Earth Day is celebrated each year on the 22nd April, where we raise awareness on the negative impact that mankind's actions have on the environment and on the earth. Today, Earth Day is coordinated globally by more than 193 countries who have taken active steps in increasing environmental awareness. The main goal of this day is to change the world around us, for the better.
Even though COVID-19 has changed everything and most of us are at home with our families, there is still so much that we can do at home to contribute to the environmental sustainability of this world. These are simple actions that include our travel and diet habits, water, energy and fuel consumption, and waste management.
Here are some tips:
1. Water usage
We can save on water by taking shorter showers, turning off the water whilst brushing teeth or shaving.
Since we live in the difficult times of COVID-19, your personal hygiene is important. Wash your hands, but make sure that you don’t leave the tap running whilst doing that.
When washing dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running to rinse the dishes.
Invest in an energy-efficient dishwasher and run the dishwasher only when full.
Fit water-saving taps and fix leaking taps.
Water the garden when the sun is down and use recycled bath water or water from a JoJo tank.
Reduce meat and dairy intake. Beef has the biggest “water footprint” and it takes 3 times more to produce milk than vegetables, 10 times more to produce eggs and 14 times more to produce chickens. It takes 19 times more water to produce pork and 48 times more to produce beef than vegetables.
2. Waste (Reduce, Recycle, Reuse)
Start recycling paper and plastic.
Recycle batteries from small appliances and use rechargeable batteries instead.
You can also stop using paper towels and start using cloth towels.
Start using reusable containers.
Don’t use plastic bags, instead invest in durable material bags for shopping.
Draw up a meal plan to reduce food wastage.
Stop buying plastic water bottles and use durable glass bottles.
Avoid buying food wrapped in plastic, buy products with the least packaging.
This period of COVID-19 has shown us that it is possible to work from home, hold telephone conferences, and team meetings instead of traveling. This will not only save costs for the company, but it also saves time. Less traveling also means less CO2 emissions thus reducing the carbon footprint. Utilise a lift club or public transport instead of commuting with your own vehicle to work. If you live close to work, you can use a bicycle.
4. Carbon Footprint
Grow your own garden or work on your garden, plant trees, and vegetables. Start composting.
Reduce your meat consumption and eat more vegetables, this will not only have a good impact on the environment, but it will also save you on costs as meat is more expensive than vegetables.
5. Energy usage
Turn off and unplug electronics that you are not using. Turn off your computer at night and turn off lights when you are not using them.
Hang dry your clothes instead of putting them in a dryer, wash clothes with cold water.
Replace light bulbs with light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs) which can use anything from 25-80% less electricity and last 25 times longer than traditional bulbs. Purchase energy-efficient appliances.
THE IMPACTS THAT COVID-19 HAS HAD ON THE ENVIRONMENT
In China, emissions fell by 25% at the start of the year as people were instructed to stay at home, factories closed, and coal use fell by 40% at China’s six largest power plants since the last quarter of 2019. The proportion of days with “good quality air” was up by 11.4% compared with the same time last year in 337 cities across China. Take transport, for example, which makes up 23% of global carbon emissions. These emissions have fallen in countries where public health measures, such as keeping people in their homes, have cut unnecessary travel. Driving and aviation are key contributors to emissions from transport.
If we continue to practice healthy and cost-saving measures like less traveling, even after the pandemic is gone, this could help to keep emissions lower for longer.
These are some examples that we can implement to celebrate this important day, whilst saving costs and increasing efficiency. The future of our children and grandchildren depend on the world that we build today. Right now, the earth needs us more than ever. Let us all do our part to make this world a better place.