Wasn’t it in one of our middle school textbooks (or maybe even when we were younger) that we were taught to close the water tap while brushing our teeth or to switch off the lights after leaving a room?. Sadly, as we grew … these things became nothing but a lost page in our seemingly endless notebook of memories. However, the world had better ways to remind us of sustainability, the need to protect our environment and humankind. In this article, we will uncover some simple changes that we can make and understand the impact it has onto our environment.
In light of recent events, social media started out flagging natural calamities, inhumane practices and even the harms we cause to our environment through the decisions we make in our daily lives. But the ‘buck did not stop there’, proponents and users of social media started broadcasting and disseminating the need to switch towards renewable sources like solar energy for household appliances, electric cars for commuting and what not. Personally, I support it, I encourage it but I really am not in the position to make such big changes to my life, simply because I have not reached the disposition of a full-grown adult to do so. This does not mean that I care less about our environment or that my responsibility to the environment now automatically falls onto my elders, rather, it is important to be mindful about the more simple things in life. Here are small changes that were easy to make and would surprisingly contribute a lot towards protecting our environment.
Switching off the lights
While we may not have the disposition to conserve energy by switching from the conventional mode of transport (i.e. a car) to a cycle, we can instead consider smaller steps like just switching off the lights and fans when not in use. Consider how long it will take to just switch off the lights, and note the impact of being mindful on our road to becoming more sustainable. Consider this, 60% of electricity is produced by thermal power plants which heavily relies on fossil fuels for production of electricity, (e.g. mainly coal) which we may run out of especially at the rate we are using it. Not only does this threaten a source of energy but it also has severe effects on our atmosphere, water bodies and local ecosystem. As you may already know, thermal power plants release many greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. Carbon dioxide is released when coal is burned, creating a layer of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, heating the earth and causing global warming which would just melt our glaciers and increase the temperature of earth causing catastrophic harm to the life present. Sulphur Dioxide forms Sulphuric Acid in the Atmosphere and when it rains, it is Acidic rain. Now, if you ask me why Acidic rain is a matter of concern for us the answer to this is that the water from these rains seeps into the soil which contaminates groundwater and affects the crops which are sources of food and water for us. Nitrogen Oxides on other hand causes illnesses like asthma, chronic pulmonary diseases, stunts lung growth and cardiac diseases which might become a hole in our life. Unusable water released from these plants are of high temperature containing metals which seeps into groundwater, soil and water bodies which affects the local flora and fauna. In this vein, it must become clear how the conservation of energy through small things like switching off the lights, AC and all other electrical appliances/ devices can come a big way to serving the environment by reducing the trickle effect onto the cycle mentioned above - through a simple but elegant solution.
Using Reusable alternatives
Have you ever thought how the world would have been if instead of free-flowing rivers, there are free flowing plastic streams or instead of a garden, we have plastic lawns? Too bizarre to even imagine it? But this can very well be our reality, our future if we are not careful and mindful. It would be too much to ask for if I was told to stop using plastics completely as they are everywhere, from packaging to food delivery to even my shampoo bottle. I feel like there is no running away from them at least in the near future till the time a perfect substitute of plastic enters the market that is both cheap and durable. So, what can we do to save 100 million marine animals which die every year due to plastics which have invaded their homes? Even though it is not an all-encompassing solution, we can start off by taking jute or cotton bags with ourselves every time we go shopping. Instead of single-use plastic bags, we can use reusable metallic straws instead of those plastic ones that are readily sold at restaurants and cafes. Every year millions of animals die because of choking caused by eating plastics whether they are small marine animals such as turtles or big ones like whales, or even seabirds - have fallen victim to this. On land, we see so many cows and goats assuming plastic bags as food and eating them and eventually dying of it. These are just the physical harms caused by plastic. When plastic is manufactured, a lot of harmful and chemical waste is released and explained before it causes a trickle effect degrading the soil, water and air to inevitably reach our own bodies (the original perpetrators lol) through our food. This is indeed a sad reality when a seemingly small article of plastic can have such a devastating impact to make our future bleak and filled with despair. Did you know that even humans face hormonal disruptions due to plastics? I was surprised by this fact too. This just furthers my point about the ‘devastating impact of plastic’ which affects both mankind and animal kingdom
Switching to Slow fashion and thinking twice before buying.
