Just like a third of the world’s population, our Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) staff at the Washington, D.C. office and in our six field offices around the world (Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Guyana, Jamaica, and Myanmar) are currently working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While it may be from the safety of our homes, today on April 22, we would like to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
We have compiled a list of different ways in which you can be environmentally friendly without leaving your house:
1. Reduce your consumption of plastics: When you are tired of cooking and decide to order delivery, ask the restaurant not to send you disposable straws, cutlery, or wrapping if possible. Other ideas are to buy in bulk, opt for reusable or recycled bottles and packaging, and re-use, recycle, and re-purpose containers instead of buying new ones. For example, Our F2F Field Staff Member Aung Myo Thant from Myanmar re-uses these plastic water containers as plant pots at home.
2. Reduce your consumption of energy: We don’t know about you, but we’re going to the kitchen for snacks about 20 times a day. Next time, think about what you are looking for before opening the fridge so you don’t waste energy leaving it open longer than necessary. Also, make sure you open your curtains or blinds during the day to take advantage of natural light, turn lights off when leaving a room, unplug idle electronics, and read books instead of watching television.
3. Reduce your consumption of water: Washing your hands has become even more important within the last few months. Even so, you can save water by making sure to turn the tap off while lathering your hands with soap and when shaving or brushing your teeth. You can also wash dishes by hand instead of using the dishwasher, only use the washing machine for full loads, and collect rainwater and use it to water plants or flush the toilet. In Yangon, Myanmar, where our Country Director Ai Thanda Kyaw lives, they have decided to use green nets to provide shade in the streets and in this way prevent the neighbors from spraying water to cool down the sidewalks when it’s too hot, as shown in the above photo. There are always plenty of innovative ways to help reduce your consumption of water!
4. Watch what you eat: As we said before, none of us can stop eating while being at home. However, the F2F team is trying our best to eat vegetarian or vegan meals at least one day a week, as well as making sure to pick local food and ingredients over imported ones. This simple action can help to reduce greenhouse emissions. Similarly, you can also learn food preservation techniques such as canning, pickling, drying, and freezing, and you can even start a garden and grow your own food. As seen in the photo above, Country Director Kelvin Craig from Guyana is currently growing callaloo or Malabar spinach in his terrace for personal consumption.
5. Compost: You can convert your food leftovers, yard and kitchen waste, and old newspaper to fertilize soil. By reducing your trash, you will not only help to reduce landfill areas and the use of chemical fertilizers, but you can also save a lot of money. Some food waste, such as used tea bags or coffee grounds don’t even have to be composted. You can simply pour them directly on your garden or plants as fertilizer. In the photo above, Gabriela Rosa, one of our field officers from the Dominican Republic, shows us her compostable bin at home.
Finally, if you are reading this on April 22 and want to be a part of something big, join the world’s largest civic event online at www.earthday.org/earth-day-live/.
There are many ways to protect our planet while taking care of our health from the comfort of our home! Do you have any other ideas? Share them with us on social media here.