Happy Earth Day!
I can recollect multiple instances in the recent past where I’ve found myself in deep thought about where we, as a race, were heading in such a rush. Deadlines? We imposed those on ourselves -based off of which simply more deadlines were imposed. The circularity is honestly quite impeccable.
Until, of course, an invisible force hushed the Earth overnight. And in this silence, Nature made its voice heard. The water is clearer and the air, cleaner. Although, I realise that these are temporary silver linings that probably won’t survive past the pandemic, I have to admit- it’s been a wakeup call. And so, this Earth Day, I thought it would be only appropriate to share 5 tiny ways I try to lessen my load on the planet whilst I’m at Warwick.
1. Using Warwick Cup
Warwick Cup is a student-led social enterprise which aims to reduce the waste produced by single-use cups through a reusable cup-sharing system at Curiositea, an Instagram worthy cafe on the Piazza. When I buy a hot drink from Curiositea, I ask to get in a (free) Warwick Cup. When I’m done, I simply return it at any of the 6 collection points around campus. This initiative, founded by 3 Warwick students studying Global Sustainable Development – Hollie Ryan, Maddie Booth, and Ellie Church, also goes to show Warwick’s immense support for student entrepreneurs.
2. Bringing your own cup/bottle/grocery bag
Apart from being the right choice environmentally, this one also shaves quite a few pounds off my Barclays monthly statement. All on-campus cafes offer some form of discount if a reusable cup is brought. University of Warwick cafes (Library Café, WBS Café, etc.) currently give 20p off while Pret a Manger, a high street chain, offers 50p off. Since there are water refilling stations scattered across campus, I never have to buy plastic bottled water. I also use my freshers week tote bag for any purchases from the on-campus grocery, Rootes.
One man’s trash is another’s treasure. There are several British Heart Foundation collection points across campus making it super convenient to donate items I don’t need. I definitely recommend using them, especially at the end of the year, when limited storage space will undoubtedly turn you into Marie Kondo.
4. Transport choices
In my second year, I chose to live off campus in Leamington Spa which means campus is about a 20 minute ride away. National Express and Stagecoach offer student bus passes termly and yearly making it very affordable to use public transport to and from campus as well as between Leamington and Coventry. To get around campus, there is the Warwick’s UniCycles scheme, run in partnership with nextbike, giving you access to over 100 bikes. If you have your own bike, there are also over 3500 cycle parking spaces across campus. In fact, Sue Newell, the Associate Dean at WBS, once told me how she cycles 45 mins to campus every day, so she gets her workout done whilst being eco-friendly!
No post about Warwick is every complete without a mention of its 250+ societies. Within that, there are several sustainability themed societies that host regular events, such as Climate Reality Warwick, Enactus Warwick and Warwick Blackout. You can get involved with them either as part of their exec or simply as a member.
And to bring it all back to our current situations – we live in trying times where disposable gloves and masks may as well soon be global currency. But, as we use them to protect ourselves, sidewalks and beaches are being lavishly decorated with the teals and blues of gloves and masks. Instead, let us remember to dispose of them correctly and avoid littering.
Happy Earth Day, everyone!