The fuss about going Green


Pic courtesy: http://www.metrolic.com/going-green-121170/

The fuss about ‘going green’

Honestly, I don’t understand what all this ‘go green’ fuss is about. There has been an explosion of TV shows, green marathons, walks, talks – you name it! But, how does it matter to me – if the earth runs out of oxygen or water after 1000 years? I won’t even be alive then!

It simply makes no difference to my life. Or does it?

Thar desert - pic courtesy: Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Thar_Desert.JPG

A long time ago, when I was still a pig-tailed-school-kid, we learnt about the soaring temperatures (40+ degrees centigrade) in the Thar desert in Rajasthan, and were utterly shocked. How anyone could survive in such hot conditions baffled us! Two decades down the line, today, almost every other city in India crosses this temperature with ease. That too, even before summer strikes the nation! Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat apparently topped 48 degrees in 2010. Hundreds died due to the heat wave. A hill station like Shimla touched 32 degrees C. Monsoons get delayed, people die of hunger and thirst. We could be one of them. It does make a difference.

Winters are getting colder and harsher. Where once snow was a Christmas-time pretty scene, it is now dreaded in many parts of the world. Incessant snow, coupled with rain that makes roads slippery and dangerous, are a bane.

We do not need to wait for 1000 years for the earth to perish. While that might not even happen, chances are that you and I could be stranded in that crazy, unprecedented snow today!

We don’t often realise, that we do not lead isolated lives. A toy manufactured in China from materials that simply cannot be recycled end up in the home of a child in India. Cucumbers imported from Spain may be the source of an E. coli outbreak that Germany claims, killed four people and affected 200 more. Relentless gas emissions from certain countries results in a global-level weather change, in simple terms global-warming!

You see, in this truly global village that we live in, our lives are interconnected!!

The more careless a person is about his/her local environment, the more disastrous it becomes for the earth as a whole.

The thing is, we often don’t realise what all this fuss is about.

Going green. What does it even mean?

Well, to put it very simply, ‘going green’ means doing little things, taking baby steps, to preserve and help the environment from perishing. A yahoo answer says: ‘To “go green” means to live a lifestyle that is more harmonious with one another and the earth. Energy efficiency, keeping things maintained, using cleaners that will not remain in the earth and poison wildlife, reducing trash, reusing and recycling.’  Quite a good definition, that.

Now we come to the difficult part. How do we GO green? What can a layman do, to help the environment? Sounds really tough, does it not? Here are some really simple steps that you and I can take – every day – to go green.

1)      Recycle – I cannot stress enough on this topic. Recycle. Recycle. Don’t just trash your non-perishable goods. Take a good plastic bottle for example. Instead of just throwing it into the bin, see if you could use it for something else. Or worst case, make a recycling bag. Trash all your glass, plastic and metal into it, so it gets to be recycled and made into something else. In UK, the government provides free recycling sacks to every household, and even insists on separate bins for perishable garbage and recyclable goods. Though, a couple of years back, there was a scandal about UK shipping a phenomenal amount of recyclable waste to ‘China’ and ‘India’ instead of actually recycling it. But that is another discussion, for another day. The point is, we simply must learn to recycle anything that is not perishable.

Pic courtesy: http://www.simonlluma.eu/wp-content/plastic_bag_3.jpg

2)      Say No to plastic – I know we have this soft-corner for anything plastic. Plastic bags, plastic storage containers, plastic toys.

All smiles!

Even plastic smiles 😉

But please, try to say NO to plastic. Let us not clutter our homes and lives with plastic – simply because it cannot be recycled.

Once cheap plastic has been trashed, it simply adds to the rubbish dump and cannot be used to make anything else. It is not bio-degradable, takes between 45-1000 years to degrade at sea, and did you know (I certainly didn’t) – it takes oil to produce them and it takes more oil to recycle them than it does to produce.

Pic courtesy: http://www.urbanrail.net/as/delh/delhi.htm

3)      Shake that ass – Don’t get me wrong. I just mean, instead of driving your vehicle to cover the smallest distance, try to get moving. Walk, if time permits. Or ride a bike. Cycle all the way to work, if possible. Or use public transport. Buses, trains, car-pool. It is well worth a shot, at trying to reduce fuel consumption. Saves not just the environment, but your hard-earned money too.

