Fighting climate change may feel like a daunting task. Luckily, there is no action too small to start becoming an eco-champion on campus. Below we’ve rounded up a few common sustainability terms, 5 easy ways to be greener at school and on campus, and a few handy resources for diving in and learning more.
Let’s take a look at some common (but often misunderstood) terms:
To reuse (discarded or excess objects or material, typically destined for a landfill) to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.
Closed-loop production processes are those that reuse material waste created during the production process for additional products, as well as use recycled products to create new items, avoiding waste and conserving natural resources.
Reducing, reusing, repairing and recycling to further the life or longevity of materials or equipment. This process minimizes the use of natural resource inputs and the creation of waste, pollution and carbon emissions and keeps materials in use for longer.
Textile circularity and circular systems avoid materials waste and pollution by consistently retaining the value of materials.
Carbon dioxide or other gaseous carbon compounds released into the atmosphere, associated with climate change.
The amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels by a particular person, group, etc.
The action or process of compensating for carbon dioxide emissions arising from industrial or other human activity, by participating in programs designed to make equivalent reductions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Making no net release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, especially through offsetting or removal of emissions elsewhere like by planting trees or through hydro, wind or geothermal power sources.
The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse and recovery of all products, packaging, and materials, without burning them, and without discharges to land, water or air that threaten the environment or human health.
In biology, regeneration is the process of renewal, restoration, and growth that makes genomes, cells, organisms, and ecosystems resilient to natural fluctuations or events that cause disturbance or damage.
Triple Bottom Line
The Triple Bottom Line is a sustainability framework that measures a business's success in three key areas: people, profit, and the planet (as opposed to exclusively profit). Looptworks is a Certified BCorp, requiring us to demonstrate our positive impact across these 3 P’s.
5 Easy Ways to Green-Up Your Campus Life
Commute by bike, bus, or rail.
Going car-free can be relatively easy or a bit more challenging depending on where you live. For those commuting to a downtown campus, taking public transportation reduces carbon emissions and other greenhouse gas pollutants and can also save you loads of money and time but cutting out the need to park. And if you live in a bike-friendly city, you can’t beat a commute that comes with a daily dose of exercise.
Just say “no” to plastics. Carry reusable water bottles, to-go containers, & reusable utensils.
We’ve all been there — scarfing down a sandwich and coffee on our walk to class. One of the easiest ways to cut back on waste is buying reusable food and beverage gear. Today, most places are more than happy to pack up your to-go lunch in your own container, all you need to do is ask.
Join a climate action student group… or start your own!
Most public colleges welcome the addition of new university-funded student groups, offering an annual budget, digital resources, and places to hold meetings. From starting a student community garden to running a recycling education program, there’s virtually no limit to the number of ways you can start the climate conversation on campus.
Take a course on sustainable systems.
Many colleges and universities now have dedicated environmental and social sustainability programs. And if you’re not ready to go big on a degree commitment, you can usually fulfill elective requirements by taking classes on subjects about everything from sustainable food systems to conscious capitalism.
Start a Campus EcoChallenge.
Campus Ecochallenge is a cool program that provides tools and inspiration to turn intention into action, and gives participants a fun and social way to think about and act on proven solutions that make a difference for you, your community, and the planet.
And, if you’re feeling especially motivated, check out these resources for some environmental extra credit: