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Students are constantly learning how they can make a difference in the world.

There are classes and clubs focused on various social issues, and these places teach students how they can change these issues. One popular cause that has been popular in recent years is the helping the environment and preserving our resources.

There are several ways that you – yes, YOU- can help protect this planet we call Earth.

What you do makes a difference! Need proof? Calculate your environmental footprint to see how much impact just one person has one the world’s resources, and adjust accordingly.

1. Use Reusable Bags

Plastic grocery-type bags that get thrown out end up in landfills or in other parts of the environment. These can suffocate animals who get stuck in them or may mistake them for food. Also, it takes a while for the bags to decompose.

Whether you are shopping for food, clothes or books, use a reusable bag. This cuts down on litter and prevents animals from getting a hold of them. There are even some stores (such as Target) that offer discounts for using reusable bags!

These bags are useful for things other than shopping as well. I have heard of people using reusable bags when they move!

If you forget your bags at home, buy a new one. Better yet, keep a couple bags in your car so you never leave home without them (just make sure you remember you put them there)!

If you are in a position where you need to use the plastic bags, reuse them the next time you go shopping, or use them for something else. Just do not be so quick to throw them out!

There are some states that are outlawing or charging extra for using plastic bags. Using reusable bags helps the environment AND your budget!

2. Print as Little as Necessary

We have all had that teacher that wanted us to have a copy of every single reading when we come to class, or that professor who wanted a hard copy of the ten-page paper that is due next week. These are fine but it seems as if they do not understand that using so much paper is detrimental to the environment.

What can you do? Ask your teacher if you can bring a laptop or an e-reader to class so that you can download the reading onto that and read it from there. If not, print on both sides of the page to reduce the amount of paper used.

If you need to turn in a long paper, ask the professor if it is okay to print on both sides of the page and explain why you’re asking. Most teachers care about the environment as well and would be willing to allow you to do so.

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