As the world continues to adapt smarter and bigger innovations for the home, so does the consciousness that in order to have a bright future to look forward to, humans need to practice more eco-friendly ways of living.
Climate change and global warming are real and are still in motion even when the world has come to a standstill because of the pandemic. Experts predict that if the climate crisis is not mitigated, global temperatures can rise to up to 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century – possibly bringing more heatwaves, droughts, and stronger hurricanes.
All hope is not lost as everyone can do their part to prevent this disaster from getting any worse. Any action to help the planet will go a long way, especially if one considers bigger changes in their household.
That is where the concept of sustainability comes in. The United States Environmental Protection Agency states that ''Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.'' To live a sustainable life is to lessen one's use of natural resources, reduce one's carbon footprint, and contribute to counteracting climate change.
To help Filipinos get a head start, here are five big changes to make your home eco-friendlier today.
1. Practice a zero-waste lifestyle
The simplest way to start this green movement in your home is to practice living zero waste. This means doing what you can to reduce the amount of waste your household generates by lessening the materials you send to landfills. It can also mean that you lessen your active participation in consumerism to reduce pollution from the production, transport, and disposal of certain goods.
Some ways to do this is by:
• Avoiding products with plastic packaging (e.g. plastic bottles, online delivery bags)
• Using eco-bags when grocery shopping
• Bringing reusable utensils and containers when buying takeout
• Lessening the use of disposables or single-use items
• Minimizing food waste
• Disposing and segregating your trash properly
• Buying food and pantry essentials in bulk
• Choosing quality garments and products so you do not need to replace them often
Do not worry about not being able to immediately do all of these things at the same time. You can start with selecting an area, whether it be personal care or kitchen use, that you can commit to making eco-friendly changes and begin from there.
2. Try a plant-based diet
Choosing a plant-based diet is not only great for your health, but it is also better for the environment. The United Nations says that the total emissions from global livestock amount to 14.5 percent of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions. That means removing meat and dairy from your daily meal plan can lessen pollution and the use of resources as animal husbandry requires plenty of land space and fresh water.
A plant-based diet can significantly reduce carbon emissions and waste byproducts while also saving habitats for endangered species. An article from the United Nations University mentions that twenty servings of vegetables have fewer greenhouse gas emissions than one serving of beef. By simply adding more vegetables to your plate, and consuming less meat and dairy, you are already doing a lot to help.
You can even try your hand at growing your own food. Some people have begun to take up gardening during quarantine and have planted root crops in their backyard or created mini herb gardens.
3. Offset your household's carbon footprint
Another way to help the environment is to offset your carbon footprint. You can do this by calculating the total carbon emissions your household produces and finding a way to compensate for it such as by planting the equivalent number of trees or supporting reforestation initiatives.
Offsetting your carbon footprint is a great way for individuals to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere and combat climate change.
4. Switch to eco-friendly household appliances
Making a greener home also includes using eco-friendly, or at least eco-friendlier, items for the home. This can be done by choosing inverter appliances or installing solar panels. You can also begin changing your lightbulbs to those with LED technology.
A good place to start is your kitchen. Make sure that you are using energy-efficient appliances such as induction cooktops, electric ovens, and chlorofluorocarbon and hydrofluorocarbon-free refrigerators.
These alternatives will not only be better for the earth but can also lower your electricity bill.
5. Switch to clean and renewable energy sources
While starting with simple switches to make your home greener is a good starting point, to really make a big impact, one needs to go further than sustainability.
An article published by the Yale School of the Environment suggests that climate change is moving at unprecedented speeds and that a new approach is needed, and a realistic way to do so is through deep decarbonization.
Simply put, decarbonization is all about the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and other greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Decarbonization seeks to reduce CO2 emissions caused by human activities and limit rising global temperatures. This can be done through the use of low-carbon and renewable energy sources.
While households cannot freely choose their electricity supplier yet, it is good to learn more about different clean energy sources and the companies that use them to generate electricity.
First Gen Corporation is one of the leading providers of clean and renewable power in the Philippines. It has pioneered the local natural gas industry and prides itself on its portfolio of purely clean and renewable energy sources.
The company supplied 19% of the country's power supply in 2020 using only natural gas, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, and wind energy.
Natural gas is considered the cleanest-burning of all fossil fuels, emitting up to 60% less carbon dioxide than coal. It also does not leave behind by-products that are harmful to people and the environment. Geothermal power plants provide uninterrupted power using natural heat and steam from the Earth's surface, just as hydro power plants harness energy from flowing water. Solar and wind are also considered renewable energy sources with the lowest environmental impact.
First Gen promotes the use of natural gas as a bridge fuel to aid and to hasten the transition to 100% renewable energy use while concerns on renewable energy's intermittency and affordability have yet to be resolved. The company hopes to lead this transition to a renewed and decarbonized Philippines by educating Filipinos on the use and benefits of clean energy.
Currently, it has 30 clean and renewable energy projects all over the country.
While making sustainable and green choices for your home is a good way to help, learning more about decarbonization and advocating for the transition to clean, renewable energy sources are the long-lasting solutions to this climate emergency.
Take decisive action to secure the future of your children and grandchildren by choosing to go green today. It does not matter if you start small, the important thing is that you start making eco-friendly choices and encourage your household to do the same. That way, you can contribute to leaving behind a safe, healthy world for the next generation.
Visit First Gen's website to find out more about its green initiatives and clean and renewable energy projects.
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