Everyday is Earth Day

I hope everybody is surviving midterm season! The only thing keeping me going is Thanksgiving break. This week I want to touch on the importance of sustainability.

Sustainability can mean different things for different people. For some, it’s becoming vegan. For others it’s taking shorter showers. To me, the definition of sustainability is simple. It’s about preserving and improving the environment for future generations. Sustainability is also an issue that Haas has been working hard to address, especially with the new Chou Building! Zero Waste by 2020 is an admirable and achievable goal. HBSA also has a new committee on sustainability, led by VP Sylvia Chen which I’m also a part of – the dream team! We are working on projects that involve working with the Haas facilities team, looking at energy reports and brainstorming ways Haas events can go green. It’s an amazing new addition to the Haas student government.

But, it can be hard to stay sustainable. I think it takes a really conscious but important effort. So, I want to highlight some of my unsustainable guilty pleasures, and how I am working to mitigate them. Here is my list.  

Shop Till You Drop

I love shopping. I can shop for hours and hours without eating or using the bathroom. Some people read for fun or watch Netflix, but I go shopping. The first place I visited in San Francisco was Westfield Mall. However, this isn’t the best for the environment or my wallet. Fast fashion has led to devastating environmental impacts from generating tons of plastic and waste to demoralizing factory conditions in Bangladesh.

Sustainable Fix: Window shopping – really good for my wallet! Thrift shopping and donating your old clothes are all ways to mitigate fast fashion effects.  Also, shop at brands that are known to be environmentally conscious like Patagonia, Levi’s and Everlane.

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Starbucks and Coffee Cups

I get a pumpkin spice latte every Wednesday. Also, Starbucks has the best holiday drinks. Peppermint mocha? Gingerbread latte? Chestnut Praline latte? Sign me up for all of them, especially because of the BOGO free deals. But, with all of these drinks comes the cost of coffee cups.

Sustainable Fix: BYOC – Bring your own cup! Even though mobile ordering can save time, it’s better for the environment to get to Starbucks 5 minutes earlier to wait in line with your own cup. It can even save you money because they charge you for the smallest size to fill your cup! Also, Starbucks tumblers are even cuter than its holiday cups.

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Food in my Fridge

Grocery shopping is a must because eating out can get really expensive. I love grocery shopping especially at Trader Joes because it seems to have the best snacks. I always end up over buying and overestimating how much I’m going to eat. So, I end up with wasted food that ends up in the trash. This is quite terrible for the environment because it leads to wasted resources.

Sustainable Fix: Now, I go into grocery stores with a recipe in mind. I try to meal prep and organize my weekly meals a little bit more so I can save food. Not wasting food means not wasting the environment!

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What are you doing to be more sustainable?

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