The United Nations released a statement in 2019 stating that we only have 11 more years to reverse climate change before the effects become completely irreversible. Now as the world’s future generation it is important to understand how we can live more a more green and sustainable life especially during our time at university. It actually turns out that moving towards a more sustainable lifestyle as students is actually kinder to both the environment and our wallets.
1. Public transport
Madrid has one of the best public transport systems in Europe, therefore, it is not only efficient for the environment to utilize the transport system but also cost-effective and time-efficient.
To apply for the €20 month Tarjeta Joven transport card which allows people under the age of 26 to receive unlimited travel in the city of Madrid one can either apply online (https://tarjetatransportepublico.crtm.es/CRTM-ABONOS/entrada.aspx) or in person at one of the allocated metro stations, with the closest one to IE being Avenida de America.
Recycle is the most obvious way that one can help to reduce their carbon footprint and help the environment, but it is something that we often forget to do. Whenever possible, one should always make the biggest effort to recycle. Living in Madrid, recycling may not be as advance as other European cities, but it is easy. Ask your doorman (if you live in an apartment building) or the residency director where the recycling bins are located and what are their allocated days.
In addition, IE university has a recycling bin located on every floor of their buildings in Madrid, colour-coded and all. Therefore, it’s easy to uptake your recycling habits even at university.
3. Electronic notes
IE University has announced that they plan to go paperless by the end of 2020, therefore, maybe as students, we should too! Apps like Evernote and OneNote make it so easy and simple to start taking your notes electronically, and apps like Quizlet make handmade flashcards obsolete. In addition, by opting for electronic note-taking, you are cutting out the expense of printing which during exam season you will be grateful for.
4. Reusable water bottle
Buying a reusable water bottle is probably one of the best things we can do for the environment. IE University has already stated that they plan to eliminate bottled water on their campus by the end of 2021, therefore students won’t really have a choice but to bring their own bottle. Not only is having your own reusable water bottle good for the environment, but it also saves you money and it becomes less annoying for the professors.
5. Cut out single-use plastics
We have all seen the horrendous videos of whales with stomachs full of plastics or sea turtles with straws stuck up their nose, or even the Pacific Ocean garbage patch which is estimated to have over 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic. The simple solution to save our marine life is to simply reduce our plastic intake. Now more than ever it is easy to say no to plastic straws, bottles, cutlery, bags, and other microplastics. There are reusable options for all of these available on Amazon and in stores which will not only save the turtles but also save your wallet.
6. Meal prepping
According to a study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, nearly one of all food is thrown away into landfills each year. This is a huge contributor to our waste since agriculture takes up so many resources, such as water and land. The easiest way to reduce our food waste and also save us time as students is to start meal prepping. Meal prepping forces us to shop smarter sticking to a list to prevent waste. If you have no idea where to start for meal prepping there are hundreds of channels on YouTube and Blogs like BBC Food that provide amazing recipes to start meal prepping.
There you have it, 6 tips to becoming a greener student for the upcoming academic year. Even with the busy lifestyle that comes with being a student, these are small changes that you can implement into your lifestyle that will have a significant impact on the environment.