Last month we celebrated the International Day of Peace (on 21st September), a day which aims to promote world peace and the concerted efforts towards ending war, violence and inequality. The theme for 2016 focuses specifically on sustainable development goals, which undeniably are the building blocks for peace.
Some of the goals for sustainable development include gender equality, clean water for everyone, no poverty or hunger and affordable and clean energy. These are wonderful aspirations, and we all wish for these things to actually come true, but it can seem daunting to face the reality of how much needs to do done in order to make these goals a reality. In this instance you might ask “what can I do to make a positive impact on the planet and contribute something worthwhile?”
Well, change starts with the individual and there are many, many things you can do to make a difference to the overall outlook of the planet. Sustainable living can only be achieved when we all change how we live day to day with the bigger picture in mind. We’ve come up with 7 minor things you can do that aren’t very difficult but can make a huge difference to the environment.
1. Use Less Disposable Goods – If your office has Plastic cups, don’t use them. Bring in your own bottle or glass from home and re-use that instead. Try to remove the use of disposable cups or cutlery from your office altogether, this simple act costs nothing but has a huge impact and is a great step towards living sustainably.
2. Turn Off The Lights! – Don’t waste electricity. Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms and plug out any electrical devices you are not using. You will save the planet and save on your electricity bill all at once.
3. Reduce Your Reliance On Plastic – Plastic is really bad news for the environment, it is an unsustainable material and is a heavy pollutant. A few simple ways to cut down on your plastic output are to use reusable shopping bags, give up drinking from straws and stop chewing gum (knowing it’s made from plastic should be reason enough!)
4. Think About Your Purchases – This goes for everything you buy. Reduce the amount of material items you purchase and only buy quality items that will last you a long time and that you will truly get the use out of. A simple trick when buying new clothing is the ’30 wear rule’ – will you wear this item 30 times or more? If not, the item is probably not necessary.
5. Buy Locally – Supporting local food suppliers has both economic and environmental benefits. Start living green by purchasing locally sourced produce, this cuts down on the fossil fuels that comes from importing foods from abroad.
6. Drink From The Tap – Most tap water is perfectly clean and safe to drink so take advantage of this great resource if you are lucky enough to have access to it (not everyone is). Bottled water has added a million tons of plastic waste to the environment a year so stop supporting such an unnecessary industry and start leading a sustainable life instead.
7. Pledge To Have ‘Meat-Free’ Days – Eating too much meat is not good for the environment or for sustainable living. Start living green by reducing the amount of meat in your diet, even fractionally, by having one vegetarian meal a week. Red meat in particular is bad for both your health and the planet, so make steaks and burgers something you have as a treat!