The terms Sustainable and Sustainability are used to describe many different approaches toward improving our way of life. Sustainability is a way to develop the environment without harming it, creating a system that keeps its self-feasible for future needs. Thus, sustainability means taking the long-term view of how our actions affect future generations and making sure we do not deplete resources or cause pollution at rates faster than the earth is able to renew them. Hence, if sustainability is enforced and took in action it will create a world where everyone can have fulfilling lives and enjoy a rich level of well-being within the limits of what nature can provide. Nowadays, there are many lifestyle trends that are rapidly damaging the environment and which are not sustainable. The main three lifestyle trends I am focusing on are; Children’s toys, entertainment focusing on cinema and pubs/clubs and office work environment.
These lifestyle trends have a lot of unsustainable factors that can be changed and improved till year 2020. It is important that from a young age children will be taught the values of sustainability because they will inherit the world that we create today. Therefore, the stuff given to them should not damage the environment. Today there is the possibility to make sure that children’s playthings are green and healthy. Finding sustainable and less toxic toys for children is important since it can do well both for children and the environment. When buying toys it is important to look for PVC-free toys (polyvinyl chloride). PVC releases toxins into the environment all the way through its lifecycle from manufacturing to disposal. Many PVC toys also contain, chemical compounds that make the PVC plastic more flexible, which can lead to both cancer and hormonal disruption. Therefore, when choosing PVC-Free toys one will not only be sustainable but will prevent children from hazardous toxins.
A better and safer alternative is to choose toys made from wood since, they are more sustainable and most importantly will last generations longer than the cheap plastic stuff. Batteries have become second nature in most toys today. Not only this is harmful for the environment due to massive battery consumption but also easily children can chew batteries which are toxic. Hence, one can easily replace these battery-powered toys by simpler toys which still are of an entertainment and fun. Furthermore, these would be cheaper and sustainable. However, for the older children that have more sense and always look for original and new toys which have the latest electronics, one should opt to look into rechargeable batteries to eliminate waste. Sometimes the most rewarding toy might not be a toy at all it might be the act of planting a tree, play catch or hide and seek. Getting children outside provides them with abundant opportunities to run around, have fun, get exercise, and learn about the urban and natural environments around them. Outdoors needs to get revived again and children should be given the opportunity to play and enjoy more outdoors activities.
Another way of being sustainable is by buying Second-hand toys because it does not mean that when a toy has been used once it would not be just as much fun the second time around. Thus, this will decrease the waist of toys which sometimes are hardly used or damaged, also these would be cheaper and one will be more sustainable. Additionally, for children sometimes is not what’s in the box but it is the box! Sometimes it is the stuff that one already has that can prove the most fun to imaginative children. Therefore before throwing the box from that new toy away, think of it as a potential arts and crafts project instead. These factors are really important and not such difficult to practice and understand. These simple adjustments are both beneficial for children and the environment itself. Moreover, the children will be grown up in well sustainable grounding and mentality. Entertainment consists of any activity which provides a diversion or permits people to amuse themselves in their leisure time. Entertainment may also provide fun, enjoyment and laughter.
However, it is still important to be aware of a more sustainable entertainment environment. Thus, the challenge is to create good entertainment that sustains an audience and it is sustainable. Looking at the cinema industry there are so many things that go to waste that can be easily used more than once. Starting from when one arrives at the cinema each person that pays gets a ticket, why not making it a stamp on our hand to prove that we have paid therefore, this will eliminate the use of all those paper usage every day. Furthermore, when buying snacks a lot of packaging material is used, normally it would consist of paper and plastic which are all thrown away after usage since, most of them are not good to be recycled due to certain chemicals that are present. What a waste! So let’s entre a new cinema trend instead of a paper bucket or cups let’s replace them with plastic bowl and
cups, which remains in the cinema to be reused.
Why Plastic? Plastic is more safe, to prevent broken glass on the floor and since people themselves has to walk with them it will prevent certain accidents. This will be more sustainable due to less of waste and even less expenses since one will diminish the cost of buying so much packaging every year. Looking and the pubs/clubs sector one has no idea how unsustainable they are. From my own experience I work in this industry and therefore know a lot of what goes on. From the bar itself the amount of plastic thrown away every night is crazy. Why this? For safety purposes drinks are given in plastic cups to prevent having a lot of injuries during fights. However, these cups are not reused or recycled thus a plastic cup is only used for a couple of minutes and then thrown away. Therefore, replacing them with solid plastic cups which can be washed during the night and reused again is a better option which is more sustainable, more environmentally friendly and cheaper on the long run.
