Thursday, December 13th, 2018

Sustainability and Me: 5 Easy Ways to Reduce your Dorms Carbon Footprint

Posted on November 19, 2018 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

By: Emma Sawyer, USM Eco-Rep

I would like to begin this article by clarifying some commonly misunderstood and inappropriately synonymized terms. The first, global warming. Global warming is the gradual increase of the overall temperature of earth’s atmosphere. This averages out all extreme highs and lows that we experienced due to weather. The second, climate change. Climate change is the long-term change in weather averages, such as temperature and precipitation, that is sustained for several decades or longer.

The Earth’s climate has changed over the history of the planet, but human activities have dramatically increased these changes at a rapid pace. The value of and rate at which we consume resources is largely to blame. Therefore, we must take responsibility and reduce our consumption if we want to preserve the Earth. This article provides just seven tips to get you started.

  1. Replace any non-LED light bulbs with LED ones. This is simple, easy, and helps decrease the amount of electricity that you use.
  2. If you are a coffee, tea, or hot chocolate fanatic (like myself) invest in an electric kettle to heat your water or beverages instead of microwaving them. This can cut the amount of energy needed almost in half!
  3. Make sure you have a recycling bin in your room. If you don’t, just ask a facilities worker or your RD and they can get you one, no problem! Recycling decreases the need for mining new resources from the environment.
  4. Speaking of physical waste, please do not use plastic utensils! It is really easy to wash one fork after you eat something. If every residential student used one plastic fork a day, we would accumulate over 273,000 plastic forks in a month. You can get the cutlery set and tray at for under $10!
  5. All right, this last one is a big one that not many people do;Plug your electronics and appliances into a power strip. Then, when you are not using or charging them, or when you leave, unplug the whole power strip from the wall. Even when electronics and appliances are off, they still absorb electricity from the grid; this is called a phantom load. You can get a power strip for five dollars and it is so easy to just unplug the one major plug when you leave.

These things seem so incredibly small and so incredibly insignificant on an individual scale but, if you can do these things and then ask your friends, family and roommates to engage in these behaviors, it all adds up.

I know that we can all do this. Challenge yourself by picking at least two tips and try to do them over this week.

 

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