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Where do we start if we won’t start somewhere?

| Monday, March 5, 2018

As Notre Dame students, we’re busy. No denying it. But there’s also no denying that the climate is changing because of negative human impact. We overuse and misuse natural resources like water, land and air. We all know this hard reality, but what can we do about it? Here are a list of simple ways to be more conscious of what we consume on a regular basis. In each category, the challenge gets harder further down the list — see if you’re up to saving our world, one cold shower at a time.

Eating on campus

  • Forget the tray in the DH
  • Finish everything on the plate/in the bowl/in the cup, and be grateful
  • Carry a reusable water bottle and/or tumbler
  • Reduce napkins usage
  • Boycott vending machines
  • Boycott Grab-N-Go items that are individually wrapped
  • Eat a plant-rich diet
  • Be vegetarian one day each week
  • Better yet, try going vegan


  • Use hand dryers, not paper towels
  • Better yet, air dry your hands — run them through your hair or wipe them on your pants
  • Use less toilet paper
  • Use eco-friendly skin care and beauty products such as 100% Pure, Burt’s Bees, Lush, Vapour and Rahua

Brushing teeth

  • Never let the water run
  • Use cold water
  • Use eco-friendly toothpaste, such as Tom’s of Maine, Kiss My Face and Desert Essence


  • Take shorter showers
  • Turn off water between getting wet, soaping up and rinsing off
  • Use eco-friendly soap, shampoo, conditioner and shaving cream such as Method, Burt’s Bees, Dr. Broner’s, Aveda and Honest
  • Use lukewarm or cold water

Out and about

  • Turn off the lights
  • Take the stairs
  • Recycle clean paper, napkins, cardboard, cans, foil, glass, plastic items that can hold their shape
  • Print less (double-sided when you have to)
  • Turn off laptops
  • Unplug laptops, phones, lights — especially overnight
  • Keep and reuse scratch paper
  • Keep and reuse plastic forks, spoons, knives
  • Keep and reuse plastic bags
  • Better yet, use canvas bags instead
  • Use tupperware and jars instead of plastic baggies or other disposable containers
  • Pick up and properly dispose of litter
  • Reduce all the online ordering
  • Decline all the freebies

Doing laundry

  • Use the medium or low heat setting for the dryer
  • Do laundry less often (saving money is a bonus).
  • Use eco-friendly detergent, such as Ecos, Mrs. Meyers and Seventh Generation

Never trick yourself into thinking an action is “too small” to make a difference. If we all made small changes in our consumption habits, systems and structures would have to adapt. Where do we start if we won’t start somewhere?

How many of the above are you already practicing? Feel good about those and improve.

So before recycling this newspaper or scrolling through more light-hearted and funny online content, promise me two simple things. First, choose one of the above to work into your habits. And second, show this article to someone else — friend, enemy or stranger. Everyone can start living consciously.

Whitney Lim


Feb. 27

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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