As we transition to the new normal, we should also transition to better practices that can help us (and the environment) live better lives. After all, the more long term ‘enemy’ is not the virus, but the harm that our actions as humans have on this Earth. Here are 5 simple practices you can adapt in this ‘new world.’
1. Grow your own food
Food is the most important resource for humans to survive. That said, it is just logical and practical to grow our own food. Although starting a garden won’t feed you until a few months or even years, self-sufficiency as a goal is something you can hold on to especially during these times of uncertainties.
Tip: Grow plants from store-bought food scraps by collecting their seeds and planting them. Gardening can be a numbers game, which means that the more seedlings your plant, the higher chances of return.
2. Be mindful of your trash
More than 50% of waste in landfills comes from household goods. This reflects how our disposing habits at home contribute to the rising problem of consumer waste. While going zero-waste is close to impossible, we need to be more mindful of what we decide to throw out. Throwing away doesn’t make anything disappear, it is just put out of our sight.
Tip: Make sure to wash and segregate cans and bottles before throwing them out. Junk collectors sift through trash for these since they can be sold in junk shops. Let’s make it easier for them. :)
3. Bring your own container
Whether it’s in the grocery, palengke or your neighborhood karenderia, bringing your own bag or container is always a good thing. What would you do with all of your non-woven bags, tote bags, and plastic containers if they are just lying at home right? Better put them to good use!
Tip: Fold carrier bags properly and insert them to your regular bags so you always have a back-up incase you forget to bring one. For plastic containers, you can also use them to buy meat products instead of having them in individual plastic wraps. It’s easier to store in the fridge too!
4. Buy better and repair
Many of the things in the market today are not built to last, like clothes, furniture, and appliances. This is because of perceived and planned obsolescence, which manufacturers now use to urge a repeat purchase sooner. These are usually the cheap and trendy stuff, mostly manufactured in bulk in China. Despite high initial cost, investing in good quality products can come out cheaper because they will last longer, hence you won’t have to keep replacing them. Also, if you’ve got something that’s a little worn out or broken, you can always try to repair it rather than give up on it right away.
Tip: YouTube is a good resource for repairing tutorials. It’s very likely that someone else encountered the same problem as you have. YouTube can also be a good resource for product reviews which can help you make decisions before buying more pricey items.
5. Be a maker
Do you remember cooking your first egg, or growing your first plant? It might have been a failure, but an expert in anything was once a beginner. Making your own stuff can be super rewarding, and adds more value to any product. It feels more precious because YOU made it, making it harder to dispose of. Making your own stuff also equips you with skill sets which may become valuable at some point your life. It also gives you better appreciation in the process put into making products. You can make a dish you’ve been craving for, a garment you’ve been eyeing on, or a piece of furniture you’ve been dreaming of. If you can’t buy it, make it!
Tip: Confidence is the biggest hurdle to becoming a maker. It’s okay to fail, and it is completely normal. Rather than sulking and giving up, make it a learning experience for your next try. Having good quality stuff can also help in your success rate as a maker (refer to number 4).
These are just some practical things you can do to practice a lifestyle that’s both economical and environmentally sound. Changing habits won’t happen overnight. It is a conscious effort that requires mindfulness and commitment. The world is changing fast, but we have to make sure we change for the better. ✳︎