Sustainable practices to prepare for Earth Day during a pandemic

Illustration by Natalie Pimentel | The Signal

Panthers will be celebrating Earth Day indoors this year, and The Signal would like to help by offering a list of ways to practice sustainable living during COVID-19.

The threat of the virus demonstrates how society can come together to protect healthcare systems and its most vulnerable, according to Aaron Durnbaugh, the director of sustainability at Loyola University Chicago.

Loyola University released an article by Durnbaugh on how students can practice sustainability during a crisis. 

“We are all adapting to a new situation where we try to reduce our exposure and maintain our productivity and [our physical and mental] health,” he said. 

Here are some ways Panthers can practice sustainability, despite COVID-19.

Back to basics: The good ole’ two-wheeler

With social distancing and lack of exercise, bicycles are a good transportation alternative for students, according to CityLab.

“In a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus, people must stay home, aside from strictly limited essential trips for food and medicine and a daily outing for exercise,” CityLab reported.

In fact, New York City took measures into their own hands and switched to a two-wheeler instead by over 52%

A Bandana Facemask? It’s their time. 

The CDC recommends a cloth face covering that does not have to be a surgical mask. 

The mask can be made from any household cloth, such as a bandana that fits snugly around the face. 

With limited resources and the low shelf life of the masks, homemade masks are an alternative for students to save money and practice a green lifestyle. On April 4, The Los Angeles Times wrote an article about how to keep your face masks clean.

Start cookin’ good lookin’

“We waste about 25% of the food we buy,” Christopher Jones, a lead developer at the CoolClimate Network, said in an article by The New York Times.

The article advises eating foods “lower on the food chain” and switching to more vegetable and grain options. 

Start reducing your carbon footprint by using the food you bought in a panic from the grocery stores. Your wallet and the planet will thank you.

It’s getting hot in here: Turn off the thermostat

Georgia’s weather can be unpredictable, so it is advised to use thermostats sparingly.

Harvard’s former Dean of Administration Francis X. McCrossan said that minimizing energy is one of the simplest and most effective means of operating costs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

As summer approaches closer, turn the heat down and open up the windows or lower the temperature in the house. While sleeping or eating, turn it off.

“Climate change is such a slow-moving emergency that it is a challenge to see the urgency in the same light,” Durnbaugh said. “Perhaps, we can learn from this experience, mitigate climate impacts and build resilient systems with a new sense of importance post-coronavirus.”