The choice facing humanity is described in stark terms in a prize-winning book on environment called ‘Collapse’. In this book, the author Jared Diamond describes that one way or another, the world’s environmental problems will get resolved within a generation. “The only question is whether they will be resolved in pleasant ways of our own choice, or in unpleasant ways of not of our choice, such as warfare, genocide, starvation, diseases epidemics, and collapse of societies.”
Where does this leave us average people living average mundane lives lulled by our super markets, cinemas and smart phones? Can we make a change or is the Earth beyond the point of repair? That is the question now. Climate change and depletion of water table is no longer a topic of discussion in text books, it is changing our lives every day. Already experts are warning us that half the population of Bangalore will have to be evacuated because of absence of water in the coming 10 years…
A shift in mindset is now the only way to go…And a few of us including me are optimistic enough to say that a few small changes can make a big difference in the reduction of carbon emissions and our individual and household carbon footprint.
In order to make every day Earth Day, each one of us who wants to live a better, kinder and healthier life can follow these basic rules to reduce their Carbon footprint and live the spirit of Earth Day each day-
At home, energy conservation is the goal so while turning on the AC, think of the planet and turn up your thermostat in the summer and down in the winter by just a degree or two. Not only will this cut your energy bill substantially, it will make a major reduction in energy use.
Similarly, energy efficient appliances can cut your energy bill by up to a whopping 60% and also help renew the planet.
a). Reduce, Reuse, Recycle : Avoid buying cleaning products from super markets because research is showing each day how harmful they can be to our waters and air. However, certain cleaning supplies are more harmful to the environment, including water supplies and produce more carbon emissions than others. The ones to avoid, in particular, include: drain cleaners, oven cleaners, toilet cleaners, spot removers, silver/metal polishes, window cleaners, and bleach. Ammonia-based cleaners that can end up in water supplies – aren’t exactly the most ‘green’ too.
Instead, learn more about how to make cleaning stuff at home using ingredients you’ve got lying around the house like vinegar, salt, lemon juice and baking soda. These combine to make easy, eco-friendly cleaning supplies for glass/mirrors, vinyl, and even for polishing furniture.
b). Reduce Paper Waste: Instead of using paper towels, cut old tee shirts, towels or clothes into strips or manageable sizes to re-use as mops and dusters.
Don’t simply throw away old toys, clothes and furnishings. Donate them to someone needy.
In the Kitchen:
a). Stick to Vegetarian: The best way to reduce our carbon footprint is literally with our forks. What we eat, what food we buy, how often and from where has a direct impact on the planet.
Livestock puts more greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, so going meatless – even just one day a week – is a positive way to help fight global warming.
Discover local farmers markets near your house and buy your veggies from there and your groceries from the local grocery store. It will promote local businesses and help the environment as the food stuff in the super market near your house is transported a long way to your store and also relies on a lot of packaging to keep it fresh.
b). In the Beauty Closet: The chemicals in perfumes, makeup, and skincare products can end up in the air and even in the local water supplies and the manufacture of such products produces harmful carbon emissions.
Remember, cosmetics are chemicals too. When buying cosmetics read the ingredients lists and make sure to completely avoid cosmetics containing the following chemicals:
Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, petrochemicals, parabens, phthalates, diethanolamine, propylene glycol/polyethylene glycol, formaldehyde, PEGs, synthetic dyes and artificial fragrances.
In the Community:
What we drive and how far, together with how we cool our homes make up our biggest contributions to greenhouse gas emissions.
So ditch the cars and two wheelers and walk or bike instead of drive when possible. Not only will you be in better shape but you will be helping contain global warming.
We all owe it to the planet to get the most out of every drop of petrol we use. In order to do so, ensure that your tires are inflated properly to boost fuel economy and your engine is tuned for optimum fuel economy. Also regularly replace air filters and use the recommended grade of motor oil to save petrol.
And last but not the least, conserve the most important resource on the planet – Water! Don’t wash cars with piped water, avoid planting exotic lawns in houses and use water harvesting to save rain water.