By Jessica Warren
We all love a VK in the SU, it’s almost expected of every Cardiff Student, as much as risking our lives outside Hoffi Coffi and pulling an all-nighter in the ASSL. Yet as of this term, downing your VK has been revolutionised. The No Straw Stand, in collaboration with CUSU’s Ethics and Environmental Officer have passed a motion to only use biodegradable straws, operating a policy whereby straws are only given out if you ask for them.
The No Straw Stand was set up by Environmental Geography students, Nia Jones and Douglas Lewns in August of last year. Established with other nationwide movements in mind, they became aware there was nothing was happening in Cardiff. In an interview with Nia, she stated that “we knew [Cardiff] could be a great place since so many restaurants and cafes have come to the city in the last 5-10 years”. As well as writing to the various businesses, they have also “set up a website (nostrawstand.com), adding to the list of businesses who refuse to use single-use plastic straws or are cutting their use dramatically”.
In the wake of Blue Planet II, a discussion is growing among society as to how we can alter our everyday behaviours to help mitigate against climate change, and make a small but positive difference in the world. The smallest changes are the easiest to maintain, and maintain them we must. Climate change is an undeniable crisis facing the planet; glaciers are melting at an exponential rate, sea levels are rising, and becoming more polluted at that, and freak weather incidents are occurring more often. All of this is going to continue unless we do something to alter our daily decisions.
Heading out to lectures with a bit of preparation, bringing a packed lunch not only saves money, but also reduces packaging. Speaking of saving money, why pay for water when it comes out of your tap? Changing to a reusable water bottle is an easy habit to form, much like keeping a rolled-up carrier bag with you for when you go food (or alcohol) shopping in Lidl after lectures. As students, we are all trying to save money where we can, so simple actions such as turning off lights, as well as turning devices off at the plug socket rather than leaving them on standby will reduce house bills. With apps such as Depop growing in popularity, we can buy and sell second-hand clothes, without trekking to Albany road for the charity shops. Plus, how else are you going to maintain that edgy vibe in the lecture theatre without Depop?
As light-hearted as these changes may sound, if we all put a little consideration into the environmental impact of our actions, we can live more sustainably within the planet’s means. If everyone in the world (seven billion people) lived at the same level of consumption as we do in the west, we would need four planet Earths. By looking at our ecological footprint, which is considerably higher than many other countries, although not as bad as the US, we still live beyond our means.
Whilst we are unlikely to all become eco-warriors overnight, it’s important to recognise that living sustainably is something we should all strive for, whether that be downing your VK with a biodegradable straw, buying second-hand clothes and skipping the meal deal, there’s always more we can do for our planet.