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7 ways to live more sustainably in 2020

At ESEI, we’re always hungry for knowledge. And since sustainability is one of our core values, we’d like to help our students learn more about it. 

Throughout the years, we’ve introduced several initiatives to promote sustainability at our school. For example, we recycle paper whenever possible and we’re working hard on reducing our paper consumption. We’ve also installed drinking fountains and provide our students with metal bottles that they can refill to reduce plastic waste. And there’s so much more we can do.  

In the wake of the devastating Australian bushfires, we find ourselves thinking more and more about what we could do as individuals to save the planet from a climate catastrophe. 

Yes, we do need to take action on a global level, craft new sustainability laws and get the world’s biggest organisations and stakeholders involved. But we can start today at the grassroots. Here are 7 ways to start living more sustainably now!

1. Say no to single-use plastic

This is probably not the first time you’ve been given this piece of advice, but it’s so important we can’t help but reiterate it. Each year, 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean. The scope of plastic pollution that this has caused over the past few decades is inconceivable. It affects everything from sea life to land animals and humans. 

Small changes to your daily habits can be super helpful. Instead of buying bottled water, use a biodegradable water filter like TAPP Water. Take your own produce bags – for example, these stylish ones by Bitsy Bags –  to the supermarket. When you order food on a delivery app, leave a comment telling them to hold the plastic cutlery. It’s really that easy!

Remember: it seldom takes us more than a few minutes to drink an entire bottle of water. However, it can take up to 450 years for that plastic bottle to decompose. Let’s do the best we can to stop this vicious cycle in 2020!

2. Drive less – or give up your car altogether

Transport is responsible for 30% of the EU’s total CO2 emissions, and almost three-quarters of that come from cars and other road vehicles. Now, we obviously can’t all switch to Teslas or other electric cars overnight, but what we can do is rethink our habits and try to cut down on emissions wherever possible. 

If you’re truly conscious about the environment, consider settling down in a city that doesn’t require you to own a car. Barcelona, for instance, is a super walkable, bikeable and “scooterable” city, and the public transportation network is great. Even for people who live outside the bounds, trains can be a viable alternative to cars. And, if you’re going on a day-trip or a long-weekend adventure, you can always opt for a ridesharing service such as the ones listed in our recent blog post on Barcelona’s mobility scene

3. Eat more plants

Recent studies have shown that animal agriculture has a much more significant impact on climate change than we used to think. In fact, industrial livestock farming, land use and soil disruption are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than power generation!

Knowing this, reducing your meat intake is one of the best things you can do for the health of our planet. Swapping one meal a day for a plant-based meal already makes a huge difference. You can also start with a popular challenge like Veganuary or Meatless Mondays. 

There’s a rising number of Barcelona startups trying to curb industrial farming by providing delicious meat alternatives that anyone can enjoy. Check out Heura Foods for tasty plant-based chicken, hamburgers and meatballs!

4. Save on energy – and choose green wherever possible

Fossil fuel power plants are the next biggest contributors to climate change. While we can’t eradicate them altogether (just yet), what we can do is reduce our energy consumption wherever possible. 

So, in 2020, start finally heeding your grandma’s advice: turn off the lights, the heating, the AC, and all your electronic devices when not using them. If you have the opportunity, it’s also a good idea to switch to a green energy provider. In Barcelona and other parts of Spain, HolaLuz offers 100% green, planet-saving energy delivered straight to your electric cables.

Natural gas and renewable energy sources are actually becoming more profitable – Spain, for example, has dramatically reduced its use of coal in the past year. We like the direction that this is heading!

5. Fly less – or offset your carbon footprint

It’s tough to admit because we all love travelling so much, but the truth is: flying already accounts for about 2.5% of global carbon dioxide emissions and it’s growing at an unprecedented rate. In fact, by 2050, aviation could take up a quarter of our carbon budget

If there’s no way you can avoid travelling, one way to give back to the planet is to offset your carbon footprint using a website like My Climate. Their offsetting service allows you to calculate your carbon footprint and pay a certain amount which will then be donated to organisations that support sustainability projects. Some airlines have also started offsetting their own emissions, so check your carrier’s website for more details. 

6. Support sustainable businesses

In our consumerist society, we vote with our money. One of the best ways to give back to our planet and halt climate change in its tracks is to support businesses that care and increase the demand for sustainable products and practices. 

Don’t just conform to the status quo. Challenge it! Stop buying products that come in excessive single-use packaging, and choose ones that use recycled or biodegradable containers instead. Find companies that donate some of their proceeds to environmental organisations. Buy clothes that are made from recycled ocean plastic, like these running clothes by The Running Republic, an activewear brand from Barcelona.

And don’t forget: the most sustainable thing you can do it simply to consume less. 

7. Start your own sustainability business

This may sound like a bit of a stretch at first – but why not? If you’re an entrepreneur at heart, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try building a business that puts sustainability first. 

There are so many great examples of environmentally-conscious and ethical startups in Barcelona. If saving the planet is something that you feel strongly about, why not channel your entrepreneurial energies into it? You can help others join your mission by creating a sustainable product or service. 

One thing’s for sure: if you’re studying at ESEI, you’re already on the right track towards becoming an entrepreneur: one that even Greta Thunberg would be proud of. 

If you’re interested in starting your own sustainable business, check out our Master in Digital Entrepreneurship programme. You can find out more information on our application page or get in touch with our friendly team here

This year, we are putting even more effort into sustainability and going green at ESEI. Let us know if you have any ideas for projects or initiatives that we could make happen with the help of our students. Get in touch now!

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