Sustainable lifestyle changes are the need of the hour! Here’s how you can take baby steps
- Human activities are not only warming the planet but also leading to unprecedented losses in biodiversity.
- The situation is bound to get worse and the competition for resources such as land, food, and water will fuel socio-economic tensions and increasingly lead to mass displacement.
- So this
World Sustainability Day, here’s how you can take baby steps towards living a more sustainablelife before it is too late.
In fact, the last seven years have been amongst the hottest across the globe.
The long-term trend below shows that the top 700 meters of the oceans have become warmer since 1955. The total amount of heat stored by the oceans is called
Particularly, warmer sea surface temperature provides energy for storms and thereby triggers extreme weather events.
Four key climate change indicators
Greenhouse gas concentrations, rise in sea levels, ocean heat and ocean acidification — the four key climate change indicators — set new records in 2021 with extreme weather, according to the UN's World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) State of the Global Climate in 2021 report. It added that climate change is leading to hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses.
Human activities are not only warming the planet but also leading to unprecedented losses in biodiversity. The situation is bound to get worse and the competition for resources such as land, food, and water will fuel socio-economic tensions and increasingly lead to mass displacement.
Rise in sea levels, forest fires, melting of glaciers, extreme weather events, ocean heat and acidification will also continue for years to come and the only way we can minimise the impact is if we start now, before it is too late.
With World Environment Day 2022 (June 5) around the corner, we decided to get back to the basics and help you transition to living a sustainable life. You can take these baby steps to live a better, sustainable life.
How to reduce your carbon footprint
You probably would have heard a lot about carbon footprint. Simply put, it is like leaving your actual, unerasable footprint on earth with every resource that you consume.
When you drive your car or eat something that’s grown afar, you emit substantial amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. From buying toothpaste to using your phone, every object reaches your doorstep after a long commute, which contributes to carbon emission.
As modern humans, almost every activity of ours contributes to climate change in one way or the other. Being sustainable is all about limiting the resources we use and finding a way to make them last longer by causing minimal damage to the environment.
Here are some ways in which you can reduce your carbon footprint:
While buying veggies or fruits, remember to bring reusable shopping bags and avoid plastic.
There’s a simple thumb rule to follow. Buy what you actually need to avoid wastage. Whatever is left over, try to repurpose it into something usable.
For example, if you have bread and butter for breakfast and you like to cut the corners of your bread, instead of throwing away those corners, you can turn them into breadcrumbs which can be used in pasta gravy or for feeding birds. Use your creative skills to turn your food waste into reusable ingredients.
Final kitchen scraps can be converted into compost for your plants.
AdvertisementIf you host a party, there’s always leftover food. This surplus can be shared with the underprivileged through NGOs such as Feeding India, Robin Hood Army, Roti Bank, Mera Parivar or Shelter Don Bosco, among others.
It is also important to buy your food locally. The shorter the supply chain, the easier it is on the environment before the food products finally reach your kitchen. Also, if your food reaches you from faraway places, its nutritional value decreases. Local food spends less time in transit from farm to plate. So, fruits and veggies eaten within a few days of being picked would be full of nutrients than those that are weeks old from traveling thousands of miles and being in storage.
Look for loose, fresh fruits and vegetables to minimise packaging.
If you are buying packaged food, you can look for products with PET packaging, which is one of the most recyclable plastics.
AdvertisementA worn-out piece of cloth you decide to throw, even as simple as a plain t-shirt, never really goes ‘away.’ – it all ends up in a landfill. According to an Assocham and PwC report, landfills are brimming with so much urban waste that by 2050, India is reportedly going to need a landfill that's the size of its capital, New Delhi.
Buy responsibly-made clothes which are made from recycled material or with an ‘eco’ label. To support sustainable businesses, you can look for stores which include options like handloom and handcrafted, organic, natural-dyed, recyclable and eco-friendly, vegan, and cruelty-free. It’s not necessary to have all of these options available all the time, but every bit helps.
Recycle and reuse your clothes to prolong its life. You can also sell and buy your clothes from thrift stores.
Commonly available sanitary napkins constitute 90% plastic and India generates 3.3 million tonnes of plastic waste every year, according to a Central Pollution Control Board report.
AdvertisementSo, for people who menstruate, there is a world of waste-free sanitary protection to explore. You can switch to menstrual cups or invest in a reusable tampon applicator.
In the bathroom, you can ditch your plastic razor and opt for fully metal alternatives. You can also purchase sustainable toothbrushes made out of neem or bamboo. Today, even toothpaste comes in a jar, or you can switch to toothpaste tubes which are recyclable.
Create cleaner air at home
You can never have enough plants in your home. Buy plants that give oxygen at night such as snake plant, Areca palm plant, Aloe Vera plant, Tulsi, Money plant, Gerbera plant, Christmas Cactus, Neem plant, etc. Weeping figs are known to be good for living areas because they remove formaldehyde released from carpets and furniture.
AdvertisementIf you cannot use public transport, regular vehicle maintenance of private vehicles is a must since it improves fuel efficiency by as much as 10%.
When driving a car, roll your windows down whenever possible because it is more efficient than using an air conditioner.
Choose sustainable travel alternatives like electric or hybrid vehicles, avoiding air travel, and opt for vehicle sharing or pooling wherever feasible.
Energy and waste
Go desi and use a bucket and a mug instead of taking a shower so you can limit the amount of water you use.
AdvertisementDon’t store unnecessary data in the cloud, it leaves a digital footprint. The digital sector is already responsible for 3.3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, more than civil aviation.
Billions of tons of CO2 is released into the atmosphere every year as a result of coal, oil, and gas production. If we don’t slow global emissions, temperatures could rise to above three degrees Celsius by 2100, causing further irreversible damage to our ecosystems.
So, to make a difference before it is too late, it is important to take these baby steps towards sustainable living today.
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