According to WHO reports, about 9 in every 10 people are dangerously exposed to polluted air. Most of these situations are so bad that the victims are at risk of contracting chronic illnesses such as pulmonary diseases, stroke, pneumonia, cancer, and others. How did it get to this point? The answer to this question traces back to the damage done to planet earth, as a result of our own doing.
Our planet is facing many challenges, most of which are worsened by our daily activities. As a warning, severe climatic conditions are recorded each year. From the near depletion of ice glaciers in Greenland to extreme droughts in most parts of the world, these should be interpreted as the planet’s ways of calling for action against its destruction.
What can I do to save the planet? We have compiled 9 simple routines that we can all adopt to make the much-needed change, bearing in mind that even the slightest effort does not go unrewarded.
1. Donate/ Recycle your Stuff
Have you purchased a new pair of shoes and feel the need to dispose of a few of the old ones? Here’s what you can do instead: Donate them! Most of the items we hoard in our houses are non-biodegradable. From old clothes, hard-cover books, utensils to many other household items you can think of.
Sometimes all you want is a clean and decluttered space inside your home. This could lead you to subconsciously stuff items in the bin without taking a minute to think of the environmental repercussions. Giving away these items will not only help another person but also reduce the volume of garbage sites or the air pollution caused if they are burned. Recycle your plastic containers by growing plants in them or improvising their use in other ways.
2. Turn off the Lights during Non-Business Hours
This is an effective way of saving electricity. Generating power on a large scale requires the use of carbon-intensive plants. The more you keep your lights on when not in use, the more carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere from these power generators. Switching the lights off during non-office hours will reduce the need for power, leading to fewer emissions of carbon dioxide.
In addition, if you are using electricity or a backup generator to generate power, one way to conserve energy is by switching off the lights during the day. Unless there’s a storm and it’s too dark to see even in the daytime, keep them off and make use of natural light. You can tap the latter by opening your curtains and blinds to let it in.
3. Don’t Use the Dishwasher
A functional dishwasher relies on both water and electricity. During the different dishwashing cycles, the temperature rises to the 160° range. To generate such heat levels, a lot of power is consumed. This takes us back to the point discussed above concerning carbon dioxide emissions during the process of generating electricity. If you have a choice between dishwashing and hand-washing, go for the latter and save the planet by reducing global warming.
4. Solar Panels
Compared to the chemical emissions witnessed when generating electricity, using a solar panel as a source of energy is among the most natural methods of saving the planet. These panels rely on natural energy from the sun. It is then converted into power which can be used as a direct substitute for electricity and other unnatural power-generating methods. Not to forget, trees may have to be cut down to pave way for the erection of power lines. By adopting the use of solar panels, you’ll be preventing such occurrences, as well as saving your money for other uses.
5. Use the Same Bottle and Always Refill It
There’s a common conservational quote that encourages people to Reuse, Refill and Recycle. This applies to non-biodegradable containers such as water bottles. Most of them are either made of plastic, glass, or other materials that cannot be broken down and absorbed into the soil upon disposal. Instead of throwing one each time you are done drinking from it, it is advisable to take it home, clean it, and refill it for your next day out. Or get a long-lasting reusable water bottle. This will prevent soil pollution, blocking drainage systems, and the death of sea creatures. The space used as garbage sites can be transformed into forests if all the bottles and such containers are recycled.
6. Buy Used Kids Toys or Switch Them with Your Neighbors
If your child already has dozens of toys and they are still asking to try out new ones, here is your chance to bond with your neighbors. Consider it a toy-exchange program, where you give some of your child’s toys to them and they do the same with you. This saves the planet in that you will neither have to throw away the toys that are no longer in use nor have to buy new ones. This means that no non-biodegradable waste will accumulate in the dumpsites since none will be disposed of.
7. Participate in Community Clean-up Activities
In every community, there is one person, or a group of individuals, who are passionate about maintaining a clean environment. Usually these groups participate in Earth Day as well as conduct other activities throughout the year. If there is none within your locality, this is the sign you’ve been waiting for. Start an initiative that calls people to action, urging them to dedicate some time to cleaning the nearby town, unblocking drainage systems, collecting wrappers or plastic containers among other activities. After that, identify an organization that recycles such products and invite them to join in and do the remaining part of the job.
8. Plant Trees
This is the most direct way to reinstall the state of nature and offset global warming. Trees act as natural air purifiers, give shade as well as beautify the spaces in which they stand. Afforestation or reforestation are the two most recommended ways of saving the planet. You can decide to plant a minimum of two trees annually and nurture them until they reach a point of thriving on their own. With time, the planted trees will give back to the community, directly or indirectly.
9. Less Traveling
Cars, trains, and automobiles release dangerous fumes into the atmosphere. Their fuel is extracted using destructive methods, causing more environmental hazards. In this case, it is advisable to travel by these means only when you have to. If you can, walk to your destination or use a more environmentally-friendly means such as bicycles. Travel responsibly to lower global warming and save the planet.
Related: 20 Simple Ways to Conserve Water
10. Participate in Earth Day
Join the ranks of millions of people in over 193 countries who participate annually in Earth Day. It’s easy to participate by choosing to volunteer with Earth Day; act on plastic pollution; advocate for climate action at your university, school, or workplace; pledge to support climate and environmental literacy; make an earth day window sign; plant trees or simply make your next meal plant-based.
Besides these, there are many other ways to join in and make a difference from very simple and easy one-time acts to greater ways requiring more commitment. Here are some other things you can do on Earth Day:
- Clean up a local beach
- Plant a garden in your home or at school
- Scan your neighborhood for litter
- Sign an environmental petition
- Help restore bird habitats
- Clean vacant lots in the community
- Unplug and spend time outside
- Take a walk and discover native plants
- Learn about recyclables
- Watch a documentary about the earth
- Rethink food scraps
- Donate to charity or even take a virtual field trip.
From the outlined ideas on stopping global warming and saving the planet, it is clear that every individual has a role to play. It all narrows down to our choices and love for the planet. Start an initiative to preserve water and electricity by following the suggested methods. Recycling items and planting trees are among the best ways you can give back to the planet.