New year resolutions to 'save the world' - we can do a lot more!
There is a lot more we can do for the environment besides taking pride when the children make drawings on the subjects such as ‘save trees’ or ‘save environment’. Here is what could be our very own seven-point New Year resolutions to save the world–resolutions to ‘be the change we want to see in the world’:
1. Engage yourself with the environment debate - search, read, explore about the environmental issues. Involve yourself, engage yourself first in understanding and then making up your mind to do something about the issue.
2. Live as per the weather - Wear seasonal clothes, eat seasonal food. Avoid cooling yourself unnecessarily. Choose a house with ample light and wind, it will save your energy bills for the life time.
3. Sensible use of transport energy - Walk where you can, cycle if you are alone, motorbike is for the double ride, rickshaw is for the triple ride, use cars for four people and bigger cars/SUVs for large families. Be smart about your air travel and avoid the unnecessary ones, take trains for longer distances – it’s fun! Demand bonus for using public transport from your boss, if you are a boss - give the bonus to the public transport users. Do not resist parking charges to park your vehicles on roads – it is an act of ‘privatising’ public space! Do a campaign for better public transport, good walking/cycling infrastructure, more green spaces around your house and give your vote to such ‘green’ parties in the local elections!
4. First local then global - use more and more local materials, food and groceries. If you like local cheese, don’t go for the Swiss. If you can live with Ambaji’s marble, don’t import them from Italy. Eat a local burger, don’t fall for the American wheat and the French lettuce. Make a small garden and make your house green... even if you just have a little balcony.
5. Adopt green technologies - They will be in vogue if we use them! Use wind energy, solar energy where you can. Conserve rain water. Don’t use clean, potable water for gardening or to wash your motorbike and car(s). Use water miserly, get a plumber and fix that leaking tap.
6. Re-use and re-cycle - make a quilt out of the old saris and a shopping bag out of old shirts and use them with pride. Do the same with the food and don’t waste it. Don’t buy things with lot of packaging. Demand green products from the companies.
7. Be content - Don’t buy everything sold to you. Seek a great joy if you are not being sold anything. Go for shopping after eating, you will buy less. If you are depressed meet your friends instead of going for shopping to pamper yourself. Don’t fall for sentimental consumerism of all things!
Many of these ideas have been very much part of our lives but they are being forgotten slowly. Saving environment is actually saving that lifestyle which taught us to be fair, balanced and not be too extravagant in consuming resources. If we build our life around such ideas (which you will, if you explore the environmental issues) then you will not only add your two pence in climate change mitigation and adaptation but also change your lifestyle for the better. A new year is the best time to be ‘naively’ optimistic about the small acts, when they are multiplied by millions, can transform the world.
(28th December, 2015: DNA Ahmedabad edition, Cities Supplement, Page 5)