A ‘USE’-LESS GEN!!
“Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900 - 1944), The Little Prince, 1943.
It is true. The adults are often confused about what is right and what is wrong — they know too much about too many things, you see. But the younger species of the human race have no such compulsions. They make their decisions pretty fast about things they really want, and they make sure that the rest are informed about their choice. They may not always make the right one, but who can ignore their voices anyway? So having the children on one’s side is a sure-fire strategy to reach out to the entire world.
Fortunately, the young brigade — at least a portion of it — has emerged as the most determined and vociferous ambassador for protecting, nurturing and conserving Environment. And unlike the adults, these young environmentalists abhor token gestures. So no speech making or boring meetings will do for them. They are ready to make real changes in their everyday life, so that the impact can actually be felt and measured. And they are dragging the adults along with them. Sometimes unwillingly, but most often with renewed zeal.
The Gobar Times team tracked some of these wise families, which are led by their young ones. Their backgrounds are startlingly different — rich, middle-class, lower income categories; mothers, grandmothers, cousins — each of them express a new perspective. But their goal is the same — to live wisely — using less and wasting nothing.
This is what they had to say about their way of life.
FAMILY 1: Pinaki Das and his father, uncle and grandmother
Pinaki Das is a student of Class IX at St. Paul’s School, New Delhi. He lives with his father, grandmother and uncle in a two-storey house in the elite locality of Green Park in South Delhi. His house is quite close to his school. So, he cycles down to school everyday. How else does he do his “green duties”? Let’s ask him.
Q. What is environment?
A. Environment is each and everything in the surroundings in which we live in.
Q. While doing your routine work, going about everyday business, does anything in particular remind you of environment? Or issues related to it?
A. As I cycle to school, I can be a real spectator of all the things happening around me. Every day I see trucks and sedans bulging out toxic fumes. As it is winter now, people burn leaves along the roadside, which creates a lot of pollution. But, the worst is when people burn tyres.
Q. What does ‘protecting or conserving environment’ mean to you? Have you done or changed anything at home to be more eco-friendly?
||The Young sparks of Deepalaya
Rahul Subhash, Class X
I do various things at home for the environment.
I use CFLs that consume less energy.
I check the electricity meter. I found that the reading was very fast. So, we got it corrected.
My mother checks the weight of LPG cylinder. I told her that it should be 14.2kgs.
We do not have the money to buy packaged food. My mother cooks at home.
We segregate waste into biodegradable and non-biodegradable. But, I have seen that the MCD does not collect the waste from the landfills. Only when there is a marriage close to the area, they come and clean it.
Yashmin Khatun – Class VI
My parents follow whatever I tell them. My mother says if I’m saying it is important, then it must be. So,
We segregate wastes.
After washing vegetables, we use the water to wash utensils, water plants.
We use water only as much required.
We switch on lights only when needed.
I rarely buy new books. I take them from the library. But when I do, I give them to the juniors.
A. I’ve taken various measures to make my home green. Such as,
Growing plants around my house.
Switching off electrical devices when not in use.
Using CFLs in place of ordinary bulbs and tubelights.
I don’t keep appliances on stand-by mode.
Checking the electricity meters.
Keeping the AC in 27oC.
Weighing the LPG cylinders upon delivery.
Using safety matches more than gas lighters.
Using bucket instead of shower while taking a bath.
The people who wash our car use bucket, and not pipes. I also use bucket when I wash my cycle.
We try to minimise waste generation in the house.
We have said no to crackers. It is a waste of money and is environmentally harmful as well.
We use traditional diyas and candles instead of lighting up bulbs during festivals.
As I’m very health conscious, I don’t like to eat outside or have packaged food. Even my school has shifted to a healthier diet.
Whenever I buy an appliance, I check its energy consumption and other norms. For instance, on my birthday my uncle gifted me a MP3 player. I immediately checked its energy consumption. Before this, I had a Walkman, which used to run on batteries. I used to throw them away once spent. But, I noticed that the guy who collected the garbage throws the batteries just anywhere. So, I got a re-chargeable player with an auto shut-off feature, which saves a lot of energy and reduces toxic waste.
Q. What inspires you to take ‘green’ steps?
A. Programmes, activities we do in school, inspire me. I take part in various competitions, which teaches me a lot as well. But above all, the environmentally detrimental actions in our everyday life, such as burning of garbage, paper and tyres, automatically teach me to take green steps.
Q. Have you ever influenced your family members to adopt a practice or to take a decision that you felt would help protecting natural resources? Give us instances of successful attempts.
A. We are planning to buy a car. I’ve told my family that if we buy a car (at all), we must check its mileage and emission standards. It must meet the EURO-III norms at least. Mileage is again very crucial because petroleum should be used to the best possible extent.
Q. Also, tell us about those that have failed. So, what would you do next time to get your voice heard?
A. They don’t always listen to me whenever I ask them to turn off the lights. So, I have to do it myself.
Q. Have you tried to spread awareness among your friends, in the residential colony you live in or elsewhere?
A. I’m doing whatever I can at my school-level and home. I have surely influenced my family. In school, we spread awareness among the students about saving the environment. We put up skits and plays, go from class to class displaying logos about using electricity deftly, segregating waste into biodegradable and non-biodegradable, and so on. But my role has been very limited in my RWA.
I always give lectures on environment to my friends. Whenever I go for competitions, I always tell them about things that I learn.
One of my friends uses a bike to come to school. But he lives very close to the house. I told him to stop using a bike and start cycling to school. He seems to agree.
What I really want is to gather a lot of people and influence people. I want to open something like a club to work towards the betterment of the environment.
Q. Your son has told us about the “green steps”. What made you listen to him?
A. Environment is a burning topic. We are just taking from the environment and not returning anything. We should use it but not misuse it. He convinces my mother quite well. And of course, we get roped in.
Q. Do you think you have done the right thing?
A. It is right, of course. It is high time to become conscious about the environment.
Q. Do you think you would have known the environmental impact of your decision unless he had pointed it out to you?
A. May be because ‘environment’ is everywhere these days. In our office we have a certificate for the employees called DNV, which is based on environment. I know about countries, which import certain products only if they have an environment-oriented certificate.
Q. Do you want to tell your colleagues, friends or neighbours about the steps and the reasons behind them?
A. Every school is doing something or the other about the environment. So, in my office my colleagues and I talk about this, and I share Pinaki’s opinions with them.