Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

Staying Green in the Face of Increased Obligations

iStock_000009013281XSmallThose involved with SPU will know what I’m referring to with “increased obligations.” School started today, on a date so late in September it began to seem like it wasn’t ever going to happen; as such, I found myself buying basic school supplies like pencils and a notebook twenty minutes before my first class. I might as well have had “PROCRASTINATOR” stamped on my forehead as I waited in line. As hard as it can be to remember the little things that make up a green lifestyle during the summer, it becomes even more difficult when we’re thrown into another level of busy, one that is always brought on by the arrival of textbooks, syllabi, essays, and classrooms to be in at certain times. Things like flicking off light switches and throwing garbage into the right container can easily seem trivial when we have so much to do and so many places to go. Surely it will take diligence to maintain that impressively green lifestyle you’ve cultivated in a less hectic time, but I think there are a few psychological tricks we can use as well to help ourselves out.


I’ve written about this before, so consider this part of the post a recap. The general idea is that if we join forces with another in our green pursuits, it will make it more difficult for us to ignore or forget about the little (but important) aspects of being environmental.

Reward Yourself

In the Psych field, I guess this would be called positive reinforcement, selfie-style. If you can’t find anyone to keep you in check, you might have to create a super-green alternate ego who gives the real you rewards when you do things like unplug chargers and carpool. Maybe you’re able to eat out after a certain amount of “green” days, keeping in mind the amount of money you’re saving on water and electricity.  Or maybe you can get more creative with it, and give yourself half an hour of invisibility time. Just don’t expect others to understand that they can’t see you.

Put Up Signs

Sometimes it’s a simple matter of forgetting, especially when we have a lot on our minds. Writing reminders to yourself about recycling and energy use and sticking them up on frequently seen wall space can function in a very direct and effective way. Be sure to write other signs that say more casual things, so your walls don’t come off unwelcoming.

Challenge Yourself

Odds are, if your schedule has just skyrocketed you into heavy stress, you’re already doing this as a technique to get adjusted. Psyching yourself up seems like a frequent necessity to survive in college, and there’s no reason we can’t include green living in that mental practice, bundling it along with everything else.

If you have any methods for remembering what doesn’t always affect us directly after a big influx of what does, feel free to comment below.


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