Many of us have considerable clarity about things that we will/need to pay attention to and those that we need not. Our health, children, cleanliness, food intake, investments, etc., are some of those items that we always keep focus on and need not be reminded of while engaging in our day to day activities. However, things such as cleanliness on the roads, saving electricity, not littering around, giving way to the pedestrians first, not misusing the water supply, etc., are some of the things we are barely explicitly conscious of. For many of us the world outside the confines of our home / our own immediate possessions is not something which we willingly claim to own or choose to take ownership of.
My own thought process was similar to what I have just written while I was growing up but soon I realized that what I wanted from within the confines of my home I wanted to see that kind of order and system and cleanliness in the world that existed outside. I also began to question my own ways of ‘spending’ and realized that if I was being frugal about the use of my money why did I not care about other things that I spent like water and electricity? The more I reflected on my own habits and my interaction with the world around I began to change the way I transacted with the world outside because I understood that what was outside me did belong to me in some way regardless of whether I rose to claim it or not. That is when I began make changes as to how I treated the world outside my own home and steered my efforts on making my environment in which I and many of my fellow humans are inhabiting, a little better than what it already is.
Here are some small ways in which I transact with the world outside, with the hope that a small effort from my side will motivate a few souls to do the same. If this means some conversions within my most immediate circle of people, that itself is a great going I think!
Plastic bags: I hate to see them lying and flying all over. I see young women, parents, men, children (who study all about EVS in their schools) taking to plastic bag as if it is the most natural thing to do like drinking water when you are thirsty. All these 21st century ‘aware’ individuals do not mind taking a plastic bag for something as small as a bar of soap / a small bottle of shampoo! Vendors will definitely lure you with free bags because they want to sell their stuff, but can’t we just prepare ourselves a little better when we carry our purses and handbags while leaving our homes? Well how much does it ‘weigh’ to carry a big / small plastic reusable bag to tuck it into our handbag or our laptop bags so that when we accidentally need to buy something we are well equipped? I for one will always carry at least 2 plastic bags whenever I am out – that ways I am happy that I did not add to the already plastic bag filled neighborhood or city that I live in
Garbage bags: you might find this strange but I do not change my garbage bags everyday maybe twice /thrice a week at best. While it is sure needed in big households, we can possibly think of reducing the use of garbage bags if we run a smaller household if possible.
Water from the washing machine: The days I wash clothes I will collect the water from the drainage pipe and make sure I use it to wash the 2 balconies that I have. It is awesome to see how the discarded not so clean but little soapy water cleans my balconies just the way I want them to without using an extra drop of water!
Water from RO filter machine: The RO water filter while is a boon, in many ways it is a bane too as the amount of water that is filtered the machine drains out double the water. So instead of wasting the drained water I fill the buckets and make sure I use it to either water my plants, wash some clothes which I do not wash in the machine, use it to wash the toilets, or simple manage to mop the floors of my house with that water.
Electricity: this is something many of us do – but I literally obsess over it – not a happy thing for people around me but I guess I have come to a point where I do not get affected by other people squirming when I ask them to save as much as possible. So typically TV is switched off, no lights / or a single bulb lit when we go out in the evening, no fans on where no one is around or for that matter even the mosquito repellent machine is off when I am around. This habit of mine goes with me no matter where I am my own house, my office or someone else’s house!
Littering: Many of us who have been to a foreign country we admire how their cities are so clean and neat while ours is not, worse we do practice their norms of cleanliness when in those countries but not in our own because we think we are entitled to keep it ugly and unclean because we do not have to pay a fine. I have taken the liberty and the wrath of many while educating a co-passenger in the BMTC bus, or a colleague in an office or a child in my society to pick up the things they have dropped or not cared to put in the dustbin. It does not embarrass me a bit to bring to the notice of many of these educated souls about their manners on waste disposal while being in public places.
While I am told that I obsesses too much about ‘mother earth’ and how we all treat it, I for one do not think that any amount of obsessing for that matter is bad. Rather I worry about all those who are just too busy, apathetic or oblivious to care about their own surroundings. My only hope in writing this is to let all my educated friends young and old know that they are empowered to make a difference in the way things exists around them with a little bit of their attention and restrain.