Practicing sustainability is challenging but not impossible

Solar-paneled charging stations in front of Graham Center. Picture by Alba Rosa/PantherNOW

Ariana Rodriguez | Contributing Writer

As each year goes by, the climate crisis worsens. We’re now seeing heat index numbers reaching triple digits and it feels like we can’t do anything to combat our impending doom. However, I’ve learned that minor, sustainable choices make a difference. 

I notice students here do not recycle, mainly in the dining halls. Students constantly throw landfill in recycling containers, which contaminates the entire batch. Although complicated, I’d like to encourage Panthers to practice sustainability feasibly.

Rachelle Moya of the Green Campus Initiative had a lot to say about the importance of recycling, especially on a college campus. 

“There are not enough good environmental practices and many students don’t even know how to properly recycle along with the lack of resources to do so,” Moya says. “FIU held a sustainability fair earlier this year and while I think it’s a great step forward, it needs to be capitalized on and more awareness should be brought to our student body.”

However, swapping everyday items with a sustainable alternative isn’t practical for many students. Many of these eco-friendly items are pricey by a mile. For example, a single reusable silicone Q-tip costs $12, while a pack of 500 is $1.25 at the dollar store. 

Remember that just because it’s reusable doesn’t mean it’s unhygienic – thoroughly cleaning reusable items does the trick. 

Still, the price difference can be shocking even if it saves money in the long run, and it’s understandable why so many people shrug off sustainability and don’t give eco-friendly alternatives a chance.

But it’s not impossible to practice either. FIU has done eco-friendly giveaways such as metal straws and reusable utensils. And it’s best to invest in a sustainable product you know you’d use rather than disposing of single-use items, like eco-friendly utensils.

Further, there are many items students have that go to unnecessary waste. On move-out day, the garbage rooms flood with clothes and other things used only for a few months and will now rot in a landfill. 

Rather than impulsively buying items from Amazon or Shein, students should ponder if their purchase is worth it. Whether big or small, think about how it will change your life in the long run and if it’s worth it. These are questions students should ask before purchasing anything, hefty or not.

One target students hit is thrifting and purchasing second-hand clothes. Even though thrifting gained popularity due to its aesthetic, it’s still something that positively contributes to changing the ecosystem.

Being sustainable isn’t just spending $30 on shampoo and conditioner bars that claim to be eco-friendly, but constantly practicing it daily. It’s best to be wary of overconsumption and know exactly what you have at home. There have been so many times when I come to my dorm after a grocery haul, not realizing I already have strawberries. 

It’s not uncommon to see these poor practices, especially in young adults just learning to live independently, which is why grocery lists are important since they can help combat that dilemma and prevent financial losses.

For students that dorm, it can be difficult to recycle since that’s not an option. Panthers have one trash chute that piles everything in the same place. By including recycling bins for Panthers, FIU would emphasize the importance of keeping our campus clean and promoting sustainable living. 

Remember, sustainable living is a mindset and a series of conscious choices. The changing climate concerns us and we should start adopting this attitude on sustainability to help our environment.


The opinions presented on this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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