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Sustainability Tips

Here are some tips to help you get started living more sustainably and incorporating a green mindset into your daily life.

Reduce your waste: Disposable items are a major source of waste. Items such as plastic straws, spoons, forks, knives, bags, coffee cups, take-out containers, and anything which gets used once and then tossed in the trash. Did you know, a lot of this plastic waste can sit in landfills for hundreds of years before they breakdown or end up in our oceans, impacting marine life? Avoid “freebies” and “swag” that you get are trade shows and conferences, they usually end up as waste.

Reduce your food waste: Did you know over 1/3 of food is wasted and the average household throws out approximately $2,000 worth of food each year? Food thrown into your garbage bins end up in landfills and breaks down ways that can create greenhouse gases.  Prevent food waste with planned shopping and creative ways to consume what you purchase.

Reuse: Use reusable napkins, reusable containers, reusable and organic feminine hygiene products, reusable turn old t-shirts into rags.

Recycle: Paper, plastic, electronics, batteries and clothing can all be recycled

Did you know a plant-based diet can help fight climate change?  Reducing meat consumption can have tremendous benefits for the planet. Meat production is one of the most environmentally destructive industries. It is responsible for the use of massive amounts of water, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and habitat destruction. Consider planting a backyard garden or a vegetable box on your balcony.

A minimalist lifestyle is one of the most effective ways to live sustainability. One way to embrace a minimalist life is by buying only what you need.

  • Give new life to an item by buying second-hand. There are many consignment shops and online groups that buy/sell items. 
  • Resell items you no longer need or donate them to charity.
  • Purchase locally, you will help reduce long distance shipping and avoid increasing your carbon footprint.
  • Buy eco-friendly, non-toxic products.

Think about the environment; before your print, ask yourself if a hard copy is necessary.

Consider walking, riding a bike, taking public transit, or carpooling.
Did you know that walking and riding a bike are two of the most sustainable forms of transportation with sides effects of keeping you fit and healthy!

Many of us reach to turn on the heating or air conditioning all too quickly – but before you do, try other alternatives. In colder weather try adding extra layers of clothing; in warmer weather consider opening a window. Did you know that for every degree-increase more pollution is generated which adds to climate change? In addition, you can save money by keeping your heating and /or air conditioning systems to a minimum; for every degree you reduce on your heater you can save between 3-10 % on your monthly bill. Get informed, act and save money!

Resources to learn more:

SDG Academy https://sdgacademy.org/

Explaining SDG 4 Action Plan: (2016). Unpacking Sustainable Development Goal 4: Education 2030 guide. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0024/002463/246300E.pdf.

UNESCO (2020): The Futures of Education Global Initiative. How will we imagine education in 2050? https://en.unesco.org/futuresofeducation/

UNESCO (2020). Education for Sustainable – ESD for 2030: A Roadmap. https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000374802

(2015). Education 2030: Incheon declaration and framework for action for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 4. http://uis.unesco.org/sites/default/files/documents/education-2030-incheon-framework-for-action-implementation-of-sdg4-2016-en_2.pdf.

(2015). Rethinking education: Towards a global common good? http://www.unesco.org/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/FIELD/Cairo/images/RethinkingEducation.pdf.

United Nations (2016): The Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/takeaction/

United Nations. (1987). United Nations General Assembly: Development and International Co-operation: Environment Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. Annex. Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. Our Common Future. Released by the Brundtland Commission. Retrieved (May 16, 2020) from https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/5987our-common-future.pdf.

United Nations. (1992). United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Earth summit Agenda Retrieved (May 16, 2020) from http://www.un-documents.net/agenda21.htm.

United Nations. (2015b). Transforming our world: The 2030 agenda for sustainable development. http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&Lang=E. United Nations General Assembly. (2017). Work of the statistical commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. https://undocs.org/A/RES/71/313.

United Nations. SDG Action Campaign https://www.sdgactioncampaign.org/

UN Global Compact https://www.unglobalcompact.org/

The Glendon and Keele campuses at York University feature a wide array of sustainability features. Please click on the interactive map for more information.