By Shaona Kundu
Our planet needs us now more than ever. You will have come across several reports of forest fires around the globe, famous lakes drying up, and polar bears struggling to stay afloat on melting ice. The primary reason behind these drastic changes is the increasing global temperatures and greenhouse gas emissions, which have been steadily rising since the past decade. Since pre-industrialization times, temperatures have risen by 1.2 degrees throughout the world. Sustainability is the only solution for a better future. With a little imagination, a shot of innovation, and a shake of eco-friendly materials, your home could be a sustainable paradise.
What is sustainability?
It is the need of the hour to conserve resources for the sustenance of the future generation. Sustainability is the practice to cut down the consumption of non-biodegradable resources and reuse, reduce, and recycle products to ensure the survival of our future generation.
Busting myths: Sustainable living is super expensive.
No. It is a popular myth that sustainable living is expensive and cannot be afforded by the lower class, or middle-class folks. Choose home decor that is made of reused materials and would last a long time with minimal maintenance.
- Play it safe with classic designs
The biggest reason that causes tons of furniture wastage is the ever-changing home decor trends. However, there are some classic wall colors like beige, browns, and yellows that never lose their charm. Wooden furniture certainly has a timeless appeal no matter the quality and shade of wood. Choose minimally designed multi-purpose furniture to lessen your clutter.
- Donate and thrift your furniture
The main purpose of sustainability is to cut back on wastage and reuse. Our safe sanctuary deserves innovation from time to time, but make sure that it is not coming at the cost of our planet. Instead of throwing away your furniture, try selling it online, or donating it to the less fortunate. Also, thrift your furniture. It is the best way to source vintage and rare pieces.
- Support your local small businesses
If you do not have reliable thrift stores near you, or you must absolutely buy new furniture, choose local artists and sellers to manufacture your furniture. Many artists offer customizing options for your furniture. Small business owners are usually the most conscious about their products and packaging. Or even if they are not, you could approach them about their packaging, or process, and make changes that would benefit the planet. You would not only save the planet but provide support to the artist and small business community.
- Choose organic mattresses, pillows, blankets, bedsheets and towels
Most ordinary cotton farms produce cotton with harmful pesticides. Organic cotton farming requires much less water at the time of production and does not use any artificial fertilizers or harmful pesticides. Since no harmful products are used in the making of organic cotton bed sheets, they have a uniform thread count and feel soft to touch. Organic cotton bed sheets also last much longer than ordinary cotton bedding. Also, organic bed sheets and organic bath towels keep all your skin woes away since no formaldehyde or metallic chemicals come in contact with them. They are a breathable sustainable alternative to synthetic or ‘wrinkle-resistant’ bed sheets. Most importantly, organic bedding is eco-friendly, as it consumes less water and lasts longer than the average cotton bedding.
- Become a plant mom
This is kind of a no-brainer. Green plants give out oxygen and make a closed space more breathable. Plants and trees are being cut throughout the world. The dried-up lakes, excessive rainfall and landslides in certain parts, and blank patches across forests are serious man-made disasters. We must take up the initiative to plant more trees to ensure a breathable climate and resources for our future generations.
- Invest in non-toxic wall paint
There are many industrial paint formulas that give out harmful fumes. These fumes, when inhaled for a long period, could cause medical problems, especially for children, the sick, and the old. These paints are manufactured with Volatile Organic Compounds, that emit these harmful fumes, and are also bad for the environment.
- Reuse or renovate old furniture
The best way to save natural resources is to reuse old furniture, or unleash your creativity on it. You could renovate your old furniture by giving it a fresh coat of paint. If you want more quirks, you could ask a designer to rebuild your old furniture into a new piece. Many eco-friendly designers combine wood from old furniture to make a fresh piece.
- Lookout for eco-friendly brands
Keep a lookout for brands that use eco-friendly packaging and source raw materials ethically. If you dig a bit, you would know how they treat their workers. Try to support eco-friendly brands and those who treat their workers responsibly. Another factor to look for when choosing a brand is the source of their raw materials. You would have a clear idea of their product quality if they are transparent about their sourcing procedures.
Why should you care about sustainability?
Have you wondered why you need an air purifier, or a mandatory face mask ( in pre-pandemic times) as you step out in the city? The air quality in most urban cities is almost toxic. If it is this bad for our generation, do you fathom the damage that is yet to come to our ozone layer and air quality? Climate change is real. And, it is already causing havoc in the ecosystem. Sustainable and eco-friendly practices are the only way to save ourselves and the future.
You could make a big impact by just making small changes around your lifestyle. Switching to metal straws and cutting down plastic usage and consumption of products in plastic packaging are some of the most elementary changes you could make to make a difference. The biggest corporations that cater to public demands would embrace sustainable packaging if more and more people want that. You could influence your family, relatives, and neighbors to switch to sustainable living and encourage them to spread awareness as well. Spread awareness on climate change, lack of resources, effects of pollution, plastic usage, and global warming among your peers, family, colleagues, and community to further the cause of sustainability and eco-friendly living.
Founder of Amouve Organic Bedding and Bath
Ami Sata founded Amouve, one of India’s finest organic bedding stores with the motto, “If you’re going to spend a ⅓ of your life in bed, it helps to know what goes into it.” Almost all manufacturers consume large gallons of water and destroy unnecessary natural resources to produce ordinary cotton bed sheets. Amouve pledged to make a difference with its sustainable, organic cotton bedding range. They source 100% authentic NON-GMO, organic cotton from farmers, provide them a safe environment to work in, free from artificial chemicals, and choose GOTs and Fair Trade Mills to manufacture their bed and bath linen.
About the Author:
Shaona Kundu is currently pursuing a Bachelors’s in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University, India. When she’s not procrastinating on writing assignments, she goes on long walks and tastes coffee and desserts from different parts of the city.