Helping save the environment doesn’t stop at turning out your lights for an hour during Earth Hour and posting a beautiful outdoorsy travel pic on Instagram to mark Earth Day. Saving this beautiful place we all call home doesn’t stop in an hour, a day, or even a month like April. It should be a conscious part of our lifestyle.
If you’ve truly, sincerely been wanting to do something to save Mother Earth, but always found yourself stumped for ideas, I’ll share here some small, conscious acts that can actually help in saving and serving our planet.
1. Ditch your car—bike or take a walk instead
I personally know this is easier said than done, but you can actually make this fun and beneficial to your health. When you travel this summer or anytime during the year, go on more walks rather than hiring private vehicles to take you around. Whether you’re at a beach locale or a bustling city, take leisurely walks to get around and explore your surroundings. And even if you’re just in your village or town, why not just walk to go to the market, store, church, or park? If it’s really too far to walk, why not ride your bike, even going to work? It will definitely do wonders for your health, specifically in improving your cardiovascular system. It’s free, easy, and you get to enjoy and keep Mother Nature’s fresh air clean—not to mention burning some calories in the process!
In Metro Manila, this would do a lot to help alleviate the traffic situation and make you not a victim of getting stuck in it. Why sit in traffic when you can just walk? When I used to live in Manila, that’s what I do: I wear a mask over my nose and mouth so I can walk main thoroughfares and roads to get to the mall, my yoga studio, to church, etc. Now that I live in a remote farm in Iloilo, I often just catch a ride with my husband to do my errands or hit the gym in the city. I can drive, but I found it more eco-conscious to just share a ride with him. It saves me the effort of driving, too, which isn’t exactly my cup of tea.
2. Conserve & save water
Dry season or not, we should all learn to conserve water. Teach yourself and other members of the household to practice saving water. For instance, when washing dishes or taking a shower, turn off the tap when you’re just lathering and turn it on only when you’re ready to rinse. Use just a pail of water when washing your car. Maybe you can also use the water used to wash clothes and other things to flush the toilet or wash the bathroom floor instead of using perfectly clean water. I also told our helper to schedule our laundry conservatively, and not be too eager to wash clothes when there are only a few items in the hamper. (Ipunin ang labada!)
What you save by using water more intelligently may not be much, but as they say, a little goes a long, long way. Who knows if today’s water shortage will one day become the norm? I shudder at the thought, so let’s all do our part to conserve water now.
3. Sure you can recycle; but stop buying things you don’t need in the first place
We’ve heard of, read about, or watched (on Netflix) Marie Kondo and her brand of tidying up: Keep only the things that “spark joy,” discard the rest. Well, how about we just stop buying things that only give us temporary joy so that we don’t have too much clutter to discard in the first place? I personally apply this in beauty products (skincare, haircare, toiletries, and makeup) and fashion. I only buy things that I need, and when brands give me free products to review on my blog, I try them, save what I like for future use, and give away the rest that I don’t need or will ever use. I only buy when I’ve used something up. Stop contributing to waste by consuming less, generally speaking.
People think I like to shop because of how I dress, but here’s my secret: I keep clothes I’ve had since I was in high school. Trust me, the trends will always come back, and one day (like now), your ’90s wardrobe will be hip again. I take good care of my clothes and I only buy when I need something, i.e. a specific dress style for an important occasion, corporate wear for an important meeting or interview, a trusty warm jacket and knee-high boots when I’m traveling somewhere cold, and so on. Fast fashion is contributing to environmental degradation (carbon footprint is but one problem). I can proudly say I’ve mastered self-control when it comes to shopping, and my current project is converting my husband into this mindset, too. It’s a more sustainable, eco-conscious way to live and shop. This is also my number one secret to having lots of savings (my friends always ask me how I’m able to do it, and this is a major chunk of it.)
4. Eat your greens, cut down on meat
I also know this can be challenging—I personally struggle with this, especially because my love for meat is inversely proportional to my love of vegetables. But it’s a little sacrifice we all must make, and it’s not without a slew of health benefits. Eating greens helps us have glowing, beautiful skin. It aids in digestion (especially when we eat fiber-rich veggies), helping remove toxins. It helps us maintain a strong heart, an alert mind, a happy disposition, a lighter feeling to help us with mobility, and many others. More importantly, eating more greens and natural products instead of processed food lessens our carbon footprint.
Eating greens is said to be the most effective way to reduce carbon footprint, even more than recycling or using an electric car. A study conducted in 2018 by Oxford researchers Poore and Nemecek claimed that meat and dairy production use the vast majority (83%) of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides, and methane globally. By cutting out meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75%—an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union, and Australia combined.
This call for a “flexidiet” can also help address other significant environmental problems such as overfishing. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the number of overfished stocks globally has tripled in half a century. Harmful effects of overfishing goes beyond the state of marine life as billions of people depend on fishing for protein consumption and livelihood. (I can proudly say I’ve almost successfully kicked fish and most seafood from my diet.)
So how’s that for a win-win situation?
5. Say no to single-use plastic
Have you seen those poor sea creatures washed ashore, dead, because they ingested plastic products? It is disheartening because the irresponsible use and discarding of single-use plastic products (which takes hundreds of years to decompose) affects Earth’s rich marine life. Improper disposal of single-use plastic products also pose serious consequences to human communities as these clog natural waterways and increase instances of deadly floods.
To say no to single-use plastics, you can start by having your own reusable containers handy (e.g. drinking bottles or water containers) when you jog, work out, or when you’re working; recyclable bags for your shopping; and metal (or bamboo) drinking straws and utensils when you dine out. I have all of these in my handbag and my gym bag. And, just altogether stop using straws when you dine out—refuse when it’s given to you or tell the waiter the moment you order. It’s a small gesture but it helps big time in lessening the use of single-use plastic materials.
6. Support a local organization like Hineleban Foundation
You can do your share in protecting the environment by supporting a local organization like Hineleban Foundation, which Globe engaged in a five-year partnership with for its rainforestation advocacy. This non-stock, non-profit group based in Bukidnon is focused on the rainforestation of the mountains of Mindanao, home to the country’s last watersheds inhabited by Indigenous People (IP) and Bangsamoro communities.
You can take part in this rainforestation movement easily by donating your Globe Rewards points and naming your tree—something you have until today to do (I hope it gets extended again, though). Every 100 Rewards points donation is equivalent to one tree. To donate, just download the Globe Rewards app on your mobile device and click the “DONATE” banner. Tap “HELP100” and press “REDEEM.” Upon receiving the confirmation message, tap on the Hineleban site to name your tree. Enter your name, email, mobile number, and tree name, then wait for a confirmation prompt that you have successfully named your tree.
7. Learn more about how humans are destroying the earth when you watch Our Planet
As I’ve mentioned at the start of this post, your efforts should go beyond your picture-perfect Earth Day post for April. Start a new lifestyle pledge to save the one place we live in. If you need more convincing that our planet is in dire need of saving, you should watch the latest Netflix Original docuseries Our Planet, which shows us both the breathtaking beauty of the place we all call home and the horrifying ways humans are destroying it.
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