The COVID-19 pandemic that has disrupted the entire human race. Suddenly, the things that used to seem so important have faded into the background. This time in isolation is a good opportunity to reflect on the world around us. Not only are we gaining a greater appreciation of our family and friends, we are also learning to value the planet that we call home. No matter where you are, you can still practice sustainability in quarantine.
Perhaps the Earth needed a break from us. Numerous reports show that the current lockdown has resulted in cleaner water, cleaner air, and in some countries, a significant drop in greenhouse gas emissions. From blue skies in a normally murky and polluted China, to the clean waters of the canals in Venice, the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown are proving to be beneficial for Mother Nature.
While scientists work on ways to do reduce pollution on a global scale, there are many ways that we can promote sustainability from our own homes. Since we are all at home and not using our cars or even public transportation anymore, we are well on our way to living sustainably and learning how to reduce our carbon footprint. Here are some other ways that you can practice sustainability in quarantine.
Recycle & Reuse
This one is obvious. Unfortunately, many people still don’t do it. Maybe they do not know how. Maybe they never had the time before. But since we are all sitting around at home, take time to watch this quick tutorial about how to create your own recycling center at home. This video also shows some really great ways to reuse and recycle items at home and turn them into visually appealing, functional decorations. It is a great activity to do with your children to teach them about recycling and sustainability as well.
Turn off the lights!
The world celebrated Earth Hour on March 28th, 2020 when millions of people all around the globe turned off their lights for one hour at the same time to save energy. This is a good thing to practice in your own home. Normally, we would all either be at work or school or outside of the house, without the need to keep all our appliances on. It’s likely that the use of the thermostat, laptops, TVs, washing machines has increased, so being conscious of your energy usage while in quarantine is very important. Have a conversation with your family about how you can practice sustainability in quarantine.
3. Don’t buy plastic
Did you know that on average, 60 million plastic bottles are thrown away each year in America alone? According to a study done in January 2019, the amount of plastic in the environment could triple by 2060. You can help reduce this by reusing whatever plastic you have in the house or making a one-time purchase of refillable glass water bottles. Refill reusable water bottles with tap water and store them in the fridge. You can install a water filter directly to your kitchen sink which will allow you to have clean filtered water straight from the faucet. Reuse all the plastic that you can and help save the planet. You can watch this video about interesting ways to reuse plastic that you have at home.
Plant a small garden
Planting a garden requires less space than you think. Just a few feet in your balcony, front porch, or along the driveway will do. You can even make a small planter for your kitchen windowsill. Just a few seeds can help you plant herbs, vegetables and fruit for you to enjoy. You can also choose to plant vertically to save more space and re-purpose household items to use as planters. You can avoid using pesticides and dangerous chemicals on your home-grown vegetables by learning how to turn your daily waste into compost to use for you new garden. Some easy-to-grow vegetables for beginners are: chili, basil, lemon, cabbage, radish, carrot, lettuce, eggplant, and winter melon.
Make “green” purchases
Even though all of the stores around you might be closed, there’s still Amazon Prime! Take this time to make smart consumer purchases. Instead of paper towels, use a kitchen cloth. You can purchase biodegradable trash bags that dissolve over time, which helps reduce landfill usage. Swap out your washer-dryer machines for more energy efficient ones. If you must use paper products, choose the ones that use recycled matter in an effort to continue the chain of sustainability. Be a part of the solution by making “green” purchases like these.
There are so many ways to keep yourself busy during the quarantine and maintain sustainability at the same time. Let’s use this quarantine as a chance to not only get closer to our families and to take a break from our hectic lifestyles, but to also get closer to our planet.