While the United Nations formulated the Sustainable Development Goals as part of The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we're all responsible for achieving the 17 SDGs and 169 targets.
Governments around the world have developed programs and created agendas. But, to achieve the SDGs, we will need to look for ways to embed sustainable development at home. We’ve even provided some easy tips for children and adults in our book, Ally & Bibi: Back to the Jungle. It also explains the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals and why urgent action is needed.
So what can you do to help? The good news is there are a lot of little sustainable practices at home you can implement that can lead to big results for the planet in the long term. Here are just some of the things you can start doing today.
How to Implement Sustainable Development at Home
To implement sustainable practices at home, you might want to start by choosing activities that take little effort but deliver high rewards for the planet. Here are some good examples.
How to Conserve Energy
- When it comes time to replace old appliances, choose energy-efficient models. Look for products designed to consume less electricity while maintaining optimal performance.
- If you need to change your lightbulbs, use LED or CFL bulbs. They use significantly less energy than traditional models. Using natural lighting during the day by opening curtains or blinds can also reduce the need for artificial lighting.
- Did you know that many electronics consume energy even when turned off or in standby mode? Unplug all your devices when not in use or utilise power strips that can easily switch off multiple devices.
- Use natural ventilation techniques to cool your home in the summer. Open windows strategically around the house to allow cross ventilation and take advantage of cool breezes.
- Regularly clean and service your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Be sure to clean filters as well-maintained equipment operates more efficiently, saving energy and reducing utility bills.
Tips for Waste Management and Recycling
- Reduce the use of single-use items like plastic bags, disposable cutlery, and paper towels. Instead, opt for reusable alternatives such as cloth bags, stainless steel cutlery, and cloth napkins.
- Start a composting system for organic waste like fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and lawn trimmings. It produces nutrient-rich compost for gardens and can even be practised in apartments and smaller dwellings.
- Instead of throwing away items you no longer need, consider donating them to local charities or selling them online. This extends the lifespan of products and reduces waste.
- Get creative and find new uses for items that might otherwise be discarded. For example, repurpose glass jars as storage containers.
- Opt for electronic versions of bills, statements, and receipts to reduce paper waste. Utilise digital platforms for communication and file storage to minimise the need for physical documents.
- Choose products with minimal packaging or items made from recyclable or biodegradable materials when shopping.
How to Save Water
- Regularly check faucets, toilets, and pipes for leaks and repair them as soon as possible. No matter how small they are, these faults can waste significant water over time.
- Replace old and inefficient fixtures with water-efficient alternatives. Install low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, and dual-flush toilets to reduce water usage without compromising functionality.
- Consider using a shower timer or playing music to keep track of time and encourage water-saving habits.
- Set up barrels or containers to collect rainwater from gutters. This can be used for watering plants or cleaning, reducing the need for tap water.
- Water your plants early in the morning or late in the evening to minimise evaporation.
- Choose native or drought-tolerant plants for your garden as they are adapted to local conditions and require less water than non-native species.
- Instead of using a hose to clean outdoor areas like driveways, use a broom to sweep away dirt and debris.
- When using dishwashers and washing machines, ensure that you run full loads. This maximises water efficiency and reduces the number of cycles needed.
Sustainable Food Practices
- Purchase locally grown or produced food whenever possible, as it reduces transportation emissions and supports local farmers and businesses.
- Opt for organic food that is grown without synthetic pesticides or fertilisers. Organic farming practices promote soil health, biodiversity and reduce water pollution.
- Plan meals and create a shopping list to avoid overbuying and minimise food waste.
- Store food properly to extend its freshness, and utilise leftovers creatively in new meals.
- Grow your own herbs, vegetables, or fruits at home, either in a backyard garden or using containers if you’re in an apartment.
- Incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet and reduce meat consumption. Producing meat requires significant amounts of water, land, and resources.
How to Practice Responsible Consumption
- Instead of immediately throwing out broken or damaged items, consider repairing them.
- Borrow tools, books, or household items from friends, neighbours, or local libraries to reduce unnecessary purchases.
- Consider buying secondhand items whenever possible. Thrift stores, online marketplaces, and community swap events are great places to find quality used items at a fraction of the cost of new ones.
- Research and support brands that prioritise ethical and sustainable practices. Look for certifications or labels that indicate fair trade, organic, cruelty-free, or environmentally friendly products.
- Looking into green banking and pension funds. Many of these providers offer greater returns than traditional institutions.
- Avoid using your car as much as possible. Opt for public transport, ride share or other forms of transportation.
- Purchase bulk staple food items, household supplies, and personal care products to reduce packaging waste and save money. Use refillable containers or reusable bags when stocking up on essentials.
How to Stay Educated and Updated on the SDGs
Creating a sustainable future is a shared responsibility that involves individuals, communities, organisations and governments working together. By implementing sustainable practices at home, such as using energy efficiently, managing waste appropriately, conserving water, making sustainable food choices, and consuming responsibly, we can all contribute to a better world.
Every small action counts, whether it's repairing instead of replacing, buying secondhand, or using our cars less often. Practising sustainable development at home can go a long way in helping the world achieve the SDGs.
Learning about the Sustainable Development Goals is also beneficial. If you’re not into lengthy policy documents, check out our children’s book, Ally & Bibi: Back to the Jungle. The story not only makes it easy to understand the importance of the SDGs, it includes actions for adults and children that can help contribute to a greener world.