From veganism to sustainable energy to social networking sites, “going green” no longer belongs solely to the hemp wearing, scraggly bearded, commune-based hippies of the 1960s counterculture movement. Today, environmentalism is embraced by almost everyone—we recycle anything and everything we can, grow our own fruits and vegetables and buy eco-friendly, sustainable products. But where did it all begin?
The benefits of an eco-friendly lifestyle can now be seen not only at home but in our schools and college campuses, thanks to several steps schools have made in recent years to become highly sustainable in construction and operation. As schools do more research and build greener, they not only benefit themselves long term but also student and teacher health, leading the way to better school construction for the future. When schools go green their energy bills will go down and a reduced energy bill could lead to reduced student admission fees and costs in the long run. Many older buildings have asbestos as well, so replacing this with organic insulation results in lower health risks, better air quality and better student performance.
The eco-friendly trend has invaded our homes, taking over food, home appliances, toiletry and electricity, among others. But what about cosmetics? Luckily for us, there are now ways to go green with our beauty routine.
Fact: Beauty products that contain chemicals can be harmful for our health and for the environment. Chemical sunscreens that pollute the water, for example, are filled with ingredients that are toxic to marine life, says GOOD Magazine.
By Courtney Han
The best way to get your school to go green is to start an environmental club. There are a lot of other people out there that care about the environment as much as you do, so forming a club is a great way to organize your efforts, brainstorm ideas, and even make friends. Clubs make it easier to spread awareness about a topic through word of mouth and organizing events. Through your club, you can create researched proposals and petitions for your school as to why they should make certain changes and how these changes will benefit both Earth and your school.
Like myself, many of you are excited to head back to college in the fall. With so much pressure on the topic, many of us are becoming even more aware of how important it is that we attempt to keep our economy green. That’s why this week, I thought it would be good to give you some tips on not only how to keep our economy green, but on how to keep your dorm room green this fall!
1. Grin and bear it: While I’m sure you are sweating your butt off on your first days back at school it is important to remember that you should condition yourself and avoid air conditioning. While it might be surprising to you, this is one of the most important things you can do to keep your dorm room green. At many schools AC units are banned, but if they aren’t it is important to try to avoid them. I’m sure all summer you’ve been used to having AC in your home so now you have to let your body become accustomed to the heat. Some tips would be to keep the windows open, take cold showers, wear cool summer clothes, and keep a fan going to circulate the air in your room. While a fan still uses some electricity, it actually uses only two percent of the energy you would need to run air conditioning.
With all the recent buzz about being friendly with our planet, Pink and Black would like to introduce to its readers some eco-friendly and eco-chic companies:
Ember Arts sells jewelry that is hand-made out of recycled paper and plastic in Uganda. The company provides a stable income to the female artisans who made the jewelry in order to ensure these women of their capability to support their families. Ember Arts jewelry is fashionable as well as affordable. It is a cool and easy way to show your style while doing your part in helping our planet! You can purchase Ember Arts jewelry and learn more about the company on its website, www.emberarts.com.
In a world where iPhones are as popular as high heels and High Definition Television is synonymous with, “Well, what else is there?,” it’s no surprise that eco-friendly technology has taken a turn for the current and, more importantly, the affordable. Although it can be hard to find eco-friendly technology (other than energy efficient light bulbs) for those who are both tech- savy and eco- friendly, it is possible to still be ‘green’ while depending on technologies that make life easier and more comfortable.
Tech-buffs will be happy to know that the solar panels and wind turbines that most people imagine as eco-friendly technology, have evolved! Gadgets such as the Re-Zap Battery Engineer, are smaller and more efficient in saving energy around the home. The Re-Zap Battery Engineer ($39.98) is able to recharge both rechargeable and standard (non-rechargeable) batteries, saving not only energy but money spent on replacing batteries.