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World Environment Day

Every year, June 5th is celebrated as World Environment Day. We see loads of people who are actually becoming aware of the environment and hence taking baby steps in saving Mother Earth.

The environment is something with which we have been blessed with, naturally. So to us humans, it comes across as just another thing. This attitude of ours has led to degradation of the soil, oceans, forests and there is a definite increase in man-made calamities these days.

Water shortages and scanty rainfall are just a few of the symptoms that the environment has started giving us now. This, in turn, is an indication of the earth, that as humans if we don’t mend our ways, we would be heading towards our own doom only.

One of the most life-threatening issues which have come up in recent times is the blatant use of plastics by humans. Most of the human waste which includes single-use plastic is finding its way into oceans and choking up the marine life. No wonder we see whales being washed on the shore. This rarely happened 15- 20 years ago! It is sad that it has become a common sight on beaches these days.

There are a lot of us who have brought major changes in our lifestyle. All of this so that our children still see the same animals we have grown up watching. So that they do not turn extinct. Baby steps are something which will have greater domino effects and like they always say- ‘Charity begins at home’. So if you want to save the environment start by incorporating small changes at home.

We got in touch with Nayantara and Yaman to speak about their lifestyle and the changes they think would impact the environment in a positive way.

 

INTERVIEW

We first got in touch with Nayantara, who has 10 years of experience in the HR domain and is now an active blogger. I find her daily activities with baby T quite amusing and what makes me feel proud of that fact that she is my friend is that she takes the environment very seriously. Most of us get apprehensive of taking even small steps. Nayantara went one step ahead and adopted cloth diapering when her son was just 3 months old. (Not easy-eh)

MylifeMykids (MLMK): Tell us something about yourself and your family?
Nayantara (N): We are a very normal nuclear family – husband, 2.5-year-old Tasmai and me, living in a metro city, waiting for the weekends. My husband works in the corporate sector and the demands of his job mean that we see very less of him around our home. But that doesn’t stop us from living life to the fullest and exploring new experiences, cooking, eating and making music together.

MLMK: When was the first time you actually felt a need towards doing your bit for the environment? And why? (was there any specific incident behind it)?
N: I used to roll my eyes at the kinds of people who would stop to ask if something was eco-friendly or not. But as with many things, once baby T arrived in our life, we began to feel more responsible for the legacy we would be leaving behind for our children. It all started with disposable diapers and when I saw that a newborn baby can go through up to 10 or more diapers in a single day, I realized how much of non-degradable trash we were accumulating in landfills. The happy answer was cloth diapers and I think becoming an addicted user and then being a CD advocate helped change my perspective on a lot of things.

Protect our EARTH today, for our children’s TOMORROW

MLMK: What was the first thing you did in taking a step towards a greener environment and a better Earth?
N: Cloth diapering my baby without falling back on a single disposable was the biggest step. This meant we cloth diapered out of the house, for nights and even on vacation (I have a great blog post on this.) The related areas also crept in soon enough – no single-use plastics to carry stuff -> use wet bags instead. No detergents/ disinfectants which pollute water reserves -> use natural detergent instead. These were some of the first steps which slowly led to many more changes in our lifestyle.

We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment.- Margaret Mead

MLMK: We have often heard, that making the step is not easy as we get so used to certain things in our day to day life, that taking it out one fine day, looks like mission impossible. How did you achieve it?
N: Yes it was certainly hard. I recollect that as long as there were disposable diapers in the house someone wouldn’t think twice before using them on baby T. So one day when they ran out, I did not refill it. I left people with no option but to learn to use cloth diapers. And I think this forced me also into giving my 100% commitment and at the same time prodded me to seek more ways of living a sustainable life.

MLMK: What are the different ways in which you have adopted a sustainable lifestyle at your home or your workplace?
N: No plastic bags at home. We use wet bags or cloth bags. We have stopped newspaper subscription – save some trees.
I try not to use kitchen tissue paper – I have lots of pretty cloth napkins for wipes and spills. Similarly stopped buying toilet paper – use cloth instead.
Sustainable menstruation – use of cloth pads instead of disposable sanitary pads. This one has been tough but I think I’ve reached a long way ahead in this.
Switched to natural ingredient detergents for clothes, washing dishes and floor cleaners.

Switched to shampoos and bath products which are free of sulfates, silicones or microbeads (as in face washes with microbeads) as they can really pollute water reserves and harm marine life.

When we heal the Earth, we heel ourselves- David Orr.

No straws – use a glass instead or drink straight from the bottle. I haven’t invested in steel straws as I know it will not break the straw habit if I do. Why do we need straws anyway?

Use steel bottles and steel plates for our child both at home and in school. My childhood food plates are getting a new use.

Toys – minimalism: don’t encourage buying lots of toys. If we do, it is now wooden open-ended toys.

