‘Old is Gold’ – my memory fails me here as I try to recollect the uncountable occasions when I would have brought to fore the knowledge of all the literary devices (sarcasm, irony, paradox….) to negate this statement, counter it, rather declare it as an imprudent thought emanating from some vestiges of dark ages. What was good in the absurdity of walking miles to meet your loved ones or cycling down to nearby market areas, in folding your hands to thank God for the humble meals he provided to us which then obliged us to be mindful of not wasting it, eating what suited best to the season, of thriving only with a few fans and some decent piece of furniture, storing water and using it sagaciously? But today when my exhausted eyes exert to have a clear view of the surroundings in the envelope of the smog, I can see, yes, surprisingly see, the beauty in whatever was old. Oh! I hope I didn’t sound cynical- while glorifying the past.. I stand tall with the achievements of the present but I am definitely in love with the lifestyle of that antiquated era – simple, self-effacing and sustainable maybe because it’s rarely seen now- endangered!
Sustainable lifestyle, technically- it means to meet our societal, economic and ecological needs without compromising these factors for our future generations. Man, being the supreme creation of God was expected to adhere to this lifestyle but ironically the blinding avarice of having more and more of everything, basking in the glory of successful feats even if it had put on stake the well-being of our Mother Earth, molding and twisting nature to serve his unending needs rather luxuries, has brought man closer to the brink of his own doom. The critical ailing condition of our planet earth without a doubt needs a strong intervention by the government and global community in terms of foraging ways to combat the situation but unless we intend to change ourselves, all endeavors are bound to prove futile. The biggest transformation we need to bring in ourselves is adopting a sustainable lifestyle.
Let’s begin from our ‘home sweet home’- In fact kitchen. Just open the refrigerator and see how many unseasonal and nonlocal vegetables and fruits do you have in it? Plenty – right? Do you know the extent to which it requires energy-intensive greenhouse production, plastic packaging, irrigation on a large scale, and long-distance transport for importing non-regional foods? Local, seasonal produce is fresher, unprocessed and believed to be more nutritious yet just to satisfy the taste buds we do not mind gulping down eatables with chemical residues from applications necessary for long-distance shipping and handling. Look around and observe the number of plastic products being used at your home despite the danger of earth being converted into a garbage dump of these non-biodegradable items, number of electrical appliances and water outlets which are switched on though they are not required, despite the advertisements broadcast / appeals made in public interest to save energy, to save each drop of water lest our future generations should be deprived of it. But who cares about them? ‘My family and I should not face any inconvenience’. By the way how many of you ever gave a suggestion to the President or Secretary of your apartments to make use of solar panels for power supply? Oh, sorry why should you? You are not the one facing the dearth of electricity. Just come out of your house now… the first thing your eyes would search for is your car to travel a distance of 1 Km no matter if it wastes fuel– a lackadaisical attitude resting on luxuries and comforts.
If it is not our apathy then what else is it, that we do not even give a second thought before wasting our meals , ignoring the vital processes like reusing and recycling the commodities and thus adding onto our already increasing size of landfills leading to production of toxic gases? Who among us doesn’t know about compost but how many of choose to initiate its formation in our communities. Why should we – It’s government’s job. Why can’t we be waste conscious? Why can’t we consume only the amount which is required? Consumerism has mastered and enslaved the minds of human beings and we conveniently play at its hand oblivious of the unbearable burden it puts on the limited resources of the earth and indifferent to the agony of the millions who are eventually deprived of basic needs as a result of it.
Our apathy is becoming more and more conspicuous and glaring with the passage of time. It is horrifyingly astonishing that today we are knowingly and consciously digging our own grave. To take a recent example of this year-It sends a chill down my spine to think that we chose celebration of Diwali with the poison of crackers over inhaling clean air, we chose a vain lifestyle over the one which encompasses care and empathy for all. And why just one day – we turn a blind eye to incessant smoke being emitted by our own vehicles but repair can wait, farmers burning stubble, construction sites blowing dust into the air…..but still ‘’Silence is golden’’ Does it not appal you in any way that in last five years we have probably breathed pure and clean air for only 61 days? If not then we all need to put down our heads in shame for we have become so callous, inhumane and savage that we do not feel qualms of conscious even before strangulating our mother Earth who nurtured us with love and bounties.
Habits die hard. It is difficult to change them but not impossible. Our luxurious, ‘couch potato’, apathetic lifestyle needs a loud knock at its conscience before the change becomes evident. The only prerequisite is conscious efforts and a strong will. The advent of this change in lifestyle looks appealingly at the parents at home and educators at school who can do wonders by instilling values which drive the young children instinctively towards an eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle. At Seth Anandram Jaipuria School, the students are educated to adopt this lifestyle from an early stage; as a result it is manifested by their persona ‘by choice’ and not ‘by force’.
Let’s set a precedent for others to follow by adopting a sustainable lifestyle that brings us closer to nature, that contents us with fulfilling our needs and not greed, that chooses life over vanity , revers the sanctity of man’s relation with his environment and respects the right of everyone to live peacefully on planet Earth which we have not inherited the from our ancestors; rather have borrowed it from our children”