Our generation will have to decide on how to deal with the issue of climate change despite some people believing that it is a hoax. I believe it is a reality that needs to be dealt with yesterday.
A few issues I find appalling for instance are the intensity of the cyclones we are experiencing today. Cyclone Idai in Mozambique killed about 1000 people. Not to say the cyclone was caused by climate change but rather its intensity I believe was contributed upon by the changes we are experiencing today. Moreover, there have been record highs in this year’s winter in the United States where there were lows of -70 degrees in some states. Temperatures lower than the top of Mt. Everest.
Here at home, seasons for various food items are being disrupted. Parts of the country are experiencing drought more frequently and inflation is becoming a bit too normal. I mean since when did avocados become 40 bob?
What has been done?
To counter this there’s been suggestions to reduce consumption of beef products since the carbon footprint largely increases as per their demand. It’s a whole discussion about how much it takes to prepare burger for instance which is a lot. You can get to understand more here
Further, companies are going green and introducing the carbon credit system to keep emissions on the low using carbon trade exchange.
Kenya made a milestone in banning plastic bags that have been finding their way into the food chain since they are being consumed by primary consumers on land and in the ocean.
Some of these are just a few great solutions but need those in the big leagues to implement them.
Where are the flaws in some solutions?
Going vegan is the new trend. That way you save the animals and reduce carbon emissions. But we love our Nyama Choma here in Kenya. We even have communities dependent on cows for their livelihood so what happens to them?
The other solution has been to ban plastic bottles which again is a great one. It may happen soon but I haven’t seen the feasibility of it yet. While companies such as Safaricom and International Organizations such as the United Nations here in Nairobi have started using glass bottles in their premises a lot needs to go into it. Majority of our liquid products are in these plastic bottles from cooking oil, water, juice, soda, yogurt, ketchup you name it. I think it’ll take a bit longer than the plastic bags. Though, I could be wrong.
What can we do then?
We all have a role to play maybe not being vegan overnight or giving up our bottles, but we are human. And being human beings we may not really give up something unless we have something to gain. So here’s some easy hacks where you get to give and gain:
- Electricity and Water.
Switch off the lights; it’s so easy yet saves you a bunch of money in power bills since there’s no unnecessary energy being used. How does it help? A ripple effect means less energy is used up, less diesel is used to run hydro power generators in the seven folks, and we all know fossil fuels aren’t good for the environment.
Switch to energy savings bulbs; not only do they save energy but go a great deal in reducing the number of light bulbs being disposed in landfills as a result of incandescent bulbs and yes, you save some cash!
Eat food while it’s still hot; we all like dinner when served hot but the microwave is another electronic that uses a bit too much electricity. Agree on dinner time and eat food as a family, couple or roommates to eliminate the need to warm the food cooked the same day. The taste is definitely better and you avoid all these rays from the microwave.
Turn off the tap; saving water isn’t that hard. Some say showering with bae saves water, but we all know that may not work. Especially considering the bathroom sizes we have in this city.
Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, cleaning dishes and even cleaning food items goes a long way. And who doesn’t want a cheaper water bill anyway. A large population of the world doesn’t have clean water yet those who have it end up misusing it, be the change.
Do not litter; we all know this but there are plastic bottles all over us. They are in the end carried into rivers by rains, then to the ocean, then the whales eat them and die and there’s an imbalance in the marine ecosystem. We need to do better and be an example to kids so they grow up knowing not to litter.
There are trash cans all over the city. Matatus have dustbins at the front these days. Just hold onto that bottle, sweet wrappers, straws, egg shells, the cling foil wrapping your sandwich a bit longer.
Reuse and Recycle; carrier bags have taught us how to reuse since no one wants to spend more at the mini mart just for a bag. Same thing for plastic containers. That new Java Cup you like so much, use it as a pen holder and save the struggle of trying to get a pen every morning. Ladies, use it for you make up brushes. The plastic tin of honey that’s run out, use it to store your salt or tea leaves. That tin of toss you got use it to for your washing powder. The 20 litre bottle of water, refill it at the supermarket.
Better yet, there are quite a few young people with businesses where they use old bottles to make vases and plastics for decorative ornaments like earrings. You can put your creativity into use and make a some money on the side!
- Healthy living.
90s kids are finally getting into the game where we can party, drink and eat nyama choma, the things we saw growing up.
Telling us to give up meat products may not sit well. But here’s something that may work.
Eat healthy; We all know the lifestyle diseases are getting to us a bit sooner than we expect, so we can’t just eat red meat. Switch it up a bit with white meat. Try some beans, use less fat when you’re cooking to keep the cholesterol down, steam your veggies and be in charge of your own health while taking care of the environment inadvertently. The more the practice, the better you get at reducing meat intake.
Exercise; We all want to look good and fit into those skinny jeans from 2010 but somehow we find ourselves getting out of shape.
I’m not saying you spend Ksh. 5000 every month for a gym membership. Hey we’re all millennials and largely still unpaid interns. I’m saying round up a few of your friends get a work out and get to it.
Working out puts you in charge of your own health and once you start seeing results you automatically become more cautious with what you eat and go for more natural wholemeal products. It may sound like a long shot but you can get that bikini body and help the environment, totally a win.
There’s always a church somewhere cleaning the environment or a university planting trees to attain a 10% tree cover. There’s someone out there looking for young people to make a difference since so much can be done.
Be that person and choose to be kind.
This doesn’t mean you don’t get anything. You actually do because as human beings we have this innate desire to give back to the society that has invested in us.
In other words you get points for being nice and a referee on your CV for someone who takes part in Corporate Social Responsibility something that sets you apart from the next person in the tough job market.
There you are, four simple ways to take care of the environment in your capacity as a millennial while bringing you all the benefits. Try out one or two I know I will.