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The Sustainability Cougars Home Office Program aims to educate the campus community on ways to improve on their sustainable habits. Below we have complied a list of resources to help further educate.

  • Energy

    Managing your home's heating and cooling:

    • Manage the Sun: During warmer months, close blinds, shades and drapes on the sunny side of your home to help keep your home's temperature cooler and reduce the work for your AC. Open shades during cooler months to let the sun warm your home.

    Saving energy with electronics: 

    • Be Aware of Vampires: Even when not in use, products that are plugged in may still suck up energy. These parasitic energy losses are often called “vampire energy.” Unplug devices that aren’t in use, enable “sleep mode” or “eco-mode” on electronics, and use smart power strips to reduce energy wasted by “standby power.”  Learn more about the hidden costs of unused energy.

    Arranging your workspace: 

    • Go Natural: Even when our eyes are focused on your computer screen and not on nature, we can benefit from natural light to lower our use of artificial lighting and reduce eye strain, improve our moods, reduce drowsiness, and improve our focus. 
      The Harvard Business Review conducted a study that concluded the absence of natural light and outdoor views negatively impacts employees.
  • Waste

    Refusing single-use plastics:

    • Say no to single-use plastic. Refuse plastic bags at the store when you have your own bag, take-out cutlery when you have cutlery at home, individually-wrapped produce when there is loose produce available, or free samples of things you never wanted in the first place. Your refusal not only eliminates waste, it also lowers demand, which tells suppliers to produce less.
    • Many plastic containers are made with the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), which may have human health effects. Watch "The Story of Bottled Water" if you are interested in learning more about the impact of plastic water bottles on our environment and our health.


    • Exciting news: If EDCO is your waste hauler,  curbside composting is here! Learn more about curbside composting and see if this service is available in your area.

    Moving to electronic processes:

    • Reduce: Go paperless by using electronic communications, filing systems, and online documents. If you must print, use double-sided printer default settings. 

    Rechargeable batteries and recycling NiMH batteries:

    • Nickel Metal Hydride, or NiMH (AA, AAA, C, D, and 9-volt) batteries contain heavy metals and corrosive materials that when improperly disposed of are bad news for the environment and our health. "Rechargeable batteries have 28 times less impact on global warming, 30 times less impact on air pollution, 9 times less impact on air acidification, and 12 times less impact on water pollution!"
    • Consider using rechargeable batteries instead of single-use batteries. Learn about the benefits of rechargeable batteries and learn how to safely recycle or dispose of batteries.

    Purchasing items manufactured from recycled materials and recycling via curbside collection or drop-off sites:

    • Recycle: Listed last because there are so many alternatives before adding to the waste stream, even if to the recycling system. "Collecting materials is only the first step toward making the recycling process work. Successful recycling also depends on manufacturers making products from recovered materials and, in turn, consumers purchasing products made of recycled materials. Do your part--"close the loop" and buy products made of recycled materials whenever possible."
    • Visit Cal Recycle to see where to recycle batteries, beverage containers, sharps, organic materials, used oil and filters, waste tires, e-waste, paint, mattresses, and carpet AND donate vehicles.

    Post-consumer recycled content:

    • Save the Trees: "As trees grow, they help mitigate climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon in the trees and soil, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. Trees provide many benefits to us, every day. They offer cooling shade, block cold winter winds, attract birds and wildlife, purify our air, prevent soil erosion, clean our water, and add grace and beauty to our homes and communities." The Arbor Day Foundation describes the importance of trees to us and the planet.
    • The manufacture of recycled paper uses less raw materials (wood pulp) energy and water and produces lower carbon emissions than the manufacture of non-recycled paper while reducing the amount of waste going to the landfill – as paper can be recycled 4 to 5 times. With advances in technology and processes, recycled paper is now as white and has the same print performance as non-recycled paper.
  • Health & Wellness

    CSUSM resources:

    Making sure your workspace provides sufficient support and a healthy posture for both desktop and laptop work:

    • To improve wellness and productivity, use ergonomics principles in your home workspace. The most important action you can take for your physical comfort is to pay attention to it and take control by trying new things and finding out what works best for your body, your mind, and your focus. Be mindful that what works for you some of the time may not work for you all of the time. Tips and tricks to learn more about ergonomics at CSUSM.
    • For CSUSM employees interested in a virtual ergonomics consultation.

    Bringing nature into your workspace:

    • Workers in office environments with natural elements such as greenery or sunlight experience a higher level of wellness, and are more productive and more creative. 
    • You can bring nature into your workspace by working from a location with a view of the outdoors, or a houseplant, or by incorporating textured natural materials like exposed wood, dried flowers, pictures of natural landscapes, or even nature-inspired color palettes and shapes. Even when you are focused on your computer screen, you can benefit from an open window, fresh air, and the sounds of nature. There are apps and websites that provide recorded nature sounds like bird songs, rustling leaves, and ocean waves to reduce stress and improve mood and cognitive performance. 
     Taking regular breaks and getting outdoors:
    • Decreasing the amount of time you spend sitting can promote feelings of well-being and enhanced mental health. Taking breaks for regular walks outdoors has been shown to improve enthusiasm and relaxation, and reduce nervousness. Find ways to incorporate more physical activity throughout your day, for example by using a standing desk, taking a walk outdoors during phone calls, or using mini-breaks throughout the day to get moving. Taking breaks and stepping outside can not only improve your state of mind but also your immune function and overall physiological health. 
     Plan your meals ahead and choose healthy foods:
    • As we spend more time at our desks, it is easy to grab whatever is at hand and to eat more than we need. The types of foods we eat can have a huge impact on our health and our ability to get through our workday.
    • Check out Choose My Plate to learn how to eat healthy and explore a plant-based diet.
    Using mindfulness, meditation, or yoga during your workday and free time:
    • Mindfulness is being fully present and engaged in the moment, aware of your thoughts and feelings without distraction or judgment. Meditation is a structured mindfulness exercise that reduces stress, anxiety, pain, and depression as well as improving focus, enhancing creativity, increasing emotional intelligence and resilience, and improving communication
    Taking the time to asses your mental health. Ask yourself these questions:
    • How are you feeling today, really? Physically and mentally.
    • What’s taking up most of your headspace right now?
    • What was your last full meal, and have you been drinking enough water?
    • How have you been sleeping?
    • What have you been doing for exercise?
    • What did you do today that made you feel good?
    • What’s something you can do today that would be good for you?
    • What’s something you’re looking forward to in the next few days?
    • What’s something we can do together this week, even if we’re apart?
    • What are you grateful for right now?
  • Environmental Justice

    Find out whose Native American land you occupy:

    • To find out whose land you are on you can text 1-855-917-5263 with your zip code (takes about 2 seconds) and it will respond with what Native land you are on. 
    • It is important to recognize the history and presence of Indigenous peoples and their enduring relationship to their traditional homelands. It's essential to recognize that most regions in America are unseeded territories. Also, Indigenous practices and traditions can provide valuable insight on how we can be more sustainable and be better stewards of the planet.
    • To further your education, you can explore your local, native organizations and learn what you can do to support them. Check out our CSUSM California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center (CICSC).

    Documentaries and recent books on the topic of environmental justice:

    Support more local, small, and people of color owned businesses:

    • Mega corporations are heavy contributors to the amount of emissions on our planet. By purchasing items locally, and from people of color, you are helping the local economy, the planet, and reducing racial inequality. Also if the small business focuses on sustainability-even better!!