Green Thoughts for MOTHER EARTH :: By Jayakrishnan VK, IFS
These scenes are routine for me in our city of temple and lakes- Udaipur, in every morning walk starting from a section of people throwing wastes to nearby Govt. buildings/roadsides, spitting after brushing in the morning like a regular inevitable bad practice with sadistic satisfaction, ladies throwing kitchen and other wastes to newly build roadsides like giving job to municipality sweepers,over flow of bathroom wastes and sewages near the roads,people washing utensils in the waste water even near the popular DM road and Rajarshi building. Many such frames are hard to describe in words…Many at times I thought to transform the title in my mind about erstwhile capital of Tripura from City of lakes to ‘City of breeding ground of pathogens’ or the ‘labour room of mosquitoes’ whatever suit to be…Through good green habits we can contribute and snowball to a good dream where Udaipur become the cleanest and green city of Tripura. Here we can go through some tips for environmental conservation separately as(1)Green thoughts/habits for Children and (2)Green thoughts/habits for Adult.
I. Green thoughts/habits for Children
Recently the Forest department celebrated the “World Turtle day”[may 23rd] first time in the history of Tripura at Matabari-Udaipur and this function witnessed great interest and participation of school students. They are really inquisitive and they want to know various environmental issues in this meeting. They are the easily motivated sections in our society. I feel that not only the future of Udaipur,the whole Tripura’s destiny in their hands only and perhaps they will make our cities green and make Tripura 100% pollution free in future.It is hard to make transformation among adults but easy to make those in children.Hence the youth and school kids will definitely turn the colour ofTripura from brown[representing greediness towards natural resource], to green[colour of eco-friendly life style].So I am enlisting few points to transform children to be eco-friendly.
The people who do the most to help the environment are the ones who know the most about it. That’s why it’s important to start your child learning about the world around them early. While you should do your best to teach them on your own, you can also get some help from the experts. One weekend visit to Protected areas like Trishna WLS/Sepahijala zoo will definitely sparks their young minds and hence expose them to the value of the forest,wildlife and rich biodiversity of Tripura and also conservation issues.This is really required in the current scenario of deforestation ,diversions of forests for NH-44 and NF-Railways. The families should plan visit o natural areas to feel nature instead of regular shopaholic city riding and picnic parties with loud music disturbing others and wildlife. These nature trips can be a valuable resource in helping small children start to learn about the environment and to expand their knowledge about outside Tripura as they get older.Take them to a class/exhibition/work shop about local herbs, organic cooking,bee keeping and gardening.
Most of the schools in Tripura is mainly focusing on class room studies only but the entire world has realized the importance of pragmatic way of learning by doing /co-curricular activities.Hence active Nature clubs and eco-clubs are vital for a state with large forest cover and unique wild life.Get your child involved in nature studies and hobbies like bird watching and also in volunteering for cultivating leadership and comradeship qualities. Many areas offer volunteer organizations for teens and young adults. The first place to look is with the places where you found classes for young children. The most important part is that your child gets involved on a larger scale than just within your family. This also helps them meet other people their age and make friends with those who also care about environmental issues. While children will inevitably be resistant to volunteering and doing extra work at some point or another, they will still gain an appreciation for their environment that will last their whole lives. Who knows….they may be the solution and the change we are all looking for.
One of the easiest ways to teach kids about being good stewards of the earth is to teach them not to be consumers!!! Don’t buy new whenever you can avoid it, buy what is already out there in use. Buying used clothing and toys is one of the best ways to buy recycled materials as second hand items have just been recycled by their previous owners so that someone else can use them and give them a new life. Instead of buying new clothes and toys why not save money and planetary resources by shopping for previously loved items. If your kids ask why you don’t buy new just tell them that you are all doing your part to help reduce stress on Mother Earth.
Teach kids from an early age that conserving resources such as energy and water is important. Have them help you build a cistern or a rain water collection system so that you can capture rainfall and to use during droughts or for watering the garden and indoor plants. It can be game for them to monitor how fast the water accumulates.
