5 ways to live sustainably during the pandemic
As our island faces the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to adhere to the guidance of local leaders and the Centers for Disease Control. Staying home, washing hands, and maintaining strict social distancing are all critical to protect ourselves and others. With limited food, supplies, and income for many families and individuals, it is especially important to practice sustainability. Here are five ways you can practice sustainability while staying safe and maintaining social distancing.
Open your windows to let in the island breeze and sunlight. If you need to run your
AC, raise the temperature to the highest comfortable level. Supplement your AC with
fans, which utilize little energy to cool our warm bodies quickly. And since you're
home, use this time to clean your AC filters to make your units run more efficiently.
Be mindful of your energy usage and lower your electricity bills (Guam Power Authority
residential customers can track their usage at myenergyguam.com).
Minimize trips to the grocery store and increase your food security by growing fruits
and vegetables at home. If you don't have a yard, you can use old buckets, milk cartons,
and food containers to grow small plants, such as eggplants, tomatoes, and herbs.
Get started by planting the ends of lettuce, green onions, and pineapples you've already
consumed. Add nutrients to your home garden by composting your fruit and vegetable
scraps. Visit the UOG CNAS Website for guidance on home.
Our local economy is heavily impacted by the mandatory closure of many businesses.
When the time comes for one person in our household to go out to replenish food and
supplies, do your best to support local farmers and businesses. Farmers are facing
difficulty growing and selling crops. Our friends at Guåhan Sustainable Culture have
one way you can help today. Let's flatten the COVID-19 curve, not our local economy.
Disposable personal protective equipment (PPE) are convenient and extremely necessary
in many cases, but they also contribute a great deal of waste to our land and sea.
Wearing reusable PPEs is a great alternative to disposables as long as they are washed
thoroughly with soap and water after each use. Instructions to make your own cloth mask can be found on the CDC website. For additional sanitizing, air-dry your cloth masks
out in the sun.
Viruses can be transmitted via single-use plastic bags just as much as through reusable
bags. Just like everything else right now, reusable items, such as grocery bags, containers,
cups, and utensils should be handled more carefully to prevent the spread of germs
and viruses. Always sanitize your reusable bags before and after shopping to protect
store clerks, yourself, and others. Visit the CDC website for tips on cleaning and sanitizing different types of materials and surfaces.
This article was written by Phillip John R. Cruz, sustainability coordinator with UOG's Center for Island Sustainability.