Simple Ways to Protect the Planet

By Kamal Raj Sigdel and Upendra Lamichhane

December 12, 2023


As world leaders engage in negotiations for a critical deal at the major UN Climate Summit COP28 in Dubai, there's a prevalent readiness for a blame game. Regardless of the negotiation's outcome, the significance of small actions should never be underestimated. Do we genuinely want to do something meaningful to protect the planet, whether we are participating in the summit or not? We all still have a chance to be a superhero and make a difference without breaking a sweat. Here are seven easy things we can do.

Consume less
It’s cool to be minimalistic – a vibe which the Vedic principles emphasized some 5,000 years ago. The solution lies in individual transformation, which is possible when we can “control the desire for consumption itself from within”. So, consume less. Trim down buying unnecessary stuff. Your closet and the planet will thank you. That will certainly help Nepal (or the country where you are currently living) meet its “net-zero emission” targets.

Watch your energy consumption
Save power without becoming an energy ninja. We can do it simply. Switch off lights and gadgets when you're not using them, switch to LED bulbs, reduce AC use, and where possible, power your house with solar energy.

Go greener 
No need to be a biking pro, but we can consider using a bicycle to commute  to work or hop on public transport. Carpooling is also a win-win, and if you have a deep pocket, check out those electric motorbikes or cars to go slick and green.

Work hard, shop smart
Support the planet while doing your shopping. Say no to fast fashion. Simply because we can afford it, do we really need that new piece of fast fashion that will soon end up in a landfill. Now, the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions. Look for eco-friendly labels, recycle those shopping bags, and use green products. Your wallet will thank you.

Nurture Nature 
Why waste money on a gym membership, instead if we have garden space, we take to active gardening, dig in to grow plants and flowers. Not only will it be a great cardio exercise but this will also benefit the environment and biodiversity of our neighborhood. Trees are the planet's air purifiers.

Go as close as possible to zero-waste  
We can segregate our household waste, recycle, and reuse. Studies have indicated that around 60% of waste generated in an average size household in Nepal is biodegradable. Get a compost bin from the market to deposit daily kitchen waste to produce refined compost for garden or learn vermicomposting, an organic way to use earthworms to turn waste into compost fertilizer. Donate or sell the plastics and metal to recyclers.

Spread the word
If we really care, we can be the environmental star among our friends and colleagues. Drop some knowledge on why saving the planet is important, and maybe even start a green movement. Small suggestions and ideas can lead to big changes! As the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. If one can do these simple things, we can certainly see the changes. And the planet and future generations will thank us.

(Sigdel  works with the United Nations Development Programme in Nepal and Lamichhane is a journalist with Nagarik Daily. A version of this article appeared in the Republica Daily on 11 December 2023)