Its world Environment Day today and the theme is Air Pollution. We all breathe air. There are very few that are not affected by polluted air and there are very few (or no one) that are excused from taking action in their own lives to reduce their impact towards air pollution.
Greta Thunberg is an inspirational example of someone who is taking action, despite being 16 and coming from one of the cleanest countries in the world she still takes responsibility.
What you can do.
It is indeed the responsibility of country leaders to develop and implement systems within their country that reduces air and other forms of pollution. However, it is also the responsibility of individuals, in their day to day life to make a better decisions for the environment These decisions are not only for now but as Greta stands firm on, for the future of the youth. It’s not us now who will suffer the dire consequences of ignoring air pollution, but your children and their children too.
Approximately 7 million people worldwide die prematurely each year from air pollution, with about 4 million of these deaths occurring in Asia-Pacific. World Environment Day 2019 will urge governments, industry, communities, and individuals to come together to explore renewable energy and green technologies and improve air quality in cities and regions across the world.World Environment Day
Reduce your contribution to air pollution
Opt for greener transportation methods. Get a carpool going on at work. This is not only great for the environment but also easier on the pocket. Gas is expensive!
Choose public transport where possible. Taking trains and buses are great. I know for some they may not enjoy it but its a matter of perspective. Use that time for a nap or better yet, listen to podcasts or read, a valuable opportunity to upskill yourself.
Walk or ride a bicycle. Riding a bicycle is great for health and just so much fun. It takes the edge off of the day. You get to breathe air (fresh air thanks to everyone’s initiatives), enjoy the sites and actually see life. We go on about our days with little notice of our surroundings. Walking or biking is a great way to get back into the present moment.
Or you can go to work like this guy and swim it!
Cooking with clean energy
This a tough one. It totally depends on which angle you are looking at when it comes to cooking and whats environmentally friendly. Indoor pollution, energy efficiency and total resources used are considerations and here is what it looks like:
Overall, gas cookers come out winners. Yes, they do have the least efficacy at the moment compared to an electric stove and require a good ventilation system with a good filter however gas is less energy consuming than electricity, which uses coal. However… If you live in a country which sources clean energy or you produce your own electricity then having an electric stove and oven is the best option.
Another great option is a rocket stove. It uses wood to burn but uses small pieces rather than big logs. Its structure means heat it directed and used efficiently. You can buy rocket stoves solely for cooking or rocket mass heater to heat your home.
The rocket stove (which becomes a rocket mass heater when combined with suitable thermal mass). It uses 70-90% less wood than a wood stove, burns cleaner with 1% of the footprint of an electric oven, and more reliably.One Planet Thriving
There are more brands opting for energy efficiency. Check in to see what options are available when you need a new stove top or oven. As we move along the goods in our home, we can look for better options that take energy and waste into consideration.
Proper waste management
Proper disposal of waste and reusing materials is one of the easiest and biggest impacts one can have as an individual, especially when it comes to the waste of a household.
Compost organic material. This reduces the amount of waste in landfills and therefore the number of gases produced and released. It’s also a great way to give back nutrients to the earth. There are amazing composting kits available these days. Composting kits for workplaces, large households and even apartments. If you don’t have anywhere to put the compost, you can simply offer to gardens in your area. Or maybe old age homes with gardens or even community gardens in your neighbourhood. There are always options available.
Reduce and reuse. This is such an important factor. We are all about recycling but it doesn’t have much effect on total production. Production of goods is a major air polluter. Factories producing goods produce large amounts of harmful gases into the air.
By reducing your overall consumption you can directly make a difference. It’s not something that will see the effect immediately but if more people became conscious of over consuming it could make a big impact – on air pollution and waste pollution such as plastic.
Avoid burning waste of any kind. Burning waste releases harmful gases and particles into the air which can directly harm you and your environment. This goes back to the above points. Compost organic material, reduce, reuse and recycle as far as possible.
Use less. Observe your shopping habits. What do you really need? What can you go without? I know that 9/10 of my impulse buys end up in regret. If you want something, wait for a while to make sure if you need it or not. Start recycling clubs with friends in the community and swop goods with one another. This is such a fantastic way to get closer to the community, save money as well as reduce the need for more manufacturing of goods.
Save energy in your home. Start using LED lights in your home. Switch off appliances in the home you are not using as well as lights in rooms that you aren’t in. Its all make a difference in the amount of electricity created. Energy saving appliances are another way of conserving energy and are becoming the norm, how exciting!
Opting for thermal heating for water in the home is a great option for conserving electricity. As solar options are becoming more popular, the prices are becoming more affordable.
All of the above options are not only great at conserving energy but also at saving your pocket. I don’t know about you but doing good for pollution as well as saving money is something I am definitely keen on.
Call for action
One of the problems that we are facing is that not enough people are taking part. As Great Thunberg so insightfully says, it’s not that people are evil and don’t want to help the environment, its that they are not educated about the problems we are facing and the options available.
By telling your family and friends about environmental problems and talking about what they can do you are spreading awareness and creating movement. This makes environmental action the way to go.
Call on your community leaders as well as government leaders to implement strategies that are beneficial for reducing air pollution and other forms of pollution. We need to let leaders know that we care and we take air pollution seriously!
A better future for us all
Taking on strategies to reduce air pollution is not for me or you. It’s for the future. It’s for our children and their children to enjoy a world where they don’t get illnesses from the air they breathe, the water they drink or the food they eat.
It’s not about taking on all the strategies or selling all your home appliances for new ones. The point is not to stress you out with a million ways to reduce pollution but top introduces possibilities that you can introduce into your life as you can.
Do what you, can where you can, as often as you can, that’s the difference.