Befriend your environment

Take a bus to work. Photo: K Murali Kumar

Take a bus to work. Photo: K Murali Kumar  

'Go Green’ seems to be the mantra everyone’s chanting now. To follow it, it’s best to start looking at what we can do. Calculating our carbon footprint is one of the aspects we Indians have woken up to. Whether we are eco-conscious citizens or green crusaders, our every little effort counts. Today is World Environment Day. Let’s consider what kind of lifestyle changes we can make to become ‘ecologically sensitive’. Bhumika. K shows us how it can be done and talks to a few who have been doing their bit

Be eco-friendly

Switch off lights / fan when leaving a room

Turn off computer monitors when not in use

Don’t run water continuously while brushing

Fix leaking taps

Bathe or wash car with a bucket of water

Install rainwater harvesting units at home

Re-use water

Half-flush the flush tank when you use the toilet

Carry your own cloth shopping bag to the supermarket

Say no to plastic in all possible forms

Cycle / walk / use public transport to get to work at least two days a week

Car-pool or bike-pool

Use both sides of paper, re-use envelopes, don’t print emails, ask for e-bills

Segregate garbage; recycle biodegradable garbage and make compost from it for your garden

Use power-saving lights at home

Use biodegradable plantain leaf / palm leaf cups in weddings

Save The Planet

Use battery-operated bikes / cars

Use recycled goods

Buy furniture made only from re-

used wood

Consume eco-friendly goods

Buy toys / articles that use natural / recyclable material; buy clay Ganesha idol during Ganesha festival

Choose to live in eco-friendly communities

Go for self-sustained living

Go organic

Cycle, recycle, reuse

Pratvii Ponnappa (31),

Co-founder of a training and development firm

Experimenting with recycling these days, he uses discarded wine bottles to make lamps, and discarded old tape-cassettes to make lampshades. Rules are strict in his home — no leaving a room without switching off lights and fans, carry your own food to work in reusable boxes and foil covers, use paper bags. “It’s the right thing to do,” he explains. Before he developed back problems, he would use his bicycle to get around the neighbourhood, shopping, visits. “My cycle would be parked in office and anyone could use it to get around short distances.” His house is also home to a teepoy made from an old wooden pillar, and he buys used furniture — two footstools he recently acquired were those someone in his building was disposing off. “We recently needed an RO water purifier, which wasted a lot of water in the process. We use that excess water to wash vessels and in the toilets,” says Pratvii.

Involve the family

Neena Murthy (66), Grandmother

Last year, for a ceremony in the family, Neena Murthy and husband Wg. Cdr. (Retd) R.S. Murthy sat together with their four grandchildren and their friends and taught them how to make return gift bags with a thank you note, using old newspapers.

They made about 150 of them, and the children enjoyed participating, and learnt about recycling in the process, she recalls fondly. She also ordered another 100 cloth bags made from recycled cloth. “I’m fond of the environment and want to do my bit to save it. I have been able to motivate my relatives too not to use plastic bags for large occasions to give return gifts. Almost 80 per cent have accepted my word!” Apart from segregating waste, Neena also teaches her grandchildren not to waste water, always keeping aside water used to clean dal, rice and vegetables, to water plants in her garden.

If I don’t, who will?

Krishna Kalyan (24), IT professional

He uses the bus to get to work and back everyday, a commute of 20 km. “It makes social and monetary sense. And I’m reducing my carbon footprint,” he says. “I also don’t use plastic because it never degrades. I always have my backpack to carry small household items from the shop. If I don’t do it, who will? Each person has to make a small beginning. It’s not an effort really, it’s a simple choice.” His family tries to use biodegradable household waste as manure in the garden. “All the bulbs in our house are power savers.” He has also gone vegetarian because he believes it reduces an individual’s carbon footprint; the process of turning an animal into meat leaves a larger carbon footprint than raising vegetables, he reasons.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 7:38:43 PM |

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