4)      Save money – Reduce electricity bill – Who does not love TV? As long as one can avoid Ekta’s soaps, TV is an awesome pastime. In this weather, we need fans, lights, air-conditioners all the time. but let us analyse our lifestyle, and think, for a moment, if there is any way we can reduce our electricity consumption. For example, instead of running the drying cycle in your washing machine for an hour (thereby even damaging your machine!), can you just turn off the drier after say 15 minutes, and then hang the clothes out to dry in hot sun? Given our soaring temperatures, this should not be a challenge! Again, instead of sitting on that comfortable couch, watching TV all day, go out for a walk with friends instead. You not only cut down on electricity and fuel consumption, but also help yourself achieve a healthier lifestyle.

5)      Be blatantly Kanjoos (stingy) – My 4-year old simply does not understand ‘WHY’ we have to save water. To him, water flows freely in every tap, in every house. So, why bother?

You see, a lot of work goes on in making water potable for you and me. That apart, being water efficient leads naturally to a reduction in carbon, energy and utility costs. Pumping treating and distributing water from reservoirs, rivers and groundwater sources produces approximately 50kg of CO2 per household per year – and a further 250kg of CO2 is produced when you heat water at home. Did you know that: 25% of you energy bill goes on heating water to shower, bathe and clean? Being water efficient can half your hot water use, saving you 12% off your energy bill?

For those of you who are not yawning out of boredom yet, I stumbled upon this excellent website that lists out various ways to go green. (click the link). Do read it, and see what is applicable to you.

So, after reading what all the fuss is about, should you choose to ‘go green’, do drop in a line and let us know.

And if you don’t, then only remember, you do not need to wait 1000 years for the earth to perish. It is happening right here, right now. You and I cannot do anything drastic about it. But we sure can take baby steps towards help the environment we live in.

(P.S: That was not a threat. Seriously.)

(P.P.S: Who are we kidding? Go shake that ass, kanjoos!!)

** This article was originally written for Ek Titli. If you wish to contribute, kindly contact the Ek Title team via their website.

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49 thoughts on “The fuss about going Green

  1. A very well written post…. And perfect example for plastic smile…. 😀
    All the suggestions that you have listed are very simple and can be easily incorporated in our day to day life….
    And trust me going green is not just good for environment but its fun anyways…. Travel by public transport and there will be so many samples to entertain you after a long boring day at office… 🙂

    I think we all should do our bit… You have already started by writing this post…. 🙂

    PS – How have you been Pal…. 🙂

      1. You fooled him, dintcha? He really thought you were about to create a fuss about the whole “go green” idea — and say “Crap. Just cut all the trees, waste all the water, use up all the oxygen. Let darkness come over the earth….” because THAT when Count Bratula can come back to life with all the power he ever wanted 😉

  2. Aah–a fellow green imp 😀 love ya! 😀

    Yes, agree with all that.
    Plus, a few more things: like putting your system on standby when you plan to be away from it for at least 15-20 minutes. We all have that 30 extra seconds to wait for the system to sring back to life from its sleep!! And always switching off your engine at a red light. And all members in a family taking a bath one after the other, while the heater still holds that hot water for you (rather than switching it on again, and again, and again!). And switching that TV off while you’re working on your system — concentrate on one thing, people 😉 And hey, reduce the brightness of your screen by help; you save some power, and its better for your eyes too! And stop washing your car everyday with water; why don’t you just buy a nice fancy cover so that the dust is off? 🙂 Needless to say, use CFL bulbs whenever and wherever possible! And how about giving out those clothes to iron, rather than do it yourself? (ttey use the age old “iron box”; ok, may not exactly be “go green” stuff, but you save a lot of electricity, and they get to make some money!!)…

    and many more such simple stuff which we all can do without any extra effort! 🙂

  3. agree agree agree…specially on plastic smiles 😉 *poor ARB..ollee olee* don’t worry..plastic love that 😉

    I won’t claim that we’re doing all of it but we’re doing a bit-like composting the perishables coming out of my kitchen…by keeping wet and dry trash separate…

    we still have a long way to go before we could pause and say “yes,we’ve come a lot of green!!!”

    but if/when baby steps are taken..that long way should seem smaller by each step!!

