In the wake of climate strikes across the world, students may wonder what they can do to fight climate change. Although it may seem like something a person can’t individually change, there are little things you can do every day to combat climate change and lessen your carbon footprint.
Pacific University’s Starbucks and bookstore have different options for reducing plastic use and promoting a greener lifestyle. The Mug Library is a system where you can borrow mugs to reduce plastic use when going to Starbucks and is free to students and staff alike. Starbucks even offers a 10 cent discount when you bring in your own cup and though it may not be much, it adds up and encourages customers to bring their own mugs and bottles. As a Starbucks employee, we promote the use of sip lids instead of straw lids to reduce the amount of plastic used every day. We also offer in-house mugs and plates for anyone who is there to study, chat, or just relax in Starbucks.
Another way you can combat climate change is by reusing water bottles, containers, and plastic silverware. Rather than purchasing bottled water, people should keep reusable water bottles on hand to reduce the use of plastic. Students should consider purchasing a set of metal straws to use instead of plastic straws. Recently, I purchased a set of metal straws and have been using them in my dorm and plan to use them when I’m out. I also have a Hydro Flask that I use for all my water needs to make sure I don’t use plastic bottles.
When going out to eat and ending up with leftovers, recycle and reuse plastic containers by washing them and using them to store snacks, supplies, or other things. This also goes for containers bought from anywhere on campus, such as the plastic ice cream tubs from The Pod. All of these extra containers can not only be used for practical uses, but also for creative or school projects. Personally, I have kept plastic silverware I got from Starbucks and also ice cream containers from The Pod to reuse for eating and storing food.
Buying organic and local foods helps promote local businesses rather than large corporations, which is a great way to combat climate change. There are many farmers markets in Oregon, including the Forest Grove farmer’s market, and The Pod and Bon Appetit purchase local and organic foods to promote a climate-friendly diet. If you eat meals in the UC, try not to waste food and instead take smaller portions, which also leaves more for others.
Many students on campus have TVs, gaming systems, multiple lamps, and power strips that have different devices constantly charging. However, this uses up a lot of energy which increases your carbon footprint and makes it worse for our environment. If you leave your room or aren’t using a device, take a second to turn it off, unplug it, or shut down the power strip its connected to. It doesn’t take much time to unplug and power off devices but it makes a big difference over time.
Be aware that you can make a difference, even in the little things you do every day. From getting coffee in reusable mugs to turning off the lights when leaving home, students have the power to combat climate change.