By Shruti Shreya:
With a growing population of over 7 billion human beings alone using up the natural and unnatural resources of the planet, along with an added number of other species as well, Earth is under a lot of burden, physically and otherwise. Add to it the horrors of global warming, and we may have a very weary Atlas tired of carrying the yoke, longing to let go before his shoulders shrug and his backbone snaps under the weight.
The question now is whether we individuals can make a difference, and if yes, then how? ScientificAmerican.com has listed down 10 small habitual changes which, if adopted and practiced regularly, could make a big difference to the world.
1) Burn Less: Our planet may contain a huge reservoir of fossilized fuel but with the growing population, this reserve is rapidly getting depleted with every kilometer we travel, not to forget the pollution that comes along with it. It is time to turn our attention towards alternate materials and sources of power like plant-derived plastics, biodiesel, wind power etc.
2) Live in Green: About one third of the world greenhouse gas emissions are because of the developments in infrastructure as cement is a major emitter of greenhouse gases. Making and living in energy-efficient and green buildings will however cut down on these.
3) Smart Working: Living closer to work, working from home or tele-commuting are few ways of saving up on the energy we waste on commutation which is the second largest source of emissions. By making use of muscle power on foot or on a bicycle, we take a huge step towards cutting down on emissions.
4) Buy Less, Buy Smart: This will not only cut down on your monthly house budget but will also help to reduce emissions. Think green while purchasing a car, carry a jute bag for grocery shopping, use plastic money instead of cash and an e-bill instead of paper.
5) Be Efficient: Stop being a lazy-daisy and start doing things more efficiently to reduce the burden on our planet. Get your vehicle serviced on time to reduce undue emissions or make use of energy-efficient appliances to reduce wastage of power and also reduce your bill.
6) Go Green: Think before you eat because what goes in also comes out. PETA could not find a better campaign than this! Researchers have found that meat-eating people emit more greenhouse gas than their vegetarian friends. Eating green will not only make you healthy but will also reduce the weight on our planet, in many cases literally.
7) Save our Trees: They supply oxygen to us and even though we may feel there is an abundance of them, we are not aware at the speed at which trees are being depleted across the globe. What’s worse is that cutting them also adds to the emissions. How can you help here? Well, try to use second-hand/used furniture or those made of other materials and try to get an e-bill for your purchases. Plant a tree whenever you can.
8 ) Plug-off: We tend to waste more power when not making use of it. While majority of the people forget to turn their electronics off, a large amount of energy is being wasted. Use CFLs instead of regular bulbs and chargeable batteries for your equipments.
9) Hum Do, Humara Ek: With the UN estimating our population to grow up to 9 billion by 2050 and several children orphaned and homeless, it is time to stop being selfish and plan parenthood more smartly.
10) Experiment with Earth: As a citizen of this planet, it is our duty to come up with innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and also guide our family and friends into adopting lifestyle habits that can make this world a better place to live in. Do your own bit for the world, however small or large, after all this planet is the only home we know in the Universe. There is no escaping it.