Every Day is Earth Day. Reduce, reuse, recycle, up-cycle.
There are close to 8 billion people on this planet. That’s a heavy load for our Mother Earth to carry, especially given the speedy pace at which we’ve ravaged her with our mindless overbreeding, consumerism, consumption, thoughtless industrialisation and development. We have used up all the resources that Earth’s natural systems can provide and replace in a year, according to the Global Footprint Network. It’s a dismal reality, but we can’t afford to whine, resign and leave everything up to our governments to fix.
Each of us can pick make small eco-conscious changes in our lives. We can all be eco-warriors from the comfort of our home. If an army of 8 billion people commits to making a change in their individual lives, then our planet could truly stand a chance. Here are a few non-superhero-like efforts to get going — Surely you already know the no-brainers like saving water and avoiding plastic!
1. Club your shopping to avoid multiple trips that waste fuel. If possible, rotate shopping duties with neighbours where each week, one person picks up stuff for the others. When shopping online, try ordering several things together.
2. Use less packaging as disposable packets, bottles, plates and containers end up in landfills, and release more methane into the air.
3. Carry your own shopping bags, refillable water bottle, mug and bamboo or steel straws and spoon. There are many cool options out there. Use metal containers to carry food, and keep some handy for take-aways from restaurants.
4. Recycle and reuse everything you possibly can. Jars, bottles and boxes for storage. Old clothes as dusters, kitchen towels and napkins. Old magazines and newspapers for gift-wrapping. Partially used papers as notepads.
5. Grow anything you possibly can. Even if it’s herbs and leafy greens in small pots. And find ways to plant trees around your locality or lend a hand to a community project that does that.
6. Lower your carbon footprint by eating more local, organic produce, and minimise your consumption of imported, processed and packaged products.
7. Meat, dairy, eggs, and fish eat up more land and resources and have a bigger environmental footprint than plant-based foods. If you can’t give these up, try to go vegan at least twice a week.
8. Buy energy-efficient products, use LED lights, try to fix gadgets that have a snag, instead of chucking them right out. Do not keep upgrading electronics like mobiles and computers, unless you really need to as e-waste is highly toxic.
9. Buy more recycled products, chose handlooms over machine-made textiles, swap clothes with close people instead of just chucking the ones that you’re bored of.
10. Walk more, drive less. Chose electric vehicles if possible.