The One Step I would like to take is one which I have successfully started in my high school in New Zealand and would like to initiate at Monash University. New Zealand’s government has a goal to become carbon neutral by 2050 so we students wanted our school to have a realistic plan to achieve this goal. We created an Energy Management System which was essentially a structure assigning particular roles to students and senior leadership to carry out energy management projects including Auditing, Communication, Documentation and Analysis. In order to sustain energy management projects, we wanted the school to commit to reinvest all energy savings made towards further energy efficient and sustainable technology; creating a cycle and eventually leading to achieving the goal of being carbon neutral. I presented this in the form of an Energy Management Poicy to the School Board of Trustees to gain their commit to reinvesting all energy savings made towards energy efficient and sustainable technology. We wanted our Energy Management System to be inline with an international standard so we know our plan will lead to real action and will actually help us become carbon neutral by 2030. So the school's sustainability committee and myself helped Epsom Girls Grammar School attain the ISO 50001 Certification in Energy Management and we were successful in gaining the accreditation in 2020. My One Step is to help Monash University to set a policy to reinvest all energy savings made, towards further energy efficient and sustainable technology. I also aim to help Monash University to attain the ISO 50001 Certification in Energy Management to work alongside Monash University’s preexisting plan to to have net zero carbon emissions by 2030 and be inline with an international standard. It can be done if we make a plan and take action today. Some of the energy management projects we conducted at the school involved actions such as: - Installing an electric energy efficient heating and ventilation system for the school’s Swimming Pool. This system was is expected to reduce electricity usage by almost $50,000/ in the first year. - Developing a checklist procedure for each block at Epsom Girls Grammar School to assist staff and students confirm that all service and equipment are turned off at the end of the term and holiday period. - Changing every single light fixture in the school into LED lights. Links: Epsom Girls Grammar School attains 1SO50001 certification: https://www.eggs.school.nz/news/eggs-iso-50001/ ISO50001 standard: https://www.iso.org/iso-50001-energy-management.html
Thrifting or Op-shopping is a great way to both help recycle and minimise waste and landfills. The best part about this is that almost anyone can take part, with an abundance of local op shops and thrift stores. Simply drop off old clothing items you would have thrown out, or better yet, peruse the shop itself! There are heaps of items to choose from that look great, are of excellent quality and cost next to nothing! :)
Not all companies have data centres powered by clean energy. A regular email could contribute to 4g carbon emission and a postal mail emit eight times more. I will put the “no junk mail” sign on my letterbox and choose email over paper letters. I will unsubscribe from emails that I do not read to save energy and reduce my carbon footprint on internet. (If I do not receive the promotions emails, I would consume more responsibly.) To minimise my carbon footprint, I will also avoid sending unnecessary photos and videos to others. You can start this simple green step right now!!! Unsubscribe from emails that you keep receiving but never read! Keep your inbox green.
Mirabel Somtochukwu Okoli
When going to get something to eat, I will always go with my reusable plastic plate and cup and request for my food be put into it so as to reduce the amount of waste created in the environment
The dangers of fast fashion are becoming more well known and as a result op shopping is becoming more common. However, the issue with op shopping is you have to sort through piles of clothes that are not for your demographic. Most students at Monash are in roughly the same age bracket and share a lot of fashion preferences. As such, an op shop full of clothes just from Monash students would create a targeted op shop for students. People would bring in their clothes and we could have the stall near the campus centre at Clayton.
Oil is cheaper than coke. Even now at the current elevated prices. This fact surprised me when I first read it and I’m sure it’s not one many people know. Because even though many might know that the climate crisis is an issue they might not know why; including me! I didn’t know why switching to sustainable energy is not realistic right now. Why doing that is not only the solution we need? Because what’s the plan for cement? Most of our emissions come from making things including the cement, steel and plastic we use everyday. And why even after we’ve made sustainable ways of moving things, making things and powering things. We still haven’t solved it. Because we need to revert back the damage we’ve done. As an engineer, I found the best way of solving problem is to first understand it. And so my pledge is education. Educating myself on solutions and their difficulties like I did with energy and how I can implement them but also educating others. Because we need more than just engineers, politicians and investors to make a difference.
SDG 4: Quality education, SDG 7: Clean energy, SDG 8: Economic growth and employment, SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure, SDG 11: Safe and inclusive cities and communities, SDG 13: Climate action, SDG 14: Sustainable oceans, SDG 15: Protect ecosystems, forests and biodiversity loss, SDG 17: Global partnerships
My step will be to reduce the amount of food packaging rubbish and single-use plastics I consume. I'll continue using a keep-cup, bringing my own food in a reusable container when possible, and when eating out I'll make choices that minimise the waste created, e.g. reusable or recyclable plates and cutlery, or foods without unnecessary packaging.
Single use plastic straws are super convenient, but are they worth it? A straw may be your go-to while having a cold beverage, however, a few minutes of convenience has a huge negative impact on our environment. Too much of convenience may be the biggest culprit in destroying the environment. I take the pledge to switch to carrying my own reusable straw and encourage my family, friends and everyone around me to do the same. Single use straws are very harmful to the environment and wildlife especially aquatic life. We may think that ‘it’s just a straw, it won’t make a difference’ but each straw counts. We use straws for a lot of beverages such as bubble tea, cold coffee, juices etc. Carrying your own straws and refusing single use straws is a step we all must take for the sake of the environment. When we switch to a greener option such as reusable straws (made of steel/ silicone), each straw that we save from going to the landfills or oceans contributes to saving the environment and animals who might ingest it. Aquatic animals are at a very high risk as they may mistake it for food and once ingested, it can pierce their organs. Since most of these single-use straws are not disposed of correctly, they end up polluting our oceans and land. They further break down and release micro-plastics into the environment. We need to understand the urgency and we need to act now. We should understand how this small change in our daily lifestyle could have a huge impact towards saving the environment and its wildlife. There is Only One Earth and we must make sure we are doing everything to protect it. Each time someone avoids a single-use straw, we are taking one step in the right direction.
