Are our lives slowly losing their sheen?
I think yes.
Crazy weather patterns and environmental disasters come knocking at our doors frequently these days. This threatens our future and the future of our children. A sustainable lifestyle on the other hand can help us heal the earth.
Awareness and cultivating a few habits. That’s all that it takes. And you’re a contributor to sustainable living!
With that said environmental degradation is an issue sitting smack bang at the centre of our lives. It has damning consequences. Burying our heads in the sand shows ignorance.
Thankfully, it’s a doer’s world! We can turn the tide. Know the facts. That’s half the battle won! And that’s exactly what this blog post is about….
Let’s take a deep dive.
The pandemic blues…
And here we are now- dealing with this beastly pandemic. It’s held our life in an iron grip. Refusing to let go!
We’re tired. Some of us in a permanent state of funk. Days are a drag. We long for normal and carefree days. Aw, we want our lives back!
That said, this pandemic and the lockdown have shown us:
- How fragile our so-called order is (we are in charge of this planet, no way…)
- How for granted we took our freedoms (a virus keeps us caged…)
- And how little is needed for our daily lives (the basics- food, clothing and shelter)
Human beings are inherently selfish (barring some great souls…). We care about only those things we think will be of some use to us. By that logic, the earth is our home. It shall be home to our future generations as well. So, shan’t we do everything possible to protect it and conserve it?
Without further ado, let’s pull out some facts.
. . .
What is Sustainable Living?
It’s a lifestyle choice in which we reduce/lessen our impact upon the earth. This is achieved by taking appropriate measures to save energy and reduce pollution.
Some of the examples of sustainable living can be: using cloth bags for shopping (such a simple one…yet very effective), choosing an alternate way of transportation, switching our food habits etc.
Why not get a better picture:
Why is Sustainable living so Important?
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
These famous words by Mahatma Gandhi ring so true for our times.
Our modern life makes us consume energy at a blind pace. Connection with nature is zilch.
And the outcome is we:
- Rip off the earth of its natural resources
- Fill the skies with toxic clouds
- Create mountains and mountains of waste
- Pollute water
- Drive animals homeless and even endanger their existence.
Holy smoke! We’re destroying the planet?
This reminds me of a story where the person- the protagonist (Kalidas) is believed to have sawn off the branch of the tree he was sitting on.
Sadly, that’s what we are doing to our planet.
Let’s see how:
The trap of greenhouse gases…
The greenhouse gases (GHGs) provide us with the necessary warmth to keep life alive on this planet. They allow the sunlight to pass through the atmosphere. So, nah! the natural greenhouse gases are not the culprits.
But at the same time, they don’t let the heat or the warmth go away.
Now, we constantly burn fossil fuels when we consume energy. Electricity (bulbs, appliances, a/cs, heaters etc) to run our homes and for commuting (cars, planes etc.).
Then un-planned deforestation. And many more such activities enormously increase the amount of greenhouse gases.
This changes the equation.
And they (GHGs) become killer gases. Amplifying global warming. Resulting in catastrophes: Droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, extinction of wildlife, floods etc.
Our bulging population only adds further stress to the stretched resources.
Read this stat: According to earthday.org, the worst impacts of climate change could be irreversible by 2030. What’re we waiting for? Hell, to freeze over.
Sustainable living is our only salvation. No rocket science. A few simple measures.
Ready to walk through a few of them!
. . .
How to lead a Sustainable Life?
Some set-screws we need to turn for our own good.
1. Cut on Transportation- the driver of pollution
Cars, trucks, buses etc. burn fossil fuels. These trap heat in the atmosphere.
This leads to climate change.
What’s the escape route?
Strike a BALANCE. Pivot to environment-friendly options like:
- Use carpool whenever you can (sharing is cool)
- Cycle for shorter distances (it’s fun)
- Go walking (a super way of reaching very close destinations)
- Use public transport (metros, buses are a great option)
- Ditch planes for trains when travelling shorter distances
- If you are a car owner ensure regular maintenance (that takes care of the carbon emission)
- If you can’t do without a car then buy a smaller one or a second-hand one (high time to show some maturity…)
- Switch to electric or hybrid cars if that is an option.
Go car-free ….
Now that every man and their dog own a car; consider yourself lucky if you haven’t bought one.
It spares you all the worries of maintaining a car. And bingo! your carbon footprint gets slashed.
Less carbon foot-print = Sustainability.
WFH is a boon. Just no pollution. It saves your buck as well.
2. Cut on Waste- The Toxic Jungle
Our next challenge: Waste
According to the UN report- the world produces as much as 50 million tonnes of electronic and electric waste(e-waste) a year. Just 20 % of this is formally recycled.
