and more food options! Or, if you’re determined to eat steak produced in Argentina non-organically and shipped to America for every meal, pair it with a local beer or wine (only if you’re above the age of 21 of course). The microbreweries around here are so much tastier than the Natty Lights you drink at parties.
Bike to your next appointment. I’m going to hazard a guess that you’re one of the majority of students at UCSB that own a bike (whether or not you actually purchased it). Consider biking to Albertsons, or even all the way downtown next time you have to take a trip! It’s great exercise, a great way to enjoy the beautiful Santa Barbara weather and it saves gas and a lot of money.
Save electricity. Go stargazing instead of sitting inside with your lights on at night. Note to guys: Girls find this really romantic and you may find something else to do with the lights off later. Enjoy the outdoors! Watching a TV show about people hiking and surfing is nowhere near as fun as trying them for yourself. Unplug your electronics when you’re not using them. It may less time to toast your bread if the toaster is already plugged in, but you’ll save on your electricity bill (which is good because we’re starving college students, after all). Instead of playing video games, try playing old school card games like Euchre every now and again. Instead of Facebooking the girl/boy you’ve been playing games with, try actually talking to them in person.
Stop buying plastic water bottles. Those of you who did take Environmental Studies 1, 2 or 3, or even those of you who are environmental science majors, have had this told to you over and over. And it shows! It’s definitely stylish to have a reusable water bottle instead of a plastic one. And if you’re still sure that you can taste the difference between bottled water and tap water, invest in a Brita filter or at the very least RECYCLE your water bottles. They are a huge waste and end up, more often than not, in a landfill or in our ocean.
More than anything, I’d just like to see you try to make a tiny change wherever you can. If you’re dead set on water bottles, recycle them and try to lower your waste in other ways. There are easy opportunities for making a change in our world all around us so try avoiding those bananas from Ecuador or buy shade-grown teas and coffees when you can… the important thing is that you try.
Chelsea Lauwereins is a fourth-year environmental studies major.