Join the Movement and Act Now
By Shanuka Kadupitiyage Ceylon Today Features
If you’ve heard about the many environmental issues we face today, you would know that the entire world is in danger because of the many things we do to continue enjoying the conveniences and luxuries we have. COVID-19 has reminded all of us about the importance of doing our part to protect the environment and how much of an impact we can make by making simple changes to the things we do every day to slow and maybe even stop most of the harm we are causing to our planet.
During the time most of the people on earth were stuck inside their homes trying to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, most human activities that caused harm to the planet were brought to a stop. Making the best of this standstill, nature took its course and the whole world marvelled at the positive changes that ensued. Pollution in the air above Colombo dropped drastically, pollution in the waters of the Kelani River dropped in significant amounts, the polluted smog filled air over cities like Mumbai, New Delhi and Wuhan cleared, leaving people enjoying clear blue skies for the first time in months. The drop in global pollution was large enough to allow the ozone layer to heal itself by a significant amount as well.
Needless to say, now that people are starting to come out of their houses and getting back to work, pollution will only return and continue to cause harm to people around the world.
Planning to reduce this and make the past few months a turning point towards a better future, the United Nations has come up with a special programme to bring the people in the world together to reduce the burden we place on our planet and its inhabitants.
ActNow is the United Nations campaign for individual action on climate change and sustainability. Realising that making small changes to the everyday things that we do can make a great change in our world, they have introduced ten simple actions that can reduce and even slow the harm we make on the earth. They have even introduced a way to log your actions on their website, which contributes to a global count of people who are part of the movement. The more people act, the bigger the impact we can make.
Here are the ten simple acts you can do to become part of the #ActNow movement.
Take five minute showers: Clean drinking water is a precious resource that is becoming harder and harder to find. The problem is only getting worse with climate change and pollution increasing. By taking less time in the shower, you can save water for someone else to use as well.
Bring your own bag: Plastic is one of the biggest villains in the fight against pollution. Every year, truckloads of plastic bags find their way to the ocean, killing animals and harming plant life. Because they don’t decompose for decades and continue to cause harm. By bringing your own bag to the shop the next time you go out for groceries, you help the world become a cleaner, more plastic free place.
Buy local produce: By choosing to buy and eat food sourced locally, you eat fresher food and reduce the amounts of trucks on the road that burn diesel to transport the food over long distances.
Eat more plant based meals: Eating more veggies mean not only are you having a healthy and balanced diet, you’re also making a smaller environmental impact on the world.
Drive less: Although you won’t be driving any vehicles yet, ask your parents to opt to walk or use public transport instead of driving when possible. Your family will not only be saving money on fuel, you’ll be protecting the planet as well.
Lights off: Switch off any lights that aren’t being used. If your room gets plenty of sunlight during the day, you wouldn’t need to use electric lights either. It takes a lot of energy to keep them on, so save electricity using this method.
Unplug: The less energy we use, the less is needed to be produced. This lessens the burden on the country’s demand for energy and saves your energy bills as well.
Refill and reuse: Plastic bottles are another menace to the environment. Try to avoid using plastic bottles as much as you can. Use reusable bottles that you can refill instead.
Recycle: Anything that can be recycled, should be. It reduces the demand for resources and energy by a large margin. If you have a whole bunch of recyclable items lying around, there are places that collect them for recycling available in Sri Lanka.
Zero waste fashion: A lot of waste and greenhouse gases are released during the creation of clothes. A lot of the clothes we throw away can be recycled as well but instead, gets thrown away or burnt. By asking your parents to use zero waste clothing products, you will be making a great help towards the environment.
Soon, the UN will release an app for helping you become a more active participant in the ActNow movement. What will you do to help protect our planet?