By John Ployer
The state of the environment is one of the most pressing issues of the day and more than ever people are trying to be more environmentally friendly.
Despite the desire to make an impact, many struggle with how to best utilize the principles of “reduce, reuse, recycle.”
While all three principals are important, one environmentalist at UPEI recommends people first start with “reduce.”
Indra Johnson, the incoming Chair of the Environment Society, recommends students practice what they call “no-buy,” a personal method which consists of training oneself to buy less.
“It’s like training yourself to realise that you don’t need certain types of things, or as much of certain things,” Johnson says.
“Obviously people have to buy things, so when you must buy, keep it to necessities, talk yourself out of those things you don’t need.”
Johnson says that at first this may be difficult, but it’s a mindset you can work on over time.
“It takes practice, similar to how you would practice yoga or anything else. It doesn’t have to be perfect all the time.”
When you do buy, Johnson says, it is important to buy from the right places. Johnson recommends buying local, thrifting, and looking for eco-labels on products.
Small and local businesses are usually more ethical and more sustainable, especially when it comes to buying food.
For those unsure on how to avoid buying things, Johnson recommends starting by trading with people you know whenever possible, mending your clothes rather than just throwing them away, and making things you can use instead of buying them.
Many reusing activities such as mending, sewing, and DIYing are often considered forms of self care, which many students can benefit from, especially when done with friends.
Specific to students, Johnson recommends bringing travel mugs to Tim Hortons and the Fox & Crow.
The “no-buy” philosophy can also be used to save money, which students usually appreciate. Johnson recommends buying in bulk and cooking at home rather than eating out as strategies that cut down on waste while also saving students money.
Johnson says that UPEI students have a unique role to play because we have access to many opportunities to get involved, and above all, community action allows us to make a difference as a collective.
“There’s a value of community involvement. That’s a huge part of it, to get involved, and students are in a unique position to get involved because they have access to the university, will have influence through the jobs we will land after graduating.”
Students also have each other to learn from or work together with. Those looking to get involved with the Environmental club are welcome to contact Indra at firstname.lastname@example.org.