I’m a Xennial or milleXial, that weird generation torn between Gen X and millennial—too young to be Generation X, too old to be millennial. But when it comes to reducing my carbon footprint, I gear more towards the latter’s ways. Growing up, I knew the standard answers to please my science teachers, like go solar or plant trees—but in reality, how many of us have actually grown full-blown trees in our garden or installed solar panels on our roofs? This year I’ve become a better planeteer with easy, millennial-friendly steps. Hold my avocado while I explain.
1. Houseplants are my friends.
If you Google, “Why are millennials obsessed with houseplants?” you will get numerous articles that study the psychology of this phenomenon. Whether it’s a subconscious cure for loneliness, an expression of environmentalism, or a sustainable source of herbs, houseplants are filling up millennial apartments and condos.
I personally have a growing collection of succulents. I noticed they’re now the “in” thing to give as souvenirs in weddings, parties, and events. They’re easier to maintain than outdoor tropical plants. Try it.
2. No need to keep buying new gadgets.
Sorry, Steve Jobs and co., but whenever Apple launches a new gadget, I see it as a modern version of The Emperor’s New Clothes. New gadget = slight upgrade from the last version = exorbitant price tag.
My rule of thumb is: For as long as the gadget gives the multiple functions you need in life, there’s no need to keep changing it every 3-6 months. I used an iPhone 4 from 2010 to 2015, white Macbook from 2008-2014, and a Canon PowerShot SD 1000 from 2007 to 2014—and I thrived in the local multimedia industry! We have a growing e-waste problem, so choose gadgets that you can use for a long time.
3. Dispose your gadget waste properly.
Speaking of e-waste issues, where do you discard your gadgets after upgrading to a new one? Let the experts help you dispose properly. Big tech brands such as Apple and Samsung have joined the green bandwagon by asking consumers to return empty product containers, old gadgets, batteries, and broken accessories to their store or recycling partners. If you go to Ayala Malls, there are bins where you can dump used batteries and old cellphones. If your gadget still works, make a little money by selling it on OLX.
4. Let the sunshine and natural air in.
It’s ironic how many households keep their blinds and windows closed, and then turn up the air-conditioner full-blast while keeping all the lights on during the daytime. To save money on electric bills and conserve energy, I rearranged my room to maximize the entry of natural sunlight. Whenever the weather is cool enough, I give air-conditioning a break and enjoy the natural breeze. It’s also good for room ventilation.
5. Make eco bricks.
According to the EcoWaste Coalition, the Philippines is the third highest plastic waste generator in the world. One solution to our plastic problem is the ecobrick, a plastic bottle fully stuffed with dry plastic waste, such as candy wrappers, shampoo sachets, and plastic utensils. The bottles are used as bricks or building blocks to make modular furniture and low-cost buildings like schools, garden spaces, and sheds. Read more about it here.
6. Extend the lifespan of your possessions.
We live in an era of single-use and disposable items. In the end, it’s Mother Nature who suffers. Cue Captain Planet theme song. Kidding aside, I’m glad that minimalists and green warriors are influencing people to hoard fewer items and extend the lifespan of the ones they already have. Learn more below:
I’m not asking you to go vegan immediately or turn pescetarian like myself. But if you lessen your meat intake, it will reduce your carbon footprint, save resources like fresh water and fossil fuel, and reduce your risk of ailments like cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Don’t know where to start? I suggest you watch Okja (and bawl your eyes out), followed by Meatless Monday.
8. Walk instead of drive.
For the last three years, every *bleeping* day at 7-10 a.m. and 5-8 p.m., my Facebook feed turns into a complaints desk of Manila friends stuck in traffic. Instead of joining the bandwagon of Carmageddon whiners, I did an experiment. I would park in one spot in Manila, and then walk to my succeeding destinations, even if it’s blocks away. The result: I lost weight from all the regular walking, avoided traffic, and increased my fuel efficiency. Next step: Invest in a scooter or foldable bike.
How do you reduce your carbon footprint?
For more tips on reducing your carbon footprint, check out OLX’s infographics here.