Go Green Week

As a geographer, considering ways to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly is always a factor in everyday life. With last week being Go Green week, we have been thinking of ways in which our approaches to study can be made greener.

To me, being a green student fundamentally means not being wasteful. The three key steps to minimizing waste, as we know are Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, in that order.

Generally as a subject geography does not require us to realms of resources such as print books, as the nature of the subject often requires us to use a variety of references from different resources. The majority of which can be accessed by eBook or online journal. What this means is that instead of increasing the demand for several different books by forcing students to buy a resource they wont use in its entirety, access to the relevant information can be obtained virtually without the need for mass production of books that may not be sold, or purchased and not used to its full capacity. As you can see the department has already taken measures to help us achieve step one of minimizing waste (Reduce), but we can still take this a step further in our study and revision.

Now as students if were completely honest, when assessment period comes along, the workload is heavy, and exams are looming, we can be guilty of letting the environment take a back seat to our other priorities, but there are little things we can do. I often like to have the resource physically in front of me when I am making notes or annotations, so when I do need to print a resource, I will take that simple step of clicking double sided when printing, and I will also only print the relevant pages for my notes, so those four pages of references at the end of an article never see the light of day (sorry), but I have saved on paper consumption and printing credits (these are not cheap haha).

When I am making notes, any papers that become scrap I will often Reuse to make any rough notes tor other modules I am preparing for, I also do like a good piece of scrap paper to do my doodles on whilst I’m procrastinating or trying to work through a mind block. And when it does finally come to the end of assessment period and your notes have become useless, as much as I have the desire to take all of my notes and burn them, they end up in the Recycling bin.

I think as students at Sussex on a whole we do regard the environment as important, however as I said before when the stress piles on and the fact we are first and foremost here to study, it can be easy for being green to be overlooked. If I put myself in the shoes of a student that had a subject that did require a lot of text books, with my learning style I think I would prefer to have the physical book in front of me, unless it was one of the interactive eBooks where your notes can be exported. With text book in mind however, the thought of having books printed on recycled paper does appeal to me. Although I don’t think it would dictate whether I purchased a book I needed or not, and I think this would be the case for many other students too, as getting a good grade comes first. However knowing the books I need and use are printed on recycled paper regardless, would make me recognize a publisher as a globally conscious company doing their part to preserve our world for the future. We cannot consume something that hasn’t been produced for us, so the more readily accessible greener options are to people, the easier it will be to engage with it.