This is my first time taking an Urban Studies course since attending UIC and I have already learned many aspects about being sustainable and/or unsustainable impacts individuals have on this planet. Aside from that I believe I in both ways consider my actions to be both sustainable and unsustainable. Ever since I can remember my mom has always had two garbage cans in the kitchen, one for purely just garbage and another for just recycling. I have gotten into the habit of rinsing off any plastic cans, or any recyclable item and then throwing it into the recycling bin. Even when my friends come over I always have to correct them into which trash can it must go in. I have become so adapted to recycling without actually trying because how I was raised and will carry this habit when I live on my own.
Another sustainable impact is the use of public transportation, I have depended on public transportation to get me to and from school my four years here at UIC. Considering, public transportation benefits because it helps reduce energy consumption, greenhouse gases and other pollutants. It also, Public transportation reduces the number of cars in street, and thus helps improve air quality, alleviate traffic congestion, and noise. Makes commuting less stressful. Other places I use public transportation is whenever I go downtown. However, use public transportation can also be considered limited because there’s only so many places one bus/train route can take you and can be time consuming. Therefore, I depend on my car to take me to work and other places I need to go. Sometimes it can even be walking distance but considering the cold winters in Chicago, it is impossible to walk to places during the winter.
There are several outside factors that make it difficult for me to control that would make me more sustainable. For instance, energy consumption is a big factor. We live in a world where we technology is constantly evolving, social media follows everywhere and like most people we are all hooked on our phones. I charge my phone once or maybe even twice a day because in my mind it’s a “necessity.” It increases my energy consumption because I have to charge it more than I actually should or need to. Another outside factor I can think of is the high costs of buying any energy efficient products. For example, buying Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs) cost a bit more at the store than old light bulbs. In my household for the most part we use CFLs. Here in Illinois, it is among one of the states to have a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) policy mandating that a certain portion of the state’s electricity come from clean energy sources. Now if only policies were placed in households, it could make a difference to the world. There are other things like refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers that come at higher price. These are some common products that not every household can afford to buy energy efficient product.
Overall, for every individual to become more sustainable is not entirely possible but changes can happen if people are more aware. I believe the best way to start is with young children (who are our future) to teach them sustainability and can easily keep those habits with them as they grow.
“File:Earth Recycle.svg.” – Wikimedia Commons. Web. 28 Jan. 2016. <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Earth_recycle.svg>
Jerpi, Laura. “Environmental Benefits of Public Transportation.”Environmental Benefits of Public Transportation. Web. 27 Jan. 2016. <http://source.southuniversity.edu/environmental-benefits-of-public-transportation-31178.aspx>.
“Light Bulb Showdown: LED vs. CFL vs. Incandescent – The Simple Dollar.” The Simple Dollar Light Bulb Showdown LED vs CFL vs Incandescent Comments. 2015. Web. 28 Jan. 2016. <http://www.thesimpledollar.com/the-light-bulb-showdown-leds-vs-cfls-vs-incandescent-bulbs-whats-the-best-deal-now-and-in-the-future/>