One evening my daughter who just completed her degree in textile design was telling me about sustainable practices in the textile industry that she was pitching for a film series. It set my thoughts rolling on how we can bring sustainability in all walks of our life. The thought excited me so much that I could take it up as a project for the rest of my life!
Another evening she told me that we need to do something at the community level to make people aware of sustainable living. That very evening I saw in my building WhatsApp group that we need to conserve water given the current situation.
This was a great opportunity to also talk about sustainable living like my daughter was suggesting. So here are a few points that we discussed in the meeting that happened the very next day!
What is sustainability?
Avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.
“the pursuit of global environmental sustainability”
Sustainability is most often defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.
It has three main pillars:
These three pillars are informally referred to as people, planet and profits
Sustainable living requires a paradigm shift. It requires us to form new habits. It requires us to come out of our comfort zones. It requires us to not just think about our and our family’s convenience, but to think about what is good for the larger community and the planet. Its requires a change in consciousness.
Why is sustainable living important today? Why should we care?
Let us set an intention to live a sustainable life and set an example for our larger community.
How can we bring sustainability in our everyday lives?
1. Reduce waste. Read up the zero waste movement. On how we can reduce waste disposal in our homes. Its great that we are already practicing segregation and composting in our society even if there room for further improvement.
One example is to switch to menstrual cups. No more disposing pads and adding to landfills.
2. Recycle and reuse: As far as possible do not throw stuff.
Clothes, shoes and some other household articles can be repaired, reused or upcycled. There are facebook pages to sell gently used or pre-loved items and clothes!
One need not be ashamed to use and buy used things anymore! If its going to save the planet why not!!!
We can conduct a workshops for children and youngsters on how to make simple repairs on clothes like hemming, sewing, sewing buttons and button holes.
3. Avoid plastic products- for example, plastic tooth brushes take 400 years to decompose.
Avoid wrapping gifts with shiny plastic gift covers. It will anyway go to landfill. Instead get children to draw on white paper or paper bags!
One can buy bamboo tooth brushes, straws, pens, ear buds, etc instead from here or other sites: https://www.bambooindia.in/
4. Use biodegradable products:
Bamboo fibre sanitary pads
Use bamboo fibre napkins
Use baby diapers only when you go out or when its unavoidable once in a while. Use biodegradable bamboo nappies: https://wonderhood.in/collections/bambo-nature-premium-diapers-buy-online/products/bambo-nature-premature-size-0
Let’s go back to the exemplary Indian toilet training practices. At home only use washable cloth nappies.
5. Stop buying more. Let’s go back to buying new clothes just twice a year. Once on your birthday and one for your special festival….like old times when new clothes were really special.
Encourage fair trade, Slow fashion and handloom.
Let’s encourage crafts made by hand. Industries indulge in sweatshops with unfair practices and underpay and use child labour.
Slow fashion where we can buy handloom material and get it stitched is good for everyone even if it costs more- at least those of us who can afford it.
Let’s learn more about minimalism.
6. Go back to pre industrial practices. Speak to older generation on how they did things in their time.
Let’s see if we can buy groceries in loose and avoid plastic packaging materials.
7. Go vegan. Plant based food takes up lot less resources than animal based food including dairy.
Contact me for vegan alternatives.
8. Use natural products like Reetha, shikakai, methi for hair wash, stuff from the kitchen for facials and scrubs like fruits and lentils. Let’s avoid products that come in plastic bottles and those that contain harmful chemicals although they may seem enticing.
These do come in plastic bottles but are completely chemical free: http://bubblenutwash.com/
9. Encourage small home businesses for buying various products. For example I buy shampoo bars and dishwasher soaps from my friend who makes them at home and the products are great!
10. Let us go organic and encourage organic farmers. Let’s buy directly from them. As more and more of us demand pesticide and chemical free food, the cost will reduce as production goes up.
Let us avoid giving our children processed food as far as possible and give them homemade food.
11. Let’s conserve limited resources such as fuel, water and electricity. Let’s cut down on using ACs at home. Let’s patiently educate our domestic help to conserve water. Let’s spread awareness on rainwater harvesting.
Let’s walk instead of driving wherever possible.
I heard of an 80 year old lady, a scientist who has been living without electricity for the past 60 years!!
Did you know Solar panels are available for home use!?
12. Let us be vigilant when it comes to children’s gadget use. Let us encourage them to play outside more. We’re lucky that our kids have that possibility.
Let’s teach our children to live and consume responsibly by example.
These are some of the things we can do every day in our homes. Most, if not all of the links are of products I use. Some I found just now!
I’m not sponsored by them. My intention is to give examples of such alternatives.
Let’s us indulge in conscious consumerism. Let’s preserve the planet for our children and grandchildren.
It’s now a very real and urgent problem that needs our heart and mind space.