Spain still has a long way to go to meet its commitments in the fight against climate change. Reaching this goal has to do with the authorities establishing measures, but it’s also more than that.
Each and every one of us can become an agent of change so, day by day, we can make this a more environment friendly place.
Even though the target might seem big, we can do a lot from the smallest of things such as turning the faucet off as soon it’s no longer needed, or walking to places instead of using the car. Would you like to add your grain of salt?
Learn how to do it with 7 sustainable habits you can put into practice from today, all you need is awareness, constancy and a desire to make this a fairer and more sustainable world.
- Water, a limited resource – Turn the faucet off!
Did you know that over 660 million people (the population of Spain multiplied by 14) live without proper access to water? With this reality in mind it’s possible from here on you’ll find it more difficult to leave the faucet on while you wash your dishes or shower. To give you an idea of the change possible by turning the faucet off in time, we’ll explain through the following example:
Every time you clean your teeth, up to 12 liters a minute go down the drain. So, for such a daily task, if you decided to fill a glass with water and used just that amount to clean your teeth, in one month you’d have reduced both your consumption and that of a whole family cleaning their teeth in decades. So now imagine you expanded your habit so that you turned the faucet off in the shower while you soaped up or washed the dishes, flushed the toilet only when necessary, etc. Just by doing that you’d save tens of liters a day of this very limited resource.
- Sustainable energy consumption
A bath or a shower consume between 50 and 300 liters of water which also translates into enormous energy consumption. In fact, the energy consumed to heat the water equals having 45 TVs on.
20% of Spanish energy consumption is generated directly by homes, that’s why what you do at home, doesn’t only stay at home. Spending less time in the shower is one step which could impact energy consumption reduction. But there’s more: opening and closing the fridge unnecessarily is an extra expense; like leaving domestic appliances on standby or refusing to use low consumption light bulbs. Just by tackling all these things in our daily lives we can make energy consumption sustainable.
3. Buy food to feed yourself, not trash it
Over 7 million tons of food end up annually in the trash in Spain. With millions of people without access to food, this waste is anything but respectful and speaks ill of awareness about resources used so the products reach our tables, not to mention the contamination generated by the food chain. Prevent this last step of the chain becoming trash, is something we can all do.
We only need shopping and consumption awareness. Plan your menus and make use of product parts which are thrown away that can be used to prepare meals, like skins and stems, are good practices we can adopt as of today.
Over 4 out of 10 tons of food trashed come from homes, therefore making use of fresh produce, bread or cereals would be a little big step against waste.
4. Zero-kilometer food. Local vegetable garden?
So, if apart from controlling the food you waste, you want to contribute towards the advance of food sovereignty, you’ve got loads of options from your immediate surroundings and even your home.
Take part in an urban vegetable garden in your district or, why not, create vertical vegetable gardens in your home; it will help you eat with a clear conscience that the foods haven’t been treated with chemicals besides putting your grain of salt towards the green transformation of agriculture and zero-kilometer food. With this determination, you’ll be reducing the carbon footprint, as you won’t be resorting to foods which have generated enormous pollution to reach your table, with their transport for example. You don’t know how to start? Well, here you’ll find loads of ideas on how to create a domestic vertical vegetable garden.
Urban vegetable garden. Photo: Lalobiozar
5. Do I need more clothes?
In the same way, you can decide to supply yourself with your food on a day to day basis; responsible consumption can be extended to other areas so you can continue contributing to a sustainable lifestyle. It’s sale time, and you’re going to hit the road to buy new clothes while the old ones are still hanging in your closet? If that’s the case, think about what you really need because that can make a difference, for example, 10,000 liters of water are needed to make a pair of jeans.
Still want to update your closet? Well, you can always go for sustainable fashion garments.
6. Cellphones, batteries and other contaminating objects
If you’re already a responsible consumer this will be easier, since every time a new cellphone model is launched you won’t dash to buy it if the one in your pocket works. If you can’t resist renewing it, just make sure you don’t leave your old cellphone lying in a drawer.
Know somebody who might need it? If so, give it to them; otherwise get rid of it in the right place, because its components include metals and other contaminating elements requiring treatment. You can follow this route with other products stockpiling at home, such as exhausted batteries, which are also highly contaminating.
7. More cycling and less driving
There’s still one more habit you can include in your routine which not only has an impact on the environment but also your health. Do you drive everywhere? Then think twice about it and choose a city bike or go walking to help fight sedentarism and reduce contamination, which is worrying in large cities.
This silent change in the transport you choose to commute to work or do the shopping will remove you from the list of those adding to pollution while adding your name to the list of those contributing to improvement in air quality. At risk: the health of those breathing it and the planet itself.