The Red & Black
Opinion

An Easy Way to Save the Planet

The average American takes 6.5 showers every week and uses 17.2 gallons of water per shower, amounting to 670.8 gallons of water every month Rather than stop showering entirely (which is not recommended), there is a much easier way to lessen the burden of your water usage on the environment.

Did you know that it takes roughly the same amount of water for the average American to shower for 6 months as it does to produce one pound of beef? That means the water used in producing the meat required for four hamburgers is equivalent to the amount of water wasted by 6 months’ worth of showers!

Going vegetarian or vegan is a great way to reduce water use, improve your diet and also improve your ecological footprint and save cute animals. So what exactly is vegetarianism and veganism?

How are they different? Being a vegetarian means that you do not eat any meat. This means that vegetarians don’t eat pork, beef, chicken, fish, etc. A vegan is someone who does not eat (or sometimes wear/use) any animal products.

For example, a vegan might not eat meat, but they also would not eat honey as it is produced by bees. Vegans also usually do not wear anything leather, wool, or cashmere, as all these products come from animals.

Though it may sound hard, this lifestyle is actually very feasible. Humans are omnivores which means that we can survive on multiple food sources and diets and do not have to rely on meat. Many people go vegan/vegetarian not just because it benefits the planet, but because of the treatment of animals in the meat industry.

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Sticking to Your New Year’s Goals

We’ve all been there. It’s the third week of January, midterms are in full swing, and the last thing on our minds is self-care. There is no time for a full meal, much less a New Year’s resolution.

This year, however, I have vowed to break this cycle. School is often pull-out-your-hair stressful, so my goal has been to set time aside for the things that make me happy. I’m listening to my favorite songs, baking cupcakes, and even going out for light jogs.

My New Year’s resolution: relax and be happy. Picture the places, people, or pursuits that you are passionate about. You are still a kid— you have the time. Now go out and make something happen.

There will be hundreds of tests left to take, let alone projects, essays, and classes. The midterms are no different. Study your hardest, take the test, then forget about it. Many thoughts occurred to me as I searched for healthy distractions.

What are my goals? How do I stay on track for them? Do I have enough time? Will I quit on day one?

The results will vary for everyone. I wanted to be active, but not overdo it. I needed to be entertained, but not melt my brain away. I decided to, as previously mentioned, listen to music, bake, and jog.

Then, in what made for a pleasant surprise, I found there was still time to binge-watch The Office.

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Post-Vacation Fatigue — Why the Long Break Was Too Long

Speaking from personal experience, the first few days or weeks after winter break ends are always the worst. Students are suddenly thrown back into the humdrum of the school environment, forced to quickly overcome bad habits formed during vacation in order to survive midterms a few weeks later.

That transition is difficult and takes a visible toll on the physical and mental well-being of the student body. It may just be me, but it seems that this year’s “travel hangover” hit harder than usual.

In the first week back, you may have noticed significantly more students falling asleep at their desks, or teachers holding less lively class discussions than those from other winter breaks in the past. The 2019-20 winter break was abnormally long — 16 days(!) — which may have seemed like a blessing in December, but certainly does not feel as nice to my fatigued brain right now. As it turns out, having a longer winter vacation may actually hurt students’ health and well-being in the long(er) run.

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