The World Economic Forum’s third annual Sustainable Development Impact Summit opened in New York City with an affirmation that the world has the science, data, know-how and public awareness to solve the challenge of climate change – what is needed now is intensified collaboration and communication to implement and scale solutions.
The reality of things, is that we only have one Earth and are utterly dependent on it for our survival and well-being. And as the Amazon burns and the youth go on strike for climate change, we are reminded that the climate crisis is just one of many issues that can result from failure of governments, businesses and households’ to become more sustainable in their policies and behaviours.
We therefore deem the recently-ended summit as an important opportunity to discuss sustainability. What is it and how can we contribute towards sustainable development?
Sustainable development can be defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations.
The desired result is a state of society where living conditions and resources are used to continue to meet human needs without undermining the integrity and stability of the natural system.
So, how can we as individuals contribute towards and shape the transition towards a more sustainable development?
The everyday choices we make do have an impact on our planet.
1. Choose Renewable energy
Choosing renewable energy over fossil fuels is a great way to contribute towards stopping climate change. Install solar panels on your roof and explore options of getting subsidies from the government for reducing your carbon footprint.
And if you’re unable to afford the infrastructure for producing your own electricity, you can join energy marketplaces like SunContract and source your energy from local producers of clean, green, renewable energy. The energy source options are plenty since we take into consideration that everyone has different preferences. Energy buyers can choose from solar power, wind, hydro among lots more as shown below:
2. Spend less time driving
This idea seems like a bit of a no-brainer, but many people still drag their heels at the thought of switching over to alternative modes of transportation.
Unfortunately, greenhouse gas emissions increased in 2018, largely because the world population bought more cars and drove farther. Those trends were more than enough to counterbalance the positive effect of rising electric vehicle sales.
To implement this suggestion, you don’t need to do anything drastic, like selling your car or buying an electric vehicle. For example, if you’re driving the same routes day in and day out, why not make your commute a little greener? If you can walk or bike to work, do it. If you can use public transportation while running errands, go for it. And anytime that you can carpool with a friend, you should. Don’t forget that every mile makes a difference!
It’s also important to keep your car in shape with regular tune-ups and tire inflations. Tune-ups can increase your fuel efficiency by 4 percent to 40 percent.
3. Ditch the plastic
Plastic is choking our oceans and it never goes away. It takes millions of years for plastic to decompose. Plastic can be found swirling in the ocean’s surfaces and it badly affects marine life:
- Turtles eat plastic bags mistaking them for jellyfish
- Seabirds are found with their stomachs full of plastic items
- Plastic debris can get lodged in coral and affect the health of reefs
- Microplastics are consumed by animals like plankton, passing the problem back up the food chain — to us.
Every year large number of mammals, seals, sea birds are killed after ingesting plastic or getting tangled up in it. It's time for all of us to switch to reusable bags when we shop and ditch one-time use plastic water bottles.
As individuals we can also help by making lifestyle changes, like recycling more or drinking from reusable water bottles or paper cups.
4. Going Shopping? Think Twice!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” may feel retro, but it’s just as important today as when the phrase was first coined. Every product we purchase has an environmental footprint — from the materials used to create it to the pollution emitted during manufacturing to the packaging that ends up in landfills. So before you buy, ask yourself if you really need it. If you do, consider buying gently used instead of new, and look for minimal packaging and shipping.
5. Electricity and appliances
One of the easiest ways to become more sustainable in your daily routine is to reduce your consumption of household energy. Turn off the lights and air conditioning when you leave the house and add in dimmer switches so you can control how bright your lights are. By using SunContract’s energy data monitoring features, you can also monitor your energy consumption, allowing you to adjust your energy usage for upcoming periods accordingly. Pro-tip: Taking these steps will lighten your monthly electricity bills too!
You might think your contribution is small, but together our collective action is powerful!
Interested in reducing your carbon footprint by using the SunContract platform?