Saturday, January 21, 2006

I'm saving the Earth for my children. Can you help?

When I was in college, I had a big crush on this professor of anthropology. He was the brooding, moody, pessimistic kind. He taught us everything except what was required to pass the exam. He hardly smiled, never knew us at a personal level, but when he spoke, I was mesmerized by his ideas. One of the things I'll never forget is him wagging his long middle finger (he always did once amusing and amazing my girly immature mind!) and saying in a low rumble, "We are robbing the earth from our children!!! And you 'educated' lot? All this college education and what will you remember when you leave? Malhar! (Our college festival) Hmph!"
I've thought guiltily about that statement lots of times. I am really robbing the earth from my children. And so are you.
Recently, I came across a few ways to ease that guilt. It's all contained in a little magical book called "50 simple things you can do to save the earth". It is an old book, but the ideas are awesome. They don't involve major time-commitment or cost, just a little mental change. Here are some of its suggestions that I suggest we all start implementing.
1. Use liquid detergent (usually phosphate free, compared to powder). And use less of it. According to Consumer Reports, manufacturers recommend more than is really necessary.
2. Use warm water, instead of hot water in the washer. It doesn't make a difference to the cleaning, and it radically reduces power usage.
3. If you own a house, install 'low-flow faucet aerators' - they reduce the water used by 50% but increase the strength of the flow so that it seems more!
4. Use less plastic. PLEASE! This is the most disgusting thing I've come across here. People use a giant plastic bag and double bag their groceries even if it is only two apples and a toothbrush! I've started using good old cloth bags like we used to in India. Some stores here give you monetary credit for doing that! If you must use plastic, reuse till you can't any more. Then recycle. It just means taking it with you to the grocery store/recycling place.
5. Drive less. Take public transport or cycle to work/school at least once a week if you can. Carpool. Don't drive if you can walk (like to the next store in the's only 30 steps more!) Walking is good for you, for your car, for the environment. If you must drive, try and get a car that gets good mileage and has less emissions. There's at least 4 great Hybrids on the market, and more coming in 2006-2007. Consider that option.

Okay, I'm tempted to go on, but I have a better idea. The realist in me is telling me that I am being a tad ambitious here; the idealist in me is telling me that nothing ever is lost by trying; the guilt in me is telling me that if I don't even do this, what good am I? So here goes...The simplest, yet, most difficult tag of all...A tag that will save the earth!
I tag Adele, Anoop, SD, Parth and Dinesh to come up with at least three ideas to save the earth. The rules are simple: these ideas must not cost a whole lot, they must describe something you will do or can think of doing if the opportunity/need came up, and must not be duplicates of ones in this list or your tagger's list. I am convinced we can come up with 50 more usable ideas easily. It's okay to steal/get inspired from other people/websites/books...just share the knowledge. And please pass on the tag. And other readers (if there are any!) please please be inspired and tag along!

Let's start this ball's not too late, people! Superman and James Bond shouldn't have the patent on saving the earth. I think my children deserve to see some of the magic our world has to offer, and I hold myself and you personally accountable for that!


Blogger aparna said...

This post reminds me of the Jute bags that bongs use so often back home. My parents always use Jute bags for grocery shopping, vegetable shopping... well almost everything. Plastic used to be in the form of that one pastic-mesh bag with handles, where you would put assortment of vegetables and other stuff... but those were old-times back home. Its different now, supermarkets and plastic bags go together and like you have mentioned, they use huge palstic bags even for something like 2 oranges.

In fact i was reading up in one of these magazines, jute bags are quite a fashion statement in the west... i should get some nice ones this time around, from back home :P

I use liquid detergent, and i dont drive. I don't have a car! :(
Okay, i can't drive either :P

But i agree, if the public transport system is good enough, one doesnt need to rely on cars at all. I have gone without car ever since i left Delhi, mainly because public transpost in SG and HK is very good.

But back home, especially in Delhi, which has more vehicles than Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai combined, car is a necessity as the public transport system is not good enough. Despite that, i have noticed how dependent people become on their cars. And Lazy. Even trips to the neighbourhood maketplace requires them to start the engine.

Okay, enough said. :)

10:03 PM  
Blogger Mitchell said...

I believe, remove our dependence on money and we will save the earth(or any other planet we're on) and avoid human extinction. It's difficult to bring this across because we are so engrossed with materialism. Survival now includes money as no 1 priority

1:24 AM  
Blogger Parth said...

Doesn't warrant a blog post and my ideas are already covered in your list, so here goes:
1. Get US to participate in the Kyoto protocol
2. Make sure US does not drill in Alaska
3. Reduce the gas subsidies US gets. This will force them to build public transport where none exists

Any of the above will have a far larger impact on the environment than one-person solutions.

