Environmental degradation is a conversational theme that cannot be escaped in the current atmosphere of an increasingly pervasive awareness of our planet’s declining condition. It’s an issue that has been constantly accentuated while discussing worldly troubles. National and international actions have been taken by a multitude of organizations and governments to reduce the detrimental ramifications of our actions on the environment. How can we as individuals contribute towards this initiative?
Sustainability is a path that has been highly promoted in this context and with the realization of April being termed the ‘Earth Month’ hitting me, it seemed fitting to consider the active steps one can take towards environmental preservation as well as healing by adopting some simple and interesting sustainability hacks.
1. Use a Cloth Bag
We often use plastic bags while shopping, but using cloth bags can be much more durable. I have a ton of embroidered jute bags at home (courtesy of my mother’s random shopping sprees) which I take with me every time I go grocery shopping. These are much more fashionable, spacious, and sturdier than plastic bags.
2. Get Creative
A brilliant recycling tactic that I came across was the one used by TikTok user @yyxx123.1. In her viral video, she covered her Louis Vuitton shopping bag in heavy-duty plastic and replaced the worn cloth handles with much more stylish leather ones. The bag looked like a super pricey one from the highly acclaimed fashion brand. This hack can also be tried on other shopping bags to get fashionable results while saving paper, money, and other resources. Other sustainable creative hacks can be using paper mache to build decorative items such as photo frames and turning glass jars and bottles into lamps.
3. Try Vegetable Gardening at Home
This is a method I can personally attest to. Recently, my mother and I have started growing our vegetables in a small space on our balcony. She used some seeds of tomatoes and capsicums to cultivate our own little collection of veggies. All it needed was sunshine, water, and some little additional care. We ended up saving a little money and it’s also a source of some pride to use one’s own farmed produce. This practice is eco-friendly, low maintenance as well as a proven stress reliever.
4. Ride a Bike
The Swiss organization IQAir prepared a World Air Quality Report in 2020 which stated that out of the 30 most polluted cities in the world, 22 are in India; and Delhi ranked the highest on the list. Considering the fact that exhaust from vehicles is a major source of air pollution, giving the bicycle a chance seems like a helpful alternative. The injurious emissions are reduced and a cycling trip provides the body a fun workout too. Another way of practicing sustainability can be by carpooling with your friends!
5. Take Out Your Tupperware
Instead of utilizing disposable packaging like the harmful aluminum foil or saran wrap which are culprits in clogging the oceans and polluting the soil, store your food in resistant Tupperware, a brand that actively participates towards the sustainability drive. Other green options are that of reusable Ziplock bags or beeswax wraps.
6. Reuse Old Clothes
Don’t throw away your old jeans just to buy another expensive pair; salvage them into shorts by doing a little handiwork through some cutting and sewing. Have fun with clothes by employing trends like the painted jeans one or turning your boring t-shirt into a cool crop top! The fashion train keeps exploring new tracks and you can experiment all you want with your old wearables. You can check out the Youtuber bestdressed who often makes ‘thrift flip’ videos for ideas.
7. Shop Local
Shopping at your local market definitely provides support to the local communities and brings fresher material to the dining table with another benefit being the reduction in food miles. Produce that is transported through long journeys by planes, trucks or ships creates large carbon footprints. Buying locally brings down the adverse environmental impact.
8. Adopt Natural Cleaning Solutions
Another green path can be by substituting commercialized cleaning products with your own natural homemade concoctions. Mixing baking soda and water gives an effective kitchen cleaner, while a brass cleaner can be prepared with just some lemon juice and table salt. A multitude of such remedies exist waiting to be tried!
9. Go Digital
Completing assignments for school, college or the workplace requires a lot of paper and ink to be used. This wastage can be avoided by going digital: open up Microsoft Word and type away. This is a much more ecologically sound way of working. Another practice in vogue at the moment which falls in line with my advocacy of cyber mode is the use of digital newspapers. Along with providing instant updates and relief from additional expenditure, this helps cut down paper use.
These are just a few ways in which you can practice sustainability at home. Granted, it might take a little effort to follow through with these, but hard work does bear fruit. You might wonder how your exercising these techniques can help the Earth in the long run. To this, I quote Lao Tzu: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”