Earth Day: Top Tips for Changing the World

This year’s Earth Day theme asks us to invest in our planet. Our alumni and faculty bring their expertise and suggest actionable steps towards building a healthy world in this year’s edition of the UCD Connections magazine. In this article, Dr Tom Ryan writes that “87% of adults in Ireland recognise the importance of the environment as an asset for our country.” If this is the case, why not turn this awareness into action this Earth Day? 


What changes can you make in the areas of…


Food systems influence many environmental factors. How is it sourced, processed, and distributed? Did you know that one-third of all the food that is produced globally every year goes to waste? By making small changes to your diet, you can make a big difference to our planet. You can try eating more plants and eating less meat, buying local and in-season, and reducing food waste. All of these can help you create sustainable eating habits, expand your horizons, and even try new foods! Learn more about the role of food, health and sustainable lifestyle from the UCD Institute for Food and Health lecture series which seeks to harness the expertise of researchers to future-proof global food systems.


Against the backdrop of global energy consumption concerns, one of the unifying themes of our time is our collective responsibility to move towards ‘net zero’. While there are small steps we can take like avoiding long haul flights, turning down the thermostat, and unplugging unused equipment, we need to think bigger in order to save energy and avoid unnecessary CO2 emissions! We need to invest in strategies to cut greenhouse gas emissions to an absolute minimum, so remaining emissions can be reabsorbed from the atmosphere. Learn about UCD researchers working in this area, by visiting the UCD Energy Institute website and exploring the UCD-led carbon neutral dairy farming project.


Spring cleaning is often on our minds at this time of year. What have you gathered that you’d like to get rid of? Think responsibly about how you dispose of things – can it be passed on, sold, or donated? And before you go fill the presses or wardrobes again, take time. Is there a way to reuse or repurpose something you already have? Before you buy new, check to see if you could borrow the item or if you need it, or why not try to source it second hand? By thinking ahead and making more conscious choices in our purchases and consumption, we can be more sustainable with our waste, too. Get started with UCD Green Campus, including the UCD Clothes Swap, The Great Donate, and tips on repurposing materials around your house. 


What inspiration can you take from this into your own life? Small acts, when multiplied, can change the world for the better.