CONVERSATIONS is an attempt to throw light on some mundane, everyday and sometimes grave situations in a satirical way - all the things that make up the times and life in general.
In this series titled 'Sustainable Conversations' we explore the various climate, environment and social challenges that we collectively face today.
Nothing seems more of a paradox than a typical social media user posting concerns regarding the planet- it's climate and it's creatures while simultaneously carrying out damaging acts to the same.
We are no longer a sparse population living amidst the wilderness with rare access to resources. It is in fact easier to obtain plant-based meals than ever before in history.
Meat-based diets practised by tribes and cultures in geographical areas where nutrition is otherwise difficult, is understandable and acceptable.
The Earth is already past its Carrying Capacity (Google this) in several places around the globe. We need more people to switch to a plant -based diet which will allow room to mitigate the damage already done by excessive cattle rearing, fishing and poultry farming.
The change in the cycle begins with you and in case you've been planning to switch , then there is no time like the present.
This single post will not be able to convey all the effects that one single person's meat consumption can have, so please do read up on it, educate yourself and those around you. Just to help you understand the impact that you alone can have, consider this- A single person switching to a vegan diet can save up to 200,000 gallons of water annually!
Photo Source: The Cat's Breakfast by Gabriel Metsu circa 17th century.
While sustainability in our dialogue today is largely about protecting nature, the crux of the concept is only fully understood the moment we begin to experience it in our minds.
The 21st century definition for sustainability can mean the coexisting capacity of the bio sphere and human civilization. In general, sustainability means the ability to stay supported and upheld- body, mind and soul (in a human context).
A great future for ourselves is only a culmination of every action we take today, from deleting people in your life who no longer inspire/value you to making that 5AM routine finally happen. It's all about that activation energy and once you get it going for a couple of tasks in your life, you're on your way to creating a sustainable future for yourself and the community you live in.
Photo Source: Work by Jean Beraud circa 19th century.
"air, aether, mind,
perspicacity and egoism—thus is My Nature divided eightfold.
I am the source as well as
the dissolution of the entire universe ,"
say the ancient Indian scriptures.
If you do a deep dive into any of the world's ancient cultures you will find that they emphasize on the aspect of 'balance'. This balance is key when speaking of the Earth and it's many resources.
One of the major features of our planet is it's oceans - big, blue, and teeming with life. Our oceans are now being bombarded with toxic wastes, garbage and more from various channels. It does not matter how far you are from the ocean, every ounce of water that passes by you will eventually reach the oceans as all of the world's rivers, drains and disposals are directed into the ocean. This is a fact that needs to sink into each one of us, because that face scrub laced with microplastics we tend to use ends up nowhere but in the heart of the ocean.
The oceans are the biggest carbon sink available for mankind and all the carbon dioxide that we generate ends up getting accumulated in the oceans, thereby causing an ecological imbalance for the marine life. Coral reefs are dying, sea animals are consuming plastic leading to fatal deaths or ending up bringing the microplastics back into the human body via seafood. It's all a cycle and what we give is precisely what we get.
The good thing is nature heals the minute we give it a chance to. So before our oceans turn 150% more acidic and make our planet inhabitable, do your bit. If you are able to read this then you have all the resources you need to use the power of your wallet and the power of the internet to take one step towards sustainability.
Photo Source: The Virgin Annunciate by Antonella da Messina, 1476
Sourcing your clothing, food, household items and other essentials locally, helps reduce carbon footprint. While most of us think that car pooling, taking the public transport or visiting nearby places by foot are some of the major lifestyle changes that enable us to have a lesser carbon footprint, these are a few among the several other things that impact it.
Every meal we eat, every product we use, every garment we wear are all made in different places and procured by us at different places. All of these together get factored into our carbon footprint and in order to make any significant contribution we need to re-evaluate our purchases. Locally sourced food is a major game changer. Eating avocadoes grown in Southern America or oranges from Spain while in India take the footprint up by several notches. You can either find local farms/sellers that sell the same produce or switch to consuming local produce.
The plants, crops, fruits and vegetables that grow around us modify their nutrients according to the requirements of the place they are growing in and it's inhabitants. Hence you get watermelons in summer, when the body is at risk of dehydration and you get peas in the winter which is good for a cold-weather diet. So sourcing locally is not only good for the planet but also for your body and mind.
Picture Source: Youth and Time by John William Godward, 1901 CE
Fast Fashion has been having us all believe that anything worth having needn't come at a price. Cheap clothing comes at the price of people being subjected to bad working conditions, inhuman working hours, extremely low wages, and the biggest of all ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION. Every garment from start to finish has a dozen steps apackaging and fuel are required to be utilised for you to purchase a product online or in stores.t the minimum before it reaches you. Thousands of watts of electricity, hundreds of litres of water, several accumulated hours of continuous labour, lots of plastic packaging and fuel are required to be utilised for you to purchase a product online or in stores.
It only makes sense that you invest in pieces that either last longer or are made consciously or both. The future is centered around the Earth and it's healing - let's all do our bit. Switch to slow fashion, recycle your clothing, invest in consciously made (the pricing is not only for the brand value but also for its longevity)
Several Fast-Fashion giants have already shut shop or are close to filing for bankruptcy, all the others need to find sustainable ways to grow. We need to get creative and innovative, we need to pick ways to minimise impact, we need to educate ourselves, we need to call for action - beginning with ourselves.
We urge every single one of you to reconsider all your online and offline purchases - ask yourself where, how and by whom was this piece made, ask yourself whether the company is disclosing all its environmental impacts and policies openly, ask yourself if you're supporting anything meaningful with your purchase, ask yourself if you need it, and most importantly ask if Mother Nature will be affected with your purchase.
Picture Source: Indian Lady (possibly Indian Bibi Jemdanee of William Hickey) by Thomas Hickey circa 1787.
Though the field of study is relatively untapped and the research fairly nascent, it has been established by a growing number of studies that microplastics are slowly but surely finding their way into human tissues.
Aside from being found inside the human body, they are now being detected inside organs like the kidneys, lungs, liver and spleen. Did you know that we now consume an average of 5gms of plastic (weight of a credit card) every week?
We do not have the luxury of time and it is indeed the need of the hour that we purchase consciously, say no to all kinds of plastics (including the microplastics found inside your scrubs and skincare), stay informed, educate ourselves and those around us. Together, we can make a change, every step both big and small count.
Ending our #SustainabilityConversations with a plea to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. We get only once chance at this and there's no planet B.
Picture Source: A prince and princess embrace on a terrace. Mughal Miniature from Kotah circa 18th century. Now part of the Stuart Carey Welch Collection.
Curated and Written by Trishala Nara and Yashila Nara