On April 22, the world is going to celebrate Earth Day in honour of the environmental movement that began in the 1970s. While issues like pollution and climate change require intervention on a policy level, there remains the need for greater environmental awareness on a micro level in Bangladesh.
There are dozens of ways you can promote a healthy ecosystem and spread awareness, not just tomorrow but all year long. Here are a few suggestions.
Give up the comfy cars
In this hot weather, this may not sound like a good idea, but just think of how much of your carbon footprint you can reduce by using alternatives. You don't have to do it daily – just consider it as a day off for your car now and then. If you're going to make a short trip, why not give yourself some much-needed exercise and walk, and then the cool shower you step into once you get home will feel twice as good? Both you and the planet will be the healthier for it. You can also give your favourite bicycle a run, carpool with someone from work, or just use a rickshaw and watch the city go by during your daily commute.
Turn off the taps already
No, we're not asking you to be dirty, but there really isn't any reason for having a half-hour long shower everyday. As stated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a daily nice shower of ten minutes or more can consume up to 50 to 70 gallons of water. But according to water.org, a typical family in an African country uses only 10% of that for an entire day; this includes drinking water, cooking and everything else. So why not just go back to the basics and use a bucket to ration your shower water, or just draw yourself a small bath? We also have a terrible habit of keeping the tap running while doing the dishes, when really we just need a fraction of that in a bucket/washbasin to soak our dirty dishes in and rinse.
Re-use the garbage for compost
Among many other benefits, the most important reasons of composting can be the reduction of garbage volume, less usage of chemical fertilisers, and improvement of soil drainage and aeration, which is the key factor of plant growth. Many of you will have plants, flower pots and maybe even mini kitchen gardens in your balconies and roofs, and you can save yourself the hassle of going out and getting compost by just using the waste from your home. Fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, leaves, grass, garden plants, flowers, newspapers, cardboards, wood chips etc. can all be turned into compost.
Give back to Mother Earth
One of the best and easiest ways to celebrate Earth Day is by planting a tree anywhere you like. You can also have plants inside a corner of your own house and if you're really feeling adventurous, why not try to grow some of your own, fresh food and ensure you bypass the pesticides? You can grow low maintenance vegetables like tomatoes, ladies-fingers, eggplants, chilies, curry leaves, tulsi and aloe vera. Even if it is only a little flower, you'll find that making something grow from a seed or sapling can be a surprisingly rewarding experiences.
Create an energy efficient home
On Earth Day, we all should try to make this world a little more livable, and consuming less gas and electricity is one of our biggest concerns in saving the environment. If you're willing to make a one-off investment that will benefit you in the long-run, why not set up a solar panel at your house? Or at least practice cooking less food, and using less lights, fans and air conditioners whenever possible. Use your other home appliances less as well, and now that energy efficient lighting is so affordable and easily available, there really is no excuse to not use it.
Switch off the gadgets and enjoy nature
The world is becoming bigger inside the small screens of our mobile phones and gadgets. We feel connected to the multiple devices occupying our attention, but are becoming more and more distant from the real world out there. Put down the gadgets and look outside your window. Go to your roof or hunt out an open space in this overcrowded city and look at the sky, and enjoy the wind, the storms and the sun. Let’s connect with Mother Earth before connecting with its creations around us, whether they are on screens or by our sides.