Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people around the world have been forced to stay at home for self-quarantine. While many activities have been limited, the steps toward a sustainable future haven’t stopped.
Here are some small things you can do to help the environment while having more time at home:
One of the most direct and simplest ways to conserve resources is to reduce household water consumption. Studies have shown that there are 40 gallons of water used every day in American households. Actively reducing the amount of water used in daily activities can not only substantially decrease that number but also save some money for the bills. Some simple ways to achieve this goal include:
Keep your tap closed. Turn off the water while brushing teeth is a simple action that has big impacts. And always check for dripping taps!
Take Shorter Showers. Reducing 2 minutes of your shower can save about 10 gallons of water. Fair deal right?
Use more greywater. Sometimes plants in your garden don’t need clean, pristine water to grow the best. Substituting freshwater with greywater collected from the bathroom, kitchen or laundry can effectively reduce water consumption.
Recycle and reuse
Recycling does not mean simply placing plastic bottles in a separate bin or trashcan. It is also an innovative way to give used materials a “second chance”. For instance, DIY is a great opportunity for exploring creativity and interest during such unprecedented times. Turning old, discarded recyclable materials to something new always adds more color and excitement to the daily routines at home during quarantine. While reusing materials is an effective way to reduce household wastes, consuming less unsustainable products may bring greater benefits to the environment. Buying products made from more eco-friendly or biodegradable over single-use plastics is one easy way to make responsible and thoughtful choices that can have a significant impact on resource conservation and habitat protection. It is never too late to start taking action!
Embrace a “greener” diet
Yes, eating less meat can help the environment. Most meat production in the U.S takes place in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)---the culprit of extensive water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Data has shown that livestock consumes billions of gallons of water every year and produces more than three times of pollution to the air and freshwater source every year. Moreover, the excessive need for clear land leads to massive deforestation and overgrazing. All of the factors above explain why embracing a healthier diet with more vegetables is helpful not only for losing all the weight gained during quarantine but also for the environment.
Now with more time at home, why not consider starting a little garden in your backyard? Cultivating home-grown vegetables can be surprisingly rewarding and healing. While managing a garden may require some time and effort, it can be helpful for minimizing carbon footprint, reducing erosion, and establishing a small ecosystem that is home for various animals and insects.
Composting is also a great way to both provide critical nutrients for the plants and leave more waste out of the landfills, effectively reducing the emission of greenhouse gases such as methane. For sustainable composts, consider alternatives that are “peat-free” such as coconut fiber, wood fiber, or other organic waste from home like vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds. Developing a gardening skill during quarantine is definitely valuable and beneficial for the future.
“Be involved.” You may have heard this phrase many times but it does emphasize the underlying principle for bringing changes: DO more instead of THINK more. Now is the perfect time to join organizations that fight for the environment in various ways. Here are some possible choices:
One Percent For the Planet: a global network of businesses and individuals founded by Yvon Chouinard (the Founder of Patagonia). Expressing the belief that “dollars and doers” can together fuel changes, the platform raises funds for various organizations and nonprofits across the globe that engage in various environmental efforts such as wildlife conservation and reforestation.
Earthjustice: US’s largest law organization that had pushed through major environmental laws including the Clean Air Act and Endangered Species Act. Uniting the efforts of activists, policymakers, and individuals to strengthen laws that protect the health of our planet
World Wildlife Fund (WWF): a charitable organization that fights for species conservation, especially those that are threatened by human practices. It partners with governments, businesses, and other organizations to implement policies that protect species diversity and wildlife habitats.
In conclusion, sustainable future is a tangible goal. Taking active steps toward this goal during quarantine may bring more meanings and values to the quarantine life at home.