Quickly after the implementation of the lockdown, multiple videos and pictures capturing the streets of Metro Manila having less pollution surfaced on social media. Many netizens claimed that the environment would do better without us, humans.
With our nation struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, this notion is rather callous. Even after a year, every Filipino is focused on surviving and making do with their own resources during this pandemic. Little attention is given to environmental movements.
As someone who is passionate about the environment but doesn’t have as many opportunities to partake in large campaigns outside of home due to the pandemic, I have been asking myself whether there are ways to save the planet while I keep my family and myself safe. And there are!
I was taught the concept of Individual Space Consciousness in freshman year. The whole idea of it is that a person can adjust their lifestyle depending on their ecological footprint (how much a person’s impact on the environment is based on the natural resources they consume). Bigger impact on environment equals bigger lifestyle adjustments.
Here are a few adjustments and actions that one can strive to maintain.
Save water and electricity
This is one of the most basic commandments. People often take for granted how crucial this is. Concrete plans include doing laundry only when the load is full. If it’s not full, you can lessen the amount of water you use to compensate.
You may also opt to buy organic cleaning solutions that require minimal water consumption.
Reuse water—soapy water may be used to clean the family car while water used to wash rice or vegetables can be used to water plants.
With the summer heat, it’s harder to save on electricity. Using the air-conditioner for the whole day is tempting. To counter your use of the air-conditioner, switch off lights not in use. Other appliances should be unplugged as they still consume electricity even when inactive.
Make eco bricks
This is a project that I’ve been doing since senior high. Eco bricks are made by stuffing layers of plastic and foil inside a PET bottle until it is crammed and tight.
Ever since quarantine restrictions began, many Filipinos have opted to have food and other items delivered to their homes. Because of this, houses may have accumulated large amounts of plastic wastes due to packaging, utensils and the like.
Making eco bricks would hit two birds with one stone: It cuts down your household’s plastic waste and is beneficial to countless campaigns that accept eco bricks and use them for construction. Look for local malls, establishments or universities that have put up drop-off points for your eco brick donations when the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus has subsided. For now, make as many eco bricks as you can!
Cleaning my house every now and then is a good way to combat boredom. Decluttering is actually environmentally helpful.
Items we still need? Keep in a more noticeable area. Plastic items that you don’t need? Recycle or place in eco bricks. Items we no longer need? Dispose? No. The pattern of buying environmentally exhaustive items then throwing them out is prevalent. Donating items instead would be helpful to other people as much as it would be to the environment.
Support eco-friendly businesses
You can make a difference by supporting local businesses that sell innovative products made from repurposed materials or secondhand clothes or furniture. There are many businesses like these on Instagram and Facebook. It only takes a few clicks to get to know their brand and place your orders. Not only will supporting help the local economy, but it will also reduce environmental impact because local businesses are more responsible with their sourcing.
How we go about our day is important in the long run. The actions stated above are quite simple, but in order to make a positive impact, we need to do them consistently. With that in mind, a small change for you could be a big change for others. Such constant adjustment may seem daunting but it’s not impossible, as long as you and I take it a step at a time.—CONTRIBUTED INQ
The author is a freshman at Ateneo de Manila University.