Congratulations! Each one of you is an eco-warrior! Yes, even you! How, you might ask? Here is a list of things that environmentalists have been trying to get us to do for years and which we are finally starting to do during the lockdown.
- Reduce carbon footprint: This is rather obvious! Thanks to the lockdown, our carbon footprint has drastically reduced as a result of restricted inter-city commutes and air-travel across countries. These many weeks have made us think about how energy-efficient we can be without having to travel. Thanks to technology, we have proved that the travel that we previously undertook for “important” work can actually be done over a video call. The meme “That meeting was an email” has proved itself right during the lockdown. Overall carbon emissions have also drastically reduced due to factories, offices, movie theaters, shopping malls, etc., being shut. They were, and continue to be, some of the highest consumers of fossil fuels.
- Be a minimalist: Owning less has always been the mantra for most eco-warriors. With all the shops and online stores being shut, we have learnt to curb our habit of shopping for pleasure or on impulse. We have learnt that it’s okay if we do not have anything new to wear for our lockdown birthdays. And that it’s okay to wear the same set of clothes everyday as nobody is going to see how we are dressed. We have also learnt that so much of what we would have previously rushed to go out to buy are not really necessities, and that we are just fine without it. I know people who have started selling their designer clothes and bags as they see no value for them post the lockdown. It has helped them make some extra cash too during this tough period.
- Save trees: Since postal and courier services are down, many service providers are sending e-bills or are making us access invoices via their apps as they are unable to send physical bill copies at the moment. Many essential services notifications, newsletters, updates etc., are being communicated mostly through apps and over email—which otherwise would have resulted in the use of a lot of paper. This has been a huge step towards saving trees.
- Make your own food: From the use of palm oil to unsustainable methods of farming, manufacturing, packaging and much more, the food business is one of the biggest disruptors of ecology. Restaurants everywhere are places where a huge quantity of food gets wasted regularly. At a time when it is “cool” not to cook at home, the lockdown has made all of us realise the importance, fun and creativity associated with home cooked meals and to learn to cook everyday. Not only have we learnt to make many food items from scratch like bread, pizza, jams, sauces and pickles but all this has proven to be cost-effective, safer, sustainable, package-free and healthier. In this process, we have inculcated these skills and shown the importance of cooking our own food to the kids at home, who are afterall, our future generation. Whoever thought that baking banana bread would go viral!
- Waste less: Due to the scarcity of most things in the market and the unavailability of many non-essentials, we have learnt to be cautious and judicious with our usage of things at home. We have even learnt to mend and fix things and reuse products. Since the family now knows how much time and effort goes into cooking a meal, we have learnt to appreciate our food more and waste less. Many have even explored recipes for “zero waste” cooking (a detailed series coming soon). The lockdown has taught us to be thankful for things which we otherwise took for granted, even a roll toilet paper!
Thanks to the lockdown we have found new value to the word “Essentials”. Now that we have proved we can make a change to the environment during the lockdown, let’s hope that we continue to implement these habits even once the lockdown is lifted.