Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Studious sustainability

With midterms and finals continuing their reign of terror, I compiled a few easy steps to keep your studying sustainable. (This article was originally published in The Santa Clara.)

"With midterms beating down our doors, we are barricading ourselves in the library with a constant stream of caffeine and all of the reading we didn’t do all quarter. But last minute cramming (or carefully planned out studying if it may be) doesn’t have to be as big of a drain on the environment as it is on your brain.

Studying is much like a marathon, you need to stay fully hydrated and energized or you will crash. Avoid sugar filled energy drinks and shots — they are bad for you and the environment. Be sure to choose fair trade coffee and tea for your caffeine pick-me-up, and don’t forget your reusable cup. In the U.S. alone we use more than 63 million paper coffee cups per day, which is an incredible amount of waste.

Bring your reusable bottle or mug with you to save resources and keep your drink hot or cold longer than you could with the paper alternative. If you forget your cup at home, be sure to compost your paper cup when you are done. Coffee cups aren’t the only paper wasted on campus. When you need to print out a paper or notes, print double-sided. The library and a few other printers on campus make printing double sided as easy as a few clicks of a button. For more information about how to print double sided, check out our information technology website.

Use recycled paper when you have to print to saves trees, energy, water and landfill space. Every year we consume over 90 million tons of paper in the U.S. and it takes more than one and a half cups of water to make a single piece of paper. When your dreadful midterm is finally over, don’t forget to recycle your notes and papers. As much as possible, avoid printing and study or read from your computer or tablet.

Instead of sitting in your room and wallowing in the misery of studying, go outside or find other people to join you. Not only is studying with other people more fun, it also saves energy. Turn off your lights and lava lamp and head over to a common area instead. Now that the beautiful weather is finally back, turn off the lights, open the blinds and absorb sunlight while you study. Who knows, it may be the only sun you get for a few days.

To keep your energy up and help you get more work done, ditch the processed snacks and feast on locally grown fruits and vegetables. On average, food travels 1,500 miles to get to your super market. Eating local fruits and veggies can shrink your carbon footprint and support local farmers, all while fueling your brain. A great place to get delicious snacks near campus is at the farmer’s market in Franklin Square. The market runs every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and it’s only a five minute walk from Swig."

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