Ever wonder what you as a Cal Poly student can do to make a difference in the environment? Perhaps you just thought that bettering our environment was too big of a job to tackle, but you would be wrong. According to Jorge Montezuma, next year’s external vice president of the Empower Poly Coalition, and business junior Andrew Houtby, there are actually a number of things anyone can do without too much thought or effort. Here are their top 10 suggestions for how to make your life a little bit greener.

1. Use alternate transportation. Due to the fact that a lot of students live within a couple of miles from campus, it doesn’t really hurt to walk, ride a bike, take the bus, carpool or skate to class. It saves on paying those skyrocketing gas prices and helps to keep pollution to a minimum.

2. Create your own garden. A lot of space isn’t required with this one; you can grow herbs inside your house or apartment, or grow vegetables outside if you have room to make a planting box. This saves a lot of money on food, gives you more satisfaction because you grew it yourself, and allows you to know exactly where your food comes from. Since a lot of produce usually travels hundreds of miles just to get to its destination (i.e. a supermarket), this can also reduce pollution.

3. Recycle. This is probably one of the easiest and most convenient things a person can do to help because there are tons of blue bins all over campus. You can also make a little money when recycling if you take bottles and cans to one of the many locations that compensate you for them.

4. Reuse. Bring your own cup or mug to your favorite local coffee stop. If you are an avid coffee drinker it’s easy to not realize how much waste you are contributing by getting a to-go coffee day after day. So, just by bringing your own mug to get your caffeine fix, you help to eliminate unnecessary waste.

5. Bring your own cloth bags when shopping. These bags are cheap and just as convenient as paper or plastic, and if you feel the need, jazz them up to look trendy and personalized.

6. Use less water. All you have to do is turn the faucet off when you are brushing your teeth. It doesn’t need to run during the whole process, just when you need to rinse. The same goes with showers; try turning the water off when shampooing or shaving your legs, and only turning it on to rinse the soap off.

7. Reduce. Try not to use as much hot water when showering or using the faucets. This will conserve on the natural gas that is normally used to heat the water. Look at it this way: it’s getting hotter outside, and it’s springtime, so a cold shower here and there isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

8. Buy locally and support the farmers. Cal Poly has a great Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program which gives you the chance to pay a reasonable fee once a week and receive a bounty of fresh and delicious produce straight from the farm. Due to the fact that a lot of produce typically travels more than 1,000 miles to get to your local supermarket, buying locally can save on the energy costs of bulk shipping.

9. Study with a buddy. This way you can conserve electricity by using only a few lights rather than lighting up two different areas.

10. Change your light bulbs. Just by switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), you’ll actually be using one-quarter of the energy that a regular bulb uses, while producing more light.

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