Stress the importance of turning off all lights and electrical appliances when not in use. Plug TVs, DVD units, CD players, video games etc… into one power strip and have them turn it off after each use. Small reminder signs can be made and placed near exit ways or on remote controls to help them remember to do this.Reduce the number of electronic gadgets and a common TV with proper time table for kids by providing time for good documentaries or wild life related channels.All of these small steps can make a big impact. Of course the biggest impact might be on our children as we teach them that living in harmony with our blue planet and keeping it beautiful is important. Society today is becoming apathetic to the world around us. In developed countries many children in particular are more concerned with playing the latest video game and don’t really pay much attention to the environment around them. It is not a serious issue in Tripura but we should be proactive and to take precautions in future .The individuals without interest and caring about nature are having nature deficit disorder and it can be hard to get them to show an interest in the natural world, but you can get them to care if you start early and take small steps. It will not matter whether your religion and tribe /non-tribe.We are all Homosapiens sapiens and the experts are telling that an evolved man will come in future called Homosapiens futuris with good concern about nature.You may not make a difference overnight, but you may just make a difference in the future of the planet. Don’t let your children become adults who care more about acquiring and purchasing “things”,pocket money, entertaining themselves, and in general keeping up with the cartoon and videogame heroes. It is necessary to impart good qualities and raise kids who care about this planet,the country and the small but sweet and prosperous green ‘Tripura’ we share. It will not matter whether you are from Bengali or English medium ,the only truth is your good behavior which will contribute in transforming a good society. You need to walk first then only child. You can tell your children to respect the environment all you want, but you’re not going to get anywhere if you don’t practice what you preach. Follow the practices of refusing, reducing, reusing, and recycling. Use natural and environmentally friendly products, especially re-usable. Get involved with local organizations that help protect the environment and preserve patches of nature.Once you’re involved in eco friendly practices, start getting your kids to help as soon as you can You can have them help you build a compost pile/vermin-compost[Govt. agencies will give you inputs to make vermin-composting techniques in Tripura ] and be responsible for taking out kitchen scraps every day. Encourage them to watch movies and documentaries with environmental themes.
Teach respect for the outdoors. This can start in your own backyard. Help kids plant a garden or tree.Try to make them understand the work of MGNREGA plantations common in Tripura and species of tree saplings planted in your area – Udaipur,Teliamura or any area.Set up bird feeders, a birdbath&birdhouses for enabling them to make more love bond with nature. On a larger scale, you can plan family vacations that focus on the great outdoors. Perhaps a summer trip will make changeand is according to the time and budget of the family.Plan trips to Ecoparks like Baramura,Tepania or even Jampui hills or Shillong/Aiswal or even Newdelhi. Shorter trips might include a day at a state or national park. Even a couple days at mesmerizing place like Trishna WLS can offer plenty of opportunities for you to point out and discuss the plants and animals[like Butterfly garden-Trishna WLS] you see and why it's important to protect their habitats.
Categorize Waste and Recycle. Recycling is never a chore when it’s easier than throwing something away. Place paper recycling bins in convenient locations all over the office, like right next to copiers and mail boxes. Keep clearly labeled bins in several central locations such as break rooms. Everywhere there is a trash can, there should be a recycling bin. Recycling is easy, and in some communities, mandatory. Check with your local recycling office and be sure you know all the rules. Some communities allow co-mingling — all recyclables can be placed in one container — while others require sorting into separate containers. You may need bins for each type of recyclable: one for plastic, one for glass, one for paper, and one for cans. Kids can sort (and rinse, if necessary) items, place them in the correct bins, and take the containers out to the curb for collection. After the bins have been emptied, ask your kids to rinse them out (if they're dirty) and bring them back into the house or garage.
Drink your own water. Bottled water is expensive and, experts say, not any cleaner or safer than tap water. In Tripura high iron content is an issue pulling people to go for mineral water.In fact, much bottled water is actually tap water that has been filtered. The water that comes out of “desi filters” in Tripura is extremely safe. Municipal water supplies are monitored constantly and the test results made public.
Start a home or kitchen garden and involve kids everyday that will make the family life more beautiful and impart green thoughts to young sprouting minds.If you are still feeling that there is no enough time to spent with your kids to teach such green thoughts because of your job/business then remember your child development in reality urges guidance and green inputs instead of piles of currencies and bank balances.Then only they become contributors instead of consumers to Mother earth.
II.Green thoughts for Adults:
Being environmentally friendly simply means having a lifestyle that are better for the environment. It is all about taking small steps towards mother earth so as to make this planet a better place for our communities and generations to come and also to support other species. A good way would be to start with conserving water, using energy resources less and walking more, , buying recycled products, eating locally grown vegetables, joining with forest department activities and environmental groups to combat pollution, creating less waste, planting more trees and many more. Learning to be more environmentally friendly is easier than you think. You don’t have to jump in by changing everything, start small things to make the changes more sustainable and a part of yournormal life. Here are few thoughts and ways you can begin to become more environmentally friendly.
1.Plant Trees:Trees are necessary for us to survive. They give oxygen, fruits, clean the air, provide shelter to wildlife, prevent soil erosion. A shady landscape around your home can help you to reduce consumption of energy and keep your home cool even during summers. Plant small trees around your home, don’t cut them unless it’s necessary, work with local environmental groups to plant more trees and educate others about the positive aspects of it.
