We’re living in a time where we know what’s happening, we see what’s happening but we don’t know how to stop what’s happening. We often ask ourselves why. We wonder why we, individually, should go the extra mile. We toss a wrapper out and promise ourselves that that’ll be the last one. We don’t do something we should, something we must, just because someone else isn’t doing it. But really, is this the time to be doing that? Is this the time to be waiting for someone else to make the first move? The problem commences here. We are constantly waiting for them to make a change first. Everyone’s doing this. How will the world possibly move toward betterment if everyone waits around?
Before we begin, here are a few facts about our environment that will reiterate the problems you’ve read about on Instagram stories and spark the scare of the ‘ending world’, again.
- Our summers and winters are getting warmer
- Indonesia will move its capital city as its current one is sinking
- Carbon emissions from energy use are rising at the fastest rate since 2011
- The earth’s resources for 2019 are already over: Earth Overshoot Day was on July 29 this year
Now you’re probably feeling anxious about life on earth so read on and find out what you can do to help. Here are a few ways you can do your bit by making tiny change to combat the forthcoming dire consequences of the disappearing life on Earth.
1. Walk it out: It’s fairly easy to say and a little much to do. I live in India and most of the times the weather makes it unbearable to walk. You can’t possibly walk here (in most of the cities) in at least eight months of the year without feeling like you’re about to have a stroke. Just like India, there are other countries wherein walking when you have the option of using convenient modes of transport seems crazy. Convenient. Convenient to you. Convenient to the environment? Not so much. I know it’s hard and I’m not saying I live by this rule of walking it out. But ask yourself if you truly try to make an effort. If you say yes, comment below how you do that so I can try and incorporate those methods. If you say no, talk to yourself about the intensity of this world crisis and do so keeping in mind that every single thing you do makes a difference. Can’t walk? Cycle? Public transport? Carpool? Something’s probably possible.
2. Move towards a sustainable home: There are just so many ways you can make your house sustainable – so many ways we don’t ever think of until they’re mentioned to us. I’ll list a few products in your home that can swapped out for these sustainable, affordable substitutes.
- Bamboo Toothbrush: This is a change I recently made and it’s pretty sad to think that even though such things exist and are available inexpensively, people do not purchase them as much as they should. The toothbrushes I use are by the brand Terra and I really like them. With bristles not too soft, not too hard, and a sustainable body, these brushes (or the same sold by any other brand) are a must have.
- Naked Shampoo: The first brand that comes to my mind when I talk about packaging-free products is Lush. Selling high quality products that are good for the environment – a huge plus. Think of the number of plastic bottles you use in your bathroom – shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash. Now multiply this number with the number of people in your household, then by the number of apartments in your building, then the number of buildings in your vicinity, and it just goes on. That’s a lot of plastic bottles. Quit bottles, go naked.
- Metal bottles and cloth bags: These items don’t really need an explanation. Everyone, luckily, is talking about it. They’re reusable for various purposes and just save on tonnes of plastic waste. Seriously. It isn’t hard setting a reminder (if needed) to carry your bottle so you don’t end up investing in a pollution-causing-method-of-hydration and it isn’t hard buying fresh (unpacked) produce and using cloth bags to carry it home. We need to do our bit, at least where it’s this easy to do so.
- Menstrual cups: Fact: The average woman uses 10,000-12,000 disposable menstrual products in their lifetime. So much money spent, so much waste created. Leaving these aspects aside, there also comes the benefit of health and hygiene with the use of a menstrual cup. How about a comfortable, pad rash-free cycle? Sounds like a dream to me! I know it may make some people a little nervous – the idea of a menstrual cup – but even while you’re mentally preparing yourself for this, you can switch to sustainable sanitary pads so that you’re a step closer to sustainability already.
- E-raze the razor: We all shave. Men and women, beards and legs. We use disposable razors. Another fact: over two billion disposable razors end up in landfills each year. Why? This is probably another case of a lack of information because not only are safety razors better for the environment, they’re also cost-effective in the long run. Choose the safer option. Choose the safety razor.
3. Volunteer: Engage with a group/organisation and plant a tree or donate some money and get the job done. It’s inexpensive and a necessity – it’s time for us to just give in and do it. Take part in protests. Make the governments feel the intensity of this problem through their people. Make them realise that trillion-dollar economies won’t come from a planet ceasing to exist. Raise your voice, get things done, make things right.
4. Move towards a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle: This is good for the environment. Now there may be some questions regarding how this is true. To briefly explain, think of the food (grains) and water required to feed animals. Consider the energy required to transport these animals and for the production of their food. The land used for grazing and making room for livestock is obtained through deforestation and even if the land was to be used for food production, it could feed a considerably larger number of vegetarians than non-vegetarians. If we demand fewer chickens, fewer chickens will be bred – it’s a demand and supply process. Don’t use these questions as an excuse for slaughtering animals. Now, I know it’s hard to quit meat. I was a non-vegetarian for the longest time, but I just pushed myself for the betterment of my health, the animals and the environment. Try moving on to a pescatarian lifestyle and then gradually towards vegetarianism and veganism. Trust me, it’s possible no matter how strongly you believe it isn’t.
5. Conserve water & energy: Every time you put the tap off while you brush your teeth, you save gallons of water. Every time you talk yourself out of a lavish bubble bath, you save even more gallons of water. Every time you see a leaky faucet, be it in your house or at your work place, and you stop to fix it/get it fixed, you save A LOT of gallons of water. It really is about how much you want to do and how bad you want to do it because this doesn’t require mental effort or physical exertion. It’s just a matter of care and responsibility. I have this habit of walking into the mail room each time I’m leaving from/returning to my building and switching the lights off if they’re on and not in use. Why? I don’t really know. It has become a habit now. It’s not too much to do. I don’t assume people will put the lights off because, honestly, not everyone is as aware as they should be and this assumption cannot be an excuse I use to avoid walking a few extra metres. Oh, and stop running for the air conditioner remote the second you feel uncomfortable in bearable heat. Tell yourself it’s manageable and argue that it’s for a better tomorrow.
Well, these were five really easy ways you can do your bit for our planet. Don’t add to the pollution, be a part of the solution. Try these methods out, swap some products and let me know how you do good for our environment!