Ask Ignacio: Sustainable Resolutions

What are some great sustainability new years resolutions?
-Citizen Snips

So, we generally hear the same resolutions every year:

  • Get in shape
  • Improve GPA
  • Get that promotion
  • Be more spontaneous!

These are decent resolutions, but let’s face it, they’re all a tad self-centered. Let’s make this a year of creating good karma. If we want to balance things out a bit, why not think about what you can do for everyone else?

First of all, take a look at yourself. You are pretty great, everyone wants you and everyone of the gender you identify with wants to be you. So adding a few more resolutions won’t kill you.

As you all know, there are many books about the thousand things you can do to protect the environment. I’ll cover just a few things.

Firstly, look in your trash can once a week. Every week, choose one type of item to divert from now on. You ask, “How do I divert?” Remember the ‘three Rs?’ Well, they have a specific order: Reduce, Reuse, AND THEN Recycle!

Reduce

Did you even want this item in the first place? Just to be clear, if you like Pepsi, then drink it, and choose a different trash item. I am not expecting you to live like a monk, just challenging you to question your own habits. Did you need the plastic grocery bag? Why not bring your own grocery bag instead? Did you need that bottled water? Why not get a reusable water bottle? You get the idea!

Reuse

If you couldn’t reduce it, try to reuse it. This step is not for the faint of heart. This is the most labor intensive/ fun step. Why not reuse those bottles in a window garden and grow your own veggies? I did this in my last apartment; it will provide a side salad every couple of days. Be creative.

Recycle

We have reached the end of the line. Finally you can recycle it! Aluminum, glass, paper, plastic, cardboard, and steel can all be recycled. Remember that all recyclables on campus go in the same container, so no time-consuming sorting required!

Lastly, but certainly not least., don’t forget to turn things off. Lights are easy to remember, but heaters and other electronics can use significantly more power than lights. Try to set up reminders if you have trouble with this. Post reminders on the wall, on your phone, by the switch, whatever will be most useful to you.

Remember sustainability, like Candy Crush, is habit forming. But, you get more than five tries, so if you manage to do this for a while, you will come out stronger for it. Also, the overflow of good karma will lead to other great things.

Keep your questions coming to askignacio@uchicago.edu.

You can do this,
Ignacio