11:44 AM  
Blogger dinesh said...

With your anthropology professor's comment, you've made me feel guilty as well. All I remember from college is the culturals and the fun parts of it..

As for the post itself, I really liked the ideas, and although I felt like "oh no, not another tag" when you mentioned it to me, after reading the content, I think I will enjoy honoring this tag.

Some good points in your post. Will try to follow as much of it as possible !

1:23 PM  
Blogger RTD2 said...

Aparna - Jute bags are so awesome: Strong, yet like you say, 'fashionable'. My mother fobs off the ones she gets during various "haldi kumkum" drives onto me, so i have a few I take to the store!
Mitchell - welcome to the curb! Yeah, the love of money is the root of all evil.
Parth - Cop-out! *so disappointed*
Din - thanks! I'm looking forward to your ideas..with your large fan following, your list is sure to get some airplay :)

6:11 PM  
Blogger bluesman said...

how about
1) If you reach out for paper towels after washing your hands, how about keeping cloth towels. Reduce paper consumption.

2) Switch off water while brushing your teeth, shaving etc. Use only when required.

3) Electricity, turn off unnecessary lights. I know you are getting up to turn off the lights in the room where noone has gone into for years. See thats a good start right.

11:10 AM  
Blogger dinesh said...

RTD2 - tag honred !

Bluesman - 2 of your points are on my list !

11:22 AM  
Blogger bluesman said...

hmm dinesh, that means I've to come with new ideas. Too much thinking ... pain in my brain.

Ok let me try to change the words of the title a bit to "I'm saving the children of my earth". This may be a better topic, cos considering my social life, I'm as likely to have children as I'm going to solve a space time continuim theorem. Though my early academic experiences of solving theorems were pretty successful, fill it up with random crap and end up with a flourishing 'hence proved'... Digressing again

* Is anyone in for fasting??

It's not as bad as it sounds. Eat one less meal outside, maybe eat at home or pack something from home. For those of us who live in the land of milk and honey a dollar goes a long way. Those 3-5$ saved every week or month is well welcomed by the various aid agencies.

5:08 PM  
Blogger dinesh said...


Was not suggesting that you should come with newer ideas. I was suggesting that our thought processes were similar. But you wrote a new one anyway. Oh well. It's all good !

7:25 PM  
Blogger dinesh said...


Looks like your tag's spread its wings and is flying high ! Nice topic to tag on. A lot of people who wouldn't have answered a tag otherwise, are doing it just because of how noble and creative this one was !

7:19 AM  
Blogger RTD2 said...

Great ideas, Anoop..especially liking the saving the children one! And Dinesh..I'm glad people are taking it up. There are few things I am convinced about, and this is one of them: We are not doing all we can or must to preserve our environment. We've damaged it beyond repair, let's at least put the brakes on making it worse.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Zeppelin said...

nice list RT..

#5 - there are a bunch of "desis" here where I live... by desis i mean TCS guys..who resist change and refuse to adapt to the circumstances here..

the grocery store is a less than 10 walk from home and my f******* roomies cant walk... they are so lazy that even if we are out of stuff to eat/drink at home.. they just live without it until they can get somebody's car to go to the grocery store..

same is the case with checking mail/ dumping trash..

finally found a place to gripe about this..:) have tried to tell them in many ways... hmmpphhh ..:(

7:51 AM  
Anonymous Marspace said...

O.k, by virtue of being your friend, i've decided to share some ideas that i'm currently practising-
*reuse the blank side of unwanted documents as xerox paper or tear it up into small note book size sheets and staple tog to make rough pad(used to have fun doing this in school!!). The same can be done with calendar sheets of the past month.

*restrain the urge to throw wrapped-up chewed gum/grocery bills/used tissue out in the open. And continue the practise when you go back home!I've seen so many people do otherwise!

There's nothing like an acknowledging nod from the sales person at the supermarket when u refuse a plastic bag for a couple of items you know you can juggle in your hands till u get home!!!

Aparna, totally identified the plastic-mesh bag with handles from old-times back home!!I remember we used to have a blue colored one!!!: )

Parth, ever heard of baby steps??

2:48 AM  
Blogger Ek Anjaan Ladki said...

heya, i quite admire this post :) its inspirational, personal and courageous(sp) they say "every little helps" and i strongly feel ur blog illustrates that. :) keep it up.

4:13 AM  
Blogger RTD2 said...

Zeppelin,gripe away..the time is ripe for griping :) But gripe to the roomies too..they'll start taking out the trash just to shut u up! rock, girl!!
E.A.L: Thanks for dropping by and thanks for your comments! Keep coming...

7:26 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home