World Environment Day : Simple Little Things To Do


So what is special today ? The world environment day comes every year with lots of pledges, promises , slogans and schemes from which many are forgotten as the days go by. I have parroted a thought since last few days :

Stay awake to nature and your surroundings , to yourself  and others and you will know what to do.

There is an urgent need for action in almost all the areas of conservation and preservation of our resources and those of us who are not at the helm of bigger projects MUST not add to the crisis looming large on planet earth.

Heal, reclaim, restore,
recycle, reuse, reduce

Each one of us knows these words and what they mean. We have been doing our bit too.  I feel involving children along with the youth is very essential.  Human activity has a great  impact on our environment but what we don’t known, often, is what impact environmental degradation is having on our health. The natural environment contributes to our health in many ways, such as through  quality of air we breathe, the food we eat and the water we drink.

We inhale  nano-particles,  get long-term exposure to pollution in urban environments, harmful algal toxins, there is climate change and emerging diseases – perhaps resulting from changing agricultural practices and that is not all. The scenario is very scary in the larger scheme of things. The human pressure on natural environments is greater than before in terms of magnitude and efficiency in disrupting nature and natural landscapes.

Expansion of human activities into the natural environment and the abrupt nature of human intervention. Loss of  species of flora and fauna. A large number of species are “threatened ” some are extinct, lost for ever.  These threats are directly linked to the loss  of habitat due to destruction, modification and fragmentation of ecosystem as well as from overuse of pesticides, intensive farming methods , poaching and general human disturbances. The air and water quality add to the problem.

Pollution especially from the vehicular traffic and industries is hazardous to everything living on this planet and its chromosphere.

So what are the simple things one can do to make it a better place to live in?

One can follow some simple rules and make them a part of living everyday.

Stop wastage of food. 

Wasting food is sacrilegious. According to a report  Food waste consumes resources, energy and time, harms the environment, increases greenhouse gases and disrupts  balance of food resources leading to poverty, malnutrition and hunger. There is not a shortage of food in the world; food is unequally distributed and wasted in vast amounts.

Though food is biodegradable rotting food releases methane gas a major cause of damage to ozone layer and global warming. Bigger landfills release toxins harmful to the environment.  Plant products, food waste, vegetable dump undergoes anaerobic decomposition, one can stop this breakdown by adopting some surplus food recycling techniques or by just making less food.

Save Electricity

Wake up early. make most use of the sunlight.  Remember to switch off lights, fans, AC  and any other electrical appliances after use but  you don’t need to turn off a fan  or a light bulb/ tube if you are going to use it after a minute or so and vice versa. If you do so, you will end up spending more electricity!

Keep gadgets in power saving mode.

If you turn off your monitor for a minute, a bulb can be lit in some remote part of India for about 2 minutes.

Use CFL or energy-saving lights.

Use solar energy if possible. Install solar heaters, solar cooker etc.

Washing machines and dishwashers should be used only when fully loaded it will save both electricity and water.

Keep the blinds, drapes drawn in summer and use ceiling fans more than AC. Similarly in winter keep them open so the house is warmed by sunlight.

Save Water 

Water conservation can be done at a very big scale at home.

Keep taps close. Fix  leakage. Try not to use showers , garden hose etc. Recycle water by using the water used for washing clothes etc for cleaning the stairs, balconies , terrace etc. Keep a small bucket handy in the kitchen. Pour all the water used for washing pulses, rice , veggies etc in that. Use it for watering the plants.  Don’t keep the tap running while brushing, shaving etc. Any remaining water and ice which is normally thrown away should be used for something such as watering plants. I use the water from the fish tank for my plants. It is rich in nutrients essential for plant growth.

Rainwater harvesting is another much-needed way to conserve water and a must for all. One should try to incorporate it as much as possible.

There are many other ways in which you can cut wastage of water. Think and make a list of your own.

Save Paper 

I always tell children to make use of all old notebooks till there is no space left to write. Use them for making notes, rough work, calculations, making lists etc. Similarly one should use the leaflets which come in the newspapers for similar uses. I cut them in handy rectangles and clip them in board to use them for listing things and making  notes etc.

Old newspapers should be given for recycling instead of the scrap dealer. Not a single sheet of paper should be wasted. Opting for e-billing helps save paper.

When my kids were very small I used to give them sheets of newspaper to cut and paint instead of new white sheets.

Always think before you use the printer. we waste so much of paper in printing. Use both sides if you can. Same goes for photocopying.

Reuse envelopes.

Donate old magazines, books to libraries.

Did you know if everyone save one sheet of paper per day, then 40,000 trees are saved per year.

Practice the three R’s

REUSE, RECYCLE, REDUCE

Stop air pollution from Vehicular Traffic 

Drive less ,walk more or cycle if nor use carpool.

Use public transport where you can

Adopt smart driving habits and reduce car emissions

Proper maintenance of your vehicle can reduce pollution in big way.

Get your vehicle inspected for pollution control when required.

Use alternative fuels such as CNG/LPG/Propane/ battery operated… etc.

To stop vehicular or any other pollution we need to either stop it or take corrective measures to control it.

Cleaner fuels, newer technologies , public transport system, private initiative like carpools etc  can be some measures.

The need is to change the social mindset . To wake up to the fact that if we do not take serious measures right now the repercussions will be irreversible

Encourage tree planting. use the dead leaves, peels of used veggies, fruits etc for making compost.

Collect seeds save them and plant in the next season. One can make it a fun activity with kids. Involving them in gardening and plant care helps them to develop a bond with the earth. The greener our earth will be the more there will be chances of our survival.

Trees help in noise reduction , pollution control, keep the atmospheric levels cool thereby reducing the heating and cooling bills, conserve rainwater. Apart from the sense of well-being they provide they also are home to large number of birds, insects, animals . They intercept airborne particles and thus cleanse the air around us. They also reduce soil erosion.

Have plants around your home. Keep them healthy.

Stop Using Plastic Bags 

Use the really cool jute or cotton bags . Every year five hundred billion plastic bags are used world over. Isn’t it alarming?

Read  about  Plastic’s  impact on world environment and how we can reduce it.  (LINK )

By taking simple measures we can contribute to keeping out planet safe.

Want to do your bit to combat climate change?

Wear your jeans at least thrice before washing them and then do so in cold water, don’t use the dryer and not the iron either, says the UNEP. This will consume up to five times less energy.

Let’s join hands to make our planet greener, Safer and healthy …

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