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Change begins with you: 30 things you can  do to ingrain everyday sustainability


Change begins with you: 30 things you can do to ingrain everyday sustainability

Climate Change, Extreme Poverty, Inequity, Unsustainable Development; the pale blue dot that we call home looks like a grim place to live, in the face of such glaring adversities. And yet, while the world around us is made and unmade every day, it offers us hope for a better tomorrow. The COVID-19 pandemic undid decades of developmental progress in less than 2 years. However, for a short period of time, it also showed us that we can, if we want to, build a better normal.

It has also showed us the power of ‘one' – the power that you hold to be a part of the solution, if you want.

Here are a few things that YOU can do in your everyday lives to add a drop in the ocean of transformative action to embed sustainability:

Things you can do at home or at your workplace

1. Keep your laptops off the socket when they're fully charged. This will not only keep your laptop's battery healthy but of course also save electricity.

2. Still getting your bank statements by mail? Stop paper statements completely and subscribe to e-statements. Every bank/business offers this option.

3. When you wash your clothes; air dry them. There's nothing like drying your hair and clothes with natural wind and sunlight and you save energy, all the same.

4. Wash your clothes only when the machine load is full.

5. Replace old appliances at home and at office with energy efficient models. The simplest example could range from archaic filament bulb to CFLs to now LEDs.

6. Buy minimally packaged goods.

7. Use the RO reject water in general household tasks; like cleaning the utensils, mopping the floor. Your car does not need a 750 litre tank to wash, a bucket of water is often sufficient.

8. Try to walk or cycle whenever you can. This will not only save money, increase longevity but you will put lesser toxic fumes in the air!

9. Cook/Boil with lids and save energy and of course, the bills.

10. Identify small improvement opportunities at your workplace and volunteer to implement them:

o Highlight water leaks, excessive consumption, food wastage.

o Implement a zero-plastic zone and expand it throughout the office along with promoting waste segregation.

o Print less.

o Minimize in-person meetings in meeting rooms.

Things you can do in your community

11. Individual efforts to compost are good, but it can reap greater rewards when done collectively, even at a small scale; start with your building or apartment complex and get people to voluntarily commit to composting their food scraps and extract rich manure!

12. Capitalize on big days: World Water Day, Biodiversity Day, Environment Day, Earth Day to organize a No Impact Week to collectively share and learn best practices for living more sustainably.

13. You know that big plastic bag in every house, which has smaller plastic bags? Take it community-wide! Not everyone, always has their own bag to carry when going out. Make a community pool of re-usable plastic or cloth bags outside every shop in your locality that people can choose a bag from and return/add to.

14. Encourage your resident welfare associations to do a monthly waste audit to evaluate gaps and communicate it to everyone.

Things you can do in your personal life and choices

15. Shop local. Supporting neighbourhood businesses is fair but make sure that your products do not come from far, laden in excessive packaging.

16. Buy that one mango which isn't yellow enough, or the banana with too many spots. They're healthier! And guess what, you buying them saves tons of such fruits which are discarded and wasted just because they're not the perfect size, shape or colour.

17. Wash your clothes less often. Unlike what the ads sell you, most of your clothes are meant to bear a few wear cycles before they get really soiled. Washing them less will not only preserve water and electricity, it will also increase the life of your clothes.

18. Choose public transport whenever you can. A ride on the metro is not only cheaper, shorter – it's better for the planet. If possible, ride in non-peak hours.

19. Use a refillable water bottle and coffee cup.

20. Take fewer napkins when you eat out; washing your hands is more hygienic and better for the trees!

21. Avoid fast fashion. Shop vintage.

22. Talk about climate change with your friends and families. It may not be rosy, but it is necessary. Mentor young people.

23. Take shorter showers, limit them to less than 4 minutes.

24. Recycle old gadgets by selling them or offering them to the manufactures through their Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs!

25. Eat Seasonal: a carrot in summers seems like a nice snack, but it takes tremendous amount of energy to chill it and deliver it to you. Eat fresh fruits and veggies and save that energy and transport footprint!

Things you can do at a larger-scale

26. Vote: Exercise your fundamental right to elect your leaders and hold them accountable to introduce sustainable changes in administration and public policy.

27. Demand ethically sourced, fairly traded goods and services from your most favourite brands.

28. Read your favourite companies' sustainability and annual reports to understand their ambitions and impact and ask the right questions. Identify greenwashing and make it seen.

29. Demand more and safer means of public transport. This means, more bus routes, more cycling pathways, safety wardens on late night commutes!

30. On the web, don't just like impactful content, make it viral. Be that nerd who breaks the cycle of exotic travel posts.

The millennials as we call today's generation, make up the largest group of the world's population that is nationally, ethnically and gender diverse and yet possesses the ability to usher in collective and individual change. So what's stopping you?

Authored By: Inesh Singh, AB InBev India