Nature can exist without humanity, but humans simply cannot exist without nature. Our natural environment is the bedrock of our existence, and its sheer importance effectively makes every day an environment day.
But considering our species’ tendency to take even the most essential things for granted, timely reminders can help us maintain focus on what matters most. Among such vital reminders is the World Environment Day, which is celebrated annually on June 5 to raise awareness on the pressing issues our planet is actively facing.
The theme for this year’s World Environment Day is Only One Earth, and it focuses on living sustainably and in harmony with nature. In order to do so successfully and consistently, however, each one of us ought to make changes to our everyday lives; and the most effective changes are often the ones that seem simple and seamless.
With that said, here are five simple ‘hacks’ you can follow on a daily basis to lead your life sustainably:
Use eco-friendly/public transportation
Unless you’re still in lockdown mode, it is safe to assume that commuting has once again become a part of your everyday routine. While it’s only logical to prefer the convenience and comfort of self-owned bikes and cars while travelling, it’s also unwise to ignore the harm these pollution-causing machines impose on the environment.
In such a scenario, using public transportation or even subscribing to private carpool and bus services could be highly beneficial for not just the environment, but also your own pocket. And when covering short distances, you can simply opt to walk or cycle to add an extra health benefit to this already win-win situation.
Limit online shopping when possible
While we’re still on the topic of convenience and pollution-emitting machines, a new dimension has been added to this problem since the COVID lockdowns, in the form of instant delivery services that home-deliver each and every item you may need or want , within minutes!
While such services can be incredibly useful in urgent or emergency situations, using them on a daily basis could seem like a case of sacrificing environmental well-being for personal convenience, especially when simple alternatives are readily available.
Therefore, when possible, why not just visit the store outside your building premises to shop for daily necessities? Not only will this reduce pollution, emission and fuel usage, but it will also help support the small, local businesses.
Carry reusable bags and containers
When you do go out to shop, it’s always a good practice to take your own bags to carry the items home instead of getting a plastic ki thai from the shopkeeper. Similarly, instead of buying plastic water bottles or getting your coffee in plastic takeaway cups, you can use your own bottles and flasks to carry your beverages around.
India generates around 3.3 million tons of plastic waste every year, but we can make a significant dent in this number if each one of us carries reusable bags and containers when stepping outdoors.
Practice sustainable fashion
There’s a definite difference between looking cool and being cool. But what if you could do both just by making the right fashion choices every day? There are many ways to actively lower the number of waste clothes filling landfills, the best being swapping and exchanging clothes instead of throwing them, or even buying secondhand or vintage clothes.
But if you prefer buying new clothes, a good approach is to buy the ones created locally and responsibly, using fully recyclable materials. An easy way to do this consistently is to restrict your shopping to sustainable businesses and stores that sell clothes that are hand-loomed, handcrafted, organic, eco-labelled, natural-dyed, vegan or cruelty-free.
Use nature-and-you-friendly menstrual products
Most commercially-produced, single-use sanitary pads and tampons pose a major disposal problem. Manufactured using materials like super absorbent polymers and non-biodegradable plastic, they can take up to 500-800 years to decompose. To add to the issue, they also consist of chemicals capable of harmonizing the health and well-being of menstruating individuals over the long term.
All things considered, switching to sustainable alternatives seems like a no-brainer. Luckily, several options have popped up in recent years — ranging from reusable applicator-free tampons and menstrual cups, to somewhat old-fashioned options like cloth pads — and you can explore them all before settling on your pick.
At the end of the day, consistency will be key to bringing lasting behavioral changes, and only by practicing sustainable habits every day can we hope to significantly contribute towards safeguarding our only one Earth.
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