Somewhere down the line, I got a feeling that I was getting caught up with this illusion. The illusion to achieve more, wanting more and spending more.
I realized that I started focusing more on success, money and/or reward, rather than on values and relationships. I almost scared myself doing it. More importantly in the process, I realized I am hurting myself and Mother Earth in a serious way. It become a hindrance to my spiritual progress.
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”
However, I was lucky that I didn’t get carried away by those temptations (at least for now). I took a step back and realized I need to do something about it.
I am trying to live a life of simplicity – to live lightly. And in the process trying to save Earth.
I’ve begun practicing some habits. Here are the 10 ways I am trying to save the Earth (in my own little way):
- Consume less meat: I am not against non-vegetarianism, but I have simply chosen to eat less meat if not turn a vegetarian. I know becoming a full-time vegetarian is not going to happen soon – I (and my family) still have a taste for non-veg items – but trying.
- Eat out less: This was the hard thing to give up initially. It has become almost a fashion to splurge and eat out – in the name of family outing. But very consciously I (with my family) chose to avoid eating out – and decided to cook at home itself. Also it saves money – a lot of it.
- Read online: I used to buy books, mostly second-hands. I also got myself into the habit of buying weekly magazines and sometimes newspapers (to keep myself updated, I told myself). Slowly, I am shifting to read things online and almost stopped purchasing newspapers and magazines. Though I buy books (which has become rare), I have started to download books and/or read online. That aside, I myself am a very choosy reader (in fact, I read less than most urbanites). I mostly read non-fiction and buy a book only after researching its reviews online. Nowadays, you get a quick summary of most of these books online with articles written about it everywhere – that mostly does the work for me.
- Use the stairs: I know its not much, but I use the stairs instead of the elevator to get to my office. I felt it’s my simple contribution to save electricity. And also it burns calories.
- Take print outs only if necessary: Explains itself. Saving paper saves trees (and money too).
- Use public transports: With call taxis growing their services, it is tempting to use them whenever we can. The cost of another 100+ rupees is not a big deal for most of us. I use my bike to travel, however, when needed I prefer to take a bus. I only take a cab when we go as family and use it judiciously.
- Wear casually, but tidily: I always had the habit of dressing simple – I don’t spend too much on clothes. Most of us in our family are like that. And usually once the old clothes wear out (meaning not appropriate for office wear), I usually donate it. This also keeps my wardrobe light.
- Say Enough: I had chance to working with people from both the spectrum of the society – the ultra-poor and uber-rich. Unlike the common perception, I seem to observe that both have a set of lifelong insecurities, including those when it comes to money. However I had the sense to say ‘enough’. And that has saved me and in a way the Earth quite a number of times.
- Grow a pot plant: To plant a tree is the best thing to do to save Earth. The next best thing is to grow a pot plant – like I do. I am hoping that this would become a small home garden soon.
- Meditate: This is exactly not an ‘Earth-saving’ tip, but it helps. It helped me to me more introspective and slowed me down. It gave me the balance of mind when I felt tempted.
However there are also areas that I failed.
- Avoiding plastic: Other than Chennai, where I lived before (Madurai, Coimbatore, Vellore), people have a habit of using their own bags to carry their groceries and vegetables on purchase. Here no one carries a bag (koodai/ pai) – one is because of the big-departmental-stores-purchasing culture which is slowly catching up in other places too and the other is the easy availability of cheap, recycled plastic bags (Note: They are not actually recycled, but downcycled.)
- Using AC: Global warming is happening alright even if few big leaders disagree upon it. And with the growing heat, we simply couldn’t avoid using an AC in Chennai.
However, let us remember:
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”
– Ancient Indian Proverb
I’m sure you are trying in your own ways to save Earth. I would like to hear your ideas too. Leave your comment below.