I think almost every single person has realized the importance of being environment-friendly, now. Exploiting nature for thousands of years has led to climate change – Glaciers are melting at an alarming rate, wildlife on land and in the oceans is dying because of the lakhs of tonnes of plastic that has been carelessly dumped.
It might take another thousand years to clean up the mess we have already created; may be its even impossible to undo the damage. I mean you know, you got to freak out when humans find plastic at the deepest point in the ocean. Deforestation, rapid industrialization and human development has damaged the earth beyond repair.
While we can’t be sure how much of this damage we can undo, we can at least try to do some damage control.
There are a lot of ways we are contributing to harming the environment. Making small changes in our lifestyle can not only make our lives healthier, but also reduce our carbon foot print. Let us bring about the smallest changes in our life and reap the fruits of the big changes they will end up contributing to.
Carry own bag
Imagine you are out grocery shopping or to a mall. You buy 5 different types of fruits and vegetables and all five vendors give you five separate plastic carry bags, which will eventually be thrown away by you. Even when we buy something as small as a pack of toothpaste or a soap, shopkeepers tend to give them to us in a plastic bag. It is also because the customers demand a carry bag – you can’t always carry everything in your hands.
You can easily and massively reduce the consumption of these plastic bags, by carrying your own jute or cloth bag. They are bigger, stronger and reusable. Plus, some of them are cool to look at. Okay, may be that should not be the winning criteria here, but doing something as simple as carrying your own bag can bring down plastic consumption per person, rapidly.
Carry your own cutlery
Hear me out. Now that you are carrying your own bag, might as well carry something in it?
Make it a habit to carry your own cutlery. A few days ago, I realized that even though restaurants and some food chains are replacing plastic straws and forks with their paper and wooden alternatives, that is not the case with street food vendors.
The simple reason is that plastic is the cheapest and there are probably no competitive alternatives present in the market right now. So, even as you are personally trying to reduce your plastic imprint, you’ll realize that if you depend on external factors, that might not be truly possible. Because the Maggi vale bhaiya and the momo vali aunty are still using plastic forks and plates.
So, what do to? Very simply – carry the good old reliable steal fork and a tiny plate with you and you are prepared to tackle the plastic monster. Having a metal straw in your utensils bank won’t harm either, they are reusable and well, cool looking. Damn, I got to stop saying that.
Use public transport
Ya ya, you have been hearing that since class five, but getting that car with your own money is also a dream that needs to be fulfilled (economic slowdown, whaaa?). But, here is the thing. Not only are you saving money by using public transport, you are saving fuel, carbon emission and most importantly, helping reduce traffic – the single most annoying problem of a working millennial.
Ask me what a struggle it is to make an intercity commute daily between Delhi and Gurugram, and that’s a problem for hundreds of people. If more and more of us start using public transport, car pool and share cabs, traffic on roads will reduce. In addition to that you will save fuel and money, and contribute to saving the environment, because less pollution.
Shower thoughts are real. Existentialism hits another level during a hot shower and when most of us are dwelling in the thoughts of ‘nothing really matters’ a lot of water gets wasted and that actually kinda matters.
You can save a lot of water by simply taking a bucket bath instead of using a shower. Even if your city is not suffering at the moment, the world is on the brink of going dry. Several cities have already run out of water, and others have a few days or months worth of water left. Using a bucket instead of a shower is one of the things that you can do to minimize the utilization of water.
A 5-minute shower uses almost the same amount of water as a bucket full of water, so that doesn’t hurt once in a while, but one should take care to avoid taking shower baths longer than 5-10 minutes.
Some people are absolutely resolute on owning books, they do not like to either borrow or lend. While we understand the sentiment behind this, it might not be the wisest thing to do, in the larger scheme of things. You should donate your or your kids’ books, you no longer need. Also, if you have the opportunity, use previously loved books. Not only will you be saving a buck and helping someone who cannot afford first-hand books, but at the same time, you will be saving the environment by reusing stuff.
Speaking of second hand stuff and saving a few bucks, you can even buy impeccable second hand furniture. And if you are absolutely opposed to it, and you are moving to a new city just for some time, you can rent literally everything – furniture, couches, bedding, refrigerator.
We are not even suggesting changes that might take extra time of your day. No making your own compost or setting up rain water harvesting. You obviously should and can do that, but the point of recommending these extremely small lifestyle changes is to make everyone realise, that even the seemingly negligible of contributions can go a long way.
Hope you can bring about these changes in your life and convince people around you to do the same.