The rest ends in landfills. Growth has a fillip side!
Some tips to reduce e-waste:
- Stop dumping your fabulously working phones or laptops for some shiny newer model (remember the chase never ends…)
- Extend the life of things around you by repairing them (our ancestors, elders did it all the time)
- Buy less (buy those gadgets and appliances, you can’t do without, the rest lie idle in your home or pile up the landfills).
Another form of waste eating into our environment is food.
As per theworldcounts.com, about 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year. An irony! In a world where millions of people are suffering due to hunger.
Let’s get organized and be food-wise:
- Buy food that you intend to eat
- While ordering it from outside, be sure about the quantity
- And in case you’re cooking your own meals, keep the no. of people eating it in your mind.
Food looks great on your plate, not in your dumpster!
These little considerations will be easy on your pocket as well.
3. Block those energy leaks at Home
Just look around your home. And reduce the consumption of energy:
- Unplug your appliances and laptops when not in use (do it right away!)
- Using energy-efficient bulbs like LED (switch now!)
- Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or washing your face (reduces carbon footprint and BTW resources are not limitless)
- Stop the usage of plastic bottles (they release toxic chemicals, instead stainless steel is a great option!)
- Cut on the usage of air conditioning or the heaters (make yourself a little tougher J)
- Order less to avoid packaging of the stuff. Go out and shop locally (remember to carry your eco-friendly shopping bags)
- Buy things sensibly (stop getting gaslighted by marketing gimmicks)
- Eat less meat and switch to plant food (meat produces greenhouse gases).
You can add more to the list. Just don’t forget to share them.
4. Be a responsible tourist
The tourism industry has been in the doghouse since the pandemic. Hopefully, the rough period won’t last. The pent-up demand must be on the cards.
That said, the international tourist arrivals are expected to reach 1.8 billion by 2030. Expected to boom. Yeah! we love to travel, explore hidden gems and bump into new people.
Perhaps this could come with a caveat:
- No littering please (collect your trash)
- Do not throw waste in sea or sea-beds (it kills aquatic animals)
- Do not use plastic (it piles the landfills, chokes our water bodies and takes ears and years to decompose)
- Choose a smaller accommodation (it saves energy)
Gotten used to staying in hotels! Give it a break. Camping is a super-duper way to enjoy your vacation. One: you’re closer to nature. Second: it adds an air of freedom to your holidays. Besides, it’s sustainably wise.
Just don’t forget to carry your reusable bottles and reusable bins. Leave no trail of muck.
5. Minimalism- the way to be
Happiness is a state of mind.
Who believes it?
Boatloads of money, more stuff, bigger cars, more houses…yes, we get suckered into this dream of happiness. In this mad scramble of overconsumption and vanity, we oft lose time, lose the meaning of life and happiness eludes us.
Amidst this noise, there is a small section of people (but growing in numbers…) who think and live differently. Meet the minimalists.
They refuse to get handcuffed to the pre-conceived notions of success and happiness. Some Millennials are Gen Z are nailing the minimalist idea.
- They keep stuff which they actually require (tossing out the clutter….)
- They don’t indulge in overconsumption (outgrown materialism)
- They invest in emotions which help them evolve (gratitude, compassion…)
This freedom and fewer things to bother about…. they feel freer and lighter. Exploring life.
- Aware of the fact that time is a precious resource…. They focus on their passions zealously (without getting obsessed with mindless growth…)
Happiness and contentment are the consequences of their actions. Their carbon footprint is tiny. They undoubtedly are the HEROES of sustainable living.
. . .
Scratching the itch but ignoring the rash. Doesn’t wash. Fresh air and freshwater are fast becoming a luxury.
Show your love for the earth. Tweak your lives in whatever way you can. It’s not big of an ask.
Just a quick recap:
1. Bye-bye to Use and Throw Culture
Reuse, rehash, rent and repair- are the golden mantras. Live by them.
2. Holler, Message and Connect- to build a Network
Foster online communities. Talk is cheap. If we can talk the talk, then we can walk the walk.
3. Ignore people who are tone-deaf
People will be shackled to their views. Disconnect with reality makes you a Luddite.
4. Keep an eye on Cleaner Energy
Yeah! That’s the future. We’ll have to leave fossil fuels at some point. The churn has begun. Renewable energy is making waves.
Support a sustainable lifestyle. Every drop and every bit counts. If these thoughts resonate with you, then we’re on the cusp of a beautiful change.
Healthy future = Sustainable life. Become woke and stay safe.