Every year, 5 June is observed as World Environment Day (WED) and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) organises several events and initiatives to encourage awareness and involvement of people for the protection of the environment. The theme of this year’s WED is Ecosystem Restoration and Pakistan is the official global host. 

Ecosystem Restoration refers to the protection of our planet’s biodiversity and preventing the degradation of our natural resources. As we are rapidly depleting Earth’s natural, renewable resources and doing irreversible damage to the environment, this calls for immediate action to kickstart ecosystem recovery for ourselves and future generations. 

This day calls for each one of us to take action, rethink our environmental impact and make smart changes to our lifestyle if we want to continue calling Earth our home. Because there is no Planet B. There are plenty of meaningful ways to start contributing to #GenerationRestoration and we have some ideas for you to participate in this WED from home. You can also take part in various virtual events hosted by UNEP.  

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Watch a documentary

Watching a documentary is one of the best ways to learn about our environment and making sustainable choices to ensure a safe and healthy future for generations to come. Here are some of the documentaries that you can line-up for viewing — Pacificum: Return to the Ocean (Netflix), Cowspiracy (Netflix), The 11th Hour (YouTube) among many others.  

Take a virtual garden or museum tour 

With many of us staying indoors, WED is a great day to start having an environment-related conversation with your kids and teach them about the preservation of natural resources. You can do fun garden activities with them or take them on the virtual garden, zoo or museum visits available online.   

Shift to reusable water bottles and straws

Plastic straws have been a big menace to the oceans. Get on board to ditch them this WED and invest in cleaner and recyclable options such as paper, bamboo or metal straws and BPA-free, glass, stainless steel or copper bottles.    

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Start a new sustainable diet 

Our meals can leave a huge carbon footprint if they are not sourced in environment-friendly ways. To contribute to combating this issue, you can start a new diet at home or make amends in your catering policy by switching to seasonal, sustainable and local plant-based products. Vegan, vegetarian and eco-friendly Keto diets are examples of some carbon-cutting options that involve giving up animal-based foods entirely.    

Ditch the single-use plastic containers at home

Around 40 percent of the plastic used in the world is single-use. It will be environment-friendly to phase out the containers made of single-use plastic at your home and swap them for cleaner and sustainable alternatives such as reusable glass containers, stainless steel lunch boxes and mason jars.     

Clean your indoor air 

Air pollution comes from a variety of sources such as dust, odours, improper ventilation and impacts the indoor air as well. Take this opportunity on WED to clean up your AC vents and fridge coils, replace filters on HVAC vents and declutter household cleaning supplies that contain artificial substances. Cleaning your electronic household items like the AC and fridge also ensures that they use less energy to regulate temperature. 

Cook an environment-friendly meal

Cook a meal at home using environment-friendly and seasonal food items bought from the local farmer’s market. As you select each item, read the labels thoroughly to determine transportation impacts on the environment and get your kids involved in the process as well. Try to make it a zero-waste meal as well.

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Invest in energy-efficient appliances 

Whenever possible, invest in energy-saving and star-rated appliances. You can start small by switching to LED light bulbs that consume less energy and significantly reduce your bill in the long run.  

Start your own compost

Composting is a great way to improve your backyard garden and reduce the amount of garbage from your house that goes to landfill. Start your first compost pile by taking almost any leftover from your kitchen such as eggshells, vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, flowers, tea bags and old newspapers. Turn your mixture every week and after a few weeks, your compost will turn into soil that acts as a natural fertiliser for plants. Here’s a video to help you start organic composting at home.

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