A Sustainable Day in the Life: Working From Home

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

Our daily routines and habits have been turned upside down from this unexpected and tragic pandemic. While it’s easy to lose sight of our goals and sustainable practices, there are still plenty of ways to be eco-friendly as a college student at home. It’s also an opportunity to create new sustainable habits, whether it be composting, thrifting clothes online, or preparing plant based meals!

A friend recently told me that being quarantined is a perfect opportunity to take time to reflect on our lives and figure out what is truly important to us without our usual daily distractions. This year’s Virtual Earth Day celebrations highlighted the opportunities we have for change as life starts to return to “normal.” Greta Thunberg posted: “There is a lot of talk about returning to ‘normal’ after the COVID-19 outbreak. But normal was a crisis.” Normal was us ignoring the enormous environmental problems that loom over us, as our climate crisis continues to worsen.

However, National Geographic’s article, Why we’ll succeed in saving the planet from climate change, gave me some hope.

We can take this as an opportunity to make those changes, and reimagine our own lives on a smaller scale. Now more than ever, is a great time to develop new habits as we have so much extra time to focus on our lives! Many college students are still in classes until late June, but those of us who have finished our school work may have internships or jobs that require similar habits.

Here is what I’ve been doing on a (semi)daily basis to keep up my sustainable practices:

9:00am: Wake up & check some positive news to start the day off on a positive note. (Would recommend John Krasinski’s YouTube channel, ‘Some Good News’!)

9:30am: Make some breakfast: smoothies, oatmeal, berries & granola are some great plant-based options

10:00am-1pm: Online class or work: I’ve transitioned to mostly electronic notes and opt to do online versions of assignments instead of printing them. If your professors are asking you to print things unnecessarily, I’d encourage you to speak up and ask if you can submit an online version!

1:30pm: Lunch: I like to eat my lunch outside and take a break from being on my computer and phone so I’m not staring at screens all day.

2:00pm: Exercise, go for a walk with my dog, color, garden

4:00pm: More online class / work…

7:00pm: Cook a nice plant-based meal with Imperfect Produce and food from local stores to support local businesses through this pandemic.

8:00pm: Make sure to unplug chargers if my devices are fully charged, and turn off lights in rooms I’m not using.

10:00pm: Plan things I want to try throughout the week or on the weekend when I have time for some bigger projects!

Here's a couple projects I’ve done / hope to do during quarantine:

  • Tie dyeing clothes with dyes you can find in your home! (Turmeric, beets, avocado pits, etc.)

  • Planting flowers, herbs, & other easy crops

  • Making my own nut butter, pesto, nut milk, etc.

  • Sorting through old clothes and selling them on Depop/Poshmark

Some other habits you and your family can start to practice:

  • Encourage your family to start composting if you don’t already!

  • Try cooking new plant-based meat alternatives

  • Try to reduce your waste (observe how fast your trash fills up)

  • Find new uses for used items. For example, rags can be used instead of paper towels and old jars can be used as glasses or to store food

  • Resist the urge to online shop fast fashion companies (instead, try to find local shops from which you can pick up orders directly or that have a small shipping carbon footprint)

The Bottom Line: Use this time as an opportunity to develop new practices and maintain your eco-friendly habits as much as you can!

“We have the chance to reimagine cities. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to reimagine.” - @earth, Instagram

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