Environment

World Earth Day: Nine ways to keep the planet safe

Green practices you can adopt to reduce waste, conserve resources, improve air and water quality and protect ecosystems

 
By Mehak Aggarwal
Last Updated: Monday 22 April 2019
Image: Getty Images
Image: Getty Images Image: Getty Images

Each year April 22 is celebrated as International Mother Earth Day to mark the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement. On April 22, 1970, millions of people took to streets to protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development and since then this day is celebrated to voice concerns regarding the environment to save the Earth.

It’s a day of political action and civic participation. People are expected to take out marches to spread awareness, sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, plant trees and clean up their towns and roads. Corporations and governments use it to make pledges and announce sustainability measures. Faith leaders connect the day with protecting God’s greatest creations, humans, biodiversity and the planet that we all live on.

The theme for Mother Earth Day 2019 is ‘greening the blue’.

Want to make the world a better place? Implementing green practices in homes and offices can help reduce waste, conserve resources, improve air and water quality, and protect ecosystems and biodiversity. 

Going green means pursuing knowledge and practices that can lead to more environment friendly and ecologically responsible decisions and lifestyles, which can help protect the environment and sustain its natural resources for current and future generations. Being eco-friendly or environment friendly is becoming more and more important. 

Eco-friendly products promote green living that helps conserve energy and also prevent air, water and noise pollution. They prove to be boons for the environment and also prevent human health from deterioration.

Here are nine ways you can adopt to go green and save the green:

Energy

  • Set your thermostat a few degrees lower in winters and a few degrees higher in summers to save on heating and cooling costs.
  • Install compact fluorescent light bulbs when your older incandescent bulbs burn out.
  • Unplug appliances when you’re not using them or use a smart power strip that senses when appliances are off and cuts phantom or vampire energy use.
  • Wash clothes in cold water whenever possible. As much as 85 per cent of the energy used to machine wash clothes goes in to heating the water.
  • Use a drying rack or clothesline to save the energy otherwise used during machine drying.

Non-potable water

  • Take shorter showers to reduce water use. This will cut your water and heating bills.
  • Install a low-flow showerhead. They don't cost much, and the water and energy savings can quickly pay back your investment.
  • Make sure you have a faucet aerator on each faucet. These inexpensive appliances conserve heat and water while keeping water pressure high.
  • Plant drought-tolerant plants in your garden. Many plants need minimal watering. Find out which occur naturally in your area.

Potable water

  • Use a water filter to purify tap water instead of buying bottled water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it generates large amounts of container waste.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle, preferably aluminium rather than plastic with you when travelling or at work.
  • Check out this short article for the latest on bottled water trends.

Gas

  • Walk or biketo work. This saves on gas and parking costs while improving your cardiovascular health and reducing your risk of obesity.
  • Consider telecommuting if you live far from your work or move closer. Even if this means paying more rent, it could save your money in the long term.
  • Lobby your local governmentto increase spending on sidewalks and bike lanes. With little cost, these improvements can pay huge dividends in bettering your health and reducing traffic.

Food

  • If you eat meat, add one meatless meal a week. Meat costs a lot at the store and it's even more expensive when you consider the related environmental and health costs.
  • Buy locally raised, humane, and organic meat, eggs, and dairy whenever you can. Purchasing from local farmers keeps money in the local economy.
  • Whatever your diet, eat low on the food chain. This is especially true for seafood.

Reuse

  • Go online to find new or gently-used second-hand products. Whether you've just moved or are looking to redecorate, consider a service like craigslistor Free Sharing to track down furniture, appliances, and other items cheaply or for free.
  • Check out garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops for clothing and other everyday items. Your purchases have a real impact, for better or worse.
  • Borrow from librariesinstead of buying personal books and movies. This saves money, not to mention the ink and paper that goes into printing new books.
  • Share power tools and other appliances. Get to know your neighbours while cutting down on the number of things cluttering your closet or garage.

Purchase

  • Buy in bulk. Purchasing food from bulk bins can save money and packaging.
  • Wear clothes that don't need to be dry-cleaned. This saves money and cuts down on toxic chemical use.
  • Invest in high-quality, long-lasting products. You might pay more now, but you'll be happy when you don't have to replace items as frequently and it would mean less waste too.

Electronics

  • Keep your cell phones, computers, and other electronics as long as possible.
  • Donate or recycle them responsibly when the time comes. E-waste contains mercury and other toxics and is a growing environmental problem.
  • Recycle your cell phone.
  • Ask your local government to set up an electronics recyclingand hazardous waste collection event.

Do it yourself

  • The big secret: you can make very effective, non-toxic cleaning products whenever you need them. All you need are a few simple ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon, and soap.
  • Making your own cleaning products saves money, time, packaging and your indoor air quality.

We owe our existence to Earth and it’s our duty to save and protect it. India can be a better country, if we all become better Indians.

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