Contributed by Amanda Anastasio, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.
At this point in time, human consumption of the natural resources on earth is progressing beyond the planet’s capacity to regenerate them. This means we all need to take daily action in decreasing our personal usage of these resources.
The good news? By doing your part you can achieve a healthier planet and a healthier social life! When we treat the earth well, we are increasing the quality of life for our fellow humans and are involved in stimulating social interaction and forming natural bonds with each other. For five simple ways that greener living can stimulate your social life, keep reading…
Join a student group with green intentions
Student green groups are popping up on college campuses nationwide as more schools join the effort to be earth-friendly. You can join and help organize events on campus to inspire students to participate in environmentally conscious endeavors. You could even take initiative and spark an interest in a friendly competition between dorms to see who can recycle the most or who can use the least amount of energy or water. This type of competition is actually unifying and will foster solidarity in each other, your new friendships, and your dedication to a better planet.
Go on a green date
How does sorting through old clothes with that special someone sound? I know it doesn’t scream romance, but studies show that participating in new activities as a couple can increase the bond between you. Going through and donating your old clothes together, volunteering time cleaning up a local park, or planting a community garden can strengthen and further ignite any sparks that might be forming. Yes, you will not only be spending enjoyable time together; your date will have a bigger purpose than both of you – now that’s a turn-on! Your combined efforts to green the earth can add to interests you share and lead to more dates! Your love interest will appreciate your dating creativity and ingenious ideas for greening the earth. Your relationship and the planet will be in full bloom!
Take mass transit
New York City residents save $19 billion a year due to the simple fact that they drive less than Americans living in other cities. On average, people who ride transit save $9,000 dollars a year. That’s not too shabby, especially thinking about all those loans you have to pay back! Jumping on the bus or train will reduce carbon dioxide emissions, save you some green, and it’s an excellent way to meet fellow commuters going your way. The same people take the same forms of transportation to the same places every day. No doubt there are a ton of things you have in common. In such close quarters, conversations come naturally all the time. Just think, as you look around the subway car, these are your neighbors, classmates, fellow gym goers, etc. It might take a little people-watching and some courage, but you could be making friends and saving the planet all in your morning commute!
Don’t miss Mother Nature’s goodies
She is enticing you with her beauty. Be spontaneous! Grab some buddies and head out – it’s a great way to think about how nature affects your everyday life. A hike through the woods, a bike ride on a nearby trail, a picnic in the sun lend themselves to natural lifting of spirits and friendship-forming. Even better, take it up a notch and do a nighttime hike or scavenger hunt. Extend an open invite to a group of people to join you in being entertained by Mother Nature, or make new memories with old friends. You can do all this while showing your appreciation for the natural world and increasing earth awareness in others.
Eat a vegetarian meal (and embrace your feminine side?)
According to a French study, men consume more meat and processed foods than women, and women eat more fruits and vegetables. Growing fruits and vegetables uses less land and water and produces more carbon dioxide than the resource-draining meat industry. Tonight, grab your gal pals and get stirred up by a vegetarian delight. Or have a different kind of girls’ night or “girl-inspired” night with an earth-reviving veggie potluck. Bonus tip: If you want to decrease the chemicals and pollutants in your body from commercially grown produce, grow your own organic veggies!
Yes, being a keen green has major social advantages! As a population, college students are increasingly eco-friendly. Students are the most likely to use social media and technology for communication, business, study, and leisure instead of wasteful and resource-sucking paper products. Keep it up, guys!
Share your thoughts in the comments below on what you or your college are doing to be involved in Earth Day efforts, or on how you show the Earth love year-round! Click here for more Social Intelligence posts.