LIST: Shift to ‘Zero Waste’ lifestyle and 4 other ways you can give back to Mother Earth

April 22, 2020 - 2:07 PM
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Image by Annca via Pixabay

An environment non-profit organization listed down ways in which Filipinos can give back to Mother Earth amid the COVID-19 and climate crisis.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a group that works for a zero waste and toxics-free society, said there are many practical ways that the public can help Mother Earth heal from waste, pollution and destruction while the world battles the novel coronavirus disease.

“Like the acts of kindness and solidarity that we’ve been seeing throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, the small and big changes that we make in the way we treat, care for and defend our environment have the potential of spreading on a large scale starting with our families and communities,” Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition’s national coordinator said.

The five earth-friendly ways Filipinos from all walks of life can follow as they stay at home during the enhanced community quarantine are:

  • Practice of Zero Waste lifestyle

“Know and cut back on what you throw away starting with single-use plastics that are designed and made to be disposed of after quick use.”

  • Reduction of volume and toxicity

“Use your spending power to prevent and reduce the volume and toxicity of what you buy and discard during the COVID-19 enhanced community quarantine such as by picking non-toxic products with less packaging.”

  • Waste segregation

“Segregate discards at source, and make composting of food waste and other organics a habit; plunge into home composting and gardening during the lockdown.”

  • Proper disposal of infectious waste

“Properly dispose of used face masks, gloves, tissues, wipes and other potentially infectious waste with care to ensure the safety of waste workers and to prevent the spillage of such waste into the beaches and the oceans, which can harm aquatic life.”

  • Be the voice of environmental and health laws and regulations

“Advocate for the enforcement of environmental and health laws and regulations from ‘no littering’ to ‘no COVID-19 waste disposal in incinerators and crematories,’ making sure your voice is heard, for example, through social media.”

The group added that home-based composting and gardening “is a simple yet a most meaningful way of giving back to Mother Earth.”

“From my experience at home composting biodegradable waste using simple methods and finding ways of growing veggies and herbs even in small places makes me feel that this is one of the ways I can do my share. Each minute I care for the earth in mini ways I dedicate for the healing of everyone and our dear Mother Earth,” Eileen Sison, EcoWaste Coalition president said.

“Embracing these earth-friendly ways will help reduce your carbon footprint while protecting public health and the environment against preventable sources of chemical and waste pollution and disease,” the group also said.

Celebrating Earth Day

The group released these five practical ways a day before the 50th year of Earth Day observed annually every April 22 to show support for environmental protection.

As the world celebrates Earth Day, the group also reiterated the global call for climate action and the sustainable and socially-just solutions to the pandemic.

“The coronavirus pandemic does not shut us down.  Instead, it reminds us of what’s at stake in our fight for the planet,” worldwide environmental movement Earth Day Network said.

“If we don’t demand change to transform our planet and meet our climate crisis, our current state will become the new normal — a world where pandemics and extreme weather events span the globe, leaving already marginalized and vulnerable communities even more at risk,” the global network added.

Environmental plea to present and future leaders

In the Philippines, at least 330 scientists and conservationists on Tuesday signed an open letter calling on the present and future leaders to make nature a priority following the COVID-19 crisis.

The open letter published at carefornatureph.org, appeals to our future and present leaders to reflect on our responsibility to nature and humanity.

“Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, the conversion of natural ecosystems such as forests, mangrove forests, wetlands, seagrass beds, and coral reefs have resulted in many calamities,” the environment advocates said.

“This COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to grinding halt. It knows no borders, economic status or political and religious beliefs, and has exacerbated the suffering of the most vulnerable members of our society. It has and will forever change the way we think, work, and live as a species,” they added.

The signatories also stressed that survival of humans depends on nature.

“To prevent future pandemics and other threats to our survival, we urge present and future leaders of Philippine society to join us in addressing three emergencies underpinning the current crisis: biodiversity loss, climate change and ecological amnesia.”

The group suggested for leaders to consider a “leadership that nurtures nature,”  businesses that are following responsible waste disposal, ethical trade and sustainable use, building a culture of care for nature through the help of education leaders and the media.

“Our Earth is our collective home. She provides for our needs and keeps us safe and healthy. But for the Earth to continue taking care of us, we need to take care of her first,” the signatories concluded.