While we are continually running a race between all that we want to do and all that we have to do, and getting pulled back by the guilt of list to long pending, where is the time to think about others, let alone saving the planet!
I loved Mathematics and Physics in school. An ‘equation’ is the most important part of these subjects.
Left-hand side= Right-hand side.
And that is exactly what is missing from the ‘human’ lifestyle. Balance. Equalness. We are an all-consuming, all occupying species with a sense of self-entitlement. We believe we are better than any other species. The destruction we are causing the planet and all every other living organism is appalling, to say the least! But this post is not a rant on how we are destroying this planet(oh! I have loads of material on that one). Instead, I intend to use this as a beginning, my first baby-step(and hopefully yours as well, my reader) to start my journey towards reducing my carbon footprint and lead a better, more sustainable lifestyle.
What is a Sustainable Lifestyle?
If you haven’t heard of it before, here is the definition from Wikipedia
Sustainable living is a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s use of the Earth’s natural resources and personal resources. Practitioners of sustainable living often attempt to reduce their carbon footprint by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption, and diet.Proponents of sustainable living aim to conduct their lives in ways that are consistent with sustainability, in natural balance and respectful of humanity’s symbiotic relationship with the Earth’s natural ecology and cycles.
Ideas to Start Living Sustainably Today
Sustainable Living is a lifelong commitment. But, you got to start somewhere. Also, we cannot do everything. I cannot suddenly sell off my car and vow to use only public transport henceforth(Yes, there are people doing that!). Neither can I start living in a forest taking only the essentials(people are doing this too!). Switching to complete solar power or using only sustainable building materials, is also currently out of my purview. However, I can do something.
The key to living sustainably is consciousness. The more aware I became, I literally started seeing plastic everywhere! Here are a few points that I have noted down over the past few days on how to reduce our carbon footprint.
Stop buying bottled water:
Carry your own water bottle everywhere. (Have you checked out InstaCuppa Thermosteel Bottle with Fruit Infuser?). Take one for each member of the family when you go out this summer.
Take my own takeaway containers:
That is how it used to be a decade or so ago. If you wanted to parcel something from a restaurant, you needed to carry your own containers from home and bring it. Recently, one of my childhood favorite restaurants, Shanthi Sagar, tried to reintroduce this idea.
Here is another idea: Why don’t restaurants deliver food to homes in reusable containers which they just take back? What about us taking our own cutlery when we go to dine, especially in places where they use disposable cutlery? Too much?
Always remember to take a shopping bag:
The ban on plastics has thankfully forced us to start using cloth bags/paper bags. Even then, I am guilty of sometimes forgetting the bag on my way out and returning with a new one! (don’t tell me you haven’t done it). Currently, I use these easy-to-use divinext Set of 2 Carry-on Shopping Grab Bags and keep them just inside my door.
Switch off as you go off:
Lights, fans, water: switch them off as you go out of the room, each and every time. Teach the kids to do so too. This is basic but sometimes I am too exhausted to be bothered about wasting these precious resources. Time to buck up!
Support petitions/movements to reduce plastic in packaging:
Towards the end of January, I signed a petition to force companies like Amazon and Flipkart to reduce the huge amount of plastics in their packaging. Here is the most recent update.YAY!
Beg, borrow, share:
Recently, we had a dance program for women’s day in our apartment. The theme was ‘Retro’. I would have loved to buy myself a new pair of parallels and accessories to go with it. Instead, we chose to hire the outfit which was available at a very low cost! This is just an example. We teach our kids to share, but if you look closely, we as adults don’t follow our own advice. There are many things which we use only once in awhile(example: step ladders, power tools) that a community or a group of families can share.
Repair things that are broken
This is a difficult one for sure. It is the era of use and throw especially our electronics. When was the last time you mended your clothes or got a gadget repaired?
Eat Local, Eat Seasonal:
Eating locally and seasonally is beneficial for our community as well as our individual health.
Buy Locally made goods
Need I say more?
Reuse Baby Items
Clothes, toys and what not. We have more and enough to spare. I intend to reuse as much as possible for Baby 2. Advantages of having two of the same kind?
Try using a Menstrual Cup
I am a little apprehensive about this, although I have heard good reviews all around.
This one I have just started on for Baby 2. Hope he gets potty-trained sooner than later(fingers crossed!).
Rejuvenate my home garden
I had a nice set of herbs and a few vegetables growing in my balcony awhile back. With the pregnancy and the little kid, I got sidetracked. I intend to restart again with one herb and one veggie this summer. Check out a couple of my herbs and cherry tomatoes from last year.
Reduce Tissue Paper Usage
Use cloth for wiping plates and soaking oil instead of tissue paper in the kitchen.
Donate old items and donate responsibly
Do look up organizations like Goonj where you can drop off your old clothes, your children’s old school uniforms, shoes, school bags as they make sure it reaches a person in need.
Switch off all devices including Wi-fi at night and do not take any devices to bed
We will be helping our relationships while saving power as well.
Take the stairs
Health, exercise and power saving wrapped up in one. Maybe start with only the way down.
Choose to receive only digital communication.
Most companies and banks have this option now.
Gift people experiences
Change your gifting style. Stop overwhelming people with things they do not really need. Start gifting them experiences like a spa day(I want one!), or a romantic dinner or a paragliding adventure!
Use rechargeable batteries
For everything, especially for children’s toys.
Reduce usage of air-conditioning:
Enjoy the seasons as much as possible, feel the heat on your skin and don’t use air conditioning as much as possible(very difficult one for the upcoming Indian summer). When was the last time you rolled down your windows in the car and let the wind flow through your hair?
- Take a bath on alternate days. Ok.. I am just trailing off the path now, time to stop the list.
I intend to start small. Maybe just one of these ideas at a time, and continue to improve my sustainability goals as the days go by. Hopefully, these ideas will ignite a spark of consciousness in your minds as well.
Do you notice any area in your life, any small change that you can immediately incorporate? Do share your ideas with me.
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