I wanted to participate in the Green Photo Blog last week but unfortunately missed out because of the timeline. So I am here just about time this week around.
This particular topic is close to my heart and I try to adapt greener ways of life where all possible. Not really sure how innovative they are but I list here my wishful attempts to bring in the green consciousness into our daily lives. I try and follow lot of them and yet there are many more which I hope I will be able to adapt in the days to come.
1. Grow your own food – will be the ‘mantra’ in near future. With massive urbanization, fertile lands given away for SEZs, neglected agriculture sector, false propaganda by the chemicals & fertilizers and genetically modified food industries, rising inflation etc. there’s already a huge bearing on our food production. We pay through our noses to eat unhealthy, unsafe, not-so-nutritious food that will eventually cause more harm to our health, body and environment. It’s time we started thinking about growing at least a part of our food in a clean, healthy, pesticide free organic way in our little kitchen gardens, rooftops, empty plots, terrace, balconies and such places. Most of our daily vegetables can be easily grown with little efforts. Here is an account of my little attempt at the same. And here is another example where you can harvest your own rice on your terrace!
2. Save Energy – Switch to Renewables. From solar, wind mills, micro hydel, bio mass power generation there are many options available today for anyone to choose alternate sources of electricity. Even in the regular households, we can save energy by switching over from incandescent bulbs to CFLs, from CFLs to LEDs, from generator sets to solar inverters, by opting to buy appliances that have BEE star ratings and so on. As they say, every unit saved is every unit produced.
3. Green Living – can be achieved through little changes in lifestyle. For example: switching from regular washing/ scouring powders to detergent free eco solutions, harvesting rain water for toilet flushes, gardening, car wash and non-potable uses, using eco-friendly and biodegradable products instead of plastic and so on. Sometimes people complain about increased costs in switching over to greener solutions. But if you think from a longer perspective, it’s an investment you are making for your own good in terms of sustainability and health benefits.
4. Going Green – as in walking or cycling to work or elsewhere when all possible, opting public transport over own vehicles, cutting down on air travels (after all what use are the tele-conferencing, Skype and webinar technologies if they don’t help minimizing your carbon foot prints?), choosing Indian and Eco-tourism destinations for family holidays over far-off foreign vacation (that way you not only are getting to know your country better but helping local economies to thrive)
5. Encourage local produces and enterprises – by doing little things like buying local seasonal vegetables and fruits (thus conserving our native varieties) instead of imported cold storaged ones from overseas, buying groceries from your neighborhood kirana shop than at fancy malls, buying handmade products made by women’s groups, artisans and so on over factory made items… Remember, it makes a difference in earning honorable livelihoods for these people.
6. Greening our cosmetics and personal products – which thankfully many of us are already switching over to. There are many labels claiming to be organic, herbal, natural, etc available in the market today. There are also ones that are cruelty free by not animal testing the products. Revival of our ancient knowledge in terms of ayurveda and herbal remedies help us in easy but effective home-made beauty therapies and solutions.
7. Green Toys, Gifts & Stationary – We can make learning fun for our kids. Here is the link to some simple yet amazing toys that you can make yourself from the junk lying around your house. Let us recycle our toys, clothes and other items by donating them to the more needy. There are several Recycling groups available on the net where you can source for things you need or donate things you need to give away. We can be innovative in our celebration of festivals by choosing organic dyes and colours, opting clay idols over the painted ones, shunning fire crackers, going for biodegradable products and so on. A small potted plant is the best gift to give away on any occasion.
8. Waste Management – Let’s be more responsible by segregating our waste into recyclable and non-recyclable. We need to be very careful disposing the electronics, batteries and such. The best way to deal with our kitchen and organic waste is by composting them. That way you end up with good manure for your kitchen garden.
9. Do as your parents and grandparents did – they always switched off that extra light, carried their own jute/ cotton bags to markets, used cow dung manure for farming, used and shared natural resources diligently, lived in harmony with community and nature. Use and Throw was never, never the way of life. So let’s go back to good old times for a better future’s sake!
Last but the most important,
10. Talk Green to your children – educate them not just through books & lessons but by living the green way and setting an example. Volunteer to talk about some of these topics at your kid’s school during PTMs and other occasions. Take your kids out not just to malls and cinemas but also to Orphanages, Old age homes, Farm yards, Dairy farming, Heritage buildings, Old Parks. Go on small picnics to quaint little places outskirts of your cities… like villages, check dams, riversides, lakes, orchards, farms, windmills etc. Let your kids know the Tebubias, Caesalpinias, Jacarandas, Asokas, Pipal, Gul Mohars, Pongamias.. of the neighborhood. Indulge in fun activities like identifying them with kids and knowing their common names, collecting fallen leaves, seeds, flowers, pressing them between sheets, learning about the flowering and fruiting patterns.. And so on.
I am sure we can do plenty more as long as we put our heart into it.
Author: Rama Jois
This article was written by Rama Jois who is based in Bangalore. She blogs about her experiments with terrace gardening on http://rjois.wordpress.com. This article was one of the shortlisted entries on Green-O-Con(test), hosted by Ek Titli on GingerChai.com, sponsored by Rustic Art. You can reach Rama at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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