World Environment Day falls on 5 June, and it is the United Nations day for raising awareness and action to protect the environment. Environment day reminds us about the importance of nature and that we should not take the environment for granted.
What is happening to the environment in recent years?
In recent years, the environment has continued to deteriorate. We now face serious air, water, soil and land pollution. Additionally, we also experience climate change due to global warming and thinning of the ozone layer.
How is the world contributing to protecting our earth?
The United Nations have shared a blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. They have developed 17 sustainable goals that are to be achieved by 2030.
Read more about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by the United Nations.
7 little changes we can make to our lives for environment day
More often than not, we do not have to change our lifestyles to save the environment. Little effort in our everyday lives goes a long way and here are 7 (with a bonus point at the end) little things you can make to our everyday life as a contribution to environment day.
1 – Reusable items
One of the biggest contributors to pollution is plastic and styrofoam used to take away food. Plastics and styrofoams are non-biodegradable and they stay in the environment for many many years.
Hence, bringing out your own reusable container and utensils can go a long way. Additionally, some food courts and stalls charge you for the plastic containers when you take food away, you can save a few cents (even if it’s just a few cents it would mean a lot to the world).
It can be understood that the hassle of bringing out your own container causes our bags to be bulky.
Instead of buying rigid lunch boxes, consider lunch containers that can be collapsed to save space. Here is a list of lunch containers that can be collapsed for easy storage. Additionally, if you happen to work in an office and you have a desk of your own, you don’t have to worry about bringing your lunch box home every day because you can leave it there. You can wash, dry it and keep it on your desk.
This way you would not forget about bringing your lunch box and it is always within your reach when you go for lunch.
Not forgetting to bring a small bag for your lunch box so you would not eat a plastic bag to carry it!
2 – Print only what is necessary
Thanks to the fast-evolving world of technology, many of our documents and information no longer have to be on black and white paper.
We have to store systems that make processes faster and more efficient. Schools are also slowly making conscious efforts to move students to study digitally. However, it is undeniable that some of us study or work better when we have a hard copy with us. You can make a conscious decision and effort to reduce printing as much as possible!
Here are some questions you can ask yourself before you print a stack of notes:
– Ask yourself if you really need the notes? (are you only going to use the notes once?)
– Are the notes really useful or are they filled with a lot of empty spaces?
– Can you fit more slides/ information into fewer pieces of paper?
Alternatively, though it can be a costly investment at the beginning, you can invest in a tablet or a touchscreen laptop that allows you to write on it. In the long run, this is much more sustainable than printing papers. Not only that, you can continue to use the tablet or laptop for a really long time.
3 – Recycle notes, papers etc
Before you throw away your school notes or brochures that ended up in your letterbox, keep them and recycle them. Here are some ways you can recycle the papers:
– Fold them into boxes to collect bones when eating fish
Watch this youtube to learn how you can easily fold a paper into a box
– Use them as table mats, you can keep your table clean and make use of the paper well
– For papers that are left with a lot of white spaces, you can reuse them and do any rough working or writing on it before disposing of it
– Shred the paper and use it as stuffing for your gifts
4 – Save water
This is one of the easiest ways to save the environment but is often overlooked. Freshwater for human consumption decreases every day.
You can make a conscious effort to save water in these ways:
– Take shorter showers
– Install water-saving showerheads or flow restrictors
– Check faucets and pipes for leaks
Read also: 25 ways you can save water
5 – Eat sustainably
Since this article is about the little things that help you contribute to Environment day, we are not asking you to go vegan.
Instead, opt for vegan options perhaps once or twice a month to stay conscious about the movement. Slowly, you can increase your intake of vegan food. Not forgetting that, eating clean and going vegetarian is also good for our body system.
6 – Be mindful of your purchases
Fast fashion has been one of the culprits when it comes to land pollution. The fashion industry emits more carbon than international flights and maritime shipping combined.
Fast fashion brands use synthetic fibres like polyester, nylon and acrylic which take hundreds of years to biodegrade. The fashion industry is the second largest consumer industry of water, requiring about 700 gallons to produce one cotton shirt and 2000 gallons of water to produce a pair of jeans.
Read more about How fast fashion harms the environment.
Instead of contributing to the pollution caused by fast fashion, we should learn to be mindful of our purchases. You can easily upcycle your clothes at home, Youtube has so many fashion bloggers that teach you how to upcycle and change up your clothes.
On top of that, instead of spending your money on fast fashion brands, try thrift shopping. Thrift shopping offers a large variety of clothes selection and cheaper alternatives. More often than not the clothes at a thrift store are still brand-new, if not, in a mint condition.
Celebrate Environment Day by picking out any one of your old clothes and try to upcycle them!
7 – Help to raise awareness about environment day
Help spread awareness about the environment, encourage your friends to practise some of these few points together with you! It will make it easier and more fun when everybody encourages one another.
Here are some ways you can do to raise awareness
– Participate or volunteer in environmental activities
– Post on your social media about the environment
– Talk to your friends and families about the world and the environment
– Actively look for new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle
8 – Bonus! Learn the correct way of recycling
Saving the environment is not just about the 3Rs. Recycling is a big part of protecting our environment, but what is the right way of disposing of recyclable materials?
Here’s are some pointers that can be helpful for you
– Make sure your recyclables are not contaminated with food or liquid.
For example, items such as shampoo/detergent bottles and canned/bottled drinks need to be cleaned before they can be recycled.
– Plastics have symbols on them and they mean something
Find out what the symbols on plastics mean here
Read also: How Do I Recycle?: Common Recyclables
All in all, everybody is accountable for the environment, we should all try our best to protect our earth by making small changes in our lives. Let’s celebrate Environment day this year by doing something meaningful for our planet.
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