How to Be Friends With Mother Nature
I always hold it true that nature can exist without us but we cannot exist without it. We are all dependent on it for everything. And although there are so many information drives and organizations, local and international, that are trying to create awareness and educate the masses about the alarming condition of our environment, going green just remains an idea for many, and that too, an issue that is not taken seriously. This is the case in most places where I have gone and stayed for months. It's sad really. And, I guess, it will remain only an idea, practiced by few, unless people choose to change themselves and those who are in higher offices are strictly put to task.
I tried telling our neighbors not to throw their plastics and other scraps near the river banks but they just couldn't get...the why should I not do it part. I stopped after telling them twice. If they are still capable in changing their thinking I would have not seen them doing the same. Well, what else can I do? Deep inside I revolt but I can't do it the big way. I have to accept that I don't have control over their actions, behavior and thinking. But what I do have is control over my actions. And I choose to continue what my husband and I have been doing ever since to keep our relationship with nature as friendly as possible. Here's what we do:
1. We separate biodegradable from non-biodegradable materials. I'd really want to think that everyone does this but no!
Vegetables and fruit peelings, tea remains, nut shells, food scraps (we usually don't have any since we see to it that no food goes to waste) go to the garbage bin under our sink. This bin is emptied every other day or whenever it's full and whatever is in there are spread out in our backyard (We generally choose a place to live where there is space like this). Spreading dries these items quickly thus avoiding that stinking, rotten smell. Then they'll serve as fertilizers in a week's time.
Plastics like wrappers or covers and anything that cannot be recycled are burnt. I can dispose them in a public bins, of course, so they will be taken to a particular place that the government has designated only for this purpose but the sight of these public bins is horrible. It's an area of mixed garbage. Bottles, diapers, rotten items, plastics, etc. Anything and everything is there...not only inside but outside as well. I even find cows grazing on these plastics and papers thinking cabbage leaves turned into something else. Worst part eh? And if I throw my plastics in there I know that some garbage guys will collect and throw them somewhere and they will either dump them the way they are or burn them too so I'd rather burn them myself to at least ensure that they are properly taken care of.
Bottles, tin cans and other items that cannot be burnt yet can be reused are held at home and hopefully some business-minded guy will turn up advertising he needs these items otherwise my husband and I will carry them to a place that accepts these items. Junk yards and junk trucks that collect and carry these things are just nowhere to be found around here.
2. We carry cloth bags whenever we go shopping and marketing. They're durable and washable, therefore reusable.
Since we cannot avoid the use of plastics (they seem to be always around the corner of every store), we try to lessen the use of it as much as possible. So we always carry cloth bags with us, which I hand-stitched myself. We also avoid keeping items, especially the soft ones like tomatoes, in plastic bags. Instead, we ask for paper cover which is made out of newspapers. India has banned the use of polythene bags but still many are not bothered at all. Old habits are hard to die, huh!
Alternative for cloth bags? Baskets!
3. We carry our own reusable water bottle when trekking or travelling. We avoid buying bottled water and any bottled drinks in any way we can. They are not just over-priced (as my husband calls it, their prices are as high as the Himalayas) but they also generate the largest amount of container waste, not only around here but everywhere. When we climbed Hemkund Sahib last year, the number of plastic water bottles and bottled and canned drinks was unimaginable and not properly taken care of.
When my husband goes for work he carries his own water bottle too.
4. We don't use refrigerator. We are vegetarian so our kitchen is only loaded mostly with fruits and vegetables. We avoid getting so many items at a time, especially those that are easy to get spoiled, to avoid wasting. This way, we almost always get fresh produce from the local farmers. I only cook once a day, at lunch, and when I do it will be just enough for my husband and I. No left over that needs refrigeration.
5. We utilize the internet in every possible way we can. No post mails, only e-mails. Bank statements are downloaded from the bank's site. Telephone bills are paid online. Train tickets are booked online and SMS is used as ticket instead of a print-out. We read news, download and read e-books on the internet. We download movies and music on the internet as well. Anything to avoid the use of paper.
6. We use car for marketing once a week. We live in a compound where the main market is around 2 kilometers away and even if we don't own a car we can request for one when we go for marketing. We only walk to town if we need to purchase items that can be hand-carried. It's also a form of exercise. Cycling could have been fun but not on the hills so we walk...a lot, instead. It's another best way to stay healthy.
7. Any electronic items like cellphones and computers are being utilized as much as possible. We don't buy things because we can afford. We buy things because they are needed. I am still using a cellphone which I bought in 2006. Our laptop is 3 years old and it's still working fine.
8. Lights and fans are turned on only when necessary. In April, May and June the weather here is just too hot to bear without using fans or cooler so fans are on only when we are there to use them. During these months our rooms are literally flooding because we pour water to the floor. It helps cooling the entire room only we need to be careful because it could be slippery.
Eight ideas...a few and not new, I know but I am sharing them here because I am proud to be doing all these and to let people, readers, know that going green is a serious matter to my husband and me and we really try to find more ways on how to protect and be more friendly to our only home, Planet Earth.
I hope that after reading this hub you, too, will do the same, if not more (if you are not yet doing any of the above). And if you already are, share them.