The growing number of natural disasters, the mass extinction of species, the increasingly widespread nature of diseases… The evidence that our planet is at its very limits is now so evident that increasing numbers of people are asking how they can contribute to environmental sustainability.
Below is a list of actions you can put into practice to contribute to sustainable development.
Fruit and vegetables: the more the merrier
The United Nations recently warned of the need for us to take into account a new set of concerns when we are doing our shopping and even suggested that a new food trend exists: the climatarian diet.
Beyond just considering the price and quality of the products we buy, we must also change our eating habits toward more sustainable diets:
- Less meat, especially beef
- More seasonal fruit and vegetables
- Local produce
- Less packaging, especially single-use
A new lease of life
Correctly separating waste to help in it be recycled is one of the first lessons of responsible consumption. You can also recycle fabrics, furniture and all kinds of utensils. However, you must dispose of household appliances and recycle objects such as cellphones, batteries, toxic waste, oils, etc., at a household waste recycling center.
Less is more
It is not enough just to recycle, you need to go one step further and cut back on your consumption of superfluous products. There are “hacks” you can use, such as making a list of what you need before sales periods like Black Friday. Buying what you need at a low price is good for your financial health, but getting carried away in the sales can hurt your pocket and the planet.
No more plastic
You don’t need to be a carpenter to reuse materials. Nearly all of us now use reusable fabric shopping bags instead of those made from single-use plastic. But you can also repair your clothes and accessories that are beginning to show signs of wear, reuse containers, water the plants with water left over from cooking, among many other options. Use your imagination!
Turn off the tap
At home, you can save water by choosing to shower over taking a bath, having a dual flush button for the cistern and only using the washing machine or dishwasher for a full load.
Even then, we still waste water in other ways we are not aware of. To help highlight this use of water, the concept of the water footprint was developed, which measures the volume of water used to produce the things we consume. You can find out what your personal water footprint is by using this calculator.
Turn off the light!
There are a number of well-publicized ways to reduce energy consumption (and also your bill), such as using energy-saving light bulbs or switching off electrical appliances. However, you can also put a dark background on your computer screen, use more efficient household appliances or spend less time in the shower.
The closer the better
Supporting local businesses is not only more sustainable, but also helps support the local economy. One of the main reasons to buy in your neighborhood is to reduce your carbon footprint (the amount of greenhouse gas emissions created as a result of your activities). Next time you pick up a piece of fruit, take a look at where it comes from and you’re sure to be surprised by how far it has traveled to end up in your hands.
Let’s go for a walk
Since transport is one of the main sources of CO2 emissions, it is worthwhile substituting polluting travel methods (like cars and planes) for other more sustainable ones, such as walking, cycling or taking public transport whenever you can.
Don’t forget the kids
The younger generations will be the ones who suffer most from the consequences of climate change, but they are also our best hope of putting a brake on it. That is why it is vital to make them aware of the importance of ensuring that our actions are environmentally and socially responsible.
Another step closer
If you think that you can’t solve the environmental crisis on your own, you’re right. For that reason you need to tell everyone about the measures and initiatives that promote sustainable development: become a spokesperson and spread the word that these actions guarantee a better future for us all.
If you want to go a step further, you can always take part in volunteering activities to improve the lives of other people or to look after your environment, like a lot of MAPFRE employees do.