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How to Stay Sustainable in Quarantine

By Anvita Gurumurthy There is no doubt we are living through history right now. With a global pandemic, everything in our lives has changed. We barely leave the house, and haven’t seen anyone outside our family in weeks. 6 feet away has become the norm, and we all miss our old lives. Yesterday, April 22nd, was Earth Day-- the 50th Earth Day. What should have been an important day filled with green activities has been overshadowed by our current situation. Yesterday was a reminder that, even during the global crisis, our Earth continues to need our help. In our last blog post, we wrote about how the environment is actually benefiting from the quarantine. Greenhouse gas emissions have reduced immensely, improving air quality in even the most polluted places. For example, in China, emissions were down at least 25% in the month of February. In Venice, fish and swans can finally be seen in the canals for the first time in years! But however much the lockdowns may be preventing pollution, we still have a long way to go, and the Earth needs all of our help. Here are three important ways you can remain green at home! Conserve energy: It may seem like this step is already done due to the drastic decrease in travel, but the fact that most of us are at home now means we will be using energy even more. We will begin to use more water, electricity, and other forms of energy like A/C more under quarantine. It is important to try to conserve energy. Even a little goes a long way. While you’re brushing your teeth, turn off the tap! Believe it or not, this saves 3-4 gallons per person per day! Imagine how much water can be conserved if we do this for a year-- up to 1000 gallons! Additionally, try to cut down your use of electricity. Turn off all lights while not in use, and make use of the beautiful sunlight coming through the windows! Spring is here, and with it comes the sun, and lots of natural light. Natural light is also proven to boost our mood and keep us calm. However, with the warm weather also comes the need for more A/C. Cutting down the use of A/C is simple and goes a long way. Open the window when temperatures are cooler, or use an electric fan! All in all, conserving energy is a great way to stay green during quarantine, primarily because it is so simple! Cut down use of harmful products: Harmful products could be anything that harms the environment, like plastic. Try your best to always use reusable items when possible-- like reusable water bottles and food containers. When at the grocery store, try to avoid items packaged in plastic, as they are not eco-friendly. While you’re at it, buy eco-friendly items whenever possible! This is an easy thing to do that will give support to sustainable brands, benefiting the environment immensely over time. Another harmful product is paper. Now that everything is online, including jobs and school, it is easier to cut down our paper use and save some trees! Try not to print anything out that you don’t have to. Even one paper makes a difference. In these ways and more, cutting down our use of harmful products can go a long way, so make sure to follow this rule! Stay connected with nature: In addition to utilizing the methods listed above, it’s important to maintain a connection with nature through these tough times. This will give you motivation to continue helping the Earth. It is also extremely beneficial for you. In times like these, our mental health is something we should all pay attention to, and an easy way to improve your mental state is to connect with nature. Take a walk, get a houseplant, spend time in the sun! As mentioned earlier, natural light boosts your mental health. Spending time outside has been proven to increase happiness and confidence, and is a natural high that is not hard to achieve at all. You don’t even need to be outside all of the time! You can just get a houseplant, as this alone can help you calm down and stay positive. ​With everything going on, it can be hard to concentrate on the environment. But with all the time we have on our hands, why not spend it helping the Earth? The best part about these methods is that they will benefit you, too! Helping the environment is helping yourself, so don’t forget to do all you can. Remember that even a little goes a long way.

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