Barring a few (you know who! ) the world leaders are waking up to the climate change and protecting our environment. What can you do as an individual? Here are few options:
Climate change and pollution is slowly changing the world as we know it, permanently destroying the only home for our kids and all other life forms with whom we share our planet.
Of course, we can highlight many different factors, from politics to industries, contributing towards the destruction But, constructively, we can try and do every little thing conceivable within our circle of influence, to reduce the negative impact on the world as we love it.
Here are a few suggestions:
- The total production of Passenger Vehicles in India has gone up by 35% from 2001-2014. According to WHO, out of the 20 most polluted cities in the world, 13 are in India. Now, that is a list we are not so proud of. While India is boldly advancing towards urban development, the vehicle emissions are not going to reduce anytime soon.Urbanization has also increased emissions resulting from electronic goods usage – increasing electricity consumption, resulting in the burning of more fossil fuels for energy.
What can we do?
- Use Public transport
- Carpool to work/get together, movies etc
- Walk or cycle short distances
- If budget is not a constraint, consider purchasing electric (eg: Reva) or hybrid (eg: Toyota Prius) cars
- Set the AC temperature close to room temperature, and turn it off once the room is cool enough.
- Use environment-friendly lights, solar powered lights. Not only will these save your environment, these will ensure you have lower bills to pay each month!
Easier said than done?
Even if we take a few of these measures, just a couple of days of the week, we can reduce overall vehicular emissions significantly.
- Plastic is possibly the single most evil invention of the modern era. The amount of plastic disposed of every year can apparently circle the earth four times around. And, as you might already know, they don’t go away so easily. Not only is disposed plastic very harmful to human health, they are deadly for the ocean ecosystem, where they all eventually dump.
What can we do?
- Use reusable utensils (steel/ceramic) instead of foam/plastic plates
- Bring your own utensils for restaurant take-aways.
- Take your sustainable for shopping. (Ironically, earlier our parents use to go vegetable shopping with cloth bags. Plastic wrapping is only a fashion we have inculcated recently, and what it is costing us!)
- Rent utensils during gatherings. Many open minded functions advise everyone to bring their own plates on such occasions. Sounds awkward? Once these become a trend, people will not raise eyebrows then.
- Be very cautious of how and where you litter. If you must use plastic, try recycling plastic products to minimize waste.
Food habit modifications:
The world is still waking up to the severe impact of animal farming on the environment. Cow farming, in particular, is one of the highest contributors of air pollution in the world, reducing forests to graze lands and resulting in enormous amounts of methane release to the environment. The industry is also one of the biggest consumers of food grain and water – resulting in a shortage of these resources for human consumption in many parts of the world.
Packaged food from faraway locations is also major contributors to carbon pollution.
There is a lot of debate on this topic across the globe. While some strongly believe that choice of food is a personal topic, many are starting to wake up to the need of sustainable eating.
What can we do?
- Reduce meat consumption by 40-50% or limit it to 2 days a week.
- Opt for leaner meat options like fish and chicken, that are healthier for body and the planet.
- Consume locally and organically produced food to reduce overall carbon footprint
3% of all the World’s garbage is produced in India. And only 2.5% of this waste is treated in the country. Many times, a pile of garbage is burnt in India. This is extremely harmful to the environment. It produces toxic gases and can be a fire and explosion hazard as well.
What can we do?
- Separate our organic waste in our homes by keeping two bins
- Compost the organic waste in designated areas
- Dispose of garbage only with municipal or proper waste management organizations
- Recycle anything that can be.
The fact is that we all have read these in our schools. We have done environment projects and passed examinations. As kids, we were taught to think about our planet and our environment. But then we all grew up and we became too caught up in the convenience of our own lives. Being conscious in our everyday lives and thinking before doing anything helps a lot.
Let us talk environment, let us talk climate change. Let us do our tiny bit, to protect our home, our beautiful planet earth, the only known place that protects life as we know it!
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