World Environment Day: Go green at home
Spending time at home has reached an all-time high this year as people around the world were asked to self-quarantine for their safety. This has had some unexpected side effects, including a positive impact on the environment, thanks to a 17 per cent drop in greenhouse gas emissions globally by early April.
Encouraging as this may be, the reality is that this drop in emissions is temporary - a breathing space before lockdowns lift globally and our old habits return. In addition, the drop is also being offset by the increased use of basic domestic resources like water and electricity. Individual actions within households can help reduce carbon and pollution footprint. An advocate for sustainable living and one of the pioneers in integrating smart homes in its projects, Sharjah developer Arada shares its top tips to live green at home.
Cut down on energy and bills efficiently
Implement energy-saving practices, such as switching to LED lightbulbs, regulating the air conditioning to automatically turn off or switch to fan mode at night, and turning off non-essential electronics like printers and microwaves when not in use. Similarly, run your dishwasher only when it's full to save water and reduce your energy bill. Wash clothes when you have a full load of laundry. These small steps can go a long way to cutting utility bills.
Eat local, reduce food wastage
The UAE is making a huge effort to become more self-sufficient with its food supply, with close to six million tonnes of food being produced in the country every year. Support efforts by eating more locally sourced food. Also, only prepare food your family can finish to avoid waste. Make the most out of leftovers, like reusing trimmings and creating broths for the next meal, storing leftovers in refrigerators, feedings leftovers to pets, and composting waste for home plants.
Try growing some veggies
Cut down on trips to the store by replanting the ends of lettuce, onions, and roots in some soil or water to start your own garden. You can also plant a few seeds in a container on your windowsill. You don't need acres; a few square feet in a window box can provide enough space to grow edible herbs, fruits, and vegetables. This will also encourage you to get on the healthy diet train by eating less animal products.
Donate, don't waste
Donate your old clothes and home goods to give them a new life instead of just throwing them out and retire old electronics responsibly. Recycle anything you can, including paper, plastic, aluminum and glass.
Use a cloth mask
If you're not a patient or on the frontlines, try to use a reusable cloth mask when stepping out. This is a more sustainable option and will save disposable masks for those on the frontlines who need them more.
Piro is business development director at Arada