Its easier said than done. Isn’t it ?
If only, there was any hope to see this beautiful landscape, that you see here as a featured image, in it purest form, even after few decades from now – As green and clean, there wasn’t any need for me to write this post.
What do you think, exactly is going wrong ?
My two cents on it –
We usually say, that we have inherited this world, our life and our existence from our ancestors. While its great to believe in it, but sadly enough, this belief system also confers us a leeway of sorts, to not care as much, and like a spoiled, careless, irresponsible adult, we do tend to take everything for granted. In fact, whether we like it or not, the truth is, that we have borrowed this world from our children of future, for just our lifetime, and we are, by all means, very much responsible. to pass them on, a healthy and a green planet – bereft of any menace – created as a resultant of mindless human activities – anything that’s done by You and Me.
Do you think the perspective changes here ?
Do you think you feel much more accountable now ?
I borrowed this philosophy, which is more of a reality, from a Native American Proverb. I thought it would be great, to put it here, as a thought starter. It certainly, made me think, when i had read it the first time, a couple of weeks back.
Now that the finger is pointing on us, and we no longer are in a space, where we can afford to assume that its someone else’s problem, any more, do you feel there is a need for us to be more aware and mindful of our existence, our consumption and our activities ?
Acceptance is the first step, in the right direction towards making a CHANGE.
I know, there is no denial here. How can there be ? Its a fact staring at our faces, may be from a distance, but the day isn’t far, that it may not even wait for us to die far long ago, for it to create a massive havoc – human existence on this planet itself would become questionable.
I often brood over it – what could be a way out of this. The world population is ranging at 7.6 Bn+, and there are just about handful of people in every pocket, who are really aware, grossly concerned and are genuinely doing something meaningful to pull the world around them, out of this crisis, in their own space.
Now, the question arises – Why just handful, and not everyone, when its not just their problem alone? Well, I credit this primarily to lack of awareness, mindless living and self centredness. I was one amongst them till about few months back. But, i am glad i am much aware now, and everything that i know really bothers me to an extent, that i feel compelled to write this post.
What about you ? Where do you belong ? Are you aware, but not concerned as much ? Or are you aware and concerned, but you aren’t sure of what could be the ways, in which, you could make a difference ? Or are you someone who has already taken the baton in his/her hands and doing something significant ?
What can be done, to address this huge elephant in the room ?
Well, the first thing that one would say, is the most logical thing to say, while difficult to do is- live by example for the people around you, rather than bothering about the 7.6bn+. We all need to just focus on our own little surroundings and see, how can we make a difference there. We need to take the smaller, insignificant and invisible steps first, so that they add up to become a BIGGER, SIGNIFICANT & A VISIBLE CHANGE someday. And then would begin – A REVOLUTION.
But come to think of it, obviously in this way, for the change to show up, it may take many more years, and may not fructify into an action, surmounting to an impact, that is the need of the hour now.
So what is it, that we can do about it ? Honestly i am mulling over it, and i do not have an answer – In fact a bucket full of questions – Do we need only a stick approach to get our act together ? Is it always necessary for an institution or a regulatory body to impose certain things on us ? Are we all not educated enough to understand the seriousness of this issue?
Videos, articles and images of plastic accumulating at ocean choking up the lives of the aquatic animals, causing danger to the sea life has really gone viral on social media and otherwise, over the past few months. It has indeed become a talking point.
National Geographic Magazine used a Plastic Iceberg stock image on their cover page in their June’18 edition to talk about this. It said – “18 billion pounds of plastic ends up in the ocean each year. And thats only the beginning of the iceberg.” It also pointed out what Sylvia Earle( Explorer-in-residence at National Geographic) had to say – “Plastics aren’t inherently bad. It’s what we do or don’t do with them, counts.”
We have also witnessed few state governments in India putting a ban on single-use plastic now. And many countries worldwide already have either banned them completely or charge heavy taxes.
Having said that, we still know for sure, that there are households who have been storing heaps of plastic bags for years, and cant really part ways from it – I could count myself as one of these people a few years back who used to collect plastic bags to store a variety of household items. I never really cared for anything then. I do care now, but feel helpless at times and do things against my wish – Like i just can’t say ” No” or ask ” Why” when i go and buy packaged food wrapped in plastic Eg. vegetables & fruits – I haven’t found an alternative to this yet in my vicinity.
It’s not just plastic that’s posing a threat, but everything that we our consuming as a whole and doing in general is a concern. If we could just be aware of everything that we consume, right from the start of the day till we hit the bed at night, we will have an idea of how and what kind of impact are we creating on our environment.
It’s not been too long, that I became aware of these issues and decided to change whatever I could.
How have I, made the smaller, insignificant changes in my life in the last 50 days?
Just to give you an idea, this is what, has been my little journey towards making a sustainable living, that I have started to live, since the last 50 days. While the list could be much longer, however this one is particularly limited to just the changes, what i/we have been able to bring in daily lives.
Before you dive straight in, let me tell you the reason why do i share this list here- just to make you realize that if you belong to the second category – one who is concerned , but doesn’t know where to make a start – This is for you. If i can, you too can. They are simple hacks in our everyday lives. It is just about making the RIGHT CHOICE to drive the CHANGE within ourselves.
1) Vegan Food – I turned a vegan 50 days back, after much turmoil in my own head. While Indian Vegetarian food( which I cook everyday) is absolutely Vegan( without any dairy products) in it, there are too many Vegan snacks, recipes and restaurants ( during my travels) available as well, which made me transition quite smoothly. In fact, once i knew, why i wanted to turn vegan, I never really craved for anything, that i grew up indulging myself on, during my late night binges or parties & get together.
