The news is depressing – whether it is about ‘Climate Change’, ‘deforestation’. Depletion of the Ozone layer, soil erosion, green gas emission, extinction of animal species and wild life- the list seems endless and beyond the capacity of individuals to change. But that is where we may be wrong. While the more dramatic and impressive changes may be brought about by global movements, corporate and governmental actions, simple changes are still the easiest and most effective to practice environmentalism in our daily lives.
Continuously improving our personal habits and taking small steps to adopt an eco friendly daily routine can cumulatively make a monumental difference to improve and protect the environment. Besides, an eco conscious lifestyle often means a more healthy one and is often more economical as well.
One simple way in which we can cut back on carbon emissions that pollute the environment is to reduce the use of cars and adopt alternatives like cycling, walking or using public transport whenever possible. While cycling and walking are excellent for fitness and health, this mode of transportation is also a money saver.
Online shopping involves less energy consumption and fewer carbon dioxide emissions than in- store shopping.
Reducing Food wastage as well as the resources that went into the preparation (like water and energy) is another eco conscious effort we need to make in our daily lives. Plan in advance and purchase or prepare the quantity of food so that not much is left over to be thrown away into the garbage. Also find a way to donate surplus food items in good condition, to food kitchens or organisations which accept food donations for the needy.
A more eco-friendly way of disposing trash or garbage from the kitchen is Composting . This means recycling nutrients back into the ecosystem. Composting enriches the soil and keeps food out of landfills and waterways and minimises the need for harmful chemical fertilisers,
Paper and Plastic both have a negative impact on the environment, hence stop using paper plates and plastic utensils. Paper plates are made from wood and contribute to deforestation and are made by paper mills using toxic chemicals which contaminate waterways.
To cut down on the use of plastic use refillable water bottles. Plastic takes a very long time to biodegrade and plastic bottles thrown as trash add to the pollution problem of the planet.
For the same reason using cloth grocery bags instead of plastic, cloth napkins instead of paper, cloth towels instead of paper towels are more eco friendly options.
Recycle : One of the easiest ways to improve the environment is to recycle. A community that produces less trash by creating new products from the waste is doing a great thing.
Water our most precious resource is becoming depleted and contaminated. Each of us can make a difference by consciously not wasting water, closing all taps when water is not in use, repairing any leaking faucets or toilets.
Rainwater can be collected in barrels, tubs or tanks and used for watering the lawn, flower beds and garden
We can all do our bit to conserve energy and cut down the wasteful use of electricity thus reducing the carbon footprint, by completely switching off and unplugging all electrical and electronic gadgets like computer cell phones, TVs, printers, air conditioners when not in use.
Switch to eco friendly cleaning products instead of the traditional ones which rely on synthetic chemicals understood to be dangerous to both the environment and health. Safer cleaning products for every kind of use can be found in the market. In addition to products available in the market, one can use home made room sprays with essential oils of lavender, eucalyptus, lemon grass and sandalwood. Essential oils like oil of lavender can be used in the mopping water instead of chemical cleaners. The home can be kept mosquito-free with home made spray and vaporizer of essential oils (made out of citronella, lavender and lemon grass).
Use renewable energy at home and work: Using renewable energy sources at home and work, such as wind, sun and geothermal; rather than nonrenewables such as oil and natural gas is another move towards an Eco friendly lifestyle.
Plant Trees and green the environment: Planting trees is another way to improve the environment and also involve the community in the activity. Once the saplings grow, they help to cool the neighbourhood, inhibit climate change, foster living habitats and clean the air and at the same time increase the value of the property where they are grown.
Getting the community involved in improving the local park in the neighbourhood by removing litter, planting a garden and making it a place where people would enjoy going, is another way to help saving the environment.
We can clean the environment of our homes by adding hypoallergenic plants. These plants are not only aesthetic but also purify the air that we breathe and are safe for those who suffer from various allergies.The best plants to choose, which can be easily grown, therefore would be :
The Boston Ferns which detoxify the air and add humidity.
The Peace Lily which is a good detoxifier and humidifier.
The Spider Plant which thrives indoors and is easy to maintain and helps to remove toxins and heavy metals from the air of the home.
Snake Plants may help to lower carbon dioxide and remove toxins like formaldehyde from the home and also converts CO2 to Oxygen at night and improves air quality.
Dracaena deremensis has smooth leaves that may filter out pollen, allergens and certain chemicals.
Simple, doable steps that we can all easily implement in our daily lives, can collectively bring about a significant ‘quality’ improvement in the environment and halt the degradation of our natural habitats.