The COVID-19 pandemic has brought almost the entire globe to a standstill. It’s an unprecedented step that no one would have imagined possible at the start of the year. Nevertheless, the pandemic has been a blessing in disguise for Mother Nature, if not for humans. Pictures of vegetation flourishing, water bodies cleaning up on their own, to wildlife thriving have been making rounds on the internet. All these pictures draw only one conclusion and makes us question: what are we actually giving back to nature? Pollution, harmful environment, and health hazards for every other living being, that’s all?
It’s only fitting that the theme for Earth Day 2020, which is now in its 50th year, is themed on climate change, a vast and legitimate concern. Climate change affects the timely arrival of seasons, irregular rainfall/snowfall, melting of polar ice-cover and bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, to name just a few. Are these changes, and especially COVID-19, ringing a warning bell? It’s best we take nature seriously now onwards.
This change has to come from each one of us. We urge you to take these pledges and start giving back to Mother Nature.
1 – Pledge To Reuse And Recycle
Plastic is the most difficult human-invented product to break down. Let’s just try to avoid the use of plastic. Instead, use products made out of recyclable, reusable raw materials such as jute, glass, paper and other certified bio-degradable materials that are earth-friendly.
2 – Pledge To Go For Beach/Lakes/River Clean-ups
Make sure to spend one day in a week at your nearest natural water body and clean it up. Wear appropriate gear, and stay safe. In Mumbai, you can volunteer for beach clean ups at Versova every Sunday, once the current lockdown rules are relaxed.
3 – Pledge To Reduce Consumption Of Palm Oil
Palm oil products are ubiquitous in our daily life but it’s cost to the environment is huge. Entire forests have been cut down and several species have come on the brink of extinction because of our insatiable appetite for palm oil-based products. It’s time we realise the dangers posed by our consumerist lifestyle and reduce our dependence on products made from palm oil.
4 – Pledge To Avoid Using Products Consisting Of Harmful Chemicals
When it comes to cosmetics, deodorants or any other daily use commodity, opt to use eco-friendly products. The majority of these contain exfoliating microbeads, BHA and BHT, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP), synthetic fragrances, to name a few. Check for these the next time you buy a shampoo or moisturizer, and keep them back if you find any of them. These chemicals might not be visible to the naked human eye, but they are responsible for polluting water bodies.
5 – Pledge Not To Use Harsh Detergents
Don’t only care for your clothes, but also for water which you’re using to clean them with. Bleaches and detergents are fatal to aquatic life. Care for them using softer chemicals, or even better use eco-friendly detergents.
6 – Pledge To Use Water Sparingly
Instead of bathtub, and long showers, find alternatives to water-efficient bathing. While brushing your teeth, close the tap. While washing your hands, close the tap when your hands are not under the tap. Every drop counts. Also, we hope you’re washing your hands for 20 seconds as prescribed by the WHO to fight off coronavirus.
7 – Pledge To Avoid Meat Consumption
As much as you love hotdogs and chicken tikkas, it’s a no-brainer which ingredient consumes more water, veggies or raw meat. First things first, the meat that you love so much ends up consuming more water, grains and is responsible for enhanced greenhouse emissions as well. It’s little wonder that movements geared towards vegetarianism and veganism has been picking up steam over the last few years.
8 – Pledge To De-Clog Your Drains Naturally
Drain cleaners available in the market contain several obnoxious chemicals such as sodium hydroxide. Instead use natural methods such as pouring equal portions of white vinegar, boiling water and baking soda and let it stay in the drain for 30 minutes before rinsing. Easy, right?
9 – Pledge To Plant Trees
When it comes to saving the planet, no list is complete without planting of trees. Whatsoever space you have in your backyard or gallery, fill them with potted plants, especially ones that need less water are are easier to maintain.
Not asking for much right? These promises have a common thing to them: be a little aware and conscious whenever you can, towards Mother Nature. Happy Earth Day to each one of you.
All images courtesy Unsplash
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Gargi Shanbhag is a polyglot and bibliophile who is always up for discussing regional movies - preferably over many cups of filter kaapi.