2) Vegan Cosmetics – I am slowly transitioning to Vegan cosmetic products ( only after I have exhausted everything that I already have, and have carried around me since last few months, so that I can avoid generating unnecessary waste by just throwing them away). I have already started using vegan lipstick, shower gel, after sun body lotion, face wash, mascara, shampoo, conditioner, body wash and toothpaste.
3) Going plastic free
a) I have switched over to Bamboo toothbrush and plastic-free organic cotton sanitary napkins.
b) I do not buy or accept packaged drinking water and carry my own water bottles everywhere.
c) I carry a cloth shopping bag at all times so that I can avoid buying paper or plastic bags at the payment counters.
d) I carry my own takeaway storage boxes to carry leftover food back home from a restaurant.
e) I reuse all that is plastic in our room as much as possible, before I am forced to throw them away.
f) Wherever plastic becomes inevitable because of lack of options – For eg. Cosmetics, I try to buy bigger bottles or containers, to reduce the plastic packaging.
4) Riding green
This has brought about the most positive change in my life. I have walked more than ever since I have come to Konstanz. I walk to the nearby grocery stores almost everyday to buy fresh vegetables, fruits, as we don’t have much space for storage here in the room, that we stay in. But it works in my favor. Back in India, I used to buy everything online. But honestly, this process of doing it myself from the start till the end is quite satisfying. And it also saves me from using any transportation which in turn reduces my carbon footprint and packaging wastes, if any of it were delivered home. I am also quite aware of the monies I have spent in running my house here, which I never cared much about ever before.
I must mention this here – My husband rides a cycle to his work daily. Proud 🙂 !
5) Saving electric energy
We use the natural source of light during the day, and trying our best to match our sleep cycle with nature – we do not stay awake at dark hours, thereby, reducing our consumption of the electric energy.
6) Saving Paper
a) Writing – I avoid writing on paper and use only my phone or laptop for writing, since I have started to write, a couple of months back. I take down all my notes or scribble only on a Speech note app, or use Microsoft office 365 for auto-saving it on cloud.
b) Reading – I also read books only in their e-format on my phone or MacBook or iPad – yeah we have 3 devices already. It’s said one has to read on an average at least 45 books on a single device in its entire life time to reduce some significant number of trees from cutting to print their physical copies.
7) Responsible Shopping
I have started to read the labels and ingredients carefully on the products i buy. I try to limit my purchases to products from brands – who are into sustainable forestry – e.g. FSC or Sustainable fashion/ Organic/ Sustainable clothing – e.g. H & M.
8) Travelling Responsibly
a) Ecofriendly accommodations – We choose to stay with the hotels, which do follow sustainable and ecological methods to run their places.
b) Reuse towel and bed sheets – just like we would have used it at our own house. Sometimes we do without the room cleaning services altogether, by trying to keep it clean by ourselves.
c) Food – We carry home cooked food during our travels – We minimise eating out as much as possible by carrying food from home.
d) Plastic – We carry our own water bottles, storage containers and shopping bags. We do not use any plastic straws.
9) Reducing Waste
a) Food – We don’t waste any food come what may. It doesn’t take much effort to do so.
b) Plastic – The only waste we generate is plastic which comes from packaged foods which is single-use ones. We are trying to cut that by buying unpacked food as much as possible or buying in bulk.
c) Tissue papers – We have reduced the amount of tissue paper that we use – specially for my baby. We bank on natural tap water for all cleaning activities
10) Spending water wisely
Using a Jacuzzi or a taking a shower always leads to some immeasurable wastage of water – and it never feels enough. Who doesn’t love to unwind after a long day’s work under a hot shower. So we limit our indulgences to few minutes that’s genuinely required – that holds true for my baby too.
11) DIY beauty hacks
Back in India, during my pre pregnancy years, most of my productive hours at the weekends were spent in expensive beauty indulgences. Slowly due to lack of time, I had migrated to home services like – Urban clap and Housejoy. And now, I do it all by myself. I look great I believe. And it feels great too. And in the bargain, I have saved a good amount of money.
12) Living a Minimalist life
Because everything we buy and use, has a carbon footprint on the environment, we are going the minimalist way of living. We buy something only when it is necessary and try to gauge the need by delaying the process by few hours or days or months. More often than not, we are able to survive without them. Our life is simple, clutter free, guilt-free, and we are saving money by not indulging ourselves into mindless impulse buying.
13) Following relevant groups and people on social media who are into sustainable living to get more ideas and tips on what more can be done.
So this is the way I am trying to bring in more practical ways of, fighting this situation in my own life, slowly and steadily, which I will keep sharing with you all as well.
Right now, I just want to leave you, with this thought –
This is a problem that we all are aware of, but probably not too serious to find any solution to. This is a conversation, that has just started, but its sad, we do not have the luxury of time. We need to act like RIGHT NOW!.
Alternatives to reduce plastic and adopt a sustainable lifestyle are very much available, however not known to many, or accessible always.
What do you think, we can do about it ?
How can we give to this CAUSE, of saving our planet ?
How can we accelerate this CHANGE, which no longer can be put off to tomorrow ?
I would love to hear from you all on this. Do share your bit – any ideas, suggestions or any thing that you are already doing personally that is really making a difference. This post is open for discussion.
If we are able to collate some significant amount of information, i intend to take that to a wider audience.
Can we collaborate and work on this together ? It’s a collective problem which certainly needs a collective thinking and action.
DM me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to work along with me on this project, and go through this experience yourself, while also documenting it well, to be shared with the world around you.
Look forward to hearing from you.
Take care. Adios, till we see each other again.
Happy living clean and green !