Society

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 | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/society/befriend-your-environment/article4781499.ece

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