If you are reading this, it means you are curious and desire to embrace a greener lifestyle; To this I say Welcome and thank you!! You have no idea what your decision means for the planet! If all of us (7.8 billion of us) take small steps, imagine what that can do for Mother Earth?
Recently, social media and other forms of media are gradually raising the much needed awareness of the looming dangers of Climate Change and other environmental issues. This has pushed concerned public to look for ways to contribute to the fight to protect the planet. Good news is you do not have to start big and here are 5 little ways you can make a change. Let’s go;
i. Walk/Ride a bicycle/get an electric car/ attempt to use public transport/car pool more
This is so you can limit the number of cars on the roads. Remember each car consumes and burns a lot of fossil fuel on the road. Fossil fuels are non-renewable oils dug up from the ground, they contain high amounts of carbon. When utilised in our cars (as petrol or diesel), the fuel releases carbon dioxide which is a major constituent of the Greenhouse Gases (GHG) that dangerously heat up the planet and causes a barrage of compounding negative effects to the planet.
To reduce the negative impacts of burning fossil fuels, walk more. If it is not far from your home, take a stroll; it is good for your health too LOL.
Another option is using a bicycle or investing in an electric car if possible.
Walking or riding bicycles
Being in Naija (Nigeria), electric cars are a far cry so sharing ubers/bolt or even being in transport is an option. We are trying to reduce the number of cars on the road, hence the amount of GHGs.
Instead of buying 10 G-wagons, settle for just 1 or 2. Or they should be renewables powered!
ii. Plant a tree/ Have Indoor Plants
This is one of my favorite and simple solutions to living greener. We all read the benefits of trees, if you don’t know, check out my video on the value nature provides us;
It is so simple, plant trees, they have so many pros than cons! From providing, food, oxygen, your medicine and a shield to protect us from climate change as well as assimilating the harmful Greenhouse Gases.
How can you beat that??
It is true that trees do require space to grow for their roots to sink in and enhance the tree’s health. You can try to speak to your estate managers or people at your work place to save a spot that has soil so a tree can be planted or more!
But if it is in no way possible, we don’t blame you, the whole country is concretized then why not adopt indoor plants as pets in your homes?
You can decorate your backyard or balcony with them for a more ventilated feel. For tips on how to get started, why not watch these 2 videos on you tube where I teach how to plant a tree and start your balcony garden!
iii. Think about depleting your meat intake
This is a touchy one. I placed this as No. 2 as it is equally important.
Everyone loves their steak and beef burgers and cow leg peppersoup. You don’t have to lose that, just have an alternative if you cannot slash all meat products. Beef comes from Cows as we all know and cows require a huge amount of grass, barley, wheat etc. for its sustenance. Some of these require some time and effort and our resources (water, land, plants, etc.) to feed an animal that has a negative impact on earth. Cows while eating, burp large amounts of methane (CH4) into the atmosphere that is very harmful to the planet. The methane released is a greenhouse gas that adds to the overheating of the earth. Experts say that even a small shift to Chicken and neglecting beef can be beneficial to the planet. This is what I am doing because I still like meat (no lies) and you can join me too! But I push this further by dedicating a day as #vegan where skip eating meat and dairy products for the day. As I get more comfortable, I will start to increase the number of days!
Embrace more greens than reds!
iv. Reduce my plastic dependence
Everything we are is plastic.
From the tip of our sneakers to the hat on our head, we all breathe plastic. We use it every day, it holds our drinking water, we write with it and we use plastic to line our dustbin. Plastics were manufactured readily in the form of Bakelite in 1902 which was known to be durable, heat resistant and a good insulator. Scientists believed that plastics were a beacon of hope to prevent the continuous destruction of wildlife (Ivory from Elephants & Nigerians) and our heavy dependence on natural resources as we humans took and took from the environment. Then slowly, Plastic was first seen in the oceans, killing marine life, awareness about environmental issues began to take shape among people’s consciousness and thus began to raise questions about the persistence of plastic waste. To make matters worse, plastics will take over 1000 years to decompose.
By 2050, our oceans would have more plastics than fishes in the sea.
P.C: Justin Hoffman, 2017.
Meanwhile other marine animals like the sea turtles would choke up their gut system with disposed nylon bags that resembled a jelly fish to them. How do we get rid of something that we heavily rely on for living?
It is to wake up and make a conscious effort knowing that we might falter.
Stuff Nylons in your car or bag, so you get to reuse the shopping bags you have.
In order for them to reduce plastic manufactories (billions of dollars a year!)
Make use of trendy cloth bags or sacs for shopping.
P.c: Green Humour
Repair your destroyed plastics rather than buying a new one; Instead of spending money to buy a new plastic table and increasing the number of tables being used. Why not repair the old one to reuse? This way, you help reduce production.
v. Composting and Growing your food
In this day and age, where famines are becoming the norm in various parts of the world and the weather has become unpredictable to farmers, thereby causing scarcity of vegetables, it is of utmost importance to start growing most if not all of your food. To ascertain crops will grow well, you also have to think of good fertilizers. Rather than buying chemical fertilizers or buying organic ones,
Do you know you can make home grown fertilizer from your kitchen wastes?
Have you ever wondered how the burnt rice or spoilt beans you threw out just disappears or becomes like sand after a while? Or how a dead cockroach turns into a pile of soil after a while? The process of organic materials is broken down under good aerobic conditions is called composting. It is simply nature’s way of recycling organic wastes with the help of microorganisms naturally occurring from our forests to our gardens or kitchens.
I make videos on ways we can adopt new sustainable lifestyle and show the process of composting in my upcoming blog but watch this to see how someone turned their SMALL backyard into a food garden. Check it out!
So here you have it, let’s make some tiny green resolutions this year, and what better way than to do it with me? Hop on to my channel, Mean Greenie for more details on how to begin.
Let’s start imperfectly!
*Monica Fatogun writes from Lekki, Lagos