Nowadays, a lot of people are talking about sustainable living, as if it is the new buzzword and as if it could go out of fashion very soon, if it is not used often enough. Why are people getting worked up or bothered at all about sustainable living? Haven’t we all survived on this earth for centuries and have done pretty well for ourselves, so far?
If we continue in the same vein that we have been all along, there will not be anything left for future generations, in terms of natural resources on this planet. It is a huge wake-up call that people are becoming aware of. That is the reason why sustainable living has become so important in today’s world and there is so much concern about this subject matter; right from corporates, to NGOs, to the media and even the general public. People are beginning to realize that the choices that they make today is definitely going to have a huge impact in the future; right from the car that they drive to the food that they eat. Housing societies or Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) are taking it upon themselves to become thought and opinion leaders and influencers and trying to make a difference and an impact on their fellow residents, on sustainable living.
It definitely does not mean that you start living like a hermit and eat only vegetables or vegan food and walk or ride a bike to travel everywhere. But the small changes that you bring about in your present day lifestyle could go a long way in preserving and protecting the natural resources of this earth and could leave a happy space for future generations. It is extremely important to replace the resources that you use and leave as little of an impact on this earth, as possible.
There are several ways to lead a sustainable living. It definitely requires a whole lot of dedication and discipline, but it is not so difficult either, like climbing a mountain or some such tiring activity.
Use less energy or save energy to reduce carbon emissions. Simple things like putting off the light when stepping out of a room and switching off electrical appliances that are not in use are not earth-shattering choices to make. But they definitely go a long way in conserving energy. It is no secret that India is a cricket-crazy country and most households are glued to a cricket match, especially when India is playing. RWAs could operate a big screen TV in a common area for those people who are interested in watching a game or have some television sets on in a few households, so that people can gather in an apartment and watch together, instead of having a million TVs on and single individuals watching a single TV. The amount of energy saved in such an activity is mind-boggling.
Walking or taking a bike and using less petrol or diesel, instead of driving a car are alternatives to saving energy. Providing a grocery and a vegetable store, encouraging people to grow their own vegetables and providing a gym, a swimming pool, a mini movie theatre and a shopping arcade are some ways in which RWAs can stop people from using their vehicles, at the drop of a hat and preventing them from stepping out of their housing societies in their vehicles, for every little thing.
Say No To Plastic
The impact that plastic has on the environment and to wildlife is not funny at all. Use bio-degradable material, especially eating utensils, during events, functions and other gatherings, where food is involved. RWAs can patronize the use of eco-friendly and reusable material. When children see their parents and other elders make this practice a way of life, especially during public functions, they learn this lesson well, when young and grow up to be responsible citizens.
Today’s technology has made it so easy for us to go paperless; for example, receive a bill or a receipt through an email or take a picture of the same on your smartphone and avoid printing a page and using paper completely. During meetings and other events, RWAs can encourage residents to register online, through an app or through a Whatsapp Group.
Eat Less Meat
A food choice is a personal decision that people make and it might be difficult to change a person’s lifelong choices; whether to eat vegan, be a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian. But it is very important to know that the more meat you eat, the more of an impact you make to the waterways and climate changes of this world. People might not be aware of the impact their food choices are making; they might be eating meat out of a long-term habit or for the taste. RWAs can educate their residents on this subject from time to time or make vegetarian choices when they organize food for their housing societies.
Recycle, Reuse and Compost
Segregating kitchen and other waste in the correct bins is a new idea that modern India is getting used to. Do not throw away food. Give them to a needy or a hungry person or if the food goes bad, use it to compost your kitchen garden. Educating people to segregate correctly, recycling, reusing and composting are very important lessons that RWAs can impart to their residents, through workshops and training programs, distributing literature on the subject and organizing guest lectures.
Reusing things instead of throwing them away or donating unused items, so that it becomes usable for someone else are important life lessons of sustainability.
RWAs can install the right kind of equipment to save water, in every apartment under their care. Installing the right water meters would tell residents the impact that their judicious use of water is making.
Rain-water harvesting is also an excellent initiative that RWAs can implement to preserve and recycle water and reduce the burden of a natural resource that would soon become extinct, if it is not used carefully.
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About the author:Nandita Kaikini is a Bangalore based Content Writer and an Event and Wedding Planner. She is passionate about gardening and believes in growing her own Kitchen Garden for sustainability.