05 May, 2018 | Time to read: 8 minutes

About the Author

Surmai lives to explore. Born in Mumbai, she has lived all over India with her family. From a very young age, her father, an officer (retired) with the Indian Navy, instilled in her a sense of adventure and wonder which has manifested itself in her travels to places like the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve in Uttarakhand, Kolahoi Glacier in Kashmir and her recent expedition to the 7th continent, Antarctica.

She is a CSR Executive with Mahindra Susten, the clean tech arm of the Mahindra Group. Her areas of expertise include climate change, glacier hydrology, climate policy, sustainability and corporate social responsibility.

No. Climate change is not a myth. It’s not something the scientists made up to scare us. It’s not a hypothesis or a story which can be debated at length. It’s real. The evidence is all around us.

Every year, we face the growing wrath of abrupt weather patterns and extreme weather events. Climate change is one of the biggest challenges the world is facing today.

Looking at this complicated, scary and often confusing BIG problem, it’s easy to feel disheartened and weak. I can’t count the number of times I have heard people say things like - “what can I do? How can I make a difference? I am just one person. I can’t do much.”

How can we, as individuals, make any tangible impact in the fight against this gigantic, global problem?

Well, I believe that the first step is to debunk this myth that individual action is too small to make a dent in the fight against climate change. We, the millennials, are about to inherit this planet. It’s our time now and we need to believe in our innovative capabilities to tackle this problem.

Sustainability is no longer just a virtue. It’s a lifestyle choice."

Here are just a few everyday things we could do



Shower to your favourite Bollywood tune! One song is usually 3-4 minutes long. This will help you time your shower and limit water usage. Additionally, you could install low flow showerhead to save even more water. Use can use energy wisely in your kitchen too. On average, kettles boil 50% more water than needed. Microwaves are used longer than needed to heat or cook food. Refrigerators are also switched on throughout the day at lower temperatures than required.


As you leave for office

Some appliances are energy vampires! Make sure to unplug all the sockets when you leave your home. Chargers continually draw power from a wall socket, even when your device isn’t attached, and while this amount could be as little as .25 Watts of energy, imagine the amount of energy consumed compounded over 4-5 devices for a year!



Use carpool or public transport to office. Carpooling eases traffic congestion and reduces greenhouse emissions. On average, sharing a ride with one other person to work and back will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3.72 kilograms. (Source: Transport Canada).


While at work

At office instead of using plastic/ paper cups and bottles, buy a metal thermos water bottle. This would reduce the use of at least 100 plastic water bottles a year! Avoid using plastic straws also. But, the best thing we can do is to hold our organizations to a higher standard when it comes to sustainability.


Evening at home

Minimise air-conditioning and keep the temperature around 25 degree Celsius. Keeping the AC on lower temperatures uses excessive power even if the AC is 5 star rated. You will save money while saving the planet.



Ensure you wash your clothes in cold water and only use the washing machine when you have a full load. You could also switch to eating vegetarian food 2-3 days a week. Cutting back on meat can shrink the footprint of your diet by one-third, so if you can’t turn vegetarian completely, start working on a 2-3 days a week veggie diet.

Robert Swan, the first man to walk to both the north and south poles once said – “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” If each one of us starts small and gradually adopts a more sustainable way of life, then collectively, our individual efforts will make a BIG difference. So, take a step forward, be courageous and awaken the sustainability hero in you.

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