By Dimple Ranpara*
Recently, prior to the Summit on Climate Change in New York, the “People’s Climate March” was held on 20th September in New Delhi. It was a march to demonstrate the climate change concerns of the citizens to the political leaders. Students, young professionals, rights groups, farming communities and welfare associations came together and adorned the capital with this global movement. The ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ launched by Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, on October 2, 2014, is a huge initiative taken to tackle the issues of solid waste management. There will be a trickle down impact on the sectors of water and sanitation, sewage supply and related infrastructure supply chain. All of these concern the actions and impacts of preparing the country to be climate change resilient.
The consciousness is growing, but climate change cannot be left at the mercy of mere perception. Climate skeptics,who believe that climate change is a natural cycle, pose hindrance to the changes in adaption and mitigation that is required at the micro level. A group of people from Bangalore, who call themselves ‘The Ugly Indians’ work on the philosophy of ‘Kaamchalumoohbandh’ (Stop Talking, Start Doing).They work against the filth in the city and this movement has brought about a radical change in the way people view their public spaces. Such an effort is an excellent example that can motivate individuals to take responsibility, individually and collectively.
Having understood the stimuli to climate change at the government and corporate level, the question arises, how can YOU adapt to climate change and what’s YOUR plan? How can YOU contribute through YOUR actions that can bring about a paradigm shift in the way you consume and dispose resources? One has to go beyond the myopic vision and share civic responsibility towards Mother Nature. The journey is a long one and to start with baby steps, let’s talk about what can we do for real and be consistent in our efforts to make it a sustainable lifestyle of our own.
- Goodbye to Standby
Use the ‘on/off’ function of the appliance to save energy. Pull the changers off the sockets because even if your mobile phone, iPod or tabs are unplugged, the charger is still draining energy. Out of the total energy consumption by mobile devices in the charging mode, 20% is consumed by the standby mode.  Imagine the quantum of power wastage for a nation who’s expected mobile users are 1260 Million by 2020.
- Light up guilt-free
Replace the most frequently used bulbs of your house with CFLs or LEDs. CFLs facilitate up to 70%  energy savings over the conventional incandescent bulb and LEDs is even 50% lower consumption compared to CFLs. It can be a huge impact over 246.7 million households (Census 2011) in India.
- Covered cooking
Pressure cooking is economical and fastest way of cooking. For example, there are fuel savings of 20% on rice and 41.5% on meats as compared to ordinary cooking. Covering the pots while cooking reduces loss of heat by 2.5 times thereby lowering fuel consumption.
- Shop Intelligently
Buying in bulk would reduce millions of tons of packaging waste from entering the landfill. A bottle of 1.5 liters consumes less energy and produces lesser waste than three bottles of 0.5 liters.
- Act Global, Eat Local
Shopping at local farmer markets over supermarkets will save on high fossil fuels used in transporting the groceries to your plate. And fresh vegetables and fruits are way healthier than frozen processed foods (which consume lots of energy to store them). One can eliminate up to 400kgs of CO2emissions in a year by switching to locally produced food.
- Drive inflated
Properly inflated tires improve your fuel efficiency by more than 3%, lowering the carbon dioxide emissions.
- Wash when full
Run your washing machine and dish washers only when they full, for optimized water and energy consumption. Washing machines with Energy Star labels use 35%less water for laundry and 20% less energy consumption.
- Keep reusable bags handy
Buying milk or shopping for veggies, keeping a reusable bag would shun down the consumption of plastic.
- Not in my backyard
Keeping your own house clean and dumping the garbage outside your premises is too hypocrite. Adopt your lane and share the responsibility with the neighbors to keep your street clean. A clean neighborhood remains clean and demands respect compared a dirty one which only deteriorates. (See: The Ugly Indian, Bangalore)
- Eyes on Water
While brushing our teeth to cleansing your face, the water knob should be turned on only when you require it. 20 liters of water is wasted for every 5 minutes of running tap and 50 liters of water is lost by a dripping tap of one drop per second in a single day.
- Walk and Talk
Sharing a ride together or meeting friends in open spaces is an excellent way to contribute to lower carbon emissions and higher friendship bonds. Carpooling could save an individual about 122 kgs of CO2emissions in a year per km travelled.
- Go Digital
Switch to online payments, service complaints, invoicing and ordering. Saves time, energy and emissions.
- Cool with sense
Sun control films on windows can reduce air-conditioning cost by 5-10% and lining windows with plants reduces the costs by 40%.
- Explore Nature’s Beauty
Next time you plan your holiday, instead of going to a luxurious resort, try visiting some natural landscapes of your region or country to experience the beauty of Nature. It shall move you and strengthen your responsibility towards protecting it.
- Turn it off
Every driver should switch off his engine at a traffic signal over a halt of 14 seconds. While idling, CO2emissions increase about 5 times.
These simple, energy and cost efficient steps can be an easy part of our everyday lives. Collective effort is required but at the same time, individual effort in its own way shall be the driving force to this huge mission of reducing man-made impacts leading to climate change. Let’s be more responsible, involved, and aware to inspire communities around us by being an example of change. Be your own Agent of Change and let the nation follow.
*Deepa Ranpara is an intern with Project Survival Media.