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Eco Living starts from Simple Lifestyle Changes!

Be it Air Pollution, Water Pollution, Soil Pollution or any other kind of pollution, all are interlinked. The plastic, synthetic dyes, synthetic clothes, cosmetics, skincare products, etc. that we consume pollute air,water, soil, all at the same time!

 

And, there is A LOT that we can do to reduce environment pollution just by making little easy changes in our every day lifestyle & by being aware about the impact of our consumption choices on the planet.

Here, I am sharing the changes that I have made in last 1 & a half years to put less burden on Mother Earth.

 

Until 2018, I use to think that planting trees, not littering around, using more public transport, avoiding unnecessary flights, reducing the usage of A.C., turning off  the lights, saying no to fire crackers is enough to be Green. But,eventually I got aware about the environmental impact of our every single action & consumption on our planet. We start damaging our soil & water along with our own body, from the moment we pick up our toxic chemical laden toothpaste applied on plastic toothbrush, then we pollute our water system by using chemical detergents, soaps. shampoo, cosmetics. These chemicals damage our environment. They are usually tested on innocent animals which means destruction of biodiversity for unnecessary purpose. And, they come in unnecessary plastic packaging from miles away which causes air pollution as well! 

What’s the solution?

1-SAY NO TO SINGLE USE PLASTIC AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

Plastic isn’t enemy but unnecessary use of plastic is threat for our planet. Use them only where its absolute necessity. Trust me, such times will come once/twice in few weeks but right now most of you must be bringing home lots of plastic everyday.

Infact, we should try to say No to everything that can’t reused such as tissue paper can be easily replaced by cloth handkerchief.

Disposable Sanitary pads can be replaced with reusable cloth pad or menstrual cup. Disposable diapers can be replaced by Cloth diaper. (When not possible to use reusable then choose biodegradable ones but even they contain chemicals which are extremely dangerous for our intimate parts)

Aluminium foil can be replaced with cotton or muslin cloth, beeswaxwrap, banana leaf (Pattal).

(Aluminium is not even good for our health)

Plastic Dustbin  Liner can be replaced with few layers of newspapers.

 

I try carrying cloth bag with cutleries along with me whenever possible to avoid single use plastics

Its very easy to get loose & unprocessed snacks & herbs in Indian Keerana (Grocery) Store. All you need to carry is few cloth bags. This is my little shopping haul. 🙂

Now, one of the most important reason behind reducing plastic waste is to curb landfills because a landfills are not just a piece of land with unsegregated garbage that pollutes air by burning & contaminate soil, water but landfills are also a symbol of our sense of entitlement and privilege, the deeply rooted caste system in our collective conscious where we believe someone else will clean up our mess and the alienation of urban life which causes a complete disconnect with our environment. Pollution caused by the waste that we generate directly affect most downtrodden the first as they usually live nearby landfills in the slum. So, being a privileged class, its our responsibility to take the ownership of our waste which starts with a will to reduce our waste.

 

2-CHOOSE HERBAL OVER CHEMICALS

 

Chemical products sink in our skin through bloodstream which is extremely dangerous for us. And, the main moto of curbing environmental pollution is save humanity so what we apply on our body must be taken seriously. Also, being consumer we have power to create a demand for clean & safe products. At the same time its our responsibility to speak about it on the public platform, in our social circles, with our house helpers,etc because again, downtrodden comes in contact with cheap chemical products by being inspired by Advertisements.

This video Asli Gully Boy shows it well.

Also, these chemicals go to rivers & soil from our drainage. They come back to us in our food & water just like microplastics. Remember whatsoever goes outside from home comes back!

Now what’s the solution?? Being Real, We don’t even need much products to stay clean. Discarded lemon peels, neem leaves, camphor, reetha, baking soda, vinegar, bio enzyme are enough to keep us & our home clean.

While, India being a land of Ayurveda has innumerable amount of herbs. Experiment with them!

Boycott these companies because they don’t only produce maximum waste but they use most toxic chemicals & have worst work ethics

Do read about how they poisoned the Kodaikanal rivers with mercury & took no responsivity. Now they are GREENWASHING (Fooling people on the name of eco-friendly, Many companies do that. So don’t fall in this trap) by arranging cleanliness drive. Its fine to participate in such drives buy supporting their products means contributing in pollution.

Same is the story of Nestle & all other brands mentioned above.

