Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would know that we are going through a massive climate crisis right now. You may have heard this ‘buzzword’ on social media but it’s a very real threat to our existence. On Earth Day, which is April 22 of each year, it seems appropriate to write about how we can do our small bit to save this wonderful planet we call home.
This day is not just for those who are ‘environmentalists’ or ‘nature lovers’. This cause is for every person who lives on Earth – this includes large conglomerates and institutions, too. Each one of us needs a healthy world to support our very lives, and just like that, investing in our planet, a healthier planet is no longer an option, it is a necessity.
The evidence that climate change is happening at a dizzying pace is irrefutable. Greenhouse emissions are warming the planet faster than anticipated. This in turn is intensifying the water cycle, bringing more intense rainfall in some places, and droughts in others. Sea levels are rising, and we see a rise in coastal flooding. Remember COVID? Of course, you do. The rising temperatures will cause the permafrost to melt, activating eons-dormant viruses. All of these can be attributed to human influence on nature. However, there is a sliver of hope that there may be a small window to correct these imbalances and restore nature to its former glory.
Stabilizing the climate will require strong, sustained efforts which include a reduction in greenhouse emissions and air pollution which are the major offenders when it comes to climate change. To save the planet, according to the United Nations, we need to get to 0% greenhouse emissions by 2050 and everyone can do their bit. Here’s how.
Keep yourself updated on what is happening in the world and encourage people around you to do the same. Follow climate change activists and pages on social media to keep yourself abreast of what’s going on. Follow Disha Ravi, Dr. Vandana Shiva, Sumaira Abdulali, and similar activists to get an idea of what more you can do to save this planet.
Are they reducing green spaces in your city? Are they dumping toxic waste into the seas? Are they cutting down trees for yet another construction project? Lobby your local politicians and write to them. Request a meeting with your city officials, if possible. or join movements and pressurize the authorities to look at healthier, sustainable alternatives.
Sustainability starts with each of us. Did you know that a quarter of all greenhouse gases are from vehicles? Plus, with fuel prices through the roof, look for sustainable ways to get around. Take the local bus or walk nearby distances. Carpool with those around you (but stay masked up), or better yet – get a cycle if you can. Get in your cardio AND save the planet – double win! Reduce flying as far as possible as flights use a massive amount of fossil fuel. Make the switch to slow fashion and buy more sustainable, longer-lasting clothes rather than indulging in fast fashion and fleeting trends. Carry your own cute jute or cotton bag while going grocery shopping and #BeEarthWise!
Go green – even at home
Instead of using plain ol’ electricity at home, look into solar-powered energy or switch to a provider that uses renewable energy. If you are unable to, make small changes in your home like buying rechargeable batteries, reducing single-use plastic as far as possible, and using reusable containers instead of one-time use ones. When you get take-out food, explicitly ask them not to send cutlery if you don’t need it. Make the switch to reusable or cloth napkins that will last you for a long, long time. Look into buying power-saving electronics. Turn up your air conditioning by a couple of degrees and switch off your appliances when not in use. Reduce your water waste, too. Take shorter showers or use a bucket and switch to recycled water for flush tanks.
More plant, less meat
Did you know that 60% of the world’s agricultural land is used for livestock grazing? Reducing your meat intake will reduce the pressure on these lands and incessant livestock breeding. Think of food as a process, not a product. Buy local produce to lessen the environmental costs of transportation. Better yet, plant your herbs and vegetables and involve your neighborhood in a local food garden if you can. Some herbs you can grow are coriander, mint, basil, and even some spring onions. It’s easy, rewarding, and cost-effective, too!
If you save money, you must be putting it into one or another financial institute. Find companies that spend and do CSR mindfully – and for a cause that you care about. According to Sustain Labs, the top 3 greenest companies in India are Wipro, Maruti Suzuki, and Tata Consultancy Services. Ask your institution about its social responsibility policies and make decisions that can bring about a real change in the world. Take to social media and pressurize conglomerates and industries to switch to a more sustainable way of working.
The time to take action is now. The glaciers are melting, the earth is warming up at an unprecedented pace, and wildlife all around us is losing their homes and we have the power to do something about it. This #EarthDay2022, pledge to do your bit to save the earth.