Every year, June 5 is celebrated as World Environment Day (WED) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) organizes several events and initiatives to encourage awareness and involvement of people for the protection of the environment. The theme of this year’s WED is ecosystem restoration and Pakistan is the official global host.
Restoring ecosystems refers to protecting the biodiversity of our planet and preventing the degradation of our natural resources. As we rapidly deplete the Earth’s natural and renewable resources and cause irreversible damage to the environment, this calls for immediate action to restart ecosystem recovery for ourselves and future generations.
This day calls on each of us to take action, rethink our environmental impact, and make smart lifestyle changes if we are to continue to call Earth our home. Because there is no planet B. There are many meaningful ways to start contributing to #GenerationRestoration and we have some ideas for you to participate in this WED from home. You can also participate in various virtual events organized by UNEP.
Watch a documentary
Watching a documentary is one of the best ways to learn more about our environment and to make sustainable choices to ensure a safe and healthy future for generations to come. Here are some of the documentaries you can schedule to watch – Pacificum: Back to the ocean (Netflix), Cowspiracy (Netflix), The 11th hour (YouTube) among many others.
Take a virtual tour of the garden or museum
With many of us staying indoors, WED is a great day to start having a conversation about the environment with your kids and teaching them about conservation of natural resources. You can do fun garden activities with them or take them on the virtual tours of gardens, zoos or museums available online.
Switch to reusable water bottles and straws
Plastic straws have been a big threat to the oceans. Hop aboard to ditch them this WED and invest in cleaner, recyclable options like paper, bamboo, or metal straws and BPA-free, glass, stainless steel, or copper bottles.
Start a new sustainable diet
Our meals can leave a huge carbon footprint if they are not purchased in an environmentally responsible manner. To help combat this problem, you can start a new diet at home or make amends in your dining policy by opting for seasonal, sustainable and local plant-based products. Vegan, vegetarian and eco-friendly diets are examples of carbon emission reduction options that involve completely abandoning foods of animal origin.
Ditch single-use plastic containers at home
About 40% of the plastic used in the world is single-use. It will be environmentally friendly to phase out single-use plastic containers in your home and swap them for cleaner, sustainable alternatives such as reusable glass containers, stainless steel lunch boxes, and mason jars. .
Purify your indoor air
Air pollution comes from various sources such as dust, odors, inadequate ventilation and also has an impact on indoor air. Take this opportunity on WED to clean your AC vents and refrigerator coils, replace filters on HVAC vents, and declutter household cleaning products that contain man-made substances. Cleaning your electronic household items like air conditioning and refrigerator also ensures that they use less energy to regulate temperature.
Cook an eco-friendly meal
Prepare a meal at home using seasonal, eco-friendly food items purchased at the local farmer’s market. When selecting each item, read the labels carefully to determine the impacts of transportation on the environment and involve your children in the process as well. Also, try to make it a zero waste meal.
Invest in energy efficient devices
Where possible, invest in energy-efficient, star-rated home appliances. You can start small by switching to LED bulbs that consume less energy and significantly reduce your bill in the long run.
Start your own compost
Composting is a great way to improve your garden and reduce the amount of waste from your home that goes to the landfill. Start your first compost pile by taking out almost any leftover leftover from your kitchen such as eggshells, leftover vegetables, coffee grounds, flowers, tea bags, and old newspapers. Turn your mixture every week and after a few weeks your compost will turn into soil which acts as a natural fertilizer for the plants. Here is a video to help you get started with organic composting at home.
Image of the hero courtesy of Noah Buscher / Unsplash