I am currently sat at home drinking a well-deserved vanilla milkshake reflecting on my university experience and how it will be coming to an end very soon. The paper straw I am drinking out of is slowly becoming harder to use due to its non- durable paper material. I must admit that sometimes I do miss the plastic straws as they would last, and you wouldn’t have to worry about chugging your drink down before it becomes soggy and un useable. However, I must remember that there are several reasons why paper straws are good for the environment despite it being a minor change. For example, they are biodegradable which means they will break down over time naturally and therefore not contribute to the plastic waste that is harming wildlife and polluting oceans.
As someone that cares about animals, the thought of species possibly going extinct due to our actions and decisions makes me feel a little bit emotional. Marine animals are affected by pollution in the oceans due to plastic waste and mammals such as big cats are affected by pollution, climate waste and deforestation. I couldn’t imagine a world with my future children growing up and not knowing what specific species are due to extinction. To them a lion or tiger would be in the same category as a dinosaur!
Therefore, I have also realised that we must ensure that we use natural resources responsibly and in a way that maintains their availability for future generations.
Being a student, I have learnt about the effects of environmental, social, and economic issues that we face in the world today. These problems have far-reaching consequences and affect the health and well-being of all living beings.
I vaguely remember reading an article online a couple months ago about the environmental effects of not recycling and the harmful effects that it could have. These effects included overflowing landfills, pollution, and natural habitat destruction. This really opened my eyes on how serious this problem is getting and therefore encouraged me to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Long story short, sustainability is crucial for the survival of our planet and its inhabitants. It is essential that we adopt sustainable practices to ensure that we have a healthy environment, a stable economy, and a better future for all.
Being a student in London, has also made me realise that sustainability should be a one of the first priorities. This city is growing rapidly, and with this growth comes a huge demand for resources such as energy, water, and food. However, resources are limited, and it is important that we use them in a sustainable way to ensure that they are available for future generations. One way that I can help contribute towards the environment in a positive way is reducing my carbon footprint. This would be a big challenge for me as I do like driving and getting places quicker whenever I’m in a rush. There’s no doubt that public transportation can be incredibly frustrating, noisy, and crowded at certain times of the day. This was a nightmare when trying to attend 9 am lectures at university which I will NOT miss!
Despite this, I am still open to reducing the number of times I drive and instead walk to places if the weather is nice. It will also be beneficial for my physical health as well as the environment.
Luckily, London has an extensive public transportation system that is efficient and affordable, making it easy for students in general to reduce their carbon emissions.
Another way that London students can promote sustainability is by reducing waste. This can be done by using reusable bags, water bottles, and food containers instead of disposable ones. For example, the food containers I receive from my Friday night takeaways can come into great use and be a minor change when being more sustainable. London also has a range of recycling facilities, and it is important to ensure that waste is disposed of in the correct manner to reduce pollution and maintain a healthy environment.
The truth about fast fashion
Moving on, Fast fashion is a term used to describe the mass production of inexpensive clothing that is designed to be trendy and quickly sold to consumers. This industry has grown rapidly in recent years, with companies producing clothes at an unsustainable rate, causing significant harm to the environment.
Like almost every female, shopping is one of my favourite things to do. I even have a Shein basket right this minute filled with the long awaited clothes that I will be treating myself to after university finishes. Therefore, I do contribute to the fast fashion industry. But the question is why? I guess it’s because of the ridiculously good prices and value for money you can get clothes for. Well at least that’s why I do it. As a student with only a weekend job and maintenance loan, its important for me to save as much money as I can so therefore buying from fast fashion brands such as Shein, Zara and Pretty Little Thing is a lot more affordable for me.
Loads of other students are also more drawn towards fashion and current trends. Therefore, its important that our eyes are opened to the harsh realities of our normalised bad habits. However, like I mentioned earlier there is many small changes which could be made to improve the environment and live a healthier lifestyle such as, recycle, purchase a reusable bottle or coffee cup, and reduce plastic intake. Recycling, donating, or repurposing old clothes is also an effective method.
Surprisingly, there is an increase in young people showing an interest to sustainable fashion. 68% of gen Z said that they try limit their use of plastic and 57% said that they try encouraging their friends and family to be more environmentally friendly. However, 58% said they find it hard to know what cant be recycled. This is something even I completely relate to! Therefore, I think spreading more awareness about what can and cannot be recycled and most importantly how to do it is needed.
One step at a time…
Different approaches which can be made includes buying second hand clothes and research about the brand you are buying from. The ‘about us’ section should tell you all the information you need about their level of sustainability.
Brands that offer sustainable alternatives include, Thought Clothing, Mud Jeans and People Tree. I have never shopped from any of these brands before, but I have sure made a note of them for future reference.
Finally, it is important to reduce the amount of clothing that is thrown away by recycling, donating, or repurposing old clothes. This reduces waste and promotes a circular economy, where resources are used efficiently, and waste is minimised.