You are about to leave the nest. Your bags are packed and you are making your way into the real, (and sometimes surreal), world of tertiary education. As you are going to be making more of your own decisions, as an independent young man/woman, why not try a more sustainable lifestyle? If your dad’s idea of recycling is watching highlights of the Tour de France, this is your chance to start your own habits which you can take forward into the future.
Believe it or not, you will be writing stuff on paper when you get to university no matter how many iPads you have. Instead of going through reams of exams pads, rather take your notes down on scrap paper. When printing out notes, be sure to have the settings set to print double-sided.
2. Walk this way
Walk, ride a bike, gallop or take the bus to university. If you don’t live near your campus, get a carpool going. I know this means having to talk to people in the morning but this is an important life skill to possess by the time you start working. Enduring the compulsory daily morning office routine of “hello, how are you?” is something I am still getting used to.
3. Textbooks, the new village bicycle
After over 5 years of studying I probably opened my textbooks twice with them being used more as doorstops than learning instruments. While this is definitely not recommended, I do recommend buying textbooks second-hand. You will save a ridiculous amount of money and help keep a few trees stay in the ground for a bit longer.
4. Pop some tags
Do Macklemore and Lewis proud. Go thrift shopping and raid your grandmother’s closet. You will be surprised at what you will find amongst the moth balls and MacGyver VHS cassettes, (if you don’t know what I just said ask your mom).
5. Drink the (tap) water, drink it down
90% of the cost of bottled water is in the bottle itself and those bottles take up to 700 years to start degrading. So pick up a refillable water canister and play your part in reducing the number of bottles that find themselves into South Africa’s landfills each day.
6. Give peas a chance
By taking a couple of days off meat each week you will be reducing your carbon footprint significantly. Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang from Worldwatch found that livestock contributes to 50% of all greenhouse gases! So the next time you are at Steers at 4am after a late night “studying”, try a veggie burger.