We all know that the Earth that we’re living now is not in the same condition of the Earth we used to live ten or twenty years ago. Today is much hotter than before; our seas are obviously not as clean anymore; forest have been bald; and even though it’s far from us, it worried me about the melting glaciers in Iceland. Definitely because of climate change, deforestations, and how we irresponsibly handle our wastes.
It is a consolation for us that our government is doing it’s best to implement change. We heard of the latest news about President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to ship back the 69 containers of garbage to Canada; the jeepney modernization proposals that would eventually lessen carbon emissions; and the bill that would require college graduates to plant trees — these are very bold environmental moves. It’s really good if we could help in our own little ways at home, in the workplace or even when we travel.
Below are some initiatives we can do to help in saving our ill planet.
1. Use water wisely
Even as little thing as turning off the faucet when you’re brushing your teeth, you are already doing something good for the environment. Repair some leaky PVC tubes in your house; you’d think it’s just few drops but you could be wasting hundreds of gallons of water for that. The water you use to rinse in your laundry could also be used to wash your car or motorcycle.
2. Save electricity.
Use energy-efficient light bulbs instead of regular bulbs. Aside from the fact that it would give you lower energy consumption, it also last longer than usual.
Do not forget to turn off lights, the TV, and other appliances when you are not using them.
Limit the use of your air conditioning units. If your house is not located near the streets, you may open your windows to let fresh air enter your house. Family members may gather in one place (living room perhaps) at certain time of the day in order to avoid using lights and other appliances in other rooms.
3. Paperless as much as possible and do not waste too much papers on printers.
We all know that manufacturing papers also needs cutting down trees. Recycling it can offset some environmental impact, but not as much. Patronizing businesses that do paperless transactions would promote environmental responsibility. It will also save you some spaces at home.
For children also who have school reports to be printed, please refrain from wasting papers; print with the final document and avoid trial printing. It is good that some of our teachers now are also asking reports through emails
4. Use reusable water and food containers
Plastic containers are everywhere because people opt for convenience. Not only do they require a lot of energy to manufacture, but they pollute the environment as well. As much as possible bring your own reusable water bottles when going out the house instead of buying bottled water when you’re thirsty. Many campuses already have water fountains where you can refill for free. You may also use your own bottle in water vending machines instead of the plastic bag that they offer.
5. Recycle and Reuse
We can’t always avoid using plastics and other materials but instead of throwing them, be creative in recycling them. Use those bigger containers as flower pots or make ecobricks out of your water bottles and plastic wrappers. Some public school teachers ask projects like throw pillows made of plastic wrappers. Bring reusable eco-bags too when going to supermarkets.
6. Buy fresh local produce
Whenever you have the opportunity to buy from public markets, farmer’s market or local grocery stores, give it a preference. Processed goods take a lot of energy, first for the processing part and then, the fuel consumption in transporting the products.
7. Have indoor plants
Indoor plants, including aquatic plants (in aquariums) are very efficient in cleaning the inside air pollution of our houses. Think about it, by spending a little money to green up our homes we are improving our health as well. In the long run, these efforts should pay off in terms of better health.
8. Understand expiration dates and shelf life.
It’s important to understand what expiration dates on food products actually mean, so that you don’t end up throwing away perishable products. Buy fruits, vegetables and meat that can last long enough before your next trip to the grocery.
9. Walk or take public transportation
Obviously walking is not always a viable choice and rubbing elbows with a sweaty passenger inside the jeep is also not ideal but try considering not using your car especially if your destination is not that far, you’re giving Mother Earth a huge favor in cutting down carbon emissions from your vehicle.
10. Get involved!
Join a local environmental group that is working to make a difference. There are nongovernmental organizations like World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, Cleanup the Philippines, Seed4com, and a lot more where you can volunteer. Or maybe you could simply respond to your favorite fastfood chain’s “Skip the Straw” campaign or get off the grid on Earth Hour.