LiFE means ‘Lifestyle For Environment’ and is a mass movement towards an environmentally conscious lifestyle. Transitioning from a throwaway culture to a circular economy is the need of the hour. COVID-19 has proved that despite humankind’s scientific and technological development advancements, we continue to be at the mercy of the natural world. Today, the threat posed by unmitigated climate change is more dangerous than ever. A throwaway society driven by wasteful consumerism is equally culpable for the deepening crisis. Change is urgent; change is inevitable. Each one of us, society, and cultures need to change from the individual to the societal level.
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (‘NASA’), atmospheric carbon dioxide has never been more than 300 ppm in the last 800,000 years. Today it is creeping up to 420 ppm. Ice Sheets across the Himalayas have shrunk ten times faster in the past four decades than in the last seven centuries. Global sea levels are predicted to rise between 2 to 6 feet by 2100. As per the estimates, the global economy could lose up to 18% of GDP by mid-century if no climate action is taken. We must act now to avert the impending climate crises. A few glaring facts are being highlighted for appreciation of sustainability needs in our day-to-day life:
- Approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide annually. Over 1 million bags are used every minute, and a plastic bag has an average working life of 15 minutes.
- An average global person wastes 2.5 litres of water daily in brushing, bathing, utensils, laundry, etc.
- Turning off lights, ACs, and heaters when not in use can save up to 282 kW of energy daily.
- Thirty minutes of idling at traffic signals waste nearly 1 litre of fuel.
Life is a public movement to mobilize individuals to become pro-planet people. Life movement is India’s contribution to the global climate crisis. Individual action is the core of climate responsibility. India’s per capita carbon footprint is 60% lower than the global average, primarily because the lifestyle in India is still rooted in sustainable traditional practices. Sustainability has always been a part of India’s traditions, culture, and values. India has demonstrated leadership in unique individual-led programs to address climate change, such as Swachh Bharat Mission, the GOBARdhan scheme, and the ‘Give It Up’ campaign. The ‘Catch The Rain’ campaign is launched to nudge states to create rainwater harvesting structures with the active participation of people.
Several daily practices worldwide are rooted in our respect for the natural environment. They can prove to be invaluable in our fight against climate change. Few examples:
Japan’s Furoshiki underlines reusing wrapping cloth; Sweden’s Lagom philosophy of ‘just right; Morocco’s Astour (building enclosure to protect) is saving fruit trees in the home garden; The Netherlands’ bikes (cycles) are fighting pollution on the road; and
The United States (‘US’) is reducing wasteful energy consumption through home energy reports.
For centuries, Indian civilizations have practiced and led sustainable lifestyles. Eco-Friendly habits are decoded in our culture. Most Indian households store and reuse bags, bottles, jars, and other items. Old clothes are often repurposed; for example, old sarees are sewn together as beautiful quilts. Rugs are made from old blankets, and doormats are made from jute sacks. Sun-drying of clothes and hand-washing dishes reduces the need for energy-intensive dryers and dishwashers, respectively. Across the country, street and public food joints continue to serve food in plant-based biodegradable utensils (sal tree leaves) and tea in clay pots (kulhad).
It would be a good idea to embrace LiFE and turn it into a Global Mass Movement (Jan Andolan). The tradition of a circular economy from today’s ‘take-make-use-dispose’ is the need of the hour. Our choices govern our lives. India’s rich traditional wisdom and climate-friendly practices make us best placed to assume leadership in driving a behaviour change on climate action. The focus area for behaviour change solutions aimed at individuals, households, and communities include water, transport, food, electricity, waste management, recycling, and reuse. By developing innovative, individual-centric nudge mechanisms that revolve around our existing social norms and leveraging technology, the climate change movement can receive a global impetus through LiFE.
Sources: Author’s Experience
Citation: This Insight may be cited as InfEneTy ‘LiFE- Lifestyle for Environment’ 24.07.2023
Tags: Environment, NASA, Climate, Technology, Biodegradable, LiFE, Electricity, Waste Management, MovementAbout InfEneTy
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