The year 2020 will remain, for most of us, a memory best forgotten, with Covid-19 wreaking havoc in lives across the world. But we mustn’t forget the lessons we learned from it – that we must listen to what Planet Earth is telling us. The forest fires, the cyclones, the floods, are all signs that Global Warming is not just restricted to melting glaciers in far off Antartica.
So as we ring in 2021 and make New Year Resolutions, here are five lifestyle habits that we can adopt to mitigate Climate Change.
1. Reduce Energy use
Urban lifestyles consume a lot of energy. And unfortunately, many of us use energy indiscriminately and there are many ways we can reduce this:
Buy energy efficient appliances, be it the air conditioner or the food processor. Most appliances have an Energy Star rating that can help you choose.
Choose LEDs and energy saving bulbs. Turn off lights and fans when you leave a room. And don’t forget to switch off the television!
Standby mode takes up energy. Just having the TV in standby mode, leaving only a charger plugged in, or keeping the main switch of your microwave switched on, can eat up a lot of energy. Make it a habit to switch off the appliance completely.
Install Solar Panels wherever possible. You’ll save on electricity costs while reducing Global Warming.
2. Recycle, recycle and recycle
Reduce consumption. Buy only how much you need. Reuse as many items as healthily possible. Try buying second hand as it saves your money as well as our Planet.
Try to use only recyclable materials. Things made from paper, glass, plastic and metal are great options as they can be recycled most of the time.
Upcycle waste items. Wealth from Waste is not just a phrase, it works too! Like making pen holders from used Coke or Pepsi cans or plant holders from used Bisleri bottles.
3. Change the way you travel
Your car or motorcycle releases countless harmful emissions into the air which leads to air pollution, significantly contributing to Global Warming. Cut down on your car travel; use Bicycles or walk if the destination is close.
If cars cannot be avoided, try Carpooling or ride sharing - one car is better than three or four on the road. And definitely opt for public transport whenever possible - it is not only cheaper and less stressful, it also reduces your carbon footprint!
Reduce air travel wherever possible - one plane ride can notch up a carbon footprint equivalent of a year of driving a car. Planes burn up huge amounts of fuel and thereby produce large volumes of CO2.
4. Say ‘NO’ to Single Use Plastic
Approximately 270 million tons of plastic are produced per year – plastic is not biodegradable and can never be destroyed. Already, there are between 10,000 and 100,000 tons of plastic in our oceans. Try phasing out all Single Use plastic in your life. Carry a Cloth or Jute bag for your groceries; use bamboo or stainless steel water bottles; Banana leaves are a good option for wrapping food.
5. Change your food habits
Opt for Plant-based Proteins like nuts, soya and beans, as meat has negative impact on the environment.
Shop locally and get organically produced fruits and vegetables that have not travelled far - this way you not only reduce your carbon footprint, you also get to eat fresh produce. You also get to support your Local Farmer.
With a little effort and commitment, you can try going Vegan or Vegetarian. This will be a huge step forward to mitigating Climate Change.
Don’t waste food. Cook only how much you need. If you are ordering in, insist on paper or non-plastic packaging. Refurbish Leftovers into new recipes or consider composting to use as manure for your home garden.
Finally, Rome was not built in a day. So try not to be too harsh on yourself. Take one step at a time - even one small action will go a long way towards reducing Global Warming. Try increasing your awareness about Climate Change by reading about it, and also sharing your Planet-friendly habits with your friends and colleagues.
Here’s wishing you a very Sustainable and Healthy New Year!