What can you give back?

Have you ever heard of Sustainable Lifestyle?

Our planet has been in existence for billions of years and mankind has so far known its history only for the last few thousands of years. As we live, we have been on the receiving end of mother nature and we have taken a lot of resources from her.

A Sustainable Lifestyle or Sustainable Living simply means that we as individuals or as a society are trying to reduce the use (or I should say excess use) of Earth’s resources. It is often also referred to as “Earth Harmony Living” or “Net Zero Living”. Simply google it to know more.

While I have been alive using the resources that this planet has to give me, one thought often plunders my conscience. It often comes to me when I put my smartphone on charging. I pick up my phone when it is fully charged and I use it throughout the day. At the end of the day when I see the battery is down, I put my phone on charge, again. That’s exactly when I feel this. It's a process — charge my phone, use it, deplete all the energy and put it back again on charge. I am constantly receiving energy from the grid. Okay, you may ask what’s so big about it?

Well, I am depleting the energy purely on one freedom — We have a constant and continuous power supply. What if one day we have used all the energy in the power grid and there is no more to be produced? The thought is quite scary for me because I have lived all my life under the comfort of what has been provided to me for living — obviously against a certain amount of money. This is one example of many such things that I keep receiving.

This thought of me plundering the resources of this planet is somewhat haunting me for quite some time now. Is it that we actually are in need of so much that we receive daily? Let's look at the micro-level first. What do I use my smartphone for? This is a gadget that was meant to be connecting me with people over long distances. However, I see that most of my time using it is for purposes that just waste my time. Agree? Here are some examples — Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and more. I am still a culprit because even I use it.

Now imagine this at the macro level. Does it ring a bell? If it does then YOU are a true citizen of this planet.

I am definitely not talking about smartphones only. It is about the over usage of the resources that we get in hand. Sustaining life on this planet for future generations needs a certain amount of conservation of the natural resources from the present generations. Sustainable living is a concept trying to do this.

If we do a necessity analysis for ourselves we would definitely find that almost 75% of the resources that we utilise are actually a matter of luxury and comfort and not the actual requirement. While this is about the conservation of resources that we have in hand, there is one more important angle in sustainability. That is saying no to non-renewable sources. It is a good breakthrough or I must say development in what we see in the automobile sector — Electric Mobility.

We know that electric mobility is reducing the carbon footprint and eventually reducing emissions thereby taking away our dependence on the non-renewable sources but……. what about the resources that we use for manufacturing technology that runs on renewable sources? For example Lithium-ion batteries. Whilst this is a topic that requires deeper scientific analysis, we as individuals need to understand that whatever we try to do as a replacement to older technologies to ensure sustainability is indirectly leading to over utilisation of some other resources. I am definitely not saying that we cannot do anything about it but just give it a thought.

For so many years we have been on the receiving end and it is time that we need to give back at least half of what we have received so far. Wait, Am I asking you to return back the resources that we have taken from our planet? No, all I am saying is that henceforth we create and live in an environment that will constantly try to recharge the earth’s resources.

So, What can you give back? In doing this we need to do certain necessary lifestyle changes. I was surprised to see that many of our brotherhoods on this planet have realised this long back and started living a lifestyle that is sustainable.

What can you do?

Try these for the starters.

Plant a tree — Ha, simple. That’s what you thought reading it, right? Planting a tree is not just planting a huge tree and your job is done. It actually means you plant a sapling in your neighbourhood or at your place and then see it grow. You look after it just like you look after your child or your pet. Help the sapling grow into a tree and you grow with it. Teach your child this. Start with one and go on with more if you can. As your child grows with the tree he/ she starts understanding the process of living. They’ll start loving it.

Use only what you need — We constantly have this habit of over utilising the resources available at our disposal. Stop it. Instead, use it only when you need it to survive and not to entertain yourself. Because every ounce of a resource, be it food/ water or anything, that you are overusing in the name of your comfort or luxury is actually someone’s dire need to survive. Respect that.

Wait, I am not a communist. Read on.

Sometimes take a walk — You might be the proud owner of a Mercedes S class or even a budget car. But sometimes it is good to take a walk to the nearby store instead of driving more emissions into the atmosphere. And yes, a walk a day keeps the doctor away. If you can’t walk, take a cycle. The process of complacency in this needs your active vigil so that you can change your old habits and you don’t g back to them again.

Carry your stuff — We are so used to the bags that we get from the grocery shop to carry our stuff. Every single plastic or even a bio-degradable bag that you take from the store to carry your purchase means the usage of some resource in manufacturing it. I remember that my dad always carries a bag from home with him whenever he is up for shopping. I used to ask him “Dad why are you carrying a bag when we can get one from the store?” Compromising on the resources in the name of your comfort is not worth it. So, carry a bag, a water bottle and whatever you can in place of buying it.

Organizations around the world often discuss best practices in their industries so as to improve the sustainability of their business or their operations. I realise that the best practices to live in this world were already in place and our elders/ ancestors were following them. We broke their best practices over these years and now we are in search of the same. Ideally, we need to look back to understand those age-old practices that were actually environment friendly. We don’t have to search anywhere.

I don’t intend to keep this blog too long and laggy. I leave the rest of my thoughts to your beautiful mind. I am sure you can think more about Net Zero Living from the spark I just put in your mind. Think about what you can do, not to improve your lifestyle alone but to improve the lifestyle of your entire society as well.

The next time you are using anything, just imagine what if you overuse it and that is no more available for your children in the future. The world can be a better place if lived together by everyone. Live a life larger than yours. Live a life that is as large as this planet.

I will come up with more on this in my next blog if you are interested. Let me know if you wish to know more.

Happy Sustainability!

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