How to Make Everyday a World Environment Day
On Friday, June 5, people all over the world will celebrate World Environment Day. Since its inception in 1974, this day has developed into a global platform for raising worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. But why should we leave thoughts on environmental awareness to just one single day of the year?
The year 2020 has been a roller-coaster ride with the impact of the pandemic having far-reaching effects and we have not even covered half of it. Humans have been tampering with nature for a very long time and now nature is trying to send us a message.
But nothing will change until we all see ourselves as part of the problem and part of the solution too. How can we as responsible citizens of the world make a difference every day?
Let’s talk choices: Every day we make choices that affect the environment. We can start making small lifestyle changes today for a better tomorrow.
• Drive less: Drive green-walking, cycling, carpooling or using public transport wherever possible. Invest in an electric vehicle instead of a conventionally fuelled car.
• Take the staircase: Considering the large amount of time we spend sitting, why not skip the elevator and take the stairs once in a while?
• Say no to plastic: Carry your own cloth or paper bags for grocery shopping, a reusable water bottle, reduce the use of plastic toothbrushes, refuse plastic containers/cutlery during food delivery, use eco-friendly menstrual products, among others.
• Shop local: Shopping for local and organic food will not only support local business and promote health but will also reduce transportation costs. It doesn’t get more local than fresh vegetables from our backyard or terrace/balcony gardens.
• Go paperless: Whenever possible, don’t opt for receipts, receive monthly bills over email and avoid unnecessary printing at workplaces.
• Shop only when required: Every product we buy has an environmental footprint, so opting for conscious shopping with minimal packaging options is good.
Let’s talk water: Water is undoubtedly a critical resource for a country - especially India - and we can save water every day at our individual capacity.
• Save water: Make conscious water saving choices like shorter showers, not leaving water running during brushing or cleaning our face, fixing leaky toilets and taps, using low-flow water fixtures, using native or drought-tolerant plants and avoiding lawns in our landscaping.
• Harvest rainwater: Harvest rooftop rainwater for future use along with ground water recharge which can go a long way in preventing urban flooding.
• Reuse water: Reusing excess water from water purifiers, water collected by placing a bucket under our shower, water with which we washed our vegetables, water from washing clothes, excess water after cleaning cars. This water can be used for cleaning floors, flushing, gardening and other purposes.
Let’s talk energy: One of the easiest ways to be more sustainable in our daily routine is to reduce our consumption of household energy which will lighten our electricity bill too.
• Switch off: Turn off the lights and air conditioning when leaving the room. Switch off or unplug appliances and plug sockets when not in use.
• Use LEDs: Opt for energy efficient LED lights.
• Increase your AC temperature: Increasing the air-conditioner temperature setting by just 1 degree Celsius can save about 6 per cent of electricity consumption, according to the Bureau of Energy Efficiency. Maintain a temperature of 24° C or higher.
• Use energy efficient appliances: Invest in energy efficient appliances or star rated equipments to save energy.
Let’s talk waste: How we dispose off wastes is ultimately the root cause of our environmental problems.
• Segregate waste: Segregate your waste into wet (biodegradable) and dry (paper, plastic etc) which can streamline our waste collection systems and reduce waste going to the landfill.
• Compost food waste: Prevent food waste by buying only what is needed. Convert unavoidable food waste into compost and reuse as manure.
• Don’t litter in public: Keeping a litter bag in our vehicle, making use of public waste bins, not dumping thrash in water bodies or drains and above all educating others on the ill effects of littering is the way forward.
It can be incredibly daunting to fight for climate change and voice our opinions especially when we see how minuscule we are compared to the vast human population. But when you break it down into small steps, we realize we have more power than we thought.
Making lifestyle changes are not easy, but are achievable over time. Only if we celebrate each day as environment day, will we be truly able to create an environment which will be worth leaving behind for our generations to come.