It’s Earth Day, and you know what that means: saving the planet, one habit at a time! Lots of people don’t make changes that can help the environment, mostly because they feel like they will have to make changes that will make them uncomfortable or lower their quality of life. But there are many simple things you can do to help the environment, and they take little to no effort at all!! To help you get an idea, here are 7 ways I’ve come up with to be more sustainable.
- Cook your own food – Many of us are on tight schedules, between the 45 hours of homework that CSU advertises for 15 hours of credit, the 15 credit hours themselves, and then working to pay for those 15 credit hours (not including time for sleep, social time, personal time, working out, etc). Because of these impossible schedules, food becomes an on the go ordeal. However, fast food is usually bad for you and bad for the environment. Usually the products are full of chemicals and have production processes that produce lots of CO2, and in the end you don’t benefit from those chemicals either. Instead, meal plan during the weekends and make your meals to go. Not only is it better for you, but buying raw ingredients from the grocery store allows you to look into locally grown and organic products, which are better for the economy, environment, and for you. To learn how to meal plan, check out this video. ‘
- Start composting – If you eat food, you generate food waste. Cooking materials, coffee grounds, egg shells, banana peels, yard trimming and clippings, even your pet’s poop, it all can be composted. If it goes to the landfill, the lack of oxygen doesn’t allow it to break down, which means that those gross waste materials hang around for hundreds of years. Composting it, however, creates mulch, which can be used in a garden or in construction projects, and it is healthier for the environment. Fort Collins is moving to have a city wide composting effort in the next five years. To find out more about it, click here.
- Check for leaks – Even if you cannot give up your morning shower time or remember to turn off the faucet while you brush, you may be wasting more water without doing anything. Leaks are the number one cause of water waste in many cities, and they are often silent, so they go unnoticed. For $10, you can buy this Eco-Kit and test your toilets and faucets for water leaks. It will save you some green on your water bill and save some green for the planet too.
- Ride your bike – Fort Collins is one of the most bike friendly cities in the world, and CSU is a Bike Platinum campus. We have more bike lanes than roads on campus, and there are more bike racks than parking spots. For $100-$200, you can buy a bike, register if at CSU PD for $10, buy a $5 light and a $10 U-Lock, and you not only get a great workout, but you will always be able to find a spot to park on campus. And you’re still spending less money than one semester’s parking pass costs. It’s good for your health, good for the environment, and gets you one step closer to those gains. Get it, bro.
- Take the bus – As CSU students, we can ride any bus for free. Here in Fort Collins, we also have one of the most extensive bus systems in the country, with a bus that goes almost anywhere within city limits as long as you leave before 10pm, and with other buses running to Boulder, Denver, and Greeley depending on the time of day. We all know that this town lacks parking, so why not save yourself the frustration and save the environment by hopping on the Max next time instead?
- Buy plants – Plants make oxygen from CO2, which is good for you and good for the environment. Plus it makes your windowsill look much more homey. They’re really cheap this time of year, and almost every generic store (ie Walmart, Home Depot, King Soopers, etc) have lots of different types of plants. You could also grow your own herbs for cooking, or even your own fruits and vegetables in community garden spaces, because gardening is both good for your physical health by providing you with natural ingredients and good for your mind as it has shown to reduce stress. So get outside and plant something. It’ll make you feel better.
- Shop or donate to thrift shops – Clothes is the number one thing people waste. Watch the Story of Stuff or go to their website to learn exactly how much we waste, but most clothes end up in the landfill when they still can be used by others, and more clothes are made every year than the world could ever possibly wear. So instead of buying new clothes, save your wallet and go to one of Fort Collins’ many thrift stores. I often find cute things at thrift stores, and with a couple of washes, they feel brand new.
Will you try any of these ideas? What do you do to save the planet? Let us know in the comments! And in celebration of Earth Day, I leave you with the best Earth Day song, the Captain Planet Theme Song.