Celebrating, sharing, educating, contributing… youngsters are living it up, eco-style! PAYAL CHHABRIA

“What did you do last evening?” she asked. “I walked with the turtles,” he replied. Perhaps this is one of the ways that turtle walks have gained new-found recognition. As consequences of similar or dissimilar instances, organic detergents became a la mode, organic fashion shows are the talk of the town, beach clean-ups have found a place in weekend schedules and cloth bags have become the latest style statement.

Then there are new-age structures that are made, not with bricks, but with plastic bottles and universities that are prohibiting automobiles on campus. Also evident are terrace-gardens and kitchenettes, eco-clubs and libraries enjoying similar importance and power. Sparks of a green revolution are alive and kicking.

Greener corrections

Srinivas Krishnaswamy and Preethi Sukumaran, a young eco-sensitive couple, have been extra-conscious of the little things that matter — walking and its benefits, significance of a chemical-free shampoo and keeping tabs on the ingredients that go into every concoction they consume. Three years ago, they decided to spread the joy of a clean and green lifestyle and from that desire, Krya, their brand that offers a range of what they call sustainable goodies, was born. Srinivas says, “A goody is anything that makes us feel good, that doesn’t harm and can be shared and gifted.

Krya offers a range of cleaning and personal care products that are specifically tailor-made to catalyse a chemical-free lifestyle at home and hence contribute to sustainability of the environment. Surprisingly, most times, people use our products as gifts because they are excited about the idea.”

Of late, eco-campuses have gained in popularity. Eco-clubs are active and have exclusive agendas for every semester. Their projects have even begun to find place in the annual reports of the universities that are showed-off at prestigious occasions. Some embark on simple assignments and some on ground-breaking ones. The Women’s Christian College, for instance, has collaborated with the Goa-based Samarpan Foundation that focuses on environment restoration. Its objective is to construct washrooms in an adopted village, Thirukandalam fromin Tamil Nadu, with plastic bottles stuffed with mud, and cemented together.

Ruvitha Williams, student coordinator, Eco-club, shift I, says, “Every day, after classes, students gather to fill bottles with mud. The task is painstaking because every bottle has to be stuffed to the brim and made strong and sturdy to withstand bruises and sustain for years together. Yet so many students turn up and engage in it whole-heartedly. Our club has over 85 members and still growing. It’s surprising and heart-warming.” An on-campus fruit garden is next on the agenda and will be ready before the end of the current semester. A vermicompost project is on the cards too.

MOP Vaishnav College for Women has incorporated sundry eco-sensitive practices, as part of their routine. Roshni Rajasekaran, representative of the Ministry of Environment, says, “We conduct several campaigns that attempt to lessen the consumption of plastic on campus. Our canteen, for instance, does not use plastic at all, unless of course, it is absolutely necessary. Recently, we prohibited bikes inside the campus for one week. Students began using the domestic transport system or carpooling. We are in conversation with the Government about planting trees in Corporation schools across the city. We have already begun the process at the MOP Iyyengar Elementary School in Triplicane.”

Make a difference

Under the umbrella of the Corporate Social Responsibility wing, large organisations have also begun to perceive environmental issues in serious light and take measures toward correcting, resurrecting and reclaiming. Make a Difference, a forum that focuses on imparting English education and communication skills, started a campaign one-and-a-half years ago. Veda Nadendla, co-founder, says, “The Raddi project involves us going door-to-door, and collecting old and waste newspapers from households and offices. We sell it to a bunch of paper-buyers, who recycle these papers. The proceeds of this project go to the Make a Difference forum.”

While some are focusing on building eco-brands and inculcating eco-education, others are celebrating eco-style. Kiruthiga Udhayanidhi has kick-started the trend of celebrating eco-style. Her directorial debut film, Vanakkam Chennai , was launched by planting 100 banyan trees in Dr. M.G.R. Janaki College of Arts and Science for Women. “Most people like to begin something new with a ritual or a religious ceremony,” she says. “I’m not particularly a religious person, so I usually start by contributing to the environment in some way. In fact, I even celebrate the birthdays of my children in an eco-friendly fashion.”

Pointers to a green world!

Of late, eco-campuses have gained in popularity. Eco-clubs are active and have exclusive agendas for every semester. Their projects have even begun to find place in the annual reports of the universities that are showed-off on prestigious occasions.