From cattle to patty, we are often unaware of the enormous amount of grain, water, land, and energy required to produce meat products. You don’t have to go vegetarian—after all, humans are omnivores—but even one vegetarian day out of the week will reduce your carbon footprint significantly.
Be sure to pick a healthy alternative such as brown rice and dahl, vegan pumpkin soup, fresh vegetable sticks dipped in hummus, or roasted root vegetables. Try not to substitute meat with cheesy poutine or potato chips—these are not any healthier than a cheeseburger. It’s a good start to research, ask, and discover where your food comes from, how it was grown, and what resources were used to produce it.
Drink coffee in your own mug
I can’t imagine a morning without coffee or tea. Most people have their morning beverage routine, but millions of paper cups around the world end up in the trash or recycle bin as disposable cups are discarded.
Most of us who do purchase coffee on campus don’t go the extra step to find a compost bin for disposable cups. If you have your own mug, it never has to leave your sight, and you can stop worrying about leakages, spills, or super-hot cups. The more people that bring their own mugs, the less waste that is produced.
The conversation on coffee is endless but remember: how and where the coffee beans are sourced is just as important as bringing your own mug. Buy coffee from companies that pay their farmers fair wages and work to build the communities in which the coffee is grown. Try Level Ground or Kicking Horse coffee, which is served in the Munchie Bar at UVic.
Tap into water
Most of us forget how lucky we are to have drinkable tap water, so why use a plastic bottle which may leach BPA? The Student Union Building set an example a few years ago by going plastic water bottle-free, and perhaps the rest of UVic will do the same.
Once you choose a favourite mug to go with you coffee, make sure to pair it with a stainless steel water bottle, or a reusable plastic one that is marked BPA-free. Don’t leave the house without them. This way you won’t ever have to pay for bottled water and can save up to 10 cents a cup for coffee. Little savings add up!