Think Green, Plan Green, Go Green!
by Shuchi Kalra
The "green revolution" is not just a passing fad. It is a way of life and a responsibility every individual has to shoulder in order to make our planet a better place in which to live. Did you know that the amount of carbon you contribute to the atmosphere sums up as your "carbon footprint"? You sure don't want to be the one with the biggest and darkest footprint! If you think environmental activism and "going back to nature" is just for the rich and famous, think again. You don't need a lot of money or a drastic change in your lifestyle to become environmentally friendly. Just a little awareness and initiative can go miles in preserving the environment and our natural resources. Here are a few simple habits we all can adopt to do our bit for Mother Earth.
1. Conserve Water
Going easy on water consumption is the most cost-effective and environmentally sound way to conserve. Cut down on your shower time, and you will end up saving hundreds of gallons of water in a year. Be careful not to waste too much water while doing laundry or washing dishes. Remember to turn off the tap when not in use. Water your lawn only when needed and not out of habit.
2. Turn off the light
The importance of switching off lights and appliances when not in use cannot be emphasized enough. Probably that's why our parents drilled this into our heads ever since we learned to use a switch! Every home appliance consumes energy, and turning off the supplies when not in use is not such a difficult task. Besides being eco-friendly and conserving electricity, it cuts down the electricity bill and can prevent accidents and fires from occurring.
3. Recycle waste
Have marked bins or bags for sorting out your trash. Divide them into "plastics", "papers", "metal", and "glass". It may seem cumbersome at first, but once you get used to it, you will make yourself proud of working for a noble cause and may even end up earning some money! Isn't that a good incentive? Once a week or month, give away your trash bags to respective recycling centers and use organic waste to make bio-manure in a separate compost drum in your backyard. Recycling paper saves tens of thousands of trees from being chopped down each day, and re-using plastics, glass, and metal helps in preserving the earth's natural resources.
4. Replace regular bulbs with CFLs
Old-fashioned light bulbs consume 4 times the electricity used by fluorescent lamps and also generate a lot of heat. Replacing may seem like an initial expenditure, but your new bulbs will last 10 times longer than the old ones. Also, try to make the best out of daylight, and avoid using artificial light sources in the day (unless you live in a basement!).
5. Say "no" to plastic
Plastic bags pollute the environment in a big way and are hazardous to plants and wild-life. Thousands of animals die each year by choking on plastic bags. Carry your own bags while shopping, and try carrying your own water so that you won't need to buy another plastic bottle.
6. Get back to the basics
Cycling is the new in thing! Give your car a skip in favor of good old peddles, and you will be doing a favor to yourself. Cars and bikes emit a lot of exhaust fumes into the atmosphere- the result of which is more than apparent. Ditch your inhibitions, and get a sleek cycle with a smart helmet, and make a whole new fashion statement! If you are not too good with cycles, go take a walk! You will end up saving enormously on your fuel costs and feel healthier. What could be better than that? If you have to travel long distances, work out a car pool, and opt for a car that is compatible with the environmental guidelines and preferably runs on alternative sources.
7. Celebrate with a tree
Make each occasion in your life special by planting a tree. Plant a tree on your birthday, two for an anniversary, about 50 for a graduation day. You get the picture? Plant as many trees as you can in your neighborhood. By doing that, you will not only be beautifying your living area but also giving all residents fresher air to breath. Besides, raising a tree can give boundless joy! When you are at a loss for ideas, give little potted trees or bonsais to your friends. They will stay with them forever.
8. Go Organic
Use natural products whenever possible. Instead of using harsh polluting chemical cleansers, use vinegar and baking soda to clean up your house. Use organic soaps and cleansers for your body so that you minimize water pollution, and also give your skin a refreshing break. Look for organic food products as they are free of pesticides and fertilizers that pollute the soil and water.
9. Solar Power
This is one source of power which comes for free and does not run out! Invest in a solar panel to generate electricity for the house, and a solar cooker which can be used effectively at least on warm days. It works out cheaper in the long run and saves a considerable amount of electricity and gas.
Make friends with everything around you. Don't cut down bushes and shrubs aimlessly. You will be making a lot of birds and small animals homeless, thus disturbing the ecosystem. Work towards a harmonious co-existence with the flora and fauna around you. Making bird-baths and bird-houses will beautify your garden and encourage birds to inhabit the area. You could also lay out some food as an added gesture.
With so much being said and discussed about environmental problems, it is time to get down to working on it. Our surroundings are our responsibility and relying upon authorities for results will do little good. Each individual has a crucial role to play in the welfare of the environment. So, Think Green, Plan green, and Go green. Remember, anything green is good. If each one of us does our bit, we will soon succeed in fighting Global Warming and save our planet from a lot of trouble.
|About the Author:
Shuchi Singh is a freelance creative writer based in India. She has a master's degree in English Literature and Linguistics, and her works have been featured in many Indian and International publications. She also works as an academic writer and content developer for many websites and portals.