2.Practice Conservation:At least once in a day ,think about nature and will remind and self introspect about saving water and energy resources.With your new awareness of how natural resources are used in your life start to practice conservation. This can be as simple as turning off the lights as you leave a room and as complex as making different choices when it comes to building your home. Learn here more about 15 green home building techniques.
3.Become More Aware of Resources: Start by living with a greater awareness of the resources that you use in your daily life. Pay attention to how you choose to heat, to travel, to use water and use products that were made by manufacturing practices. Awareness is what will allow you to then begin to make environmentally friendly choices.
4.Conserve Water:Tripura is blessed with large number of wetnds and freshwater resources but the high iron content and pollution of rivers and lakes are noticeable.Udaipur ,my city is otherwise called city of lakes of North east.But the drinking water is nota abundant and there is a need to control pollution in dighis especially at Amarsagar and Dhoniasagar.Water needs to be conserved as lot of energy is required to pump water from rivers or lakes into your home. Conserving water reduces the amount of energy that is needed to filter it. Few ways to conserve water are – take short showers, fix leaking pipes, keep the running tap close while you brush your teeth, recycle water in your home, use water saving appliances, collect rainwater in a rain barrel to water your lawn.
5.Buy Locally Grown Products:Any area in Tripura is rich in variety of vegetables . An easy way to reduce your carbon footprint is to buy locally grown products. When you shop locally instead of buying products that were shipped from far away, you are actually supporting local farmers and Tribes of Tripura. Apart from this, you can follow organic farming practices and can grow food on your own backyard and can sell surplus to your friends.
6.Reduce Use of Harmful Chemicals:The use of harmful pesticides should be strictly avoided and the waste disposal measures also efficient. Hazardous chemicals like paint, oil, ammonia and other chemical solutions when disposed openly, can cause pollution in the air and water as these chemicals can seep into the groundwater. The polluted air and water can have serious consequences on human health. They should be disposed off to a toxic waste site for safe disposal.Use white cement instead of paints for new buildings.
7. 3 R’s of Waste Hierarchy: The 3 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) waste hierarchy is the order of priority of actions to be taken to reduce the amount of waste generated and to improve overallwaste management processes and programs. Reduce simply means reducing what is produced and what is consumed. Reuse items for a different purpose instead of sending them to landfills.To recycle something means that it will be transformed again into a raw material that can be shaped into a new item. Buy Recycled Products: When you go out for shopping, try to buy products from market that are made up of recycled materials with minimal packaging i.e. the product should be environment friendly. Look into manufacturing processes to check if it was made from recycled materials or the use of plastics or chemicals was involved in its production.
8. Composting: Composting is an easy process that takes remains of plants and kitchen waste and converts it into rich nutrient food for your plants that helps them grow. It reduces the amount of garbage that goes to the landfills which pollutes the air. This way it proves safe for the environment.Think about small vermicompost units with terracotta or discarded wooden tomato boxes.
9. Stop Littering: One of the common sight that we see everyday on streets is seeing people littering on roads. One of the ways to keep the environment and surrounding clean around you is to stop people from littering on roads. Instead, educate them to put trash and garbage in dustbins. The pile of garbage on road hampers the beauty of city and also pollutes the air.
10. Join Environment Groups and participate in celebrations by Forest department –Tripura ,like Van mahotsava.: You may find different environmental groups in your city with whom you can join hands to protect mother earth and make the environment clean. You can also pull your friends and relatives and ask them for a helping hand.
11. Protect Wild life inside and also outside forest area: Human activity is leading to extinction of endangered species and habitats. Protect places like wetlands[Rudrasagar]and forests that are habitats for aquatic animals and fishes. Join hands with local forest department to protect animal habitat.The matabari-kalyansagar lake is having Black soft shell turtle [Nilssonia nigricans]protected because of temple premises.What about other fresh water turtle species in Tripura.The flap shell turtle [Lyssemis punctata]getting slaughtered in markets like Jampuijala and even in the fish market of the temple city- Udaipur.Avoid buying turtle meat and rare fishes and also very small fingerlings.
12. Educate Yourself and make awareness to relatives and friends: Educate others about the importance of living an eco-friendly life. The more people share an awareness of the importance of the environment, the more we can do together to conserve it. There is always more you can do to make your business more sustainable. Keep up with environmental news and green business trends to identify areas you can improve on
13.Build Your Office Green: If you’re lucky enough to be able to afford an office remodel, go green from the floor to the skylights. Use eco-friendly flooring options made from renewable or recycled materials. Use sustainable fabrics made from hemp or bamboo for window coverings, or get them second hand. Lengths of bamboo make great curtain rods, too. Get lots of green building ideas at Green Building Elements. . Make your own checklist of green business practices to implement and set deadlines for crossing them off your list. Share green news and tips with your co-workers, employees, and clients. Making yourself an “expert” on sustainability will not only build your green brand, but it will earn respect from potential clients, customers, and your peers. Of course I’m biased, but I can’t think of a better resource than Ecopreneurist for green business tips, so check back often to learn how to keep your business on the path to sustainability.
