Today, there is growing awareness and acceptance of the fact that our lifestyle directly or indirectly affects the environment. Whether it is global warming, changing climate patterns, shortage of drinking water and energy, dwindling forest cover, the extinction of species… we know that somewhere, it is the choices we make that is responsible for these events. Unfortunately, although most of us have good intentions and would like to make a positive difference, not many are sure how we, living in cities and struggling to cope with the challenges of daily life, can do anything to help the environment.
In this article, we present 10 simple and actionable ideas that almost each one of us can carry out to make a positive difference to the environment. These changes will not require you to change your lifestyle drastically, but they will leave a powerful and lasting impact on the world around us. In addition, these changes will help reduce expenses and lead to more balanced and healthy living.
Please read this article to see if you could change the way you’re living for the benefit of our beautiful world. At the end, if you feel these changes are helpful, we request you to forward it to your friends and relatives. Let’s do the best we can for the world around us. We owe it to the Earth and our future generations!
1. Save energy:
The easiest way to make a difference is by reducing energy consumption. Nowadays, energy-efficient bulbs are easily available. They are not only inexpensive they also consume up to five times lesser energy than ordinary bulbs. All it needs is a bit more effort from our side to make the change.
Also use cooking gas prudently. Plan your cooking such that you have all the ingredients handy before you light the gas. This can considerably reduce consumption over a period of a month. Similarly, avoid drying your clothes in a washing machine as it is very energy-consuming. Dry your clothes the natural way – using the abundant sunlight that our country receives by using any empty area in one of the rooms.
2. Eco-friendly material for your home:
Use water-based, lead-free paints for your home. Ensure that the paints do not give off fumes that will affect the air quality around you. While choosing furnishing, opt for those made from cotton, jute, silk, or other natural fibers as they are bio-degradable and healthier for the entire family. They can also be recycled for future use as a kitchen mop or for carrying out simple dusting and cleaning jobs. Wherever possible opt for environment-friendly cleaning liquids and soaps. Read the labels to check whether they have any detrimental affect on the environment.
3. Reduce waste:
If you keep a small garden patch or potted plants then you should collect organic and inorganic waste separately. Leftover food, fruit and vegetable peel, used tea leaves, etc. can be collected in the organic waste bin and used as compost for your plants. The inorganic waste can be disposed as usual. This will not only reduce the amount of waste in the city but also your dependency on fertilizers for your plants. The best way to reduce waste is to avoid it at the source itself. For example, you could carry your own shopping bags instead of bringing home plastic bags each time you shop and then disposing them. Similarly, while requesting a home-delivery, you can specify that you need the minimal packaging.
4. Use public transport:
Whenever possible, avoid using the car and walk or take the public transport. Not only will it improve your health and cut down your fuel bills, it will also reduce emissions into the atmosphere. Actively look for opportunities to form a carpool with members of your society for work or for dropping children at their school.
5. De-clutter your surroundings:
Keep only those things that you’d need on a regular basis. Dispose the ones that you do not foresee using for a long time. To avoid over-storage, dispose off the older items the moment you have bought a replacement for it. This policy will also ensure that you’ll seriously consider your buying decisions. In short, think before you buy. It will not only save you money but it will also ensure that as a society we consume only that much we need.
6. Replace disposable with reusables:
Try to change the way you shop. Buy stuff that you can keep for a longer duration rather than those that you’d have to throw after use. Switch to reusable razors, batteries, ink cartridges, bags, coffee filters, etc. If you use tissue papers, switch to cloth napkins. If you have a printer at home, then make it a point to use both sides of the paper.
7. Reduce unnecessary consumption:
If you are going to need something only once, try to borrow it from a friend. Similarly, you should offer anything that your friend may need only once in a while. This will reduce unnecessary consumption on our part. Some items that you could avoid buying double can include books, movie and music cds, games, etc.
8. Switch to a vegetarian diet:
Not only is it proven that livestock contribute more greenhouse gases (18%) than transportation (13.5%), they also consume enormous amounts of grain to feed them. This reduces the amount of food grains that are available to feed the world’s hungry. Switching to a vegetarian could change the imbalance and ensure that there is enough for everyone to eat.
9. Conserve water:
Water is a precious commodity we all know. That it will soon become (if it hasn’t already) a scarce commodity is a fact that we’ll have to accept. It’s time we learnt to conserve the limited amount of fresh water we have. Use water only when you need it. Eliminate wastage of water through leaking pipes and faucets. Also make sure that they are not left on while you are finishing a task. Use washing machines when you have a full load of laundry. Use recycled water while washing your car. Look around your home and identify tasks where you might be wasting water. Make a conscious effort to reduce wastage in your home.
10. Buy local:
Wherever possible, encourage manufacturers and producers of goods around your locality. Local goods will not only be fresher but also cheaper than branded items. You could also avoid all the unnecessary packaging and storage that accompanies items that have traveled from far. The greater the distance the goods you buy travel, greater is their impact on the environment in terms of fuel and effort involved in transporting them to your locality. Your patronage of local items will also allow you to give direct feedback that could improve the quality of the goods and the service.
These may seem like little drops in the face of the tsunami of changes we are seeing in the environment. But believe us, if each one of us makes these changes, we could tilt the balance in favour of Mother Nature. Do not undermine the results of these efforts – be positive and let’s make a positive difference – from today!