Unilever refused responsability for Kodaikanal mercury poisoning, India | EJAtlas

 

Turmeric with salt & mustard is all we need for our teeth while we can make the use of 1000s of other herbs available locally. And, whats the use of fake flawless makeup if its creating pollution & hunger? We all can make our own kajal, lipbalm & body creams by using kitchen based products. They might not be give us flawless look but it will make our skin & mother earth bloom. Also, they will be cruelty & slavery free. 🙂

 

These are my everyday essentials. They are gentle on skin & on our planet. At the same time buying them support local seller instead of big corporations. Also, local means less carbon foot print of transportation & production.

I use turmeric with oil & salt or homemade toothpowder & Neem twig (datun) whenever available.

Here is my Homemade Kajal. I make my lip balm as well.

I wash my clothes with soapnuts (reetha). Though, foam is not an criteria of cleanliness but they give lots of foam as well. 🙂

I know not everyone gets time & privilege of making everything at home. So, the best thing that they can do to curb climate change is to buy local, herbal products that’s free from any chemicals. Even better to look for local small business who make such products. If non plastic packaging isn’t available the buy largest bottle/ packet as it will last long. Some famous eco-friendly brand of daily essentials that I know are- Khadi, Lush Veda, Mamma Earth, Kiara, Diya Naturals, few products of Patanjali such as Dishwasher, Laundry detergent, Toilet cleaner are also much better than other conventional & easily accessible brands but not all their products are completely chemical free.

So, do check for ingredient list because just a tag of herbal, organic doesn’t necessarily means chemical & preservative free.

NOTE: No matter what always avoid products with Microbeads as they are microplastics. Also, avoid Palm oil unless its sustainable certified because it leads to deforestation.

 

3- Choose local, eco friendly or second hand clothes. Embrace Slow Fashion!

India is land of handloom weaves & sustainable fabric. So, Instead of investing money on big fast fashion brands (that pollutes environment & treat their employees as slave) go for sustainable Indian textiles. Indian handloom is one the verge of extinction. Supporting them is necessary to revitalize ethical fashion & to value the art of weavers.

If you can’t afford handloom then support local tailor as it provides them fair wages & supports local economy instead of fuelling big corporations which are responsible for Pollution.

I am sure most of your parents must be wearing hand stitched clothes. We need to take fashion inspiration from them not from media.

Buying export rejected clothes from flee market, swapping clothes with friends & using second hand/thrifted clothes is even better.

Try choosing more natural fabric & avoid poly fabric whenever buying new clothes.

While, Repairing old dresses & reusing them for long time is what we actually need to do. Spend on timeless pieces & repeat your clothes with pride. 🙂

This is the Solution-

Sweatshop Brands to boycott- 15 Brands That Use Sweatshops To Create Their Clothing – Society19 UK

Watch movie “The True Cost ” to know what goes behind fashion industry. Even trailer was enough for me to make me question my choices.

 

5- AVOID PROCESSED & UNHEALTY FOOD MADE IN LAB/FACTORIES, PACKAGED IN PLASTIC such as chips, cold drink, alcohol, fake soy, fake meat esp. that contains Palm oil.

Its still fine to buy something healthy & organic in plastic (buy big packet to reduce waste) but why to pollute our planet for something that is not even healthy?

Now, Alcohol  & many cold drinks come in Glass bottle but amount of pollution & water scarcity caused by distillery industry can’t be refunded with one glass bottle.

Also, eat local, seasonal & ancestral food. Though, many suggest to eat more plant based to have less carbon footprint but I would suggest you all eat local, traditional & seasonal food be it plant or meat. But, please avoid packaged meat & dairy shipped from miles away from an unethical source. Eating meat is not a problem but overconsumption of meat has huge impact on our environment.

Eat whatever your grandma taught you to eat. For instance, If your tradition suggests you to avoid certain food in certain month or days then follow it.  Its not superstition. Infact, It will reduce the overconsumption of food. Our ancestors were much more intelligent & environment conscious than us. One of the best example is Bengalis eat non veg during Navratri while North Indian abstain from Meat. It was not caste or community based but it was regional & climate based as Bengal is rich in Fishery while its better to abstain from nonveg in North Indian climate for few days to detoxify & to curb over consumption of food. Unfortunately, we have lost this sense of sustainability & we are following it as rigid custom no matter wherever we live.

Stop falling into trap of Nutritionism that shames local food.

 

6- START COMPOSTING, GROW SOME FOOD & AVOID FOOD WASTE

Try cooking food from scratch for most days.

Grow some food to eat organic or if you can afford then support local organic farms.

Avoid supporting restaurants that provide unlimited buffet & creates food waste. Atleast, carry a lunch box to such places to bring back left overs.

This is the cost of wasting food on the environment.

Always compost food waste at home or if possible arrange a community compost.

7- SEGREGATE WASTE. Our waste is our responsibility.