Moreover, a lot of empty plastic bottles of soft drinks and glass bottles of alcohol and beers are thrown away in the same bin without recycling them, which is a pity because one only needs two separate bins to do so. Additionally a lot of paper made tickets are given when paying beforehand for parties. Yes, giving a ticket is the best way to prevent hassle and chaos when entering the club however, the size of the ticket sometimes is too much! Since, sometimes one can actually make three tickets from the size of the normal ticket that is normally given nowadays. If minimizing the size of the tickets one will decrease the amount of paper usage every night. Moreover, a lot of fliers are used to market other parties, fair enough marketing is important however, printing thousands of fliers and not even using half of them is a waist.
Today, one can market their party through facebook, internet and even automatic mobile messages, this will decrease the amount of fliers printed which is more sustainable. What about noise pollution? The sound at the clubs is set at a very high volume that one cannot even talk to someone else because it will be impossible to understand one another. Noise pollution has an effect on our health, the extra sound can damage physiological and psychological health. Noise pollution can cause annoyance and aggression, hypertension, high stress levels, hearing loss, sleep disturbances, and other harmful effects. Then there are certain factors that can be adopted in both sectors, both in the cinema industry and the club/pubs environment.
For example focusing on the bathrooms, automatic sensors can be fixed to switch on the light when entering and then switch off when no one is present. Even automatic water turn off devices can be installed to prevent water loss. Additionally, electric hand dryers with automatic turn-off system are good to prevent the use of disposable paper towels. Furthermore, it is good to use water pressure system to save water and energy by adding a water saving device for water taps in wash hands basins to decrease the consumption of water usage. These all are changes which can make a better sustainable environment.
Increasing awareness on the work place about sustainable principles can encourage workers to implement sustainability principles into their own personal practices and beyond. There are also sustainable factors that can be adopted till 2020 in an office work environment. Such as using electronic mail to send memos, or route memos to staff members rather than making a paper copy for each person. One can use reused envelops for internal mail. Moreover, is better to do direct deposit instead of making a paycheque every time. Furthermore, it is essential to have a photo copier that makes double sided copies to minimize the amount of paper used every day. Also, cleaning shell be done within office hours rather than at other times which this would require lighting and air conditioning to remain on.
It is also vital to encourage employees to bring their own washable mugs to work rather to use disposable cups. Also having a thermos for beverages is a good practice to decrease the use of energy daily. Additionally, it is better to use reusable containers rather than cover launches in plastic or disposable paper bags. It is also good to use a reusable cloth then disposable tissue every time one needs to wipe his/her hands. This will result to a better sustainable environment and less expenses since, an object is used consequently rather used once and then thrown away.
These mentioned above are all practices that can be adopted in the future which can make the world more sustainable. If from now people will change their mentality and get more informed how to become more sustainable in 2020 people will be able to live a healthier life, a life where less money is spent, a life which helps build stronger relationship between them and their neighbours, and a life which helps protect, conserve or improve the natural environment.
Children are the future, so teaching them sustainability is essential to the well-being of the planet. As a Home Economics and Textile studies teacher it is important to teach students that everything on this earth is related and demonstrated by their behaviours and actions that affect the environment. By teaching students the importance of sustainability, they will be empowered and be more convinced that even they are capable of making a difference. Moreover, in order to make students aware of the importance of sustainability, as a teacher I have to make them aware of the consequences of their actions and decisions taken know and the affect it would have in the future on the environment.
Furthermore, it is important to teach students how their daily decisions can affect their ecological footprint so that they make more conscious decisions to boost the sustainability of their lifestyle. Home Economics gives the opportunity to the teacher to entre deeply in the topic (sustainability) therefore it gives us the opportunity to teach and show students the importance of sustainability and build more awareness and knowledge on the meaning and the term sustainability. Furthermore, as a teacher I can show students that being sustainable is not something that require a lot of work but only require some thought.
Additionally, show students that we can be sustainable in everything that we do in our life, example trough textile studies I can encourage students to use recycled fabric and teach them how to sew simple things example; repair a zip, make patches to holes, these will prevent from throwing clothes away when little adjustments is required. Therefore it is essential that awareness and education will increase to enhance sustainability. Moreover, encouraging and stimulating good practice in the use and management of natural resources, in particular their minimal use and maximum reuse by recycling in an environmentally sustainable manner is a vital issue. Hence, Education is an essential tool for achieving sustainability.
Courtney from Study Moose
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