Coming from a state school in Utah, sustainability is a big thing among my peers and has become very important to me. By being surrounded by so much natural beauty and by people who take sustainable living very seriously, I’ve been able to learn the importance of being conscious of my impact.
It can be easy to leave greener living for people in more conventionally “nature-y” areas, but sustainability is for everyone, especially in cities where there can often be cultures or developments that prioritize consumerism and immediate gratification over long term effects. Thankfully, the people of London seem to pretty self-aware of these issues and how to combat them. It is a fact that there are a lot of vegan food options in London, but that doesn’t have to be the only way you can have a more green study abroad experience (though it is quite delicious).
Here are five simple ways to be a more sustainable citizen while abroad:
Refraining from the use of single use plastics like plastic bags is a great way to both save the earth as well as save you some money. Tote bags are big in London (and the totes they use are big), so if you don’t have any reusable bags to pack, consider investing in two or three abroad. This kills three birds with one stone because you’ll now also have a functional souvenir.
Reusable Water Bottle
Packing a reusable bottle is another way for you to be more green and save you some money so you don’t have to buy a plastic bottled water every time you’re thirsty. Your campus, like any great uni campus, will have water fountains for you to hydrate and refill your bottle at. Smaller establishments, such as cafes, often have pitchers of water or some kind of dispenser. There are also websites such as Find-a-Fountain where you can search for the closest refill station to you.
Use Public Transport
As tempting as it may be to take a lyft, uber, or taxi somewhere for the streamlined convenience of it, take the tube or bus. This original version of carpooling is better for the environment and the constant running of lines and bus routes are more reliable than waiting for a car.
Walking (an alternative to #3)
If the weather is nice and your destination is within a manageable walking distance and you’ve got the time: walk! You’ll get a better view of the city than you would on the bus and you’ll become more acquainted with your area. Not to mention you’ll also reap the benefits of getting some Vitamin D and burning some calories for a vegan treat after class.
Rather than contributing to fast fashion, consider checking out a charity shop (aka a thrift store), a vintage store or a vintage market for new clothes. Brick Lane, for example, has a number of vintage stores with clothes and shoes in great condition for decent prices and a market on Sundays that features lots of thrifty finds. Not only will you find some unique pieces that you know no one back home will have, but you’ll also get a better idea of what the fashion there is like.
Lydia Velazques is a student at the Utah State University and an ISA Featured Photo Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in London, England.
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