Every season, festival or holiday, my phone is filled with messages about new styles, new trends, discounts and sales on top clothing brands; ‘Summer Vibes’, ‘Autumn Chills’, ‘Rocking Diwali’ and what not, every occasion has an outfit and every outfit gets old with every occasion. So, what do we do? We follow the drill, look for style models, find discounts and a new dress is welcomed in our wardrobe. But, have we ever taken a minute and think about how fast fashion is affecting our environment and the impact of it being the second largest polluter onto both humankind and animalkind alike. In many places where garments are produced, untreated water from the textile industry is drained into water bodies, killing animals and affecting the health of people living near the water bodies. Production of each garment requires gallons of freshwater which is used for the purpose of washing and dyeing leading to massive water wastage. The story not only ends here, so many farmers die because of harmful chemicals used in cultivation of cotton and so many chemicals used from fibre production to bleaching to wet processing each garment ends up contaminating the environment. Obviously, we can't control the way they are produced! But what we can control is buying sustainably sourced clothing made of (say) organic cotton the next time we go to the market or trying slow fashion brands; thinking twice before buying a new outfit and asking ourselves this question: Is the piece of cloth worth so much harm? Learn more about slow fashion brands and the use of something really interesting known as a capsule wardrobe as a tool to switching over to slow fashion in our article: Fast Fashion versus Slow Fashion. Here are some ways that will help you make the switch to Slow Fashion.
Stopping Food wastage
Somedays I order too much food, someday I don’t eat food at home because it may not have been my favourite or it could simply be that I forget that I had some food item existing in my cupboard/fridge which has now become stale. This is basically the story of my life until recently and I had no idea that this wastage of food has affected the environment so
much. Did you know that food wastes end up in landfills and turn into methane which is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide and heats our atmosphere even more? When food is produced, a huge amount of water is used for irrigation which gets mixed with pesticides and seeps into groundwater contaminating drinking water. Then the food consumes a lot of fossil fuels for machinery for harvesting, transportation, storage and cooking of it. The food processing industry requires a lot of heavy machinery, water and emits harmful gases which has a very detrimental effect on the environment. So, a reason for global warming and degradation of land, water and air is wastage of food. It won’t be much of a task when I say we can make use of leftovers, be more careful with the dates of food and be little conscious when ordering the huge amount of food. A little effort would do wonders.
I remember the first thing that came to my mind as a kid whenever I was asked about my duty towards mother earth was closing the tap while brushing and using buckets for taking bath. But as I grew older these things were not meant for me. They became things that kids do until someone said to me that freshwater is a scarce resource and that we should not waste it. There are so many families in India who have to walk miles to get 2 buckets of water, whereas this much water is drained in one shower for many others. Water is required everywhere from manufacturing to growing crops. If there is a shortage of water, how will crops grow, what will we consume as everything would be futile without irrigation. Water is required by flora and fauna to bloom, to exist forming the ecosystem without freshwater the ecosystem will collapse. Water conservation also helps in conserving energy as a huge load of electricity is required in transferring water in and around the area. If we waste a little less water, little energy would be used to transfer water and it would indirectly help us protect the environment against emission of greenhouse gases and water contamination. As responsible individuals we should take care of these things. So now I refrain from wasting water wherever I can.
Deep down, all of us know 10 more other ways to go green, go sustainable. All of us can take some time out of our lives and think about how our actions and lifestyle affects or contributes towards environment and sustainability. Is there a need to change something in my lifestyle? Are we doing good enough for the environment? Can these Small changes to my lifestyle help the world move towards greater good? The answer to these questions lies within ourselves, If yes then are you ready for the fight for our environment?
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If you would like to know more tips to lead a more sustainable lifestyle then check this video out by one of our co-founders.