#Personal Stories

COVID-19 Pandemic: A wake-up call to leading environmentally-conscious lives?

environmentally conscious lives, bhai dooj
COVID-19 and climate change are two distinct challenges. However, the former made us realise the global implications of these issues and how they necessitate united effort to develop solutions. Images of clearer sky, cleaner air, and enhanced wildlife habitats inundated the internet in the aftermath of the pandemic, drawing additional attention to the severity of climate change. environmentally conscious lives

Climate change demands a multifaceted approach to handle the growing challenge of global warming and the difficulties that come with it. It requires us to be more vigilant in eliminating pollution, protecting wildlife and conserving natural resources. Another advantage of leading an environmentally conscious lifestyle is that our actions can influence and inspire others to follow suit.

I believe that the pandemic was the cue we all needed to start leading an environmentally-conscious lifestyle. Small changes in our daily lives can help to reverse the damage that has been done to the environment. One of the simplest methods to conserve natural resources, minimise pollution, and save energy is to follow the 3 R’s mantra (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). It is a cost-effective technique to reduce waste generation while also improving waste management on a personal and industrial level.

Our purchasing habits are another aspect of our life that need special attention. We are frequently swayed by highly effective marketing gimmicks and fall prey to items that we do not require. Excessive personal consumption of things has direct and indirect environmental costs, such as the energy consumed and pollution emitted in the exploitation of natural resources, as well as in the manufacturing, transportation, and disposal of items.

Avoiding impulse purchases and making a fair assessment of what we need before making a purchase will significantly lower these costs. When you do need to buy something, look for sustainable alternatives with the least amount of packaging and the smallest carbon footprint, and keep them in good condition. Buying second-hand goods is another way to reduce stress on the environment. The culture of thrift shopping is taking the world by storm and it’s time we encourage mindful, sensible, and sustainable shopping.

We may believe that bottled water or purchasing a plastic bag at the grocery store rather than bringing one from home are innocent behaviours that will have little to no environmental impact. Consider the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills if we all keep this thought. Carrying a water bottle from home or bringing our own cloth bag to the grocery store should now become second nature.

Turning off lights and unplugging electronics is another method to reduce our carbon footprint and save money on our electricity bills. Switching to LED bulbs or energy-efficient appliances is also an excellent step toward a more ecologically conscious lifestyle. LED bulbs are significantly more efficient and last far longer than traditional bulbs. They consume less energy and require fewer light bulb replacements.

It’s also crucial to be aware of what goes into the items we use on a daily basis. Many cleaning products, for example, include toxic chemicals that are frequently dumped into water bodies without being treated, posing a threat to marine biodiversity and human health. Baking soda, white vinegar, citrus fruit, or other bio enzymes are examples of cleaning agents that are natural and safe for the environment.

Buying locally grown produce, following a plant-based diet, and composting are just a few examples of how we can help the environment by changing our eating habits. Composting is a great way to turn food waste into nutrient-rich food for plants, as well as a cleaner and healthier way to dispose of kitchen waste. It cuts down on the quantity of garbage that ends up in landfills, which pollutes the environment.

While we should incorporate all of the aforementioned habits into our daily lives, we should also make tree planting a habit. Growing herbs, vegetables, or fruits at home, planting trees whenever and wherever we have the opportunity, and supporting organisations and causes dedicated to planting trees and revitalising our environment are all examples of this.

As the effects of climate change worsen over time, the children and young people of today will be the ones who suffer the most. More than anything else, this pandemic succeeded in convincing us that we are the only ones to blame for our declining environmental health.

Human activity and environmental protection do not have to be mutually exclusive concepts. It’s time for us to recognise the importance of a world where you can see lofty peaks, towering trees, carefree butterflies, birds, and animals alongside skyscrapers and other man-made delights. Let this pandemic be a reminder of how we have mistreated the environment and how we now have the opportunity to pause, think, and restore our relationship with nature.

Supriya Patil is an environmental expert. She holds a Master’s in Environment Science from the University of Mumbai and has a post-graduate diploma in ‘Urban Environmental Management’ from WWF-National Law University, Delhi. The views expressed are the author’s own.