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Small Contributions

Lucas shares some study resources that double as tools to help the environment.

Lucas shares some study resources that double as tools to help the environment.

Last (school) year, I wrote a blog post about some environmentally-friendly dorm essentials I recommend. Consider this post a kind of sequel: at first I was just going to write about some helpful study resources I’ve been using this term, but then I noticed a pattern — a number of them double as small ways to contribute to a healthier planet, too!

Now, like last time, these are all little, simple things, and they’re in no way going to “solve” such a huge, complicated issue. But also like last time, I still think that something is better than nothing. While I’m no expert in the field (yet), I feel like a great way to contribute is to incorporate your support into regular parts of your pre-existing routines. That way, you don’t necessarily need to remember any new things in order to make a regular difference — it’ll already be built-in to your daily life!

So, without further ado, here are a handful of resources that’ll help your planet as well as your studies.


So, it’s the 21st century. You’re a student. Tell me, do you use the internet?

If you answered yes, then, believe it or not, there’s a way to turn all those searches into trees. Yes, literal trees, where they’re needed most. It’s an incredibly simple way to do your part in supporting reforestation: literally just . . . keep using the internet. But through this carbon-negative search engine.


But what if there were a way to turn your non-digital study time into trees as well? Well, there is. I’ve been using Forest as an iOS app for years now, but only recently noticed what is now by far my favorite feature. The app works by having you set a timer for however long you want to focus. It then plants cute little “trees” that grow on your screen over that period of time. The app keeps you on task by “killing” your “trees” if you leave the app before you’ve done your time. Already a great, clever way to keep yourself off your phone when you need to get some work done.

There’s more, though: plant enough “trees,” and Forest will plant a real one! It’s one thing to discourage yourself from distraction through the negative-reinforcement “death”s of adorable digital animations, but another thing entirely to motivate your work through positive reinforcement in the form of real, tangible contributions to the planet.


Now this one’s the simplest: just practice your vocabulary. Every time you answer a question right, ten grains of rice are donated to those in need.

There is simply no reason not to do this during your free time. Study and save the world!

Lucas is in his sophomore year at Carleton, bringing with him a passion for all things nerdy and a talent for overthinking and awkwardness (and self-deprecation). He hails from Pasadena, California, and yes, he realizes it gets cold out here. He currently sees himself majoring in Physics, although he hopes to explore Cinema and Media Studies, Chemistry, Economics, and Computer Science (among many other subjects) as well. He misses his bearded dragon. Meet the other bloggers!