After decades of climate change denial in Australia, the realisation of our current climate crisis has become mainstream.
Thousands of Australians have experienced the serious repercussions of extreme weather events, such as flooding, bushfires and drought. While there is a push towards massive action at the national level, at some point we all have to ask ourselves what we are doing to contribute to the damage and what we can do to help with the solution.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed with the scale of the crisis and the challenges inherent in solving it. But, small actions from individuals do add up! People will notice your efforts and in turn, think about making small changes too. This is how reusable coffee cups went from being only used by the most hardcore of eco-warriors, to having cafés selling their own branded cups and offering a discount to incentivise take up. It can’t hurt to try to be more sustainable.
We’ve collated 22 small actions that you can take to start making changes in your everyday life!
22 eco-friendly ideas for 2022
- Remember the 4 Rs: refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle to reduce waste of all kinds. For example, your costume for that end of semester party is adorable, but is the plan to dispose of it? Can you hire, borrow or use second-hand items instead and then donate them again?
- Stop buying bottled water. It is always wise in the Aussie heat to carry a reusable water bottle with you. Remember that you can fill up at the water stations around campus!
- Join your local “Buy Nothing” group on social media to be gifted second-hand items free from your community.
- Check your super and your bank to see if your money is being invested in activities you disagree with and change if you need to.
- Choose second-hand first! There are op-shops, consignment second-hand shops, online second-hand marketplaces and ‘’buy and sell’’ groups on social media – it has never been easier to buy used goods.
- Bring your reusable coffee cup to campus. Bonus points for carrying your own reusable straw and cutlery.
- Be brave and start a new trend! How about taking a reusable smoothie shaker with you everywhere and asking anywhere you buy take away food if they could serve you in your shaker? Remember that you can effect change by what you do and don’t buy, if you don’t want disposables then refuse disposables.
- Walk, cycle or bus to Curtin. If driving is a must, consider carpooling.
- Choose a social good search engine to research your assignments – there are ones that plant trees, supply clean water, or raise money for charities working to protect the environment and other initiatives. Imagine how many trees your degree could plant
- Eat less meat. Remember you don’t have to go meatless to make a difference! Bonus – it is cheaper too.
- Got plenty of food at home? Bring a lunch box to campus so it doesn’t go to waste. Plan out your meals each week to save money and reduce food waste.
- Learn about “wishcycling” and learn how you can up your recycling game.
- Does it have to be printed? You can highlight, take notes and take pictures of whiteboards using online tools. Bonus: they are searchable too.
- Find your textbook via the library’s online catalogue or make study pods with classmates to share resources and study together.
- Does it need to be plugged in between uses? Stop standby vampire appliances wasting energy and increasing your bills.
- Agree on some eco-rules for gift giving with friends and loved ones that help reduce waste. This might look like telling jokes, writing poems, making a favour voucher book or bringing a freezer meal for a stressful day instead of exchanging cheap Secret Santa gifts you’ll probably never use. Or wrapping presents in something useable like a new tea towel.
- Each time a light globe blows, replace it with a LED light to reduce energy waste. It will last longer and be more efficient, saving you replacement and energy costs.
- Buy local – check out the Famers Market on Manning or Vic Park Markets if you live on or near Perth campus. Fresh fruit and veg are often cheaper at markets and the food comes from local farms rather than interstate or overseas, reducing emissions from travel. Bonus point for cycling or walking there!
- Saving for a car? What if you bought an electric bike instead? If the Perth heat or its distances is what puts you off cycling at all then electric bikes or e-rideables may be the answer for arriving at your destination less dishevelled. Even if you do, our Curtin campus has great end-of-journey facilities, charging stations and extra-secure parking.
- Cold this winter? What are you wearing and sleeping under? Put on a jumper and trackies before turning on a heater and go op-shopping to find heavy blankets, fleece bedsheets and jumpers for a bargain.
- Talk about being more sustainable and eco-conscious with your friends and try to support each other to make positive changes and gently call each other out if you slip-up.
- Remember to start where you are with what you have. Your efforts don’t have to be “Instagramable’’ to count. Don’t waste what you have now to start again perfectly. Replace things only when they need replacing and can’t be used anymore.
We hope you liked these 22 ideas! If you have other ideas or tips of your own that you would like to share, we’d love to hear from you.
Not only is it good to do your bit in solving sustainability challenges, but you will likely save some money – perfect for students on a tight budget.
Did you catch our article: 5 things you didn’t know about sustainability at Curtin? This article is the second part of our Sustainability Month series, which highlights sustainability initiatives in and around campus in the lead up to the Sustainability Challenge intensive taking place at the end of June.