Deposit E-waste at E- waste collecting centre. Burning of e-waste in the landfills creates huge amount of air pollution but they can be easily recycled. All we need to do is to deposit them safely at the right place!

Deposit Recyclable plastic such as pens, plastic toothbrush, plastic packet with recycle sign at Recycling companies. Just search online for recycling company in your city.

8. MAKE CELEBRATIONS ECO FRIENDLY WHENEVER POSSIBLE

Say noto fire crackers on Diwali, New year, Shaberat, Weddings or on any event.

Try doing collective community sacrifice on Eid to avoid food waste.

Say noto Plastic Gift wraps, Exotic Flowers, Balloons, Glitters for birthday parties, Valentines days, etc.

Use Herbal colour for playing Holi. Preferably prepare them at home. I am not someone who will advocate dry Holi because water conservation is everyday chore. 

Here are some tips to celebrate eco-friendly Holi, most are applicable to all festivals/ celebrations

 
  1.  Focus on using herbal colour instead of going Dry because chemicals pollute land, water, soil.
  2. Make Color at home as it will zerowaste & zeromiles. If not possible then buy but it will increase packaging wastage.(I made my Colors at home with Beetroot, Henna, Turmeric, discarded milk fat of thandai)
  3. Wear old cloth for evening get together & for playing color as well because buying new dresses frequently waste & pollute more water than playing Holi once a year.
  4. Say Noto balloons not just on Holi but forever
  5. Prepare food from scratch or buy in own container or atleast opt for unprocessed food. Most families in UP prepare snacks(chips,papad) for whole year in the month of March before Holi bcz it’s best time to get good quality potato.
  6. Have homemade drinks. Wanna get High? Then have fresh Bhaang instead of alcohol. Because one bottle of alcohol & drinks like Coke create more water scarcity than using water once a year

 

I won’t suggest to upset kids by refusing them from playing with balloons. Try to educate them about the harm caused by balloons. Teach them the importance of Reuse & make their stationary eco friendly. Teach them to use 2nd hand books & take care of their school essentials.

Still, If they really want balloons then give it to them BUT WE ADULTS DON’T NEED BALLOONS TO CELEBRATE OUR B’DAY. Lets stop these fad started by grown up 90s kids.

9. Use more Public Transport.

Use Local Metro & Buses.

Do car pool.

Rent Bicycle.

Choose two wheeler motor bikes over cars when going out alone.

Stop going for destination less long drives. Go for long walk instead!

Choose Economy Class Flights instead of Executive or 1st class ( unless you are old or someone who travels 4–5 days in a week for work then you do deserve some luxury & confort)

Business class fliers leave far larger carbon footprint | Duncan Clark

Let’s not make flying in the plane, owning a car & imitating exploitative entertainment industry as ultimate goal of our life. Follow need based living.

***********************************************************************************

Above lifestyle changes will curb land, air & water pollution but here are some additional steps of conserving water everyday

Use Bucket instead of Shower for bath. One to two buckets are enough to take good bathing. When buying new bucket then try investing in long lasting steel bucket. But, please don’t throw plastic items out of your house. Keep reusing what you already own.

Store discarded RO water for house cleaning.

Reuse water used for cleaning vegetables in the garden.

Use bucket to spit while brushing teeth & washing face then use it to clean toilet.

Load laundry once in a week only when fully loaded. Once used clothes can be sun dried to use one more time.

I know, We can’t completely stay away from chemicals, private transport & from plastic but we all can reduce their usage to a great extent.

In short, using something in Need is different than using something for luxury or to raise fake status in the society. The most eco-friendly product is the one that we don’t buy. So less & conscious consumption is the way forward.

Use them whenever required but don’t let them enslave your mind.

The more we will feel confident in our own body, the less we will need.

Take inspiration from the life style of your parents & grandparents. They might have been becoming slave of consumerism but they all have spend eco friendly life in their youth without making any noise about it. So, let them do what they are doing now. As its our time to change & become example for future generation.

Can’t talk about climate change without sharing this video of “Vandana Shiva”

 

And, Inspiration of eco living must be taken from amazing people like “Kamal Tawari’.

 

As I already mentioned above, we can’t be perfect but we all can choose the eco conscious path that’s convenient for us without judging others. For you avoiding plastic & chemicals might be suitable for someone else living without AC & alcohol might be suitable.

At the end, we must ask ourselves ” What are the things that I can easily avoid without any sacrifice?” And, trust me there would be tons of such thing. Let’s support each other & embrace each other instead of falling into ego trap!

“In the Nutshell- Going back to our ancestral roots is a way to curb climate change & prevent Air Pollution”

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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