Although I always try to be sustainable, I feel that sometimes I could be doing more. Back when I was applying for UCL, they required me to complete a short course on sustainability, but it wasn’t until I got here that I realized how important this is for them. Some strategies I’d seen before at U of T, but others were a bit of a shock. This week I want to reflect on ways that I am personally trying to improve now that I’m at UCL, and maintain it back home. (Scroll to the bottom to see some pictures of how I’m doing it!)
After three years in Toronto, I am used to going around everywhere with a reusable water bottle. I take it everywhere; the gym, class, the mall, on walks, even to my friends’ houses. I’m used to not being able to buy plastic water bottles on campus. At UCL, I was surprised to find that they still sell these, but because I’m used to carrying mine around, I’ve been able to minimize the amount of plastic bottles I buy. Taking it a step further, I’m currently looking for a portable mug. I drink so much coffee, and I want to reduce the amount of coffee cups I keep on throwing out.
A HUGE thing that is different in the UK is how they consume electricity. In fact, UCL is planning to run 100% of renewable energy in the years to come! In every room and classroom electric sockets have a switch. I learned this the hard way. I kept plugging in my phone or my laptop, only to come back hours later to realize neither of them had charged! Even if at first it had me super confused, it has definitely made me more aware of the energy I’m using, how I’m using it, and whether I truly needed as much as I think. Back in Toronto, I’ve left things plugged in absentmindedly. Now whenever I leave my room I remember to turn off the switch.
Finally, I’m also becoming more conscious of how I buy things. While sustainability is only one of the reasons for this, it’s also one of the more important ones. The more I read and learn, the more I become aware of the harm of things like fast fashion or the production of certain foods. It’s difficult being perfectly sustainable on a budget, but I strongly believe that any little change I make can still make a difference. Everything adds up! I’ve started looking into sustainable brands, thrift shops, eating less meat, reducing my food waste, and a few other things. It’s admittedly hard to see how this helps, but if I think about how many people are also doing it, I realize it all adds up. So why not start with myself!
How are you trying to become more sustainable this year?