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Small Changes By Us That Can Go a Long Way For Climate Consumerism is on the rise resulting in almost everything being overbought

By Manish Dabkara

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Growing up, life for most of us kids from the 80s and 90s was fairly simple and there was an inherent natural conditioning to make the most of everything. Fewer clothes were bought, we had fewer belongings and mostly everything was shared amongst siblings. Beverages came in glass bottles which when returned gave us some extra monies even as companies were quietly ensuring that the bottles were securely returned to them for recycling.

Many things came in glass bottles and these bottles were always up-cycled to store almost everything in the kitchen giving them a new purpose time and again. You might find some of these bottles in some homes even today. Snacking meant homemade indulgences and store-bought snacking was most usually local savories. There was one car for one family for homes that could afford and it was happily used amongst all members in a planned manner even as the cars became cherished family treasure and often stayed in the family for years together.

All this changed even as our consumption preferences evolved. Today, each one dreams of their personal car and wants to upgrade to bigger, better ones. And then there is one car per family member in a lot of homes and this is growing as we speak as everyone's purchasing power rises. Aerated drinks are sold in plastic bottles and even water is readily bought in plastic bottles so then there is plastic more everywhere.

Consumerism is on the rise and resulted in most everything being over bought and this has even given rise to new terms like "Konmari" on how to organize when you have so much! Even I am guilty of occasional mindless buying and reaching out for that aerated drink in a "plastic bottle" and I think if you and I can become a bit conscious, we can do so much for the planet.

Here are simple things that I try to practice more often and I would like to encourage you on this. This isn't a speech here but just a fellow human sharing thoughts on changes he trying to make for Mother Earth and may just help you:

Steel the deal: You know if you could all invest in a steel bottle and one steel straw, there is a just so much of plastic waste that we can stop right away with just that. And it surely isn't difficult for anyone to bag one of these. Gift them to family as well. Imagine if all of us carried water everywhere and refilled them when empty instead of reaching out for that plastic water bottle. Steel is a one time investment so one straw can last you a lifetime and that means a full stop to all those one-time use straws that are just so ignorantly consumed can stop.

Conscious buying before Konmari – Next time, when you are buying out your cart online during a sale or at a physical store, think if you really do need it. Spend a few minutes to see just how many times will you use it or will it just end up in a forgotten corner at home for you to have to then learn Konmari to declutter and organize. Clothes and other essentials bought ignorantly are actually amongst another kind of wastage that is deeply impacting the planet. Fashion industry today makes up 10% of the total carbon emissions, dries up water sources, and pollutes rivers and streams even as 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year (UNECE, 2018). You and I can help change this by just becoming conscious buyers.

Recycle and upcycle: There are many who are increasingly trying to decompose at home and growing their own home gardens in pursuit of becoming conscious. This requires a lot of effort and detailed work. A simpler way to become conscious is to recycle and up cycle whenever possible. So see if there are things you can recycle and give a new purpose before discarding it. Even clothes and other utilities, see if you can up cycle clothes or pass on things like toys amongst family.

Each drop matters: Lot has been said about saving water but seldom is a lot done. Trust me today, each drop of wasted water matters as many parts of the world continue to experience water scarcity and more of it is fast drying up. So yes, turn the tap off when you don't need it, take faster showers, and fix dripping taps in your home. Do you know that you can also conserve a lot of water used in the kitchen. Water used to wash vegetables or pulses can be collected to water plants, so can the water from RO filters be collected and used for other purposes within the house. Each drop matters and every drop saved is precious.

Walk the talk: Running a nearby errand, walk or cycle instead of driving down that 700meter or 1-2kms. Going up one floor, walk it up instead of calling for a lift all the way to you for just one floor. A lot of electricity can be saved. Heading out someplace, see if more of you can do that distance together. Buy more things locally and walk to get them.

None of these can be changed in a blink, it needs a conscious desire to make it an everyday practice, a habit that just is the way it is and needs no effort really. There are just many more things one can do if we put our heart and minds to it but at the heart of it all is a will to do it, to do it for Mother Earth. Do think about at least one thing that you can start doing today for a greener tomorrow. And most importantly, do it for yourself, yes do not do it for anyone else but for you and all your future generations for this is all we got, there really is no planet B!

Manish Dabkara

CMD & CEO of EKI Energy Services Ltd

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