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