Sustainability to me is grounding myself to reality. The reality that exists around us. The reality of our growing communities and declining environments. The reality which is a ticking time bomb for the generations to come. More often than not we have been hearing that the earth is nearing its carrying capacity which is to say that the global population is rising but resources are limited to accommodate them. This brings us to the whole idea of sustainability- to use the resources at hand efficiently and effectively so that the present and coming generations can survive well without putting too much pressure on the earth.
The implementation of sustainability has broadly been taken as a responsibility of the government and profit- making business houses. This general characterization makes sense given the fact that the operation of industries and factories are a big threat to the environment. Governments always have had to do a trade-off between environment and economic development and the choice mostly has been economic prosperity at the expense of a degrading environment status. However, it’s easy to put blame on higher authorities while individuals and communities succumb to consumerism and unhealthy practices.
A sustainable lifestyle if prompted and initiated on an individual level can create remarkable impacts for the environment. Most of us misconstrue the practice to be expensive and unachievable especially in the context of a developing country like Nepal. But facts cannot be more far from the truth than this. If we look around Nepal itself, our rural communities have been a pioneer of sustainable lifestyle even before the concept was popularised by the mainstream media. In an urban setting as well, it is more than possible to practice sustainability through small actions. Here are a list of few everyday changes that one can make in order to lead a sustainable life:
a. Segregate your waste:
Waste segregation is the basic and the most important step in waste management. The process is fairly simple but helps ensure that recyclable, non-biodegradable waste doesn't end up at the landfill.
b. Make your own compost:
More than 66% of waste generated in Kathmandu Valley is household organic waste. Such organic waste has great potential in agriculture and farming if composted the right way. Households can invest in a good composting bin and compost the segregated organic waste. The byproduct i.e. fertilizers can be essential for your rooftop vegetable farming or gardens. While you get to enjoy fresh homegrown produce, this also ensures your contribution towards sustainability.
c. Reduce plastics:
Plastic is pervasive today and there’s no way we can get rid of using it. However, small actions such as utilising a reusable shopping bag for grocery items and buying fresh local groceries not packaged in heavy plastics or reusing water bottles can go a long way in contributing towards a less polluted environment.
d. Make it a habit to walk:
Walking can seem tedious, especially in a dusty and crowded city like ours. But despite the complications, it is also one of the most sustainable actions that an individual can commit to. If not longer distance, one can at least make an effort to walk to places that are at a shorter distance. Although it can be a little time-consuming, think of all the ways it can truly help you lead a sustainable life.
e. Be frugal about your resources:
It’s high time we become mindful of our resources at hand. It can start by simple actions such as closing your tap while brushing, reusing waste water for plants, switching off your electronic devices when not in use or buying less clothes. Small actions like these might seem trivial but in the long run it helps towards achieving sustainability.
While these are some basic lifestyle changes that one can make for the environment, it definitely cannot be limited to only these. There are a myriad of other small actions that an individual can do from a micro level to achieve sustainability. So, what actions will you follow for a sustainable lifestyle?
(Header image credits: Yummba.in)