Lifestyle changes for the sustainable student
It can be hard to feel like any of the steps you take to be sustainable are actually accomplishing anything while mega-corporations are continuously exploiting the environment for gain and billionaires are flying in private jets daily. But it’s important to remember that you are making a difference — giving up will not help with climate change.
Here are a few ways to embrace and practice sustainability.
Reduce and reuse, then recycle
Recycling is great, and nothing makes you feel like a better citizen than sorting out your blue bins for biweekly pickup, but the reality is that much more emphasis should be put on reducing waste and reusing items. Recycling should only be used when needed, not as the default.
The majority of Canada’s plastic waste ends up in landfills, while only nine per cent is actually recycled. Canada also sends some of its plastic recycling to foreign countries, making it their problem instead of ours. Opting to avoid creating plastic waste altogether will always serve more effectively than recycling.
Consumerism is so ingrained in our culture that it’s not just a part of our way of life, it is our way of life. Continuing to live in our modern society without participating in consumerism is near impossible, but implementing small lifestyle changes is much more doable.
Putting more thought into what you buy, and basing purchases on actual needs instead of the promise of a dopamine rush can help improve your spending habits. If you’re able to invest in buying yourself a few higher quality items, it may end up being cheaper than constantly engaging in fast fashion in the long run.
Repair, don’t replace
After you’ve built your collection of high-quality possessions, the next step is to learn how to repair, mend, and maintain them. Learning life skills like sewing will not only help with reducing your amount of purchasing, but will continue to serve you throughout the rest of your life.
Super glue exists for a reason. Channel your inner punk and utilize those safety pins.
Take a hard look at your lifestyle
Our country and most of its inhabitants live a lifestyle that can only be described as opulent. While life in Canada obviously isn’t perfect or by any means easy, our general quality of life is leagues ahead of the majority of the rest of the planet.
It can be hard to do, but reassessing your own lifestyle and its footprint is an important step toward living a sustainable life. Ask yourself if you’re actually using what you need, or if your wants are controlling how you live.
Stay informed, do your research, and vote
Spend time reading and researching what is going on in the world and what new information is coming out. Staying up to date on the newest findings and facts is essential for living a holistically sustainable life. Be cautious of where and how you consume your information, as constantly being subjected to devastating news about the environment can negatively affect mental wellbeing.
Use the biggest tool you have and vote. Electing people into power that share the same values surrounding climate change will accomplish more than any one person can. Voting in local elections will have the most immediate effect on what is being done in the community around you.