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4 Ways Online Education Can Help the Environment

Online education is a growing trend and continues to make waves in the education system in the United States and across the globe. There are many benefits to taking courses online, such as having control over your own schedule and being able to study from anywhere in the world. However, whether you’re already an online student or are considering taking up an online course, you may not have considered one other important benefit: online education can also aid in reducing negative environmental footprints. If you’re considering taking an online class and also want to do your part to preserve the planet, don’t forget to factor in these important environmental benefits:

1. Cut down air pollution.

Avoiding the pain of getting to and from classes throughout the day is one of the major perks of taking online courses. If you want, you can do all your work from home and it’s rarely necessary to use a personal vehicle or public transportation to meet at a designated location. It’s also much better for the environment. A huge majority of the carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide in the air is directly emitted from cars and trucks, and reducing any car use can significantly cut down air pollution and make breathing safer for everyone.

2. Reduce paper use.

Because most assignments and reading materials are provided in electronic format, you will be able to take part in reducing paper use and saving trees. Online students rarely turn in physical copies of work and usually use online drop boxes to hand in assignments. And, while some courses do call for paper books, most course documents are also available online.

3. Lower your gas consumption.

Reducing dependence on fossil fuels for transportation use will be important for all people in the coming century. Because online courses don’t require physical meetings, your gas consumption and costs will decrease accordingly. This is a boon for the environment and helps lighten the load on your pocket book.

4. Reduce building construction and maintenance.

When universities take on more and more students and expect them to attend class at a physical location, they must also build enough structures to provide classrooms and often living spaces for their students. Additionally, the cost and environmental impact of maintaining these structures will only increase with time. Providing courses online reduces the need for the natural building materials, energy, water, and machinery used to build and maintain these structures.

This guest post is provided by Melissa Miller. Go to to help you understand the challenges and benefits of earning a degree. She welcomes questions and suggestions at

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.

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