Photo:  St. Georges Bay, Malta (26 March 2014) by Riku Kettunen (CC license)
Photo: St. Georges Bay, Malta (26 March 2014) by Riku Kettunen (CC license)

By Rebecca Ferrante

I am from a small country situated in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta, which is rich in history and unique ancient treasures.

At St. Margaret College Girls Secondary School Zejtun, my favourite subjects are the science subjects. I have been interested in science ever since I can remember. I have learnt that all things in life depend upon science. During my free time over the last four years I have also really liked attending drama lessons.

The reason I have chosen to write about sustainable living is because seeing such a beautiful island getting polluted by waste is devastating. Therefore, I have felt the urge to do something about it. I hope that you find this article interesting and useful.

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Us? We? We are just students! How can we contribute to sustainable living?

Yes, in fact, there are a lot of things, some of them really small, that we can do to have a sustainable life. Some of us students think that the government is the one who should take care of our environment.

It’s our environment… hello! So we should take care of it.

When still very young, many students start dreaming about the age when to get a driving license. Few of us actually think about the negative impacts this mode of transportation does on the environment.

Although it is the most comfortable way to travel, no one is denying this, the fumes vehicle exhaust actually contributes to the major air pollutants. Such pollutants include nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide; which contribute to acid rain. Another gas which is emitted is carbon dioxide which is a pollutant that leads to the greenhouse effect which causes global warming.

Most of us became dependent on cars even to travel for short distances.

There are healthier alternatives to do this; such as, for example, cycling and walking.  When long distances are ahead, one can then opt for carpooling or else use public transport. Here, the role of the government comes to play. It should make sure that the public transport system is reliable and effective so that more students are encouraged to use it.

Another important issue that contributes to sustainable living is litter.

Nearly all of us have heard about recycling. We students are informed more than others since today we receive a lot of information from our educators. Recycling in schools has become a day to day routine, for example. Yet, there is still much to do when it comes to choosing products.

Few of us take note of the type of packaging used.

Many students normally come to the conclusion that the better the product looks, the better the product.  However, packaging is just an eye catcher; it does not make your product better. Actually, the more the packaging, the more the product cost, the more litter produced and thus the more land pollution. So think twice before choosing. Think sustainably!

Dieting is also an important issue. Dieting? What does it have to do with the environment?

Go greener and you will live more sustainably. Nowadays, most of the food that we consume comes from bad agricultural practices. They are harmful short term techniques leading to over-fishing, deforestation and the use of excessive fertilisers and pesticides which is causing further soil erosion and nutrient imbalance in our water.

As individuals and communities we can decrease these harmful trends by supporting locally-grown food, thereby reducing the pollution that arises from transportation of food between countries by eating organic food and checking the product labels. Checking labels means making a choice to look for certified food products, as these are normally more sustainable.

There is a never ending list of how we students can contribute to sustainable living. If all of us took part in minor things, such as those outlined above, the combined input of actions will be even greater.

Others, like our parents, will then follow our example and the result will be a major contribution to sustainable living!

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Rebecca is 15 years old and attends St. Margaret’s College Girls’ Secondary, Zejtun, Malta

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