Go green, heal the world

Environmentalist Sridhar R puts forth six daily hacks one can follow to conserve resources and save the planet.

Cancer is no more that rare illness happening to some hapless person far away. It was in the 1970s that people saw the movie Raagam weeping their hearts out for the young boy who dies of leukaemia. Today, this is almost a next door story, waiting to happen to any of us. The US National Cancer Institute says that every one out of two men has a risk of developing cancer and every one in four dying out of it.

For women, it is one in three and one in five respectively. Apart from cancer, reproductive disorders, endocrine

disruptions, learning and other mental disabilities, heart ailments and other lifestyle disorders—literally everything is on the rise. Now, this shows that there is something inherently wrong in the way we are handling our lives, health, home, materials, science, technology, resources, food, water and our children.

Climate Change is also almost here to stay and is going to change everything, except the likes of Donald Trump and the rich oil-stinking denial bullies. One can keep on denying Climate Change, but nobody would ever be able to deny the devastating effects of it, starting from the melting massive glaciers to the terrifying, recurring floods, winds, heat, cold and rains, like never seen before.

If temperatures are rising and the average in the last two decades has been the worst ever, the denials would have to eventually stop when the burn is felt.

Now to the question: Can something be done about all these? Yes. Can something be done by us — You and Me? Surely yes.

Green is a clean way of looking at life and human activity on earth, making it truly peaceful, enjoyable, sustainable, equitable and healthy. Now that's not far-fetched as it sounds. Green is, first of all, slowing down the fast death lane.

It’s about growing up into a cooperative society rather than a competitive one (quite opposite to parents asking children to join the rat race for a first rank!). A rat race is where, even if you end up a winner, you are still a silly rat! And that I am sure nobody actually wants their children to grow up into.

So, Green is about bringing up a society that would shift gear, slow down, become wiser (not smarter!) and heals the world.

How do we go about it? There are a hundred simple things one can do. But let me pick up six simple initiatives we, as homely parents and children, can do

Zero Waste

Composting is not an option today; it is a necessity. And depending on how creative you are, there are various ways of doing it. The ComPOTs are some neat ways of composting your organic discards. And composts could find its way into a beautiful flower or vegetable garden. Non-degradable materials are a different call—avoid them as much as possible, simply don't buy things that would end up in a clogging stream and would never degrade. Join the anti-plastic initiative of the city and where you cannot avoid them, ensure that it reaches a recycling centre - the many material recovery facilities coming up in the city.


Water Conscious

First, let's know that 60 per cent of human body is water, 71 per cent of earth surface is water and without water, all of us will die. And that makes big houses, concrete floors, mobile phones and four-lane roads less fundamental than we think. So, being water conscious, ensuring the protection of all its sources, avoiding pollution and minimising use should be adopted by families. Ensure that we use only minimal water needed for all those activities—brushing teeth to washing clothes and cars. Also ensure not to use those “stuffs” that pollute water—detergents, chemical soaps, cleaning agents etc. Do we have alternatives? Yes, some hazardous chemical-free and natural stuff like soap nut powders and solutions you pick from responsible organic shops are healthy and safe. And finally, don't forget to remove all those tiles and concrete around your homes and buildings which make water flow away and not into the earth. That's where water has to be for our future (even present!).

Grow Organic, Eat natural

It's already the buzz word. And it's such a rage in the western world. But actually, it is the simplest way of making food, without the complications of using chemical fertilisers etc. A home with even a 500 sq ft roof can make enough vegetables and some fruits for a small family. Obviously, it needs some knowledge and skills, but surely not as tedious as learning how to use a computer! So go for it. Make your food safe, nutritious and become a farmer (nowadays there are a new breed - Urban farmers! So no feeling inferior about it)


Walk, Cycle

Just think about the last few days. How many times did you actually walk? Even the nearest 100 m away grocery shop is a 150 cc bike ride or a 1000 plus cc car ride. Isn't that the unhealthiest thing you can do? Question is what are legs for? So walk and cycle. Cut on carbon emissions, fat formations and unnecessary expenditures and commit that a two or four-wheeler is the last resort. And help the earth heal itself from a global crisis. As the saying goes - Think Global, Act Local.

Responsible Buying

If everyone on this earth lived like an American, consuming as much as they do, we will actually need four Earths, and we don't have that! And that's precisely why we have increasing hunger, climate change and ecological disasters in the making. So, let's follow the Gandhian path - The world has enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed. Stop going to super markets, buy as much local and buy only when you need it. And when you buy, make sure they are as natural as possible with minimum of toxic, plastic packing.

Use your hands

That's something you can start off now. Look out for all those things that you use machines and external energy for and ask yourself - Can I do this manually. It brings back skill, it racks up your brain and keeps you healthy. It eventually adds up to being able to avoid those ecologically disastrous power plants like the Athirapilly Hydro power or the Koodamkulam Nuclear Power. And some of these hands on work, most of the time, turns out to be better than your carbs and fat-reducing exercises.

As politician, environmentalist and author Bob Brown says, “The future will either be green or not at all”.

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