I have been fortunate to have been surrounded by people with a strong passion and belief in living a more sustainable life and caring for all the other inhabitants of our planet. This has, among other things, led to my interest in bird-watching and, in general, a love for nature and outdoors.
As the world’s (human) population continues to rise, along with consumption, we all know that it is posing a huge strain on the finite resources of our planet. I believe that each one of us, in our own individual capacity, can play a role in preserving our environment. Here are a few practices that we, as a family, are trying to adopt. These are simple things that I would encourage everyone to think about.
- Eat fresh and local – Not only is this the healthier option, but we can also save on food miles spent in transporting fruits and vegetables long distances.
- Store and re-use overflow from RO water filters – Many households in urban India would have a RO (Reverse Osmosis) filter to purify the tap water and make it fit for consumption. These, unfortunately, waste a huge amount of vital water. A simple tactic that we have adopted is to save the overflow water in a container with a tap at the bottom and then use this for cleaning purposes.
- Have a bucket bath – This was a tough one for me, especially. But I have not had a shower for over a year now. Not only am I saving water, but also time!
- Carry a water bottle while traveling – Single-use plastics are a bane. And disposable water bottles are one of the largest culprits. We always carry a couple of water bottles while we are traveling and refill it from any available source. I think that we might have purchased only a couple of bottles in the past year and that was also when we were traveling to a remote location, ran out of water and could not find any source of potable water.
- Carry re-usable straws – It would be ideal to avoid the use of straws altogether (it’s not impossible). But if you have to use one, please buy a non-disposable one made of bamboo or metal and carry it with you.
- Carry your own take-away boxes when you are eating out – Rather than requesting the restaurant to pack your take-away food in their own containers, we carry a couple of food storage boxes with us when we visit a restaurant.
- Practise home composting – My wife is passionate about gardening and composting. We have a composting set-up in our home that consumes all our food waste and provides manure to our home garden.
- Use public or shared transport as much as possible – We have not owned a car in 4 years now. Yes, we do use app-based taxis, but for solo travel, we either use public transport or shared transport. Auto-rickshaws (in India) mostly run on gas which is significantly lesser polluting than petrol or diesel.
- Strive for a more minimalist lifestyle – This is pretty much Work in Progress for us, but we are consciously trying to reduce wasteful consumption. Just because we can afford something should never be the reason to purchase anything. Rather, the question we should be asking is what benefit is the item going to be provided and trying hard to see if that benefit could not be obtained from existing products or human effort. Also, what do you do with items that you no longer need? Can these be reused in any way rather than just dumping as garbage?
- Spend more time outdoors – This is something that I would like us to do more. For your next holiday or short weekend, can you go to a place that lets you be closer to pure, unpolluted nature? I would especially request parents of small children to try and take such nature holidays. If holidays are not possible, can you take them for nature walks near your place of residence? Most Indian towns and cities would have some nature club or passionate individuals organising nature walks. Not only would it be a different outing for the family compared to visiting a mall or movie theatre, but it can also be very educative. And hopefully, it will instill a love for nature and a desire to protect it for future generations in the kids.
What are the different ways in which you are trying to lead a more sustainable life? Please let me know in the comments.