Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve become more conscious about our way of life. We’re seeing how much we consume, waste, and recycle on a daily basis. We’re also seeing headlines that make us more cognizant of our environmental impact.
The pandemic has brought environmental awareness to a new level. A Forbes article states that “[c]ovid-19 has made us aware of our vulnerability” which fits into the conversation about a sustainable future.
Simultaneously, we’re going through what the article calls a “consumer awakening”. This process is key for starting a global shift towards sustainability and it starts with us, the consumers.
Of course, it's always a good time to develop sustainable habits, but during this global health crisis, here are some practices we can adopt at home.
Start a garden
Quarantine has given rise to a robust community of permaculture enthusiasts. Summer is nearing its end if you are in the Northern hemisphere but that doesn’t mean you can’t still garden.
And if you are in the South then this is the time to get out there as the birds start singing and the flowers begin to push up after a cold winter.
Depending on your location, you can do outdoor gardening year-round. For other folks, having some indoor plant babies is the way to go.
You can even grow your own food during the coldest months of winter. Greatist has a helpful guide of which edible plants you can grow inside and how.
While you can buy seeds and starter plants from retailers, free seeds are included every time you purchase fresh produce.
Those acorn squash and bell pepper seeds can yield harvest after harvest and eliminate unnecessary packaging and shipping.
Table scraps can also help grow a modern victory garden, according to Real Simple. Root vegetables, greens, and herbs can easily be salvaged.
Avoid single-use plastics
Even in a health crisis, we can lessen our plastic footprint.
In an article from The Washington Post, epidemiologist John Mills notes that the use of disposables isn’t more effective than proper hand-washing.
Still, safety is a priority and personal protective equipment (PPE) is vital. Clean, reuse, and recycle PPE when possible.
Upcycle and recycle
While in lockdown, many people are deep-cleaning their homes and finding a lot to donate or throw away. However, so much of our “clutter” and “junk” can be reused or repurposed.
If you want to make some eco- and wallet-friendly home improvements, the internet has endless ideas.
Toilet paper rolls can be used as cord organizers and seed planters for that garden you’re starting.
When it comes to recycling, make sure you know the local protocol.
Earth911 has a recycling search tool to help you know what is and isn’t recyclable where you live.
Simply type in the item you want to recycle and your zip code. Earth911 gives you a list of the nearest transfer and recycling centers and exactly what they accept.
Now more than ever, online shopping is booming.
In quarantine, many of us can use some retail therapy. While there’s often a temptation to buy things new, there’s no shame in buying used.
In fact, an Insider article argues that secondhand clothing is the answer to sustainable fashion.
Online thrift stores like ThredUp, vintage clothing on Etsy, and used items on Facebook Marketplace not only save you money, they help save the planet.
To go a step further, choose products that come in sustainable packaging.
Last summer, ThredUp launched 100% recycled and recyclable packaging, and more and more brands are making similar shifts even in the food and beverage industries.
The nonprofit Food Tank lists sixteen companies making strides in sustainable packaging.
Support local business
Speaking of packaging, buying local is a great way to minimize packaging, according to an article from One Green Planet.
The article also explains how buying local helps your neighbors and the planet. Going to farmer’s markets and buying from a ma and pa shops support local economies and communities.
Staying local also reduces fossil fuels used to transport products.
Follow and share posts from local businesses on social media to stay updated and engaged.
During this pandemic, businesses need your support more than ever.
Read up on sustainability
Whether it’s The New York Times or a zero waste influencer on Instagram, keep learning about ways to live more sustainably.
Share insight on- and off-line
There are plenty of ways to spread the planet's love.
When you make sustainable purchases, share photos, and feedback on social media.
Shoutout your favorite local and eco-friendly shops and repost informative content.
On your next socially-distanced outing, mention your latest secondhand shopping spree.
If you live with other people, print off a recycling guide for everyone’s convenience.
This pandemic is nowhere near its end and neither is the fight to protect our planet. During these difficult times, there are little things we can do to ensure a brighter and more sustainable future.
Remember, our "normal lives" may have stopped but the planet has not stopped turning.
Don't forget to subscribe for FREE bellow and leave a comment below and share what you have done and learned during your lockdown to become more sustainable.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hannah is a traveler, writer, photographer, and treehugger from New York State. She has lived in four countries and is about to embark on her master’s in country number five: Scotland. She blogs about travel, culture, and society at www.HannahHugsTrees.com and shares her photography on Instagram (@hannahhugstrees)