  4. Ha ha even i for once mistook the title and got more curious 😛 Thoughtful post but. Ever since I visited my native (Kanyakumari) and realizing the Plastic-free Kanyakumari been successfully implemented with even people accepting it willingly, I stopped using plastic bags. Whenever I go out to buy things, I carry now a cloth bag. My flower vendor lady has started telling about me to others and advocate them to bring bags along! I also started walking to nearby shops (though it is more aimed at flattening the growing paunch :P)

    Go Green, Make world a better place to live in. Live and let live, we are not the sole owners of the planet, there are other animal and planet world out here.

  5. Nice one Pal!
    We are trying to do that little bit of ours too 🙂 Okies, off I go to shake my ass and not be kanjoos in expelling some energy lol 😆

  6. Thanks again for writing for us!! In case any of your blogger ‘Pals’ are willing to, we will be thrilled to have a green piece of their mind :))

  7. completely agree! 😀
    doing my bit too… we recycle, use our own bags, take the bus/train/walk when we need to go anywhere!
    loved the post! 😀

  8. Simple steps that we can actually practice…a nice, thought out list.

    Be blatantly Kanjoos – captures it all – totally agree.

  9. “To him, water flows freely in every tap, in every house”
    If you had grown up in Madras in the nineties, you’d NEVER EVER let a single drop go waste. It becomes built-into your system, that the moment you hear one single drip, adrenalin pours into your system and you rush involuntarily to the direction of that single drip to stop the offending sound.

  10. You’re sounding like my mom!!!

    But I loved the plastic smile bit 🙂 That made me smile…

    But yeah, I do get whatever you’re saying. And no matter how hard I try, I can’t keep the lights on when I walk out of a room, or the tap dripping when I’m done with the washbasin. These are habits ingrained in me by my mom and now it comes to me as naturally as breathing.

  11. This is such a good, timely post!

    I focus on:
    – minimal electricity usage
    – minimal use of plastic
    – minimal use of paper and paper products (with the exception of books – though I have recently made a resolution to plan one tree for every book I buy)

    These are habits I have incorporated for many years into my lifestyle for many years now, and many of them are second nature to me. I am now focusing on getting my family and friends to incorporate some of these too – though they mostly view me as being slightly weird and obsessive in this matter.

  12. Hi
    Congratulations! The Directory of Best Indian Blogs is out and your nice blog figures in that. We thought, let’s announce that to you.
    Since all blogs do not have emails clearly mentioned, we have taken the liberty of telling you of this by making a comment on your latest blogpost. Hope, you don’t mind it.
    Happy blogging!

    ITB team

    Thank you, folks. That is very nice of you.

  13. Cucumbers imported from Spain may be the source of an E. coli outbreak that Germany claims, killed four people and affected 200 more.

    Haven’t they concluded that it was not due to cucumbers but due to sprouts? And they promptly played their customary game of blaming a third-world country — Fenugreek seeds from Egypt imported into France by a British company.
    Thank you for sharing that bit of ingo, Arun. It is quite unfair, actually!

  14. another way of going green is about growing green aii arround you as much as possible.may be dress like adam and eve.but there is a long way to cover before we start doing that.on a serious note we must do that for our next generation.we should think of saving their future before thinking about saving for their future……….and keep saying NO to plastics.
    Definitely , No to plastics!

  15. I agree with your idea of taking at least baby steps towards protecting our mother earth from perishing.Although we won’t be here after 1000 years but certainly can’t be so selfish to let the future generations to slog for something we are getting so easily right now.I will reduce my usage of plastic to a minimal. Yes I meant plastic bags;)
    A free quiz –
    Go Green!
    Find your grade in the green meter!
    http://www.3smartcubes.com/pages/tests/go-green/go-green_instructions.asp
    Thank you Johanna!

  16. I do switch off all lights not in use, I avoid using plastic bags (almost completely), and waste no water. I also respect the air we breathe and avoid doing anything that might pollute it. I think I do live green.
    Well done, IHM!!!

  17. Just stumbled on this post while searching for ‘go green’… very well written!! =) and I’ve made my mom carry a cotton bag lately =P which she was so reluctant to(as an extra bag) earlier 😉
    Thank you so much Paprika, so glad you liked it. Kudos also on your initiative of going green.

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