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Everytime You Share That Dress With A Friend, You’re Actually Saving The Climate!

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Once there was a famous Guru in India. He had a disciple in Europe who was very keen to visit him for years and get a chance to live with him for a few weeks to go deeper in his practice.

Finally, the Guru agreed but warned that he lived very, very simply with the barest of necessities. The disciple was unfazed and excited about this opportunity to be in close proximity to his Guru in the coming days.

When he arrives at the home of the Guru, he is a bit taken aback at the level of austerity. It looks like an empty home. Nevertheless, he is welcomed warmly and he is happy to be finally in his Guru’s presence.

Once he has settled down a bit, he can’t hold himself any longer and says, “Guruji can I ask you something?

Yes of course.

I was just wondering, where is all your furniture?

Guruji replies, “Where is yours?

But I am just a traveller.”

Guruji replies with a smile, “So am I.

You and I, friends, we are just travellers here for a few decades on this planet. Our cars, our homes, our jewels, our cupboards bursting with the latest clothes, our bathroom shelves full of bottles and little boxes, our cosmetics, fake jewellery and toy car collections, and a million other sundry possessions. Where do we think we are taking it all?

Have you ever thought about the resources needed to make each big and small item that we possess and what it will leave behind even after we are gone?

Those plastic bottles will be hanging around for centuries. Those trendy synthetic clothes are shedding microplastics into rivers and oceans with every wash. And all those packets of chips, drinks, and biscuits are clogging some drain or getting into the stomach of a cow, when she finds food amidst a bunch of rubbish.

Such a huge toll on the planet for temporary and superficial pleasures of everyday urban living. But there are loads we can do to reduce the burden. And one of these is getting together to create a shared economy. By rekindling the spirit of sharing within communities, we can pool precious resources and share them for the benefit of all.

Here are six cool ideas to be more conscious, pool our resources, create conscious mini-communities and still enjoy the little pleasures with like-minded people.

1: Start A Sari Or Formal Clothing Bank With Your Friends

Get together with a group of people to create a catalogue of the saris, dresses, or other formal clothing they are happy to share with their friends, and share them online or by hand. Now, when you are invited to your friend’s wedding, no need to buy new clothes! Just borrow from the clothing bank and return in good shape.

2: Repurpose Your Existing Clothes

Just wearing more of what you already have is another great idea to reduce your clothing carbon footprint. Style your existing clothes with different accessories. Mix and match this salwar with that kurta or these pants with that jacket to create new combinations. Did you know there are a dozen ways to wear a scarf or drape a stole that completely changes your look? Be a creative, trendy, stylish, and minimalist.

3: Have You Heard About Crockery Banks?

I know of some good Samaritans in various parts of Gurgaon who have bought a whole lot of steel plates, spoons, and glasses and they lend them out for free. Just google “crockery bank near me” and you may be surprised to find one.

Next time you have a function, instead of using disposable or single-use plastic plates and cutlery, just borrow from the crockery bank and return the utensils cleaned. And if you can’t find one near you, perhaps you can start one of your own!

3: Pre-Loved Goods

Facebook has its uses other than keeping a tab on your friends. Check out a group called “Dariya Dil Dukaan”. Here you can post items you are no longer using or find items you might need and others are giving away. Why buy new when you can share?

4: Start A Conscious Mini-Community On WhatsApp

Find like-minded neighbours where you live and start a WhatsApp group to share items. Extra guests coming home? Need some chairs or trays? Having a function and need to borrow some potted plants? Your child is growing out of their clothes and you want to offer some outfits to younger kids? Here’s your chance!

5: Donate!

There are many organisations which take your old or discarded items (still in good condition, of course) and donate it tot he underprivileged. Goonj is one such NGO. They run a scheme in villages where they build schools for the locals, who, in turn, contribute their labour. In exchange they provide clothes or utensils you may no longer need. Or they may support a family and their children’s wedding by donating that suit you no longer fit into or need. Check out for all the cool things they do!

You can save thousands of kilos of carbon from going into the air by taking no-shopping challenges for extended periods. For example, if you buy a simple combination of jeans with a cotton T-shirt, a jacket, sneakers (and underwear) – you have contributed 76 kg of CO2 equivalent emissions. This is the same carbon emission you would emit if you drive a car for 470 km!

So the next time, the thought comes to you to buy something new ask yourself these 3 questions and become a conscious consumer!

  1. Can I repurpose something I already have?
  2. Can I borrow it from someone and return it?
  3. Can I do without it completely? Do I even need it?

Nandini Gulati is a holistic health coach, public speaker and climate activist. She believes that our diets, lifestyles and consumption patterns dictate our health and the state of the planet. She is a published co-author of Guilt-free Vegan Cookbook, a delightful repository of healthy and tasty multi-cuisine recipes from around the world.

All images for representation only.
You must be to comment.
  1. Venkat Ramana Rao

    Excellent ideas Nandini ??❗Already implementing some of them in my life. Thanks for sharing. All the Best ??

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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.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

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.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

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