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10 tips to become a sustainable Erasmus student

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‘Towards Sustainability’: Start your Erasmus year right by applying sustainable habits.
people in climate change protest

Have you ever thought about adopting sustainability as a lifestyle? How can it reduce the effects of climate change? Why do we need to change our daily habits? To put it simply, climate change is not only affecting our planet. In fact, it is threatening our health, our food, the air we breath, the water we drink, as well as future generations.

Climate change is happening right now
Climate change is happening right now

According to current studies, 235 million people suffer from asthma worldwide because of air pollution. Respiratory illnesses are more and more common. The EU and US are spending around €73 billion combined on asthma per year. Warming trends mainly caused by human activities (greenhouse gasses, manufacturing, heating, the burning of fossil fuels, etc.) are responsible for the speedy decline of the Arctic sea ice, the starvation of polar bears, the accelerated rising of sea levels, malnutrition, and increasing the death rate, among many other effects.

animal in the water
10 tips to become a sustainable Erasmus student
“Taken as a whole, the range of published evidence indicates that the net damage costs of climate change are likely to be significant and to increase over time.”
field one side dry, one side green
10 tips to become a sustainable Erasmus student

We will be endangered unless we change our habits. Here are 10 ways to start practicing a sustainable life during your Erasmus year and beyond:

1.   Carbon footprint

The first step, CALCULATE your carbon footprint. It is quite easy and fast. Take the online free test and measure your impact on the climate.

2.   Reduce electric energy consumption

Use daylight as much as possible. Switch off the lights whenever you leave a room or change your traditional light bulbs to energy efficient bulbs to reduce energy consumption. Remember, one day you might wake up with no energy left.

3.   Avoid driving

Whenever possible, avoid using cars or public transportation. Walk or ride a bike and be a part of those who reduce CO2 emission every day.

bike on the street
Walk or ride a bike

4.   Use biological products

By using natural products you reduce the amount of chemicals and toxins spreading in the air. Make sure you always have your reusable bag with you, instead of plastic bags which can be harmful to the ecosystem.

someone with a bag of cosmetics
Use biological products

5.   Control your consumption

Stop buying things you don’t really need. Minimise your shopping list and control yourself from impulse buying so that you don’t purchase unneeded items.

6.   Don’t waste food

Buy exactly the amount of food you need. If you don’t feel like eating something, share it with your family, roommates, or friends, instead of throwing it into the rubbish bin. Remember: every year, 3.1 million children under five years old, die of hunger.

credit: Alexandre Chambon

7.   Reduce water waste

A huge amount of water is wasted during long baths. Try to take baths once in a while and take short showers instead. Start practicing eco-friendly washing techniques by washing your clothes by hand or while showering. This way, you not only reduce the amount of water used by washing machines but also use physical energy which is simpler, and more sustainable.

8.   “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle"

The main principle of sustainability is the recycling process. By recycling, you reduce the amount of waste you produce and save our natural resources. You can recycle almost everything nowadays: papers, books, metal, plastic, glass, electronics, batteries, CDs…

Cycle route sign
Cycle route

9.   Reduce your air travel

One of the most important core principles of sustainable development is the clean air. Avoid flying if you can in order to avoid an increase in air pollution and reduce CO2 emission. Air travel is so harmful, that a single round trip flight to Asia produces as much pollution as your car does during the whole year.

10.  Apply for a membership in green organisations

If you find some environmental organisations or green communities in your Erasmus city, don’t hesitate to get involved. Not only do you learn a lot from their workshops about garden and soil waste, but also enjoy a good and peaceful state of mind in different green places.

4 women in a greenhouse
credit: Brooke Cagle

Overall, at the end of your Erasmus programme, measure your carbon footprint again and see the impact you have had on the climate during the whole semester. By practicing these habits, you might end up changing the way you live; and by changing the way you live, you influence others’ lives and therefore change the world, making a better future where “people and nature thrive”. It is really important to act today and fight for climate justice if we want to secure a livable world.

Remember there is NO ‘planet B’! Make the change now before it is too late.

#Towards #Sustainability #MakeTheChange