Ways to be more Sustainable during COVID-19 lockdown
The world has been taken by storm, and all it took was one single virus. It is times like these that test us, individuals, mentally, physically & emotionally. We had expectations and hopes from a new year, well, that may seem to have gone down after all this while, but at the end of the day all that truly matters is your well being. What are people gonna do with all that wealth if they don’t survive in the first place? I think the world was owed a long-overdue break and it is finally reviving itself.
Currently, the High-level Group of Ministers (GoM) has held an in-depth deliberation on containment strategy and management aspects of COVID-19. Measures are being taken by the centre and various States on the Red Zone (130 Districts), Orange Zone (284 Districts), and Green Zone (319) Districts. MoHFW ( Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) has made efforts to ensure adequate health infrastructure and health facilities have been identified and set up for COVID-19 management in the country. MoHFW to deploy Central teams to states that witnessed/are witnessing a high rise in cases. As of today, there are about 1,32,755+ confirmed COVID 19 cases and 3,901+ deaths in India.
While the situations are so tense, how about we take this opportunity to look back at everything we have done incorrectly and fix those mistakes. If you think about it, this is the best time to say goodbye to old habits and adopt a healthy lifestyle. The planet is going to change after this phase is over, why don’t we change too? The best mantra we can inculcate is that “less is more”. Did you know, minimalism was an art movement that originated in the post-world war 2 eras in the 1960s and late 1970s? That’s how cool it was!
We hold a very limited capacity to process and enjoy new items and gadgets. So why do we fight in a repulsive battle to have more and do more when that’s not where our happiness is. A German expression “Weniger aber besser” which means “Less but better” is a powerful and thoughtful idea. If we are smart enough, we can automatically accomplish more with less and enjoy more with less. Because less is more.
Over the years we have terribly drifted from the concept of sustaining and sustainability. Let us look at some practical examples of how we can bring it back into our lives.
Some ways to be more sustainable
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
If you have ever come across the term called the “waste hierarchy” and are not familiar with what that is, let me explain. It may be defined as the order of actions that are to be taken to reduce the amount of waste generated and to improve the overall waste management processes. The waste hierarchy includes the 3 infamous R’s - Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. This the key to a sustainable and zero-waste lifestyle.
Saying no to plastic
To begin with, multi-use items are essential in the first step towards reduction. Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins, avoid disposable plates, spoons, glass, and cups. Items over-packaged with foil, paper, and plastic are a big generator of waste. Plastic straws are a big NO-NO, save the turtles, and buy a metal straw. And how can we forget about toothbrushes, 1 billion plastic toothbrushes are dumped every year into our landfills, make a switch to a bamboo brush or a recyclable brush? It is easily available. While buying groceries carry your own bags, preferable jute. What you can do instead is look for durable goods that have a long warranty.
Using old items
Learning to reuse items or re-purpose them for a different task can prove to be extremely beneficial. You can also use old newspapers to pack items or store old items. Waste paper can be used to make notes and sketches and can be sent to the recycling center when you don’t need them anymore. Old jars and pots can be used to store items in the kitchen. They can also be used for storing loose items like computer wires. And now that we are in a dilemma rather than using disposable masks and gloves, make your own out of old clothes. It's gonna save you a lot of money and you don't need to run to the chemist to buy masks every time. Disposable products have been sold to us under the deception of convenience. In reality, they’re just creating an unfathomable mess that someone at some point is going to have to deal with. Is that really the sort of inheritance we want to leave for the children of the next generation?
The best way to live more sustainably is to conserve the use of household water. It's haunting but true there will come a time after ages when we will have a terrible shortage of water and other valuable resources. Educate yourself and your children on how to save every drop of water. We, humans, are greatly dependent on the tiny bit of water that is available to us! But we don't just use water for drinking. We wash with it, clean with it, and use it to produce everything from crops to feed the livestock and biofuels. This is putting a great strain on freshwater supply. You can save 6 litres of water a minute by turning off your tap while you brush your teeth. By boiling water you can save your money and energy. Switch to an efficient showerhead, it will allow you to lather up in less water and cut your bills or else set a timer for your showers.
The best way to save energy little by little is by turning off and unplugging electronic items and small appliances when they are not in use. Be mindful of turning off your computers, screens, and printers at the end of the day. You may also consider installing smart lights the next time, they are LEDs that use less energy than traditional bulbs.
Cooking from scratch
Try recipes from scratch and make delicious meals for yourself. Make a proper meal plan with all the good ingredients available without any preservatives. Did you know 60% of the food available in the supermarkets is not actually food? It's all packed with preservatives, sugar, or sodium. Do you actually wanna put that inside your body? I mean it could be fine once in a while but not every day.
Vegetarianism and vegan diet
Now that there is a shortage of dairy and meat, try out a vegan diet. I read somewhere there is 3x more chicken in the world than humans. Isn't that crazy! Think about the animals too. They have been butchered for our needs since the evolution of mankind and it's high time we should stop.
Go organic with organic farming
The best thing you could do is go organic and grow your own vegetables. Not to forget, one of the best ways to keep yourself occupied. You don't need a humongous space for growing your own vegetables/fruits even a balcony or lawn would do just fine. The best part is your items are fresh and organically produced.
Talking about waste, sustainable menstrual hygiene products should be of the utmost importance to women. Believe it or not, a single woman generates about 130 kg of non-biodegradable waste on her menstruating years. Studies have proven that one sanitary pad could take from 500 to 800 years to decompose as the plastic used is non-biodegradable. Imagine how much you could save if you just made a simple switch to cloth pads or a menstrual cup. I have been using the menstrual cup myself for 4 years now and it is the best decision I've ever made.
What to do when you have nothing to do
If you think you've got nothing to do all day in the house, or are simply exhausted of working from home, take a good break. Read a book, create art, try making a new dish, call your old friends, workout, clean out your house, attend free webinars, watch Netflix, bake a cake, sort all the items you no longer use/need, you can donate your old books and unwanted clothes to charity or orphanages later on. And the most important of all is self-care. You may have found yourself complaining on every weekday at work that you don't get enough rest, now is the perfect time to indulge in relaxation. There are endless things that can be done. The point is to not go insane during the coronavirus pandemic. But whatever you do, please remind yourself to be eco friendly.
Understanding the situation
Experiencing a global calamity of this kind is not what we expected, and we are indeed in need of each other in this unforeseen time of inconvenience. The lockdown will extend to greater periods and we must prepare ourselves mentally. The economy is already in ruins, we can only pray things don't get worse. Take a moment to thank all the social workers fighting for us, only so we can have a better tomorrow, all you have to do is stay home to fight this pandemic. Remember to wash your hands frequently and maintain proper social distancing. Stay home, stay safe.