I realized the importance of taking care of the environment and everything around us when I was in middle school. This passion of mine began as a small flame and little did I know that it could ignite a fire inside me. Today, I am a student at UC Irvine who is pursuing a degree in Urban Studies and a minor in Global Sustainability. Here’s my perspective as a student… I want to share with you some small changes that you can make to save water and energy this summer! I have been fortunate enough to meet some amazing people and work with inspiring individuals who constantly push me to work harder and to never forget to be thankful for all that I have. In this day and age, I feel that a lot of people take things for granted. Not just our loved ones, but also our time, our health, and the environment we call “our home”. Why not take that extra step, and hit two birds- excuse me, four birds with one stone?
I am currently the Student Assistant at the Global Sustainability Resource Center at UC Irvine, this center serves as a hub for all sustainability-related on campus organizations and the Orange County community. Through my work on and off campus, I’ve learned that education is all it takes to help spread the message that it is important to take better care of our environment. And the only way to effectively get this message across is to show how environmental conscientiousness is not only within our reach, but also not at just an ideal. You don’t have to feel guilty for drinking from a plastic water bottle or feel judgment on your back when you forget to bring a reusable bag to the farmers market. Just take small steps at a time and don’t get discouraged when you slip up. Your small changes will soon become habits. Next thing you know, you’ll be sipping out of your stylish reusable water bottle with your tote bag in hand! Being eco-friendly is just another saddle. Don’t be afraid if you fall off every once in a while. Just be sure to hop back on. Consider these sustainability tips the next time you’re running the faucet or turning on the AC. These tips address the California Drought Emergency and will help you save water and energy this warm summer!
- Don’t put ice in your drink: Seems counterproductive doesn’t it? “It’s super hot and you’re telling me to not use ice in my soft drink?!” No really – have you ever gotten a drink without the ice? Most self-serve drink fountains actually serve chilled beverages already, so you don’t need the extra ice to cool it. If it’s already cold, ditch the ice!
- Skip the Processed Foods: Did you know that processed foods demand a vast amount of energy and water usage? From growing the grain to transportation to your pantry, processed foods rack up a pretty hefty bill. Processed foods aren’t good for your health to begin with, but what it takes to make this food should motivate you choose fresh, local options. Check out this cool test which let’s you calculate the environmental impact of something we’re all too familiar with… the cheeseburger!
- Meatless Mondays: It takes much more water and energy to produce meat than to grow vegetables. When you look at meat, you have to consider the amount of water used to grow the feed, the water that’s given to the animals, and the water used to process the meat. With this in mind try to have a veggie meal every once in a while – a nice strawberry salad is just perfect for those warm summer days.
- Have your glass, and drink it too: Let’s be honest, your waiter or waitress always serve you more water than you will actually drink. Your glass is magically refilled even if it’s just halfway empty. Don’t be afraid to say “no thank you”! All that ice and water left in your cup will be wasted if there’s no need for a refill. Feel free to try this trick at home as well. Only serve yourself what you think you’ll consume. We all over do it sometimes, but next time you pour too much, just give the extra to your pets or treat your plants. There’s always a way to be more resourceful. After all, they do say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
- Swap the water balloon fights for a dip in nature’s pool: Instead of turning on the hose and filling up balloons for an epic water battle, consider using the resources that are already available to us. Visit the beach this summer. Go with friends or better yet, take the family for a little fun in the sun!
Do you have any water saving tips that we should try out this summer? Feel free to leave a comment. Share the love for water and energy!