Nobody could have predicted the calamitous predicament a pandemic would have on our current world. Like a crippling wave, sweeps across the global landscape leaving behind a logistical nightmare. Problems ranging from a lack of manpower, capital, resources etc has altered our definition of ‘normalcy’.
But other than problems we spring on ourselves as a species, the one redeeming quality of ours is the ability to make changes and adapt wherever paramount. Anything that threatens the conventional sense of normalcy is rooted out at it’s source and added to the annals of history.
This thirst for improvement and progress sometimes becomes counter-intuitive, and this exposes the inadequacies and grounds our sense of invincibility, prime example of that humanity’s unsustainable habits that has brought about the destruction of the planet’s biodiversity, erosion of forests, melting of glaciers, releasing zoonotic diseases like SARS, MERS, bird flu, Covid-19 etc.
Even though man, and his villainous ways are detrimental to our world if taken to the extreme, the ability of our kind to try to rectify, and if not, change the problem should be highlighted too.
Throughout our rich history on this planet, we’ve undergone many trials and tribulations that have propelled us on the path of wanting to lead a safer, longer, happier life. But through all this talk of moving forward and forgetting the cruel times we’ve had to endure, there are times, like now, where one must really press the ‘pause’ button to see the decisions and actions taken to get to the predicament we find ourselves in. Maybe now I’d like to reverse and go back to a time where wearing a mask was limited to my nighttime skin care routine.
We’ve been taught as kids the basics of environmental protection and etiquette, like those countless ‘Best Out of Waste’ competitions we had back in school, the principle behind that shouldn't be brushed aside as mere whims of a primary school teacher wanting you to explore your ‘creative side’, this should be inculcated into our lives since individuals too live a very wasteful life without realizing some easy alternatives that will not only serve their purposes practically but also be a friend of the environment once they serve their purpose.
Under normal circumstances, switching to sustainable living habits is a drastic change that only a few headstrong people make without hesitating. Humans are creatures of habits and convenience, but something as severe as a global pandemic is enough of a jolt to influence a change for the better.
This brings to me the crux of what this blog is all about. Sustainable living habits in the midst of a pandemic seems like a daunting challenge considering all the other aspects and precautions to be taken when the world around us becomes hostile towards its inhabitants, through no fault but our own.
Some of the sustainable living habits whilst dealing the pandemic are,
- Wear Reusable/Washable Masks: Making masks out of extra fabric or other materials is viable since disposable masks contribute to the total wastage done every time you use it.
Cut off the strings of your mask before disposing it as a lot of animals get tangled in it and suffer.
- Buy in Bulk: With the fickle lockdown announcements, buying in bulk is safe as well as reduces an individual's carbon footprint if personal modes of transportation are involved.
- Grow Yourself: Even though farmer’s market, sabzi mandi etc might be open, home growing produce, herbs, spices is a safe alternative as well as cost effective.
- Research and Support Sustainable brands: With the added time of being at home, researching what brands to switch to for products such as cosmetics, clothing, household products and more.
- Start a Compost Pile: This will prevent food wastage and in turn, that compost can be used in the garden used to grow your own foods.
- Adopt a Plastic-free lifestyle: Mitigating the use of plastics greatly reduces the environmental wastage of an individual. If omitting plastic entirely is inevitable, make repurposed plastic the name of the game and work on minimizing waste, using an empty yogurt cup and turning it into a plant holder. The possibilities of making the ‘best out of waste’ is only limited to our puny imagination.
To put things into perspective, since being in lockdown, we’ve seen some remarkable phenomenon happen that wouldn’t have been even remotely possible if things were as they were. For example, after countless decades, fishes were seen swimming in the venetian canal.
The sky has been it’s cleanest and clearest, especially in big cities that are plagued by pollution. I suppose there’s a silver lining to every grey cloud and seeing the good in the worst in something that makes us special.
These are just some of the ways to give back to the planet we have taken so much from. Gone are the days where the ends justify the means, rather, moving towards a future that incorporates accountability and responsibility as the cornerstones of progress. In light of everything that is going on in the world, going back to how things ‘used to be’ is close to impossible, therefore rather than reminiscing, we should look to adopt the new normal and run with it.