It’s that time of the year again!
The time when everybody refreshes their memory of disturbing visuals involving polar bears, seals and other habitants of the Tundra on the brink of extinction. (While themselves relaxing in an AC room)
The time when students are given assignments to write about the ill effects of fossil fuels. (Just minutes before they board a fossil fuel powered vehicle to take them home)
The time when the school environment club issues strict rules to keep paper wastage to a minimum. (The circular itself being made of paper)
The time when a wealthy politician shows off the 100 saplings that his labourers planted! (While waiting for his brand new teak wood furniture to arrive)
The time when farmer’s go on a strike because of a severe water shortage. (While the youth attend a massive Holi celebration, overwhelmed by water balloons, water fountains and many more “once a year” activities that celebrate the fall of evil. Burn Holika burn!)
What a great time to be alive! We have made such great strides as a sustainable society. (Or have we?)
If you hadn’t noticed already, the above instances illustrate a very real pattern of hypocrisy. A pattern, most of us have been conveniently ignoring. Why is it so hard to look at the reality of the situation? Is it because it is too overwhelming to think about your fate 20 years from now when you have a project due in two hours? Or is it that you are so blind to the situation that you decide to dig your bore-well deeper instead of installing a rainwater harvesting system?
My intention is not to guilt-trip the reader. But instead, encourage parents and teachers alike to understand that the students will never learn to be environmentally conscious if the adults themselves don’t become role models by practising what they preach.
Let me give you a small example of what I mean- Parents are more worried about their children not getting jobs in the future instead of thinking about how their children might not get enough water to survive. Parents are lost in the vanity of everyday life, thus making immediate gratification the norm in this society.
But over the years I have come to realize that, the people who will make the effort to read blog posts on “World Environment Day” are probably environmentally conscious people who strive for change and show their offspring the importance of this issue.
Although, if you are a parent or educator that belongs to the majority category, don’t dismay! Here are some things you can do to initiate the development of an environmentally conscious mind in your child.
1) Rainwater harvesting
I cannot stress this enough. Rainwater harvesting is the most important value that you can instil in your child. If you live in Karnataka, you probably already have a rainwater harvesting system because it is mandated by the Government of Karnataka, please understand how it works and teach your child today. The bore-wells will dry out. They probably already have. Don’t wait for that to happen.
There is nothing more refreshing than seeing a young child, living in an urban township, show- off her tiny veggie garden, nourished by compost that she makes by recycling scraps from the kitchen!
For a detailed lesson on composting, click on the link below to direct you to a Youtube channel dedicated to the art of composting.
Link: DailyDump Compost
3) Homegrown leafy greens
Leafy greens such as mint and coriander can be easily grown from scraps. This is a simple process and these greens are quite important to have in your kitchen at all times. So here is a simple video link to help you get started.
Link: Regrowing vegetables
4) Reuse RO reject water
One of the most frustrating things I have had to deal with is the popularity of RO water purification systems and the massive wastage of water that is a result of the reverse osmosis process. The reject water can easily be collected into a bucket and reused for kitchen, toilet and floor cleaning. Why stop there? Use it to clean your car and two-wheeler. (Caution : Do not use it to water your plants as the salt content is extremely high and can affect the pH balance of the soil). Here is a quick link to an article that has a list of great uses for RO reject water:-
Link: Reusing RO waste water
Personally I prefer to use a water purifier that does not work under the reverse osmosis method. There are a quite a few water purifiers that work well. Here is a link to the one I use and have received great results in terms of purity of water.
Link: Tata Water Purifier
5) Sustainable alternatives to menstrual hygiene products
Sustainable alternatives to menstrual hygiene products have always existed but their importance is being realized only recently. As a 20-year-old woman, fresh out of my teens, I made the conscious choice to shift to a routine that is safer for my body and the environment.
There are two main alternatives – Menstrual cups and cloth pads. (Please read about the correct method of usage and maintenance of these products to avoid discomfort)
Here is a link to my favourite destination for sustainable alternatives:
Make sure to read their blog posts in detail and know more about the importance of the issues their tackling.
This is it! I hope the list helps. Don’t shy away from doing your own research. Remember, parent and educator, you are your child’s role model. Don’t fail them this environment day.