Impact Features looks into how to make student life at Nottingham more sustainable.

Sustainability is something that I am passionate about. After watching ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ at the age of nine, I had decided that it was my personal responsibility to save the planet. So naturally, I created posters about ‘putting TVs on standby’ and posted them around my street in the pouring rain. And yes, I realise that my goal to single-handedly save the planet was unrealistic, but I was only nine.

Over the years, I subsequently realised that saving the planet as one individual was no small feat, and in reality, can never be achieved. It is clear that everyone needs to make a positive difference and enhance environmental well-being. Acting out sustainability may seem like a monotonous, dull task, but it can be fun, engaging and help to not only benefit the planet, but the lives of yourself and future generations. Wouldn’t it be so great to realise that you have helped to indirectly shape the future in an environmentally conscious way? And all it requires is minimal effort.

So here is what I’m proposing – a week of widespread university sustainable living. A week whereby we all act together to make a profound difference. Wednesday 28th October is National Sustainability Day, so what better week than this one?

So, from Monday 26th October to Sunday 1st October – I’m calling for a widespread Sustainable Movement at the University of Nottingham (I mean after all, we are the world’s most Sustainable University). So what can you do?

The thing about Sustainability is that it’s an innovative, personal and collective creative solution to living, so there are many ways you can incorporate it into your daily routine. Below is a list of 10 lifestyle choices that you could make:

  1. Shopping Locally – Purposely buy locally sourced food (and perhaps even Organic food)
  2. When shopping, take your own carrier bags – Or even buy a Sustainable bag of life (with the 5p carrier bag levy charge implemented nationally, not taking your own carrier bags can prove highly detrimental to your Ocean Friday Fund)
  3. Walk, Cycle or Take the Hopper Bus to University, the city centre and to nights out (take the bus instead of the taxi to Crisis)
  4. Donate the items such as money left over from your Crisis night out to a charity of choice – this can be environmental, social and/or political; food to local food banks and/or unwanted clothes to charity shops and local clothing banks
  5. Collect your damaged carrier bags (such as those with holes) and create a sleeping mat for homeless shelters (Youtube tutorials are available)
  6. Have a house/flat blackout – turn off all of your lights in your flat/house to conserve energy. Save energy for two hours a day and the impact will be profound
  7. Have an environmentally-friendly house party/pre-drinks – turn off the lights, light some candles, buy a 1L bottle of Vodka instead of two smaller bottles and share with your friends to reduce waste
  8. Create a food diary and have a house competition. Record over the week whose food has travelled the least and who has generated the least food waste. Then award the winner a prize
  9. Restrict your shower to just five minutes – A five minute shower uses just 35 litres of water, compared to a bath which uses 80 litres of water
  10. Complete half an hour of exercise each day to enhance your social and emotional wellbeing

These are just some examples of lifestyle and of course there are many that you can make! Although I’m calling for just a week of sustainable living, hopefully these choices will stay with you indefinitely.

Let’s celebrate our week of sustainability! Do it for all of our nine year old hopes and dreams, and particularly this one, who aspires to single-handedly save the planet. Let’s all engage in this sustainable movement. After all, what is an ocean but a multitude of drops?

Ellen Salter

Image: DomiKetu via Compfight cc

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