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SDG 13: Climate action

Venura Weerasinghe's picture


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.


Shriya Chawla's picture

ditch plastic straws

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.


Hannah Nishikubo's picture

reduce plastic pollution

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.


Grace Bennetts's picture

reducing food waste

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.


Joshna Baskar's picture

train/bus to uni everyday

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.


Hifzhan Hisham's picture

dressing for success

Fashion is very popular among all members of society. We must realise the environmental impacts our fashion choices carry, however. Purchasing sustainably includes not buying from fast-fashion retailers, buying secondhand through op shops or websites such as depop. We can also contribute by instead of throwing away old clothes: reselling them, donating them or repurposing them


Jasmine Vardi's picture

fashion sustainability

I have always been interested in fashion and wanting to look my best when I go out. However, the industry of fast fashion is unethical, toxic for the environment and wasteful. In the past, I have bought clothes from these fast fashion brands without realising and now want to go to Op Shops and other repurposed clothing stores to stay away from fast fashion industries.


Ahnaf Ibn Sayeed's picture

Just keep climbing

Living on the 9th floor, I have to take the elevator quite frequently (four times a day at best). Recently, I met someone who said that they stopped using the elevator altogether and only takes the stairs. This really inspired me as I want to have a healthier lifestyle while also reducing my carbon footprint. Following his example, I have been taking the stairs for the past few weeks and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon.


Yurika McGuire's picture

better construction materials

I am going to take a step by informing and educating people to replace environmentally harmful construction materials with the existing recycled/bio-materials. I am an architectural student, and I have a great interest in sustainable construction materials. Building and construction industry occupy roughly 40 % of the world's global carbon emissions. The industry is responsible for almost half of the world's carbon emissions, and I consider a massive change is required right now. I have been learning about recycled materials and bio-materials by myself since when I was in my first-year, and I am now undertaking a unit that gives me an opportunity to work with mycelium in partnership with a furniture company K-Five. Mycelium(route of mushroom) is a bio-material that can be used in a budling as a construction material due to its durability. I am learning its growing techniques, experimental approaches and production methods through hands-on workshops and iterative prototyping. As I now have a great understanding of bio-materials and some other sustainable/renewable materials, I am going to actively attend some exhibitions and events with my tutor and her research assistance, educating people about how much potential bio-materials already have. There are so many renewable materials that are ready for practical construction use right away. What we have to do now is to let people know about the existing alternatives for environmentally harmful materials such as concrete, and start replacing the toxic to renewable. The 40% the industry has can be reduced remarkably by small steps.


Nicolani Susanto's picture

Recycling 101

While reducing use or switching to environmentally friendly options is most often best practice, it can be difficult to actually implement for many everyday items used in our daily routines from dental hygiene to food packaging to dish washing. Many of these items are also widely known as being non-recyclable, or are mistakenly recycled resulting in contamination of recycled products. My pledge is to educate myself on which products can be recycled through the council using their website, and to research programs that offer ways to recycle other supposed non-recyclables. For example, REDcycle recycles soft plastics and has drop off points at major supermarkets to make it easier for individuals to participate in the program. Using this information, I will create a reference for myself and my family to ensure that we are recycling properly, and check that these guides are being followed. Following on from this, I will encourage and remind them to separate their soft plastics so we can drop them off when we go grocery shopping. Additionally, I will seek out programs that we can join to begin recycling items that cannot be recycled through the council.



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