Overall reduced shopping – trying to adopt a minimal way of living, which is little difficult but aiming to get there.

Using the OPOS method to cook – uses less fuel and energy, food is more nutritious.

Saving water – I have a detailed blog post on this.

The future will either be Green or Not At all- Bob Brown

MLMK: Is there anything else you are planning to do in the near future as part of this lifestyle?
N: I really wish I could also say no to brands and products which are not eco-conscious. It is difficult to do this as I don’t have the bandwidth to look for sustainable companies or cannot afford the ones who are eco. I really wish to be eco-conscious also means more affordable for the general public. I am very upset with brands who say they are indigenous and use sustainable means and then charge a bomb for their products. Blocking a huge segment of the general public from buying and using your product only defeats your bigger purpose.

MLMK: Is there any message you want to give to parents out there, who are apprehensive about adopting the little changes which help the Earth even in a tiny way?
N: It is our moral responsibility to raise children who are caring, responsible and sensible. This applies to their relationship with the planet and environment too. It is better to catch them young and sensitize them at this age rather than attempt to break a habit in future. And most importantly you can’t just say it and expect them to follow; you have to be the example. Make changes in your own life first and let them be inspired too.

Things like cloth diapering and using sustainable methods is difficult indeed, but you don’t have to be 100% in or 100% out. Even using 2 diapers less will help the earth. Every step you take is valuable. What is important is you make that change.

Next, we got in contact with Yaman. Yaman is a full-time working mom. Apart from this, she is also a babywearing educator at Mumbai Sling Library.

MLMK: Tell us something about yourself and your family.
Yaman (Y): We are a small joint family with 3 of our lives revolving around four-year-old #littlemissRu, me, my husband – Rohit and his father.

MLMK: When was the first time you actually felt a need towards doing your bit for the environment? And why? (was there any specific incident behind it)?
Y: It must have been as a young girl in school, or by seeing my mom always do as little as carry a folded carry bag in her purse, everywhere and try not to use more poly bags. The conscious attempts were more focused and co-incidentally I was more aware of many greener options, after having my daughter, 4 years ago.
I realized I ought to lead by example, and those tiny eyes will be observing every action of mine, so they might as well be something she can emulate guilt-free with pride. Discovering Cloth diapering, was a big thing, that leads me to a lot of like-minded people in the mommy community.

MLMK: What was the first thing you did in taking a step towards a greener environment and a better Earth.
Y: 
Following in the footsteps of my maa, I started keeping a neatly folded bag in my purse at all times, carried a water bottle in my bag – which I refilled whenever possible

The greatest threat to our Planet is the belief that someone will Save it- Robert Swan.

MLMK: We have often heard, that making the step is not easy as we get so used to certain things in our day to day life, that taking it out one fine day, looks like mission impossible. How did you achieve it?
Y: I completely agree with what you said. Getting out of any comfort zone is tough. Especially when they are so easily available, plus ‘everyone’ else is doing it anyway. It all comes down to consciousness and conviction. And practically, cannot happen overnight. But every baby step counts, and keeping at it brings immense joy.

I have over time, developed the habit to keep in mind which stores around me, provide unpackaged food products, where options of refilling drinking water are available, etc. Not to say, I keep away from mindless consumption and ‘sales’ of all kinds more often than not, to avoid the temptation of getting things that I do not really need.

Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better- Albert Einstein

MLMK: What are the different ways in which you have adopted a sustainable lifestyle at your home or your workplace?
Y: We have incorporated various things at home. My daughter was exclusively cloth diapered, from 5 months to 3 years with a very modest stash. We barely used any baby wipes. I have been using menstrual cups for over 4 years now. I have been trying to avoid online shopping as much as possible. As a family, we try our best to buy unpackaged food. We try and make the most of things we already have by upcycling clothes and fabrics.

We always make our new purchases consciously (say bottles now bought are steel ones, containers – glass). Off lately we are switching to a few products which claim to be kinder to the environment. Composting the wet waste at home is also a ritual we practice. I also stopped using a few cosmetic products that I know can be done without(tough but all worth it).

MLMK: Is there anything else you are planning to do in near future as part of this lifestyle?
Y: 
Ah … there are many little things that are yet to be explored by me – more produce that I can source sans packaging. I also need to start making soap and cleaning agents I know can be made at home etc.

The world is a place and worth fighting for!

MLMK:  Is there any message you want to give to parents out there, who are apprehensive about adopting the little changes which help the Earth even in a tiny way?
Y:  Your child is looking at every single move you make – ensure it is something the child can take pride in. These little changes seem daunting, give it a try, take pride in doing what you believe in, with your heart and soul – then I assure you it becomes easier and rewarding in every possible way.

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Written by Udita

Mommy blogger

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