For the normal everyday Nigerian, sustainability or being environmentally conscious is not a goal that is commonly pursued, much less something that is considered in our day-to-day experience.
We tend to move about our day not minding the harsh reality of waste pollution and the environmental damages that occur at almost every corner of the country. Not to mention the general lackluster approach that the government has towards environmental policies.
“How?” You might ask.
Well, if you’re wondering about what actions you can take to reduce waste? You are already on the right track. A simple answer would be to incorporate a sustainable lifestyle.
Sustainable living means adopting habits that meet our immediate needs without harming the environment. This generally involves making conscious lifestyle choices that are beneficial to you and your environment.
Here are a few simple things you can do to care for your environment:
Reduce your energy usage
We know that the current state of electricity in Nigeria is unstable and inefficient, but reducing your electricity consumption serves as a big plus for the environment. Things like turning off unnecessary lights or switching off the TV when its not in use and unplugging your electronic devices, not only helps the environment but also helps you save money on your electricity bill.
Use public transportation
While the use of public transportation can be tedious, taking a taxi or bus to work instead of your care helps reduce your carbon footprint. Although it might not be the most effective means, but it goes a long way in saving the environment.
Reduce food waste by eating only what you need
Overbuying food that will end up in the garbage is not only hurtful to your wallet, but it’s also a waste for the environment. So, before you buy it, make sure that you will eat it.
Bring your own bag
It is very common to see plastic bags in surplus quantities in our homes, and much more common to see them littered all around and in the most uncomfortable ways. Yet, every time we go to the market or shops, we conveniently leave them at home. Look at it this way, if a million Nigerians can go to the market with a plastic bag from their homes every week, that means there will be, at the very least, one million less bags produced.
This is often an underrated means of action that is often overlooked in our community. Making the effort to join and engage in your community clean-ups goes a long way in making the environment conducive, and also helps you stay connected with your immediate community.
The truth is that we create LOTS of trash. Just think about how much stuff you bring home from the market or stores that end up in the trash can, and not to talk about the food itself, just the packaging. Consider how you can reduce the amount of garbage you create on your own.
Reuse and Re-purpose
Simple efforts like reusing plastic bags or re-purposing an old shoe box can save tons of waste from the dump serve as the many ways to promote sustainability. Plus, re-purposing items around the house is a great way to nurture your creativity. Think, how many ways can reuse an old milk tin…?
While society waits for better government policies geared toward environmental sustainability, we as individuals can take baby steps that can amount to long strides over time if done with consistency.
The power to make the world a better place is in our hands and we have a duty to care for our environment.