“I don’t want to protect the environment, I want to create a world where the environment doesn’t need protecting.”
With whatever we do, we either exhaust the already depleting Earth’s resources or make a minute change to preserve them. This change is important because earth’s resources which were superfluous at one point of time are not quite the same anymore. The resources have depleted and we are responsible for the aftermath.
A Living Planet report states that we are using 30% more of the planet’s resources that can be replenished.
Thus it is clear that there is a dire need to adopt means which help in conservation of environment. This is where sustainable living comes into the interplay. It involves adopting practices which directly reduce our dependence on the environment and on non- renewable resources.
Following are some of the practices which can be used in everyday life to reduce dependence on environment:
1. Less is more really
Start with being a minimalist. Buy things only when you NEED to buy them and not WANT to buy them. This is how you avoid creating waste at first place and if there is less waste, the hustle of getting rid of it is gone altogether.
2. Reuse and recycle
Pay close attention to what you are buying. Prefer buying products that can be recycled. Prefer paper bags instead of plastics. Do not take straws made of plastic. Carry your own bags when you go grocery shopping.
A report by National Geographic suggests that only 9% of plastics can be recycled.
3. Let go of waste
Most people have a habit of accumulating things even when they are not using it for a long time. Make the 6 months rule- discard anything you have not used in the past 6 months, irrespective of however important it is to you.
4. Create less waste
Most of the stuff you are given while taking away foods, is just going to end up in trash can. So avoid taking away food unless it is an exigency. Also avoid wastage of foods. Reuse the food that you can or feed some animals around you.
5. Choose your lights wisely
Avoid using tube lights and instead choose LED lights or CFL bulbs. CFL bulbs use only 25-35% of incandescent lights while LEDs use less than 75% energy and also last longer. Excessive lights ultimately lead to heating of earth, global warming and the associated vicious cycle.
6. Change water habits
Ditch single use plastic bottles. The mineral water companies try giving a bad name to tap water. The safest water to consume is boiled water treated with alum. Do not forget that every time you buy a single use bottle, you add to the already surefeit plastic waste.
7. Ride instead of driving
Even a short commute of 5 miles on a bicycle can add to more than 100 gallons gas in one year. The health benefits of cycling are unparalleled. Avoid using cars for short commutes. Make a rule of using cycle for up to 5 miles. This way, you can save the environment significantly.
8. Get rid of the habit of air conditioners 24*7
Air conditioners are a major cause of ozone layer depletion from earth. If not cleaned and maintained properly, they are also responsible for causing diseases ranging from allergies to tuberculosis due to constant recirculation of air. Thus use air conditioners only for fixed hours in a day
9. Little things
These things include turning off the fan and lights when leaving room, composting kitchen waste, growing trees and gardens, turning off tap when not needed. Using gas instead of microwave, not leaving the refrigerator door open for a long time.
10. Maintain even when you are travelling
People usually have a habit of wasting water, electricity and eventually using more energy than required. What we forget is that the overall impact is borne by the planet as a whole. Thus maintain sustainable habits even while you are travelling.