This Diwali my Luv Kush decided not to burn crackers. My Ram didn’t mind. The house was sparkling clean and goddess Lakshmi was delighted. Sita’s mother was even more grateful that we were not adding smoke chemicals and fumes to her atmosphere. The house was filled with love, laughter, friends, family, games and happiness. I thought it was a splendid Diwali.
Considering that firecrackers were invented a few hundred years back and Ramji walked the earth a few thousand years back…. How do you think Ayodhya vasis welcomed them? With lamps and flowers or the noise and pollution of firecrackers?
Since when did Hinduism become connected with using fire crackers on Diwali. Wasn’t it always about cleaning the home to welcome goddess Lakshmi, praying to Ganesha for knowledge and prosperity, lighting lamps to welcome Ram; share love and joy with family and friends? In the coming winter months when most of North India will be choking because of smoke from crop burning, fog, smog, ozone and garbage fires, is it sensible to continue burning chemical crackers under the garb of celebrating Diwali?
It is true that one day’s lifestyle change won’t influence the environment and we must act throughout the year for the environment. These are the things I have been doing to reduce my carbon footprint on earth.
1. Segregating my waste: I ensure that 270 apartments in my condominium are segregating their waste and our output to the landfill is now 10% of what we were sending last year. No littering either.
2. In house composting: We’re composting all our kitchen and garden waste so that it doesn’t get mixed in the landfills by casual ecogreen workers. Also our building’s garden does not need chemical fertilizers.
3. E waste disposal: I’ve ensured that all battery operated and electric operated equipment does not reach the landfill and is disposed of safely by government approved e-waste handlers.
4. Saving water: we have installed water saving nozzles in all house taps,and we don’t let RO waste water or any other tap water get wasted.
5. Minimalistic shopping: I have reduced shopping to one tenth of what I used to do, and find myself buying necessities not desires.
6. Reducing non vegetarian food: I haven’t become vegan yet but have reduced non vegetarian eating to about twice a month compared to thrice a week earlier.
7. No single use plastic: I absolutely refrain from using any form of single use plastic – bags, spoons, bottles or straws.
8. Planting trees: I have been trying to grow trees and plants in the limited space I have with me.
9. Eco -friendly travel: I try to carpool,walk,cycle use the metro whenever possible. Also the train instead of flight for shorter distances of travel.
10. Buying local: seasonal fruits and vegetables, purchased from the local mandi, not wrapped in plastic! We also try not to waste any food, cooked or raw!
11. No honking: Its a habit to drive without using the horn so that ambient noise on the road reduces along with it the risk of stress,road rage, deafness and heart attacks.
12. Going Solar: installing solar panels in our buildings to reduce usage of fossil fuel based electricity.
13. Raising eco-aware children: the next generation will bear the consequences of our deeds. Am training the kids towards their environmental responsibilities so that the Earth has better citizens.
We all need to start if we haven’t already. One hears staunch criticism that unless you stop using ACs, cars and non veg food you have no business to talk about the environment.We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need 7 billion people doing zero waste imperfectly. If you can contribute to reducing your carbon footprint everyday that is a huge contribution to the world.
And I know one thing, the God’s won’t mind.
Dr. Sarika Verma