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Sustainable Students – Green Week 2021
Happy Green Week! This week, Coventry & Leamington Spa host Green Week, ‘a celebration of the city’s sustainable practices and a chance to learn and take action on the Climate Emergency using the UN Sustainable Development Goals to support everyone’s understanding of sustainability’. In 2021, sustainability is a huge pressing concern. However, most of the big steps can only be taken by those who hold the most power. What can we do, as students, to be a little bit more sustainable?
Everyone knows about recycling. However, what people tend to forget is that the three R’s are ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ and they are supposed to be followed in that order. First, you should reduce the amount of waste you’re creating. Buy less stuff that you don’t need. Don’t fall into the trap of replacing things with new upgraded versions. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. Second, reuse as much as possible. When you use plastics, reuse them as much as possible! Use reusable products as much as possible. Finally, recycle whenever possible.
Carbon Dioxide, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide – the primary gasses responsible for global warming
- Eating a vegan diet results in 1.5 tons less of carbon dioxide emissions than a meat diet, per person
- Chickens, turkeys, pigs, and cows are collectively the largest producers of methane in the U.S.
- the meat, dairy, and egg industries produce 65% of worldwide nitrous oxide emissions
- 1 calorie of animal protein requires 11 times as much fossil fuel as 1 calorie of plant protein
- the diets of meat eaters creates 7x the greenhouse emissions of vegan diets
- a vegan diet requires 300 gallons of water a day, compared to a meat diet which requires 4000 gallons per day
- you would save more water by not eating one pound of meat than you would by not showering for 6 months
- raising animals for food uses 30% of the earth’s land mass
- the equivalent of 7 football fields are bulldozed every minute to create more room for farmed animals
- livestock grazing is the number one cause of plant species becoming threatened or going extinct in the U.S.
In summary – reducing the amount of meat, dairy, and eggs you consume has a huge individual impact in terms of sustainability! Try cut out meat for one day a week to start!
(3) Taking Action
Keep up to date with sustainable news, sign petitions, contact your local MP to demand action, contact companies you have connections in and ask what they are doing to promote sustainability. Take any opportunity, big or small, to promote sustainability. Don’t be discouraged by the feeling that you can’t make a huge difference overnight. It can be frustrating when you see big companies and governments making no steps towards sustainability when they easily could, but that doesn’t stop you from going as far as you can.
REMINDER – taking sustainable steps is often a privilege. Disabled individuals and financially disadvantaged individuals, for example, may find it very difficult to use or afford sustainable products. They are not the problem and they should not be criticised.