Updated: May 20
By Theresa Banta
“The Earth is breathing again! – a sentiment currently doing rounds online, as the smog clears up during the lockdown period.Clear blue skies over cityscapes all over the world are going viral in social media. Many people see it as a silver lining amidst the pandemic scare. China’s carbon emissions were down by 18% between early February to mid-March  while in Europe, emissions are estimated to drop to 24% from pre-COVID levels . Seeing the planet healing gives hope but it also highlights how the take-make-waste industrial model is pushing the Earth to extinction. Clearly, sustainability is here to stay. Now that we are spending more time at home, here are 3 tips to get you started in going green.
With limited movement, it is easy to track down where you generate waste. Start by looking at how you use your top 3 resources: electricity, water, and food.
Are my electronics often left idle?
Can I connect your devices to a powerstrip?
Which devices do I often leave on overnight?
Are my electronics energy efficient?
Is the tap shut properly?
How long do you keep your tap running?
Are there many leftovers after every meal?
Am I hoarding or buying just enough for me and my family’s needs?
These are some questions to ask as you do your mini resource-use audit at home. Taking time to unplug your phone before you sleep or eating the right meal proportion can lower your carbon footprint even more so that you are travelling less.
Making things from scratch may take more effort, but can be cheaper, efficient and fun in the long run. Perhaps now is the time to learn baking rye bread, bagels and scones or mixing up your own toothpaste and bath wash. If you want to go further, you can also try turning your kitchen scraps into compost and start your very own vegetable garden.
Grow your awareness
Now is a great time to actively participate in moving the world towards the green shift. The internet has been an incredible source of learning materials during quarantine. Businesses and NGOs have been holding webinars to give away tips on how to transition to a more sustainable lifestyle. Take time to discover content on climate change and global initiatives so you can increase your awareness about going green. Join a group and find our what greenwashing is. Expanding your knowledge is mentally fulfilling and allows you to be social even at this time of isolation.
At its core, sustainability is a lifestyle that helps you create a positive environmental impact without missing out on life experiences. A lot of the choices we make are done out of habit or convenience. When we are more mindful of the things that we do and how it affects other people, it is easy to make a choice that doesn’t hurt the planet.
Sources: https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-coronavirus-has-temporarily-reduced-chinas-co2-emissions-by-a-quarter https://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Videos/2020/03/Coronavirus_nitrogen_dioxide_emissions_drop_over_Italy