Coming back home for holidays I spent time with my family, friends and a lot of people that are not familiar with the meaning of sustainability and what we, as students of TU Delft, know. Being in the Netherlands, a country where sustainability is widely promoted, and getting together with other students who study about the sustainable development, makes us believe that everybody would think in the same way.
However this is not true, as not many people from other countries have realized the importance of sustainability. Countries like Greece, Italy, Spain, etc. even though they have departments of sustainability in the universities, the researches and their outcomes stay inside the universities. Therefore, common people stay uninformed and continue not paying much attention on how much energy they spend and their overall (un-)sustainable behavior. For example, the lights stay on even when nobody is in the room, all transportations are done by car, hot water is spent even when not necessary and a lot of food is being cooked and eventually wasted – mainly due to the large family dinners during vacations.
Acknowledging the environmental consequences is the first step, acknowledging the ways to have an environmentally friendly behavior is the second and most important step. Simple things, like turning off the lights, use the public transport, use the hot water wisely and reuse the food that is left by making new combinations will help to start a new way of living while protecting the environment and the sources. What is more, if the bills of electricity, water and gas are not included in the rent of the house (as happens in many cases in Germany, Netherlands, Switcherland, etc.), will help people understand how much energy they spend and what they should reduce.
Thus, whenever we are around people that don’t know about sustainability, we shouldn’t miss the chance of informing them and spreading the word! Take advantage of your holiday to help people understand and save the environment.