First of all, take some time out from your busy schedule and contemplate, what does the earth really mean to you? How important a role does the environment play in your life? Do you really feel that protecting and nurturing the environment is something you should invest your time, energy and money in or is it something you can take for granted? You are born to enjoy the fruits of nature, no matter what. Nature took care of you 20 years back, will continue taking care of you 20 years later and will do the same for your children. If this what you also thing, then it is time to wake up, like many other things in life, you can’t take nature for granted.
You had been seeing that large tree while walking down the street every day, since you were a child, and suddenly one day you see the authorities have cut the tree down. How will you react? You will be sad for a moment, maybe for half an hour or so and then forget about the tree. Out of sight is out of mind. This is a strategy, unfortunately, a lot many of us take when it comes to appreciating and protecting the environment. These days, as a city dweller you are so in sync with artificiality that you completely ignore the beauty of nature around you and when the beauty starts disappearing, you don’t notice any change and by the time when you do notice, it is already very late.
But you might say then, what do you expect us to do, even if you wanted to save the tree, you couldn’t because many things in life are in not in your control. The incessant pollution outside is not in your control,a large number of vehicles plying on narrow roads, is not in your control so as an individual, what can you possibly do to better the situation, and care for your immediate surrounding.
It turns out you can do quite a bit, starting from your own home, your own living space. In this respect, I can’t help but be reminded of Neil Armstrong’s famous quote, “ One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. Small changes in our life can have a huge impact on the environment around you.
Joanna Yarrow, author of 1,001 Ways to Save the Earth, is a sustainable living expert and co-founder of Beyond Green, a company that focuses on sustainable communities. According to Yarrow, “Pretty much everything we do has an impact on the natural world. So changes to any of our daily activities represent an opportunity to look after the planet better without adding too much to our ‘to do’ list.”
So let’s start with some best practices in urban living that can make you nature’s best friend
Sensible use of Water (Very Important): If you see, a large section of Bangalore has Cauvery water connection, hence they are not solely dependent on groundwater, unfortunately, a growing section of Bangalore do not have Cauvery water connection and will probably never have and their only source is Groundwater. Large apartment buildings, gated communities, luxury apartments etc. are built with a handful of ground water connection and every day gallons of ground water get depleted because a huge population is dependent solely on Ground waterground water cannot be replenished as quickly as it can be exhausted. To give you an idea, The average time for the renewal of groundwater is 1,400 years (World Water Balance, 1978).
Hence, you cannot control whether your home has Cauvery connection or not, but what you can control is reduce your average consumption of water,small changes in your habits like:
- Avoid wasting running water,when your maid is cleaning utensils, instruct her clearly not to keep the tap open
- Reduce the speed of water flow when you are using the tap and remember to turn it off properly when not using…a lot of times, faltering taps keep dripping water, long after you leave the kitchen or the bathroom, this is a horrible wastage of water. Fixing such taps is a good idea and if you can’t fix ASAP, then put a bucket underneath to save as much water as possible.
- Avoid showering on a daily basis, you will be surprised how much water we waste while showering try using the bucket water for a bath on alternate days
- If possible reuse the water after washing utensils in the kitchen to water your plants
Once you throw out the garbage,again out of sight is out of mind, BUT, the garbage needs to be handled in a scientific manner, if it’s not done, then you are selfishly damaging the environment. Make a genuine effort to segregate dry waste and wet waste…in more developed countries the segregation is often beyond just two categories like medical waste, plastics, biodegradable, non- biodegradable, tin cans, glass bottles, and more the least we can do is segregate wet and dry waste. For women, it is very important to discard sanitary wastes, used nappies of children etc. which should be properly contained in a newspaper , ensuring nil exposure, and thrown as dry waste, it should never be flushed.
Potted plants not only add color and charm to your living space but also aid in creating a healthy home environment by generating oxygen. Apart from having a miniature garden in the balcony, invest in some indoor plants to add a beautiful green touch to your living room.
Even though Electricity is a paid resource but a resource never the less. Switch off Fans, lights, ACs when not in the room. Advice small children to do the same. It is a good practice to teach the child from a very young age about conserving energy resources like electricity, ensuring the child continues the habit when he or she grows up. Be a role model to your children and make them understand the value of resources.
Use of LED and CFL bulbs is another good practice. Nowadays, there are energy saving ceiling fans, microwaves , refrigerators and many electrical gadgets available in the market,it is prudent to opt those instead of the regular options.
Conscious efforts towards reducing use of plastic:
This would be the most challenging of all the tips, use your dependence on plastic, from plastic water bottles to plastic bags to hold your groceries. Plastic are non-bio-degradable and you ll never know where your discarded plastic would finallys top using items made with plastic and go for jute,metal, clay or other alternatives.
It turns out that “going green” doesn’t have to mean expensive investments like solar panels, sustainable wood flooring, and nontoxic paints. Experts say that simple changes in your everyday life are all it takes to make your home a healthier, safer, greener place to be. But don’t forget that human beings are creatures of habit, and change takes time. Begin with small steps. For example, make a commitment to change just one habit every month.
Written By Anasua Mitra, Manager- Marketing, Wienerberger India Private Limited.
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