From Leonardo DiCaprio speaking about climate change on the Oscars ceremony, to Emma Watson promoting eco-friendly fashion, the global environmental movement has gained a lot of momentum and keeps accelerating. It is all underscored by a political consensus expressed in the Paris Agreements, signed by 195 countries. Only in the last few weeks, France and the United Kingdom announced that they will abolish sales of cars fuelled with fossil fuels by 2040. We strongly support this trend at EMIS and here is what to do to be more environmentally friendly while living on our campus.
There are a number of reasons to behave in a way that is friendly for our planet.
Firstly, extensive and wasteful use of electric energy, water or food leads to unnecessary production of greenhouse gases which are emitted to the atmosphere down the production process of almost everything. These gases contribute to global warming and eventually have an effect on climate change, threatening our and other species’ survival.
Secondly, overuse is expensive. For every kilowatt-hour of electricity, liter of water or new ream of paper we need to pay. Every shekel (Israeli currency) saved here will allow us to spend it on something beneficial.
Thirdly, resources are scarce. Our dependence on cutting acres of woods and drilling tons of oil is a one-way road, because these will eventually end up. We need to think in advance what solutions can be used instead.
Lastly, everything ends up somewhere, products we use do not magically disappear afterwards. Every plastic bottle you have ever used is still somewhere there in the landfill (unless it was recycled), poisoning the soil and definitely not making the landscape better.
So what can you do?
Have your own water bottle
Water fountains are found everywhere in Israel, so grab a multiple-use bottle from your house or at the local supermarket.
Bring ceramic/metal mug, plate and cutlery
Cooking in the club, weekend breakfast or tea with your friend are much better with nice utensils from your house rather than trashy plastic ones.
Turn off lights and electronic devices
Turn them off when you leave the room, during the night or simply when you don’t use them. Remember to have the fridge door closed and don’t boil two liters of water for just one mug of tea. Take advantage of the natural light!
This year, I saw countless quantities of printed preparation tests that weren’t even touched in the recycling bin. To avoid this, let’s make good use of the technology that we have today and if you really need to print, make sure to do it on both sides of the page and recycle paper afterwards!
Limit air conditioning
The weather in Israel happens to be hard to bear, but using the AC can double the environmental footprint of the building. Make sure that the windows are closed when you use it! And ask yourself twice if you need to have it as low as 19 degrees for the whole night. It is better to change the bedsheets for thinner or thicker as needed and use natural ventilation.
At EMIS we recycle plastic, paper and cardboard. Drop them in the designated containers to avoid putting them in the landfill.
Take your bag for shopping
Every plastic bag you have ever used is still somewhere there, perhaps in the atmosphere or in the ocean. Even though it costs only one tenth of the shekel, it will benefit you and everyone around if you bring multiple-use bags with you.
Try to shorten your shower by one, five or ten minutes. Close the tap while brushing your teeth. Use only half a bucket of water to clean your room. We all need water to maintain cleanliness but if we should challenge ourselves to do it in a more efficient way.
When you set up the washing machine, try to have it full. Otherwise, share it with your roommates or neighbours to do more with less. Also, pay attention to how much softener and powder you put in. More than the maximum will not make your clothes any cleaner.
There are hangers for laundry provided in the school’s yard. You are encouraged to use them instead of drying machines. It will be faster, better smelling and more environmentally friendly!
Waste less food
Agriculture is the most polluting industry of all. Moreover, worldwide 50% of produced food is wasted. Help to improve the efficiency by taking only as much food as you need in the dining hall and not buying too much in the grocery store or restaurant.
Walk, cycle, use mass transportation
Traffic, air pollution, noise and other unpleasant parts of our life would promptly disappear if we decided to make use of legs, bikes and buses. Let’s do it!
Go vegetarian or vegan!
Globally, pastures cover the land of the size of Africa and a kilogram of meat, especially beef, has much higher environmental footprint than fruit and vegetables. It can be your great contribution if you decide to give up on eating meat. It doesn’t need to be big from the beginning. Start with meatless monday or refrain from eating beef. At EMIS you will find a lot of support for that!
Everything you use has to be produced somewhere and then transported. Transportation either by car, train, ship or plane uses tremendous amounts of fossil fuels, so to avoid it, try to choose products – food, clothes, cosmetics – which were produced locally.
One may say that all of these actions only decrease our standard of living. However, it is quite the opposite. We do it to make sure that in future, our children and grandchildren will have the same quality of life. Technological advancement comes with support but it is a lot about mindset – to make more with less. Countries around the world, from some of which EMIS students are from, already struggle with lack of freshwater, terrible pollution and other related issues. Only in Israel 300 people die every year from air pollution-related diseases. It is everyone’s responsibility to foster change in his or her community.
Let’s join our (renewable) energies and go green!
Written By: Beniamin Strzelecki