Unsustainable plastic production and consumption patterns are destroying our environment. Every year, 275 million metric tons of plastic waste is produced, with less than 10% being recycled. Plastic is not biodegradable, and the majority ends up in landfill and the environment. This is a massive threat on the health of our ecosystems, on climate change, with greenhouse gas emissions from plastic estimated to reach ~13% of the entire remaining carbon budget by 2050, and on human health through the bioaccumulation of microplastics. This is why, under goal 12 of the UN SDG’s of promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns, I pledge to reduce plastic consumption on Green Steps. I will put this pledge into action by 3 main steps: Firstly, university students go through hundreds of plastic pens during their studies, which is why I will seek permission to set up plastic pen recycling collection boxes at a Monash library for the following semester, which I will collect in the end and send to the TerraCycle recycling program at Officeworks. Secondly, I will make sure my lunch is entirely plastic free by bringing my own reusable lunch boxes, cutlery and fruit instead of a packaged muesli bar. Thirdly, I want to break the social taboo that still exists around having conversations about environmental issues. How many times have we, including myself, backed out of talking about environmental issues out of fear that we don’t know enough about the issue or that we will make the other person feel uncomfortable. And that’s why I will make it my mission to talk to one new person every day on campus about unsustainable plastic consumption and my plastic pen recycling project. If we want to see change, we need to first change our mindsets, so that the environment is always at the forefront of our conscience, and of our every action.
The amount of food Australia throws away each year would fill the MCG ten times over. This is a big contributor to climate change. The UN states that 17% of global food production is wasted, tallying to almost 1 billion tonnes per year. Australia, is a large contributor, producing 7.6 million tonnes of food waste a year. The old saying 'waste not want not' rings true, and it asks us to consider how we can dispose of this issue, instead of disposing of this much food. A starting point at home, can be taking the time to plan meals each week so that you only buy the food you need. Supermarkets have strict regulations as to 'quality' of fresh fruit and vegetables, resulting in tonnes of perfectly nutritious and good groceries being rejected. Buying food from local grocers where it is less likely to be wrapped in plastic also, will reduce the amount of food being thrown away or left to rot. Food waste reduction strategies can also be adopted by Monash University when it comes to catering for events. Careful consideration of the number of guests present will mean the right amount of food is ordered such that there is none left over. If there is, the university could donate this to Foodbank, Secondbite or homeless shelters. Students can also play their own part whilst on campus by correctly disposing of their food waste into the right bins, and the university should consider providing food/compost disposal options as well. I pledge to play my part at home and whilst on campus, to reduce my total greenhouse gas emissions.
I will use a bus or train to go to University everyday. Three days a week, instead of taking the bus from the train station to Uni, I will walk or bike from the train station to Uni to cut down emissions and for my health.
I pledge to ride my bike or run to university every day that I have class, for the rest of the year at the very least. I am aware that many students don't have the privilege of living close enough to campus to bike ride or walk to class. However, even catching public transport rather than driving will significantly reduce emissions when it comes to the daily transport of students to and from university. Now that more students are physically visiting campus after nearly two years of online learning, it is important to remember the environmental impacts of driving to school or work. The idea in walking, bike riding or running is that these methods of transport save energy, produce no emissions, whilst also keeping you fit and isolated from anyone else you may be concerned about carrying COVID-19 on public transport. In addition, over the past couple of years Melbourne city has updated the bike lanes leading into the city, especially from the northern suburbs. Monash University has also played a part in providing more bike lock stations outside the city campus, which is where I attend uni. This community infrastructure exists to make it easier for commuters to make an environmentally conscious decision, every day. Even if I choose to drive one day less a week, this will ultimately have a huge impact in slowing the progress of climate change. I believe that everyone doing their own part, will add up :)
Sustainability is a wicked, interdisciplinary issue. A third of the world's food is wasted due to several reasons. A reason identified in high-income countries is excessive purchases and discarding unaesthetic foods. This issue is estimated at $US 7 billion dollars. To solve this, I will take these actions: 1. I will continue to meal prep four meals worth of food every week and purchase groceries in bulk to reduce unnecessary plastic waste. 2. I am currently employed at a company that develops sustainable packaging for fast-moving consumer goods products and will continue to do so until the end of 2022. 3. I will continue to consume vegetables/fruit without aesthetic bias by buying " the odd bunch" at woollies when available weekly. 4. Before buying more, I will not voluntarily waste food and learn new recipes to consume all the food in my pantry effectively. This will reduce food waste, carbon footprint and overall energy consumption. This is achieved by shopping groceries weekly with my reusable grocery bag and keeping track of what I buy and when it expires using notion. To make this impactful, I share my stories with my friends and hope I can get at least ten friends to start meal prepping weekly and disregard preexisting bias in food aesthetics.
We take for granted that all the people are doing well but a simple hello or good morning or truthful thank you, can always make a huge difference. My step will be to always say something positive, be polite or nice with people in my daily routine, the bus driver, the cashier, colleges, managers, etc.