Global warming and climate change are real, and they’re happening. There’s no denying that. According to Nasa “It is undisputed that human activities have warmed both the ocean and atmosphere, and that large and rapid changes have occurred in the biosphere, cryosphere, atmosphere, and cryosphere.”
Every bit counts when it is about making a positive change in the environment to offset the damage done to the planet over the years. We might think that our small changes won’t make a difference, but it all adds up.
Here are five things you can do to be more environmentally-friendly.
1. Buy seasonal produce
“Not only do in-season fruits and vegetables taste better and fresher, but it’s also so much better for the environment to shop this way,” says chef Norman Heath of Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront.
In-season fresh produce is produced locally and doesn’t have to be imported from another country. Importing fruits or vegetables requires a lot of fuel and energy. This is often passed on to consumers.
“So, not only will you be saving the environment by shopping in-season, but you will also save yourself a lot of money. Every season we refresh our menu not only to keep it fresh, but also to ensure that we’re using in-season fresh ingredients in almost everything that we offer,” says Heath.
2. Go solar
Eskom has predicted that there will be at least 100 days worth of load shedding over the next six months. Therefore, solar energy is a good alternative to fossil fuels.
“You can start with just a battery and add some solar panels later, or start with solar panels only. I recommend looking into all the options available to consumers in order for them to become a net zero carbon emitter.
“Few consumers know about the possibilities of having a solar installation on your home financed through your bond, or a rent-to-own model,” says Matthew Cruise, lead campaign manager for Hohm Energy.
You can store solar power for peak periods when electricity supply is limited. This will reduce demand on the grid and help to reduce load shedding.
3. Shop sustainably
Reduce the amount of stuff you use and then throw away to contribute to environmental sustainability. It is easier to get a product on a subscription basis, rather than buying something that will eventually go away.
“Consumer behaviour is undergoing a paradigm shift as the value once associated with ownership is changing and diminishing,” says Jonathan Hurvitz, CEO of Teljoy. “People want the convenience and flexibility of a model that reacts more dynamically to their needs. This notion of a shared economy means less waste, which is ultimately good for the environment.”
Hurvitz adds that “businesses have a responsibility to reduce their carbon footprint which is why Teljoy partners with Interwaste to ensure that all e-waste is disposed of in a responsible and eco-friendly way”.
4. Take part in the solution and become a tree champion
“There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to climate change. We need to combine activities that produce emissions from fossil fuel-based resources with initiatives that maintain and improve carbon sinks. This will remove carbon from our atmosphere.
“Forests are the most powerful instrument we have for reversing the effects of land-use change and deforestation. Every day, trees help to conserve biodiversity, clean the air, prevent soil erosion, purify the water, and improve the grace and beauty of our homes and communities,” says Linda Saunders, head of solution engineering at Salesforce South Africa
Saunders states that we can all make a positive difference by incorporating sustainability into our daily lives.
5. For outside assistance, you can use local suppliers
This might seem like an odd one, but think about it – isn’t it better to use suppliers and tradespeople who don’t have to travel long distances? This saves fuel and energy. So, when you’re in need of services, check your local paper or even your local Facebook group for someone in your area.
SweepSouth Outdoor or SweepSouth could be a good option. The app will automatically source someone that resides close by and won’t have to travel long distances to get to your home. Alen Ribic, cofounder of SweepSouth suggests that you book a SwepStar to ensure that the products they have in your home are safe for the environment.
We all have the responsibility of protecting the environment. Our everyday actions can make a difference if we work together on a global level. In the words of the Dalai Lama, “it is our collective and individual responsibility to preserve and tend to the environment in which we all live”.