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Mamma Felice> Articles> Ecology and Sustainability: Respect Nature starting from your home
When it comes to sustainability, each of us plays a fundamental role: we are all called to contribute and do our part. Everyone, with their own abilities and skills, starts from where they are and does what they can – even from the sofa! Yes, that’s right: there are different levels of involvement and actions, and for some of them it is enough to be seated in an armchair.
In fact, one of the United Nations awareness campaigns makes it clear in the “Guide for the lazy to save the world”: it starts with basic actions and then raises the level of involvement and change.
This guide – which is a playful stimulus – is part of a much larger and more ambitious project: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a action plan signed in 2015 by 193 United Nations countries, including Italy, to guarantee a better present and future for our planet and the people who inhabit it.
We set out to achieve 17 sustainable development goals in 15 years, divided into 169 sub-goals and 240 indicators, which represent a compass for governments, administrations, companies and individuals to chart a more sustainable path.
It is the first time that a clear judgment has been expressed on the unsustainability of the current development model, not only on the environmental level, but also on the economic and social one.
How can we contribute in our small way?
We tell you about it through the video of the LIVE held on FB with Greta Golia, Founder of Contiamoci – Good practices that count, and through the words she wrote for us in this post.
Contribute with their abilities and skills, no one excluded
Here is the LIVE that Greta and I held on FB to talk about the first steps for a sustainable life:
Finally, the idea that sustainability is only an environmental issue is overcome and an integrated vision of development made up of (economic) efficiency, (social) equity and (environmental) compatibility is affirmed.
A single person will be able to act in their own small way by reducing consumption, changing the way they shop, eliminating throwaways, using the car only for journeys over 5 km.
A company will be able to do more: for example, invest in efficient cooling and heating systems, use energy from renewable sources, train its employees on new sustainable behaviors to adopt in the workplace.
A public administration and a government will act on policies by promoting incentives and working on long-term projects, such as infrastructure and education.
Companies that are born circular
We finally started thinking in terms of finite resources in a finite world and therefore in terms of reduction and reuse. We finally begin to understand all the limits of disposable and the importance of having durable, reusable, washable tools and objects.
Companies that have chosen a circular economy model extend the life of products and offer services where to rent things instead of using them only 20 minutes a year and leave them to rest in a closet the rest of the year. In a circular economy, the waste of one company becomes the raw material of another.
For this it is also called regenerative economy model: a system of production and consumption based on sharing, loan, reuse, repair, reconditioning and recycling of existing materials and products for as long as possible (Source: Europarlamento).
In the Ellen MacArthur Foundation definition, products are designed to be long-lasting, easily reusable, disassembled, remanufactured and only ultimately recycled.
Let’s take some examples:
About 5/6 years ago a mobile phone was born in the Netherlands designed to be taken apart and repaired. Each single piece can be purchased online and replaced independently; it’s called Fairphone and is already on the fourth model. By extending the life of an electronic device, programmed obsolescence and pollution caused by the fast replacement of ever new models can be fought. Furthermore, the raw materials do not come from conflict zones. Cost of the first model: 399 euros.
Or the Italian start-up VIC which allows you to rent or buy clothes selected from sustainable brands and artisans. After renting your garment you can also choose to buy it.
In Italy we have many companies that are born according to the principles of the circular economy. In the circular market app you can find the mapping of many Italian realities and companies.
Respect nature starting from your home
In a finite world with finite resources, care must be taken of the natural environment and biodiversity. Never before in this historical moment is it essential to preserve animal species, oceans and natural resources.
For this reason it is important use cleaning products that are truly sustainable and not just cloaked in vague definitions such as eco-friendly, 100% natural (even oil is natural!): the word “green” means everything and nothing.
These generic claims not supported by certifications only increase the phenomenon of greenwashing, that phenomenon whereby a company, through marketing actions and questionable claims, designs a green look that is deceptively positive.
If you find green leaves on detergents written as “safe for the environment” or “non-polluting”, that is greenwashing. Or companies that claim to plant trees but in the meantime continue to have a highly polluting production line.
Certifications arrive to the consumer’s aid
Fortunately, the certifications arrive to the rescue of the consumer attentive to their purchases, who are looking for a truly ecological product.
Both in major supermarkets and in small organic shops you can find certified ecological products, you just need to know what to look for and where to look.
Many major brands have decided to undertake this certification process and to improve their environmental, social and production standards.
An easily traceable brand in large-scale distribution is the Ecolabel: a European Union brand that rewards the ecological quality of the best products and services from an environmental point of view. It guarantees a reduced environmental impact throughout the product life cycle.
EU Ecolabel is a voluntary ecological label based on a system of selective criteria, defined on a scientific basis, and is subject to certification by an independent body. The Ecolabel criteria also concern important aspects relating to the health and safety of consumers, and social and ethical aspects of production processes.
Among the eco-labeled products, in addition to detergents and products for cleaning and for the body, we also find paper products, items for the home and garden (e.g. mattresses, taps), clothing, electronic equipment and household appliances, campsites and accommodation facilities.
At the link on the website of the Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research you will find the list of all certified products and companies.
Another certification this time Italian is ICEA
ICEA bans substances at risk from an ecological point of view, non-vegetable raw materials considered harmful to human health and the environment, allergenic or irritating. THE
The term “Eco Bio Detergency” also indicates that the products are obtained with vegetable raw materials from organic crops. It starts from organic and from the idea of a sustainable and solidarity economy model, and goes beyond organic, heading towards an economy and lifestyles that require a responsible conversion of methods, systems and practices.
Icea certifications as well as ecolabel certifications embrace various food and non-food sectors.
A small and simple home-made self-production
I’m not a fan of self-productions: I don’t like to buy many ingredients that have a short shelf life and must be kept under certain conditions to prevent them from going bad. But there is one ingredient that is an exception: citric acid.
If you like to experiment with a small and simple home-made self-production, I advise you to use citric acid to replace 9 products that we usually find at home.
An excellent limescale remover for taps, sinks, tiles. Also useful as a softener and rinse aid for dishwashers.
PDF TO DOWNLOAD: Citric acid: 9 recipes to print immediately
At this link there is a downloadable pdf to hang on the fridge or to keep at hand to self-produce 9 detergents with a single dilution of water and citric acid and replace unnecessary plastic bottles and highly polluting detergents.
Unfortunately, many use vinegar – the famous grandmother’s remedy -: unfortunately it is a myth that must be debunked because vinegar pollutes more than citric acid.
Official biodegradability and toxicity studies for aquatic organisms show that acetic acid pollutes 53 times more than citric acid. In addition to being more polluting, vinegar is also corrosive therefore better citric acid.
And I’m not saying that but the chemist Fabrizio Zago, expert in the field of ecological detergents and Ecolabel consultant.
Let’s recap: all the things you can do from the sofa and more:
- change your electricity supplier and choose energy from renewable sources (choose from those who declare that the energy mix is 100% renewable. In your bill you find in a scheme called the energy mix that your current supplier is using. If you don’t find it …