Ever since the term global warming was framed, we have talked a lot about reducing the use of all kinds of resources but people are still using more and more resources. Newer cars are bigger in size, those who used public transportation continue to use without new users, people find ways to use single-use items in the name of hygiene and the list goes endless. Satya Prakash Varanashi summed in his 15oth Green Sense post that unless we change, there can’t be any change. How can I not agree to him.
WALKING THE ECO-TALK
As we are reading this 150th essay in the Green Sense weekly column, let us look into ourselves as typical middle class urban residents: what is our first response to an ecological problem? Studying the problem looking for a solution or individually jump into an action trying to eliminate the problem itself?
The answer is obvious. Majority of us observe the issues, study the concerned matters, write notes, prepare reports, read them out, discuss in seminars and do many more such things. There would be dozens of policies and programmes towards solving the problem.
So, we become subject experts much before the problem actually gets blown into larger proportion. It all sounds very good, with no dearth of ideas.
So, are we on the path to save ourselves and the Earth? Unfortunately, no way!
We need to realise that however much we may talk about sustainability, our habits and actions just refuse to budge and change for the better. Contradictions abound us everywhere. When energy efficiency gets discussed in centrally air conditioned star hotels which consume humongous energy, we need to introspect how often we could have lived with natural air. When petrol consumption gets discussed in high-powered committees, we need to check how many of us have come by buses. While urban drinking water is in crisis, it will be interesting to see if we have switched over from water wash to dry mopping of our private vehicles to save water.
Contradictions continue. There is urban solid waste everywhere, but we do not carry water bottles to stop using packaged mineral water.
When the tea time comes, the cup does not matter – be it steel or plastic. If we carry the traditional hand kerchief, we can save on paper napkins, but we do not.
Month after month, can we switch on less light, use less bathing water, buy less of manufactured materials and naturally get used to the idea of less? Can we live happily without carrying home all the unwanted free things we get in shops, meetings, events, business dealings and festivals? Theoretically it is possible, but most of us do not bother to live with less but want more of everything. How many of us take a stand, refuse packaged water or tea from a plastic cup, hoping that when more people similarly refuse, the trend may change? Between the shining car and wasted drinking water, if we prefer shining car and do not feel guilty about it, do we deserve to talk about water conservation? If we are aware of climate change and carbon footprints, what are we doing to reduce our own carbon consumption?
Ecological crisis is a global problem, but rooted in individual consumption. It is time we all walk the talk of green sense and those who are already living green, talk the walk to inspire the rest of us.