Celebrate days like Swacch bharath and DoNER Day not just for an instruction from your seniors but the main target should be transformation of human minds in to green.
14.Clean green: Many natural products can replace commercial — and possibly hazardous — cleaning preparations. Just a few examples: to deodorize carpets, sprinkle them with baking soda, wait 15 minutes and then vacuum.
15.Eco-friendly cosmestics:Change the habit of using sunthetic cosmetics Shoe flower or china rose is better than any shampoo and all cosmetics can be replaced by natural alternatives.Even lemon skins are better than cleaning agents.
16.Use Less Fossil Fuel Based Products: Find out what products and consumables you use that are made using fossil fuel based products and processes and use them less or replace them in your life.Save LPG,CNG and other petroleum products by minimum usage.
17. Go Digital with Your Documents :A great way to reduce paper use and get contracts and documents signed more quickly is to use electronic signatures. Adobe Acrobat Professional allows you to sign PDF files digitally, as well as create PDF documents with signature fields for clients to sign.
18.Printing Less Stuff: Using Less Paper Paper makes up about 35% of our waste stream – even though it’s one of the easiest materials to re-use and recycle! You can help reduce this waste by using as little paper as possible, and being smart about the paper you do use. First of all, you don’t need to print every e-mail. Just organize your inbox to make e-mails easier to find and reference. You can encourage others not to print your e-mails as well. Make back-up copies of important files and e-mails and keep them on an external drive, instead of storing boxes of paper files. When you do need to print important documents, make sure you use a sustainable paper[like sugar cane waste paper in Tamilnadu- TNPL], and set your printer or copier to print on both sides of the page.
19. Pull that Plug: You aren’t working all hours of the night (at least I hope not), so why does your computer need to be on? Turn off everything you possibly can before you leave the office each day. Please plug your computer, printer, external hard drive, and other office gadgets into one power strip, so you can just turn it off to make sure none of my appliances are secretly pilfering energy. I also program my computer to turn off automatically at a certain time each night, just in case I forget. You can also set your monitor to turn off after a few minutes of inactivity. And never leave things like cell phone chargers plugged in when you’re not using them. They still draw energy, regardless of whether there’s anything plugged into them. Speaking of energy efficiency, make sure you stock your office with energy-saving appliances and compact florescent light bulbs.
20. Work With Like-Minded Companies: Chances are, there are businesses in your area that are also going green or certified green. Network with them and use their services when you need them. Part of being a green business is making sure that you do your best to ensure that your supply chain is green, too. Seek out green vendors for your needs especially for Govt. agencies involved in Tender and quotations.
21. Change Your Travel Habits: Driving and flying are two areas where you can make a real impact with environmentally friendly practices. Choose fuel efficient travel options, travel less and try to pick more direct routes to save on fuel. If your office is near your home, try to ride a bicycle instead of a car.
22. One Word: Freecycle! Need some shelves for your office and don’t have a budget for new furnishings? You never know what you might find on freecycle. One person’s junk is definitely another’s treasure. If you have a large company, you could even organize an office-wide barter party, where everyone brings items they don’t use any more to swap for things they might need from others. When you upgrade your office equipment after years of use, pass it on if it’s still useful. List it on freecycle or donate it to a charity that may need it.
23. E-Waste management:In addition to recycling the usual paper, cans, and bottles in the office, don’t forget about the e-waste that is so essential to businesses and so toxic to the environment. When old electronic equipment finally bites the dust, don’t just toss it, but make it company policy to recycle everything you can. Recycling for Charities makes recycling e-waste like cell phones, cameras, and palm pilots a breeze – and you can choose which charity gets the proceeds from your recycled electronics! Accept offers like take-back programs for old computers, so make use of them.
In addition there are many other green thoughts to share .Self-service on all serving lines to promote “take what you want, but eat what you take”.Napkins put in baskets on table so you take what you need.Decreased trash barrel size to use a smaller garbage bag – this will enable us to utilize more of the garbage bag.Shutdown all refrigeration that is not being used during the summer months.Offer permanent ware and/or plastic reusable baskets during trips so that avoid throwing to wastebin.By doing all these we will definitely reduce our carbon footprint and contribute to the divine arena of conserving mother earth.
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