Every day we make choices in our lives that affect the environment, the climate and other species that we share in this amazing world with. But there’s actually a lot more that we can do to reduce our environmental footprint to leave more room – and better conditions – for wild animals and plants. Of course, the change always starts with ”what should I do?” So I thought maybe everyone needs a little checklist of things that they can attempt so I put a few lists together and made this.
I have divided these into easily distinguished areas to make your adoption of them all simple! Of course, I am not expecting you to do them all, just download the list and tick the ones you are going to do TODAY.
Household & Personal
- Make sure your house has good circulation and natural lighting.
- Use energy-efficient light bulbs. It will reduce pollution and cut your electricity bills.
- Use cold water for laundry.
- Use cloth napkins instead of paper.
- Check all pipes for leakage and reduce your water consumption at home, this will save up your cost on water usage. If you do not know how to do it yourself, you can always ask for the professional help from PT. PIPA or EcoMantra.
- Buy rechargeable batteries and learn how to dispose of old batteries properly.
- Water your plants in the morning or at night to minimize evaporation.
- Always close the water tap when you wash the dishes and turn it back on just for rinsing, the same method goes every time you take a shower or brush your teeth.
- Use reusable shopping bags and bring plastic bags to recycling dropoff locations.
- Make your own composter bin at home (video here). This puts food scraps and garden waste to good use and cut down on greenhouse gases released from landfills.
- Make biopori on your lawn (video here). Dried leaves, branches and fruit remains make good compost for your soil and create better absorption to avoid floods.
- Get to know what to do with your waste and how to segregate your waste at home. Recycle your trash using trusted organisations that can help you recycle your waste properly like ecoBali, Waste4Change or find the nearest Waste Bank.
- Wrap gifts in fabric, newspaper and other recycled or reusable materials.
- Keep pollution-fighting plants in your home, like the Lily, Palm Bamboo, Dracaena, Aglaonema or the English Ivy.
- Try coconut oil for multi-purposes – moisturizing, shaving, cooking, make-up removal, etc. Instead of commercial cosmetics that often use limited resources.
- Borrow books at your local library instead of buying them or go to book swap events.
- Use scrap paper to write.
- Donate your clothes to charities or participate in a garage sale once a year to clean out your wardrobe and reduce house storage.
- Unplug any unnecessary electric gadgets unless you want to use them (dispensers, microwaves, toasters, coffee machines, home theatres, computers, etc).
- Donate leftover food to community projects like SOS or Food Cycle Indonesia.
- Use topical flea treatments instead of flea collars. Many of these collars contain carcinogens and do not biodegrade.
- Pick up or clean your pet’s faeces. It can spread pathogens into streams when it rains. Use biodegradable bags and dispose of them in the trash.
- Do not flush cat faeces unless you have an indoor-only cat that has tested negative for toxoplasmosis – this parasite can affect marine life.
- Avoid using cat litter with bentonite clay – it is obtained using a highly destructive and inefficient method called strip mining.
- Adopt don’t shop! Adopting a pet will help reduce the demand for breeding and free up space in animal shelters. A great organisation that advocates this movement is Mission Paw’sible, which rescues and rehabilitates homeless dogs in Bali and is in the process of building a healing centre for dogs.
- Choose cloth diapers or environmentally friendly disposable diapers.
- Choose biodegradable baby wipes, and cut them in half for jobs that do not require a whole one.
- Cut down on screen time and electricity use by spending more time outside with your kids.
- Kids grow fast: buy or borrow gently used equipment, clothing and toys.
- Look for traditional toys that are usually hand-made from natural resources to reduce plastic toys.
Food & Gardening
- Commit to having at least one vegetarian day a week.
- Replace plastic straws with metal or bamboo and avoid single-use plastic packaging.
- Buy a reusable take-out container for restaurant leftovers.
- Use a reusable mug or tumbler at coffee shops that allow it. (Don’t go to those that don’t allow it !)
- If old clothing is not good enough to donate, turn it into kitchen cleaning rags.
- Buy local produce to help local farmers.
- Buy essentials in bulk to cut down packaging and driving to the store, and store them in reusable containers.
- Try to shop at bulk stores like BaliBuda or Zero Waste Bali. There are many in Bali.
- Microwave popcorn bags are lined with harmful chemicals. Pop the old-fashioned way with a pan and oil.
- Use cast-iron pans. They are free of chemicals and can last for generations.
- Ordering groceries online cuts down on driving, a safer way in this pandemic and helps you stick to a list.
- Plant pollinator-friendly flowers for bees and butterflies.
- Buy shade-grown, organic, fair trade and equal exchange coffee to protect environments, animals and people.
Technology & Transportation
- Turn your old cell phone into a recycling program to keep it out of a landfill and prevent toxic battery leaks.
- Use the car wash; it tends to be more water-efficient and environmentally safe than washing by hand.
- Use e-banking or mobile banking for most of your banking transactions to reduce paper receipts and going outside in this pandemic.
- Use power strips so you can switch off power to charges and appliances you’re not using.
- Switch the standard picture mode on your TV to save energy. Flat screens are often displayed brighter than necessary to stand out in retail settings.
- Avoid idling your car – it can waste up to ½ gallon of fuel per hour and pollutes the air.
- Obey the law. Aggressive driving (speeding, braking, rapid acceleration) lowers your gas mileage by up to 33%.
Why not make this list into a personal challenge and keep it on your phone, or desktop or write it down on scrap paper? See if you can complete 50pct of these ideas in the next 3 months – and all within a year!
As for me – I am doing them all – so far in my head, but I will join you and together we will make a difference!