Learning about Climate Change and Environmental Impacts is one thing - the pressure on the Earth's natural resources is immense. What can we do? Well, first we can start considering our own lifestyle. We can try to make sure that our everyday actions are not damaging to ourselves or to the wider world.
There are lots of small changes you can make to your daily School routine to lead a more sustainable life. Here's a few suggestions to make your day greener and low-impact. Just one Small Change will make a difference to your Carbon Footprint, and one may lead to another...
SPEED UP THOSE SHOWERS - time yourself and aim to be in, washed and out in 5 minutes or less. Why not try turning the water off while you shampoo and scrub up and then turn it back on to rinse off? Just as you'd turn the tap off while brushing your teeth. Its possible to fit an ecofriendly showerhead that uses less water but is still very powerful. Switch to Bodycare products that don't harm the environment. Then hang your towel outside on the washing line to air-dry.
A Speedy Shower Saves Water, Energy and Time
EAT A WHOLEFOOD BREAKFAST - Less processing means less use of energy and chemicals in factory processes. And less processed food will give you a slower release of energy and improve your concentration, helping you last until breaktime. So skip the processed cereal and choose Wholefoods like Porridge or Wholegrain cereal, with Fruit. Or Beans & /or egg on Wholegrain toast. There are alternatives available - check out our Breakfast Recipes and Breakfast Cereals & Flakes. Make it Organic to limit the use of herbicides and pesticides too.
Choosing Food thats good for the Environment is good for you too
WALK OR CYCLE TO SCHOOL If you live more than 3-5km from school you can probably travel by Bus, and this is better at limiting pollution than individual car journeys. And its a good chance to socialise with your friends. But if you live closer, walking or cycling to school is a brilliant way to start the day. Not only will you have clocked up some of your physical exercise before the school bell even rings, but your concentration will be better and you can feel good about not having caused any pollution or burned any fuel on your trip.
We are calling for more Walking & Cycling routes in our town and you can visit our Shop to check out the comprehensive “EasyGo Gorey: Our Active Town” report with lots of images & maps of how sustainable transport could look. Just drop in anytime to check it out.
Image by Camilla Rutherford courtesy of www.dothegreenthing.com
Walking or Cycling Reduces your Carbon Footprint and keeps you fit
PACK YOUR LUNCH IN REUSABLE CONTAINERS. Extend the life of your lunchboxes as long as you can. Use Refillable bottles and Drink tap water for hydration - its better for your health & its free (for now). Try to limit single-use packaging e.g. ordinary Clingfilm and Aluminium Foil use huge resources in their production. With care, you can reuse Aluminium foil a couple of times before discarding it. Reuseable packaging is by far the best for the environment. If you sometimes need single-use packaging, make it ecofriendly. Like the If You Care range e.g. Unbleached Sandwich Bags that are Chlorine-free, come from renewable sources and are biodegradable when you've finished. And its own packaging is ecofriendly and printed with lots of facts about how it helps the environment.
Thoughtful Packaging reduces waste going to Landfill
USE RECYCLED STATIONERY & SUPPLIES for your schoolwork. Reusing secondhand textbooks is an ecofriendly choice as you are extending their useful life before disposal, so buy preowned or join a Book Rental Scheme. Paper and Pencils are increasingly available from renewable sources. Look for products with the FSC Logo - certified by the Forest Stewardship Council which means they have been made using resources from forests that are managed responsibly. Then use the pencils close to the end, and use your paper on both sides.
Save Trees and reduce Wasteful Consumerism
EAT LESS MEAT TO SAVE THE PLANET -The UN (United Nations) has said that ordinary consumers can help to fight Climate Change by eating less Meat. Their international scientists have found the greatest causes of Greenhouse gas emissions to be Food Production and the use of Fossil Fuels. People who care about the environment are trying to reduce Fossil Fuel use by switching to Renewable Energy Sources - but people will always need to eat. In fact the world population is growing, so Food Production is on the up. Livestock Farming is estimated to generate 18% of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions, more than the world’s trains, planes and cars combined, with Beef as the worst offender. Changing how we eat is the easiest way to reduce the Environmental impact of Food Production. [Read more about this at: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN]
Eating less meat is good for Water Conservation, Biodiversity and Food Security
USE YOUR DIGITAL DEVICES RESPONSIBLY - iPads, Laptops, Tablets, Mobiles and gaming devices all use energy. Shut them down instead of leaving on Standby. Don't leave chargers on longer than necessary. Switch off TV's & DVD Players completely. Upgrade instead of replacing equipment where you can. Challenge yourself and friends to a Technology-free Day.
SUPPORT LOCAL PRODUCERS when you can. This includes you - growing some food yourself, whether in school or at home, is as local as it gets. Food produced locally drastically reduces the long polluting road journeys that supermarket food can be taken on. Think about the difference between the journey a local apple at a farmer's market has taken and one in the supermarket that has been imported from another country. Even Irish apples in the supermarket may have been driven long distances to central packing and distribution centres before being driven to your local shop. It also helps your community by keeping money in the local economy. Eating local and organic food saves Food Miles and reduces the use of pesticides and antibiotics. Eating Seasonal local food also reduces your exposure to anti-fungal and anti-bacterial chemicals that are often used to extend shelf-life.
Local Food Saves Food Miles and supports your Community
CHOOSE ORGANIC FOOD because Organic producers don't use the pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilisers that are routinely used on non-organic crops. Organic production reduces the environmental impact of producing, transporting, applying and disposing of these unnecessary chemicals. And it reduces the harmful health effects on the humans involved in the non-organic process. Organic produce means less pollution, more wildlife habitats, better animal welfare, protection of waterways and healthier food.
Organics are good for Soil Health, Biodiversity and Food Security
RECHARGE YOUR OWN BATTERIES - Give yourself an hour or more away from distractions of the day to wind down - go for a walk or a cycle to relax, or any other activity that uses just your own energy and leaves no trace on your environment. Time spent without using any resources is valuable time for clearing your head and reducing your carbon footprint. Then switch the light off and have a good night's sleep.
If you think about the sustainability of your actions - and try to reduce your own demand for the earth's resources - you'll discover all sorts of ways to lead a more environmentally-friendly and ethical life. And leading a more considerate, thoughtful life is good for your own wellbeing too.
One Small Change at a time - Every Little Helps
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