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THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS, STILL A HORIZON

Living as sustainable as possible doesn’t sound out of the world because many a time we don’t have an idea of how our actions or thoughts can have an effect, however microscopic it might be, on our planet.
||Dr. Elsa Lycias Joel

Quantifying waste reduction and letting people know it will make inroads into waste management.

From times immemorial, humans have lived on earth using it’s resources and disposing wastes of many different kinds. Growth meant unrestrained, unwarranted resource consumption and consequent waste generation. More said, researched and done about waste recycling the more careless or clueless we become of the amount and kind of waste we generate.

Voices above 120 decibels have been raised against plastic pollution. Hence we fail to hear those voices. Down cycle or recycle, plastic is forever. Coalitions against plastic pollution are on the rise but we will be freed from the sobering reality of plastic garbage only when countries stop producing plastic with immediate effect. If ‘stop using plastic’ doesn’t work magic then ‘stop producing plastic’ will.

When one attempts modeling what small daily actions to save our planet can look like, they are looked upon at askance. Early adopters of anything look weird in the beginning. A few years from now, we hope zero-waste-istas will become heroes.

New models and better versions of TVs, cell phones and computers have become a de rigueur for everyone. Hence, the disposals and wastes. Nobody is desperately in need of things that will be good to his/her dying day! Advertisements make us believe that more varied our needs become, the higher our perfection in belonging to an advanced, affluent society.  In the malls, people find themselves exposed to as many television screens the place can accommodate and hundreds of commercials in the course of an average shopping trip.

Wise choices that don’t lead to overflowing trash bins and dump yards should be encouraged at the societal level. The path for a clean India emerges from homes. Every individual must be educated for independent participation in making waste -­free choices. Masters of discontent are cashing in on the new mood of the parents in wishing to indulge their children’s whims. There is much buying for children and the things bought, used, not-used and trashed are determined by what the child wants rather than what the child needs or the parents want for the child.

Why should we wait on governments to organise people for tackling this problem of waste generation if our lives aren’t inter meshed with acts of consumption to gain a fake feeling of significance in life. Problems and its solutions manifest through people. Hyper thyroid economy that constantly stimulates us to be more prodigal with country’s resources would mean a never ending generation of junk.

Beware of planned obsolescence. An existing product may look outmoded when a new one is introduced. Even the best of products, of course, wears out sometime. Then the question we ask ourselves is “Was something more than reasonable wear and tear involved in creating this “obsolescence or breakdown?”

Model numbers of products are found in hard-to-notice places. No replacement of parts can be made until the model number is located. Manufacturers of products should place the model number in such a way it’s visible to the human eye. If at all we locate the model number either replacement parts cost more or ailing parts are inaccessible.

Greater number of activists, politicians and businessman are beginning to realize that development with its greed and speed fails to promote the life of a society in its real terms, yet, achieving reconciliation and harmony between the different ecologic and ethical optima seems so far away.

Ever expanding dump yards which are very much a part of our ecosystem is our concern and sadly it’s becoming a grave one in recent times after smoke from landfills choke humans every now and then.

Inviting packaging, cans and wraps that we throw away isn’t a free dividend to any consumer. What’s so inconvenient about taking along our containers, oil jars, egg holders and bags while we go shopping in our cars? I’ve known of certain packaging that costs ten times as much as the products inside. Let’s learn to avoid or handle looks and gestures when we walk the right path.

There is indeed a thing as good friends and positive influence. I’m so proud of the fact that HSMF who opts for high end clothing brands takes home stuff from the shops in his own cloth bag minus the wrapping and packaging and now deliberating on taking his own boxes in case he decides to bring home food from a restaurant to avoid adding on to the heap of eco disposable containers. Ordering milk in reusable glass containers from the local milk booth or taking packed fruits and vegetables into our own bowls would mean educating a fellow being or an onlooker.

 

Most of us can make a difference on what we choose to buy, use and how. All of us don’t have shares of stock in conglomerates and hence vested interests in waste perpetuation. Wake up to the fact, ‘We can’t run a linear system on a finite planet’?

 

Low- waste lifestyles, noticed and rewarded will encourage everyone to participate in whatever capacity they can.

Two massive obstacles that stand in the way of any notable change from the present

1) Our belief that our technology can solve all problems which pushes us to ever-greater productivity based on automation and ever-greater consumption

2) All pervading commercialism

While a handful strive hard to hold on to their judicious attitude, the values they receive from what they possess in terms of material wealth just to work out some tangible solutions, I wonder if butterflies will flutter by, will the little bird be there to say a word, will beach sands be playable, will the little bee follow us into the field, will throw away mood give way to a ‘built­ in conscience’, will we heal the world? Desperate pertinent questions are these.

 

We should stop assuming that the stuff we trash into bins doesn’t just disappear in thin air. So, let us all be cautious about what we trash.

‘Greed not, trash not’

If no, it seems that the world’s population and resources can’t be brought into a more tolerable balance and the competition by nations for badly needed resources will generate ugly frictions exploding into warfare.

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