10 Everyday Life Hacks That’ll Make Sure You Save The Planet From Dying

Posted by Shikha Sharma in #GoalPeBol, Environment, Goal 13, SDGs
April 29, 2017
NFI logoEditor’s Note: With #GoalPeBol, Youth Ki Awaaz has joined hands with the National Foundation for India to start a conversation around the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals that the Indian government has undertaken to accomplish by 2030. Let’s collectively advocate for successful and timely fulfilment of the SDGs to ensure a brighter future for our nation.

“End extreme poverty. Fight inequality and injustice. Fix climate change. Woah. The Global Goals for Sustainable Development are important, world-changing objectives that can protect the planet.”

To an average person, however, these goals can appear a bit lofty, making one wonder – Can I really make an impact?

Fortunately for us, the simple answer to that question is YES. How, you ask?

By making little changes in our everyday routine. Saving the planet may look like a daunting task, but if everyone does even a little bit, it can make a BIG difference and help build a sustainable future. And we can really become the generation that changed the world!

In case, you are wondering how or where to begin, here’s a list of things to get you started:

1) Turn The Lights Off!

From switching to CFL lightbulbs to buying energy efficient appliances and even plugging out appliances or laptops when you are not using them, there are literally thousands of ways you can save energy from the comfort of your house. Better still, if you can afford it, install solar panels in your house. It involves a one-time cost, but it can help you say goodbye to steep power bills forever!

Solar panels require an initial investment, but cut down electricity bills substantially. Photo credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

2) Don’t Leave The Tap Running

Water is a precious natural resource and our whole existence depends on it. But the global fresh water reserves are declining rapidly due to our reckless usage. 780 million people lack access to clean water and an estimated 80% of people without access to an adequate drinking water source live in sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Asia and Southern Asia. However, by making a few simple tweaks, we can not only help save water, but also reduce its household consumption 40 percent or more! From installing low-flow toilets to harvesting rainwater, and even doing simple things like not leaving the tap on when you are brushing your teeth, there are a million ways in which you can save water at home.

You waste about 5 gallons of water if you leave the water running while brushing your teeth.

3) Quit Bottled Water

Another simple thing that one can do for this earth is quitting bottled water. Not only do those bottles of mineral waters take over 1,000 years to biodegrade, they also produce toxic fumes when incinerated. Our recommendation: Get your daily fix of H2O by carrying your own bottle.

It takes 1 PET plastic bottle 700 years to start decomposing and only 1 in 5 gets recycled.

4) Make The Best Use Of Your Waste

Food scraps and yard waste constitute 20 -30 percent of what humans throw out. Composting not only helps keeps your leftovers out of a landfill, it also reduces your use of chemical fertilizers, enriches the earth’s soil, and encourages production of beneficial bacteria and fungi to improve soil health. With so many benefits and zero side-effects, there is no logical reason to not give this activity a try, if not in your locality, then at least at your home.

There are A LOT of things you can compost — and not just fruit and veggie scraps. Tea bags, newspaper, lint, even pizza boxes! Photo credit: szczel via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

5) Pay All Your Bills Online

No paper, no need for forest destruction. It is actually that simple. From putting an end to using paper bank statements to paying your bills online and via mobile, there are a host of ways one can do this. For example, see something online you need to remember? Next time, jot it down in a notebook or better still use a digital post-it note. Just spare the paper.

Paperless billing and online payments could cut greenhouse gas emissions by four billion tons and reduce solid waste by 1.6 billion pounds.

6) Plant A Tree

This may seem like the most obvious activity to do, but its benefits extend far beyond the act’s symbolic nature. Trees help filter pollution from the air, provide homes for wildlife, help recycle water, and prevent soil loss. Plant a tree and take good care of it. Believe us, the earth will thank you for it!

Three trees planted in the right place around buildings can cut air-conditioning costs up to 50 percent.

7) Finish The Food On Your Plate

Roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — or approximately –1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted. At the same time, 194.6million people go hungry every day. That is hardly fair. But by making smart food choices (read: eating fresh and organic) and ensuring zero wastage of food on your plate, you too can do your bit. A simple act like going vegetarian once a week can go a long way in contributing towards environment protection, besides keeping you healthy.

You can get in touch with food distribution organisations that can collect food leftover from big parties, weddings and distribute them. Photo credit: santosh.wadghule via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

8) Use Public Transport

Motor vehicles are the biggest offenders when it comes to polluting the planet. As per a study conducted by CSE in 2008, cars and two-wheelers contribute 60 percent CO2 emissions in Delhi. Which is why, it is important to reduce our carbon footprint by walking, biking and using public transportation wherever possible. For those who just can’t do without their own wheels, we recommend you buying a fuel-efficient vehicle. Make an informed choice when you are buying a vehicle by comparing fuel efficiency of different makes and models!

The Delhi Metro has helped cut down air pollution by 35%. Picture courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

9) Choose Your Leaders Well

When you elect leaders that believe in sustainability or support government policies that look at balancing development with sustainability, you not only make the power of your vote count, but you also exercise that right towards demanding what is right for the planet. Your vote is your voice. Exercise it wisely and in the interest of what’s good for the world at large.

10) Stop Debating, Start Doing!

Sure, changing the world seems like a big, complicated problem. But the truth is that this problem is not going to go away on its own. Which is why working on the global goals for sustainable development matters so much. By pitching in just a bit, we can all contribute towards creating a better, brighter future by 2030. To know more about how you can contribute towards the SDGs, watch this movie: