Puget Sound students should ‘green’ their way of life

Many of the current advocates for increasing domestic oil production argue that it would make the U.S. energy independent and increase jobs. Well, there is another market that can do all that, and help ensure we will have a planet to live on, too. More importantly, we can have a impact on its success.

Clean energy is taking off, but not at a pace that will help us avoid major environmental disasters. It is well within our power to lessen the negative effects of global warming and delegate responsibility so we can deal with problems more effectively. However, it would take a concentrated effort on by the government and individuals to reduce our emissions.

Global warming is happening, and we are largely responsible for how rapidly the planet is heating up. Science has made this largely indisputable. There are some people who argue that we cannot do anything about it at this point, and they are sort of right. Stopping the emission of greenhouse gases tomorrow would not halt global warming and ensure that all polar bears live happily ever after.

Nevertheless, this is an important undertaking. We cannot reverse what we have done, but there is a chance to reduce our future problems. At the most basic level, we need to work on clean energy because most of the air in cities today is dangerously polluted. And air is one of those things we desperately need.

We are creating an environment that is toxic to us and not taking steps to fix it.

It’s easy to blow this off as “just another rant on clean energy,” because it is. But it also could serve as your wake up call to make tiny changes in your life that will affect the way you use energy.

There are five super simple steps you can take today to reduce your own carbon footprint and invest in clean energy.
The first is to buy a solar charger. It is the perfect way to feed your intense need for constant electronic device usage while avoiding dirty energy (and a hefty energy bill). Despite the complete lack of sunshine in Tacoma, the chargers still juice up cell phones, iPods, and some of the higher end ones can even take on laptops. They range anywhere from $30 to $100+ on Amazon.com.

Here is another novel idea; turn off your damn lights. When the sun is up (including the times when it is behind the clouds—which is all the time), people generally do not need to turn on the lights. Even when it is dark out, candles are a seductively cheap (and green!) way to keep that switch in the off position.

Another way to make your green voice heard is to vote with your fork. Buying organic usually means plants grown largely without the use of petrochemicals. Be a snob, get your veggies from the Metropolitan Market, and applaud yourself on saving the planet. It is that easy.

A more obvious plan for earning a green superhero cape is to bike more often. For those who have a car, or have ever ridden in a car, you know how tempting it is to just take the easy way out. Instead, tell yourself it is time to get fit and jump on a bike, or maybe even rollerblades.

Lastly, buy things secondhand. Everything today uses petroleum at some point in the production process. Rather than encourage the immensely wasteful practice of buying new things, take a trip down to the nearest Goodwill. It will save you a lot of money, and let you brag to people about how awesomely earth-conscious you are.

Just because we are poor college students does not mean we are powerless in the struggle for a cleaner earth. You can vote for a better planet with your actions.