By Rameen Naviwala
In this time of global warming, high school students often wonder how to help the environment during a time when they don’t have much to offer. Are you a high-school student that wonders about simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint? Is it your goal to help better the environment and the earth’s future in any way you can, big or small? Here are six simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint as a high school student.
1: Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!
Since kindergarten, you probably have heard a slogan: recycle, recycle, recycle! Properly disposing of waste can make a difference, whether plastic, paper, or electronic. Making sure that you recycle and reuse helps the environment eliminate unlawful destruction. We all can do recycling, which you can achieve as a high school student. You can even take it a step further by creating recycling initiatives at your school and local community centers, raising awareness amongst your peers.
2: Sustainable Fashion Is Now In
In the age of fast fashion, it is tempting to buy cheap, easily worn-down clothes that can allow you to keep up with current trends while remaining within your budget. But none of these clothes are long-lasting and quickly fall apart, adding unnecessary waste. Consider buying more sustainable clothes instead that are built to last. You can find many excellent options at local thrift stores that sell clothes for not too much and contain clothes that can survive a lifetime.
3: One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for the Earth
Once you get your driver’s license, taking your car out for a spin everywhere can be tempting. But that can lead to a rising carbon footprint that affects air pollution. Fuel consumption from private cars causes heavy emissions, but there are ways to avoid that or minimize the impact. Instead of taking your car everywhere, consider walking to school or the store. Take public transportation, take a bus or the metro to places further away, and help keep your carbon footprint low. Either way, doing these rather than taking a private car can seriously improve your carbon footprint and help fight against the heavy emissions in the air overall.
4: Don’t Use Perishable Items
Consider a different option instead of taking plastic forks and spoons with your lunch and drinking from a plastic water bottle. Buy a reusable water bottle and containers to put your food in and take reusable utensils for all your meals instead of using disposable items. Following this tip can save waste and help reduce your carbon footprint. Also, it’s cheaper in the long run to buy something a little more costly just once instead of repeatedly buying the cheaper item again and again.
5: Rage Against the Plastic Straws
When you go out to get an iced coffee from Starbucks or a refreshing lemonade from Dunkin’, you often take a plastic straw to drink. It’s time to forgo plastic straws in favor of something more sustainable for the environment, such as paper or metal straws. While this may seem small, its impact can be significant. You can even take it further and campaign for local coffee shops and restaurants to use reusable straws instead of plastic straws. Taking even small steps can help better the environment.
6: Start Unplugging
So many devices are often left plugged in and use copious amounts of energy even when not in use. This is true of any charger, television, printer, etc. So, when your devices aren’t in use, unplug them. You can even get a power strip to make plugging and unplugging your devices more accessible. That goes the same when it comes to minimizing your plug load. Share your refrigeration with the other people in your household instead of holding onto multiple.
There are so many ways you can help the environment by reducing your carbon footprint, even as a high school student. The six above are great starting points and easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
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