(This article is written by Garima Upreti)
Air is polluted so is the water,
Resources are depleting so are the fuels.
We have polluted our world to such an extent that even a new life in this world comes with an environmental debt of his/her parents. Climate crisis is no more a debatable topic, every person in this world is being affected and we have to admit it. Enough of talking and talking, enough of protesting and shouting! It is high time that we should take initiative on our own, start from our own home, our community and it all begins with ourselves first. Instead of getting involved in the vicious circle of polity and administration let’s present an example in front of people, let us be an example for people to do something instead of demanding something.
I started it when I realized the risk, risk getting near and near day by day.
Sustainable Lifestyle is the current solution and the very first and mandatory step which everyone should take immediately. It includes everything, each activity of our day to day life, the way we brush, we take bath, we dress, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, transport system we use, from things we buy to the things we do in our whole day and night everything should be sustainable. Zero waste week challenge, plastic-free week challenge, Kiss the coconut, No stitch September, etc., are such wonderful movements initiated by the people to practice a lifestyle that would cause the least harm to the environment.
This not only makes us a responsible consumer but also reduces our ecological footprint. It also makes us more conscious regarding the things we use; we become more alert on how to use a thing so that it can lasts long. In today’s a world where things are a click next to you, it will be little challenging to go and find a shop and then buy in bulk to avoid plastic but it’s the only option we have and it is the need of the hour. Because if you think of ordering a bamboo comb and brush online, getting it to deliver from far miles (fuel consumption and pollutant release), removing the plastic cover(packaging) and then clicking a selfie-and putting it with #ecofriendly #saveearth caption then sorry buddy, you have already released more carbon than you have sequested by avoiding plastic comb or brush.
Sustainable lifestyle empowers you to do new experiments, get out of your comfort zone and work with a more holistic approach. It allows one to explore terms like food miles, water footprint, virtual water, etc. It also makes your life much simpler and easy, whether it’s about choosing clothes to wear every day or letting go of unnecessary new things. Our consumption pattern improves and we find that this world is more beautiful if lived simply. We as in Indian have this principle of APARIGRAHA, which means that we should take only as much we require; so sustainability is in our genes, it is just we are not used to it. We will have to remove this materialistic glass and see the world through our naked eye. When I started living this idea of “Sustainable Lifestyle” and I came to know about the term water footprint, I was shocked! I was shocked to know that my one jean takes around thousands of liter of water! Just one pair of jeans! My 1kg of rice takes around three thousand liters of water! I can see myself surrounded with so much water while sitting in a room with things that are non recyclable or non reusable. From that moment onwards I had decided no more extra water footprint. I reused my old jeans made a bag out of it and now I use it for my college purpose, I searched for a shop got my new bamboo brush and comb(old ones were broken so instead of getting new plastic one), made my body scrub, I made my paper body pen, have selected only two pair of clothes per month for college and two pair for elsewhere, steel bottle and a steel tiffin is always there in my bag so in case if I want to eat something outside I can ask the shopkeeper to give me directly into my steel Dabba. I have also reused my plastic bottles because the main idea behind this all is to reduce waste production especially single used plastic.
During my studies I had read somewhere, “We are the first generation that can eradicate poverty and we are the last generation which can fight climate change”. I believe this, because if you understand the food miles, and water footprint of food items I am sure you will rethink before dumping anything anywhere. And yes we are the last generation to fight climate change, if we can understand the sustainable lifestyle and start practicing it, I am sure we will combat climate change. If we fail, I have doubts, but who will be there to tell the story of our failure? Hence I believe “The choices we make today will affect our common future tomorrow”. Therefore along with Reduce, Recycle and Refuse we should also add Rethink!
Alternatives to plastic things
Paper body Pen
UN Global School Advocate
University of Lucknow