By Atharva Bhagwat
Dangerously smog-laden air.
Ever-decreasing forest cover.
Severe water scarcity.
This is just the beginning of a long list of ways our environment is in distress. There is a constant conflict between the planet’s well-being and human interest. Our needs as a species are becoming increasingly unsustainable and causing more damage to the planet than we can actually repair.
So, what can one do to help save the world?
While all of us have asked ourselves this question at some point in our lives, it's never too late to act upon it.
Here’s a list of some simple yet creative ways you can help save our planet.
1. Don’t throw those old clothes away.
We are all well aware of the typical life cycle of clothing in India — brand-new for a special occasion, then a casual daily wear item, then a potential Holi costume, and finally ending up as a rag to wipe off dirt. Reusing our old clothes is one of the simplest ways to reduce the waste we generate, as well as save the energy and resources that go into manufacturing new clothes.
2. Let the United Nations help you save the world.
One doesn't have to be a superhero to save the world — just ask the United Nations. You could play an important role in this crucial fight against environmental degradation and climate change with small changes. The UN's "Lazy Person's Guide" is a way for you to help implement the Sustainable Development Goals in your own limited capacity and contribute to the larger cause. The guide has three stages in which you can take action —the sofa superstar, the household hero, and the neighbourhood nice guy. There is something for everyone!
Find the guide here: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/takeaction/
3. Know what you account for.
We are all contributing to the gradual decay of our planet, and most of us are not even aware of it. You can now calculate your own climate footprint in four different categories : Transport, Waste, Energy, and Lifestyle. Knowing your footprint can help you make relevant changes to reduce your impact and emissions and be a more responsible resident of this planet.
Use this Calculator to find out your footprint on the environment: http://climateneutralnow.org/Pages/calculator.aspx
4. Eat less meat.
It has been scientifically confirmed that emissions from the agricultural sector are one of the biggest contributors to global greenhouse emissions. Unfortunately for the meat eaters, most of them come largely from meat processing. If not making a complete switch, even reducing one’s meat intake can help reduce emissions by a significant amount.
Another way to reduce agricultural emissions is to support and incorporate more local-organic food produce into our diets. (It saves over 13% of greenhouse gas emissions!)
5. Grow a garden on your walls.
Love green surroundings but crunched for space in your 11th-floor apartment? Decreasing average living space and high-rise apartment setups have put us all against the possibility of planting our own sweet gardens.
But vertical gardens are here to the rescue. Vertical home gardens start quite cheap and are a great addition to your home decor ideas. They are also a great way to reduce your processed agricultural intake, as they allow you to grow some basic vegetables on your own balcony, organically. Fancy some fresh homegrown basil on that pasta this Sunday? Your vertical garden can bring it straight to your plate!
6. Shop smart
It is time we start buying our machines, devices, and home appliances more consciously. There are options on the market that are way more efficient and use significantly fewer resources, be it fuel or electricity. The very basic Energy Star ratings are a great start to picking your home appliances wisely.
Here’s a list of the most efficient appliances: https://www.energystar.gov/products/most_efficient
You could also choose alternative energy options, such as hybrid or electric cars and solar-powered heaters.
7. Reduce the font size every time you print.
This is probably one of the most underrated weapons in our arsenal to fight climate change. Suppose you have an article you absolutely need to print out that takes up 23 pages on its default font size of 18. Decreasing the font to 11 before printing and switching from normal page margins to narrow margins can allow you to print the same information in just eight pages now. Without moving an inch, you save thousands of trees!
Saving the planet is a gigantic task, but each one of us can help by completing tiny little steps. So, what are you waiting for?
Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the UN's Global Goals, which includes taking action for creating sustainable cities and communities. You can join us by taking action on these issues here .