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Change starts from home; unless you adopt environmentally friendly practices yourself, you cannot preach to other people. Here are a few things we can do to save the planet
Plastic is the single biggest enemy of the planet. And yet, it is one of the most popular and common products in use today. From our shopping bags to our water pipes, everything is made of plastic. The major reason for its widespread use is its affordability. Plastic is made from the by-product of petroleum and is thus available very cheaply. It is also very easy to mold into any shape, can be made with varying degrees of strength, and is waterproof.
The economic benefits of using plastic are many, and thus, many industries adopted plastic for widespread use. In our lust for money, we forgot the environmental cost that plastic poses. Years later, our water bodies are floating with plastic, our sewage systems are clogged with plastic, and our wildlife and ocean life are suffocating with plastic. Plastic has single-handedly contributed heavily to earthly pollution. Since most plastic is generally made to be single-use, and since it barely costs anything, people use and discard plastic as if there are no consequences to it.
We must change that; already, countries have started banning single-use plastics to discourage people from using them. We must find alternatives to plastic products that are not just economical but also environmentally-friendly. Whenever possible, eliminate plastic use.
Our world today is driven by consumerism. Buy, buy, buy. Bombarded with advertisements and marketing campaigns on every possible medium, it is hard to resist. Marketers constantly try to make us believe that we want things that we do not need. Everywhere you look, there are subtle or non-subtle marketing cues, driving us to consume, buy, purchase, use.
In a world where concepts like fast fashion and retail therapy have become common, we must change the narrative and start buying more responsibly. Say no to fast fashion and instead adopt responsible fashion. We must not spend extravagantly, we must live simply, we must buy what we need from businesses that promise to manufacture responsibly. Demand drives supply.
If we simply stop buying excessively, companies will stop producing excessively, and eventually, it will drive down supply, reduce pollution, and waste fewer resources in the process.
We are sensible beings and should have enough sense to know how to dispose of things once we have used them. Nobody’s asking us to stop consuming things we need and make our lives hard as a result. Technology and science have come such a long way, and they are meant to help us live our lives more comfortably and happily.
However, everything must be used properly and destroyed properly. Recycling is a great way for us to keep using such things, but also save resources and energy that goes into producing these things from scratch.
By all means, use plastic, but use the kind that is recyclable and dispose off of it in separate bins so they can be easily recycled by the authorities. Repurpose more things in your life, up-cycle old stuff to give them new life, and recycle whatever you can so that most things can continue being used instead of ending up in landfills.
Though no contribution is too small, and whatever small steps we take to save the environment are all worth it. However, we need bigger actions to save the planet because of how close we have gotten to the brink. We need large scale action. The majority of the pollution is caused by large corporations in rich, first-world countries.
They use excessive natural resources for mass production, leak toxic by-products and waste into our water bodies, and consume large amounts of energy in the process. They don’t care about the environment, as long as their pockets are getting fatter with the profits. We must pressure our governments to introduce policies, rules, taxes, and fines on their production to curb the environmental impact they are causing.
Policies to limit their carbon emission, a ban on using outdated machinery that uses fuel inefficiently, and heavy fines and punishments for irresponsible toxic waste disposal are the only ways to get the largest contributors to pollution to stop. We must hold these powerful corporations responsible.
Perhaps what we need the most are education and awareness. Even today, there are many who are clueless about environmental degradation and climate change that is taking place even as we speak. They have either never been taught about it, or they simply refuse to believe it.
If a majority of our population does not even acknowledge the environmental harm we are inflicting, how can they even begin to change their lifestyles and join our cause in changing the future? We must work to have environmental pollution and degradation worked into school course books.
We must make noise about it online and start trending hashtags to educate the ones who do not know what is happening. We must teach our kids about it and instruct our elders about it.
We must lead by example by first changing our habits and lifestyles and then inspiring others to do the same.
If you can’t help physically due to whatever reason, you can always help in other ways. You can further the cause of environmental protection, promote cleanup programs, or at the very least, teach your kids and others around you to adopt more environmentally friendly methods.
If nothing else, you can donate to organizations that are working tirelessly to clean up our beaches, our mountains, our rivers, and our seas. These organizations get no personal profit or benefit, and yet they work for the betterment of the planet, to save the planet from people who are hell-bent on destroying it.
The least we can do is help them out financially so they can carry on the noble work without any difficulties and hassle.