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Do your bit to halt climate change

October 15, 2009

This post has been written for BlOG ACTION DAY

It’s time to be preoccupied with global warming and climate change. Each one of us. This post is just a reminder to all of us that we  need to think of the earth as something very dear which is being abused by the human race. And each one of us needs to do our bit for the earth. Believe me, what you can do is not too little. Nothing is ever too little, but yes some things can happen too late. So don’t be late. Here are some things that you can do to keep this earth beautiful. Because not all of us can join big movements and not all of us can make huge changes. Let’s save the earth in every which way.

None of these tips given below are original. I scribbled them down, writing them as they occurred to me. I’ve probably read them somewhere, sometime. For example the first tip I read in a magazine called Femina more than a decade back. And yes, I do use an old sock in my kitchen!

  • Use an old sock to clean your kitchen counter. This material lasts a long time, it’s easy to clean, and if you wring it well enough before using it will give a shine to the surface. You will save on washing soap and will also be re-using a discarded sock. If by any chance you use paper, then you are going to do a lot of good if you change to a sock.
  • If you use toilet paper, it’s best to install a Handheld Portable Bidet Sprayer in your bathroom if you don’t have one already. This saves on the paper and it can also be used to spray the toilet after light use instead of flushing. You will save water.
  • Do you use paper to wipe your hands? Stop! Carry a handkerchief with you wherever you go and avoid using even the electric hand dryer at malls.
  • If you live in a developed country you probably use clothes dryers. Try not using them. Dry your clothes on a line.
  • If you are the owner of a business, stop distributing leaflets and pamphlets in abundance. Ensure that they reach the right people Reduce your direct mail too. Save paper.
  • Recycle your garbage. Start a compost pit in your building compound.
  • Use cloth bags for shopping. And refuse plastic bags when a shop keeper offers them to you. Ditto with paper bags.
  • Try having warm showers and baths, not hot ones.
  • Save water by having a bucket bath, switching off taps while brushing your teeth and rinsing a few utensils instead of scrubbing them with soap everytime.
  • Don’t give your clothes for a wash if you feel they are not dirty. Wear them again another day. And fold your clothes in such a way that they don’t need re-ironing.
  • Eat less! Remember the more you eat, the more you deplete the environment. You can turn vegetarian too, as eating meat is more of a burden on our earth.
  • Use car pools, bicycles, public transport and walk, walk and walk! Avoid the lift too.
  • Increase the temperature of your air conditioning by a degree or two if you live in hot climate and lower it if you use heating.
  • If you are the owner of a business go for environment friendly practices. Invest that little extra to keep the environment clean.
  • Find an organisation focussed on environmental issues ask them if you can help out in some way.

You can read more tips to save energy here!

Or add your own in the comment form at the end of this post.

But more important, try and do at least one thing every single day. Keep the Environment at the top of your mind, every single day. Think of the Earth every day. Remember, the future of this earth depends on what YOU do today! Don’t ever think that your contribution means nothing. Because it does.

For a good overview of what climate change is all about go here:

To read about its effect on India (floods) read this Economic Times article and this Time article. Being a poorer country India is going to suffer a lot because of climate change.

At the end of this year world leaders will meet in Copenhagen to “negotiate a global response to climate change”. There is a huge divide between the developing world the developed world regarding this. The developed world has contributed more to climate change and developing countries need their help to manage problems caused by global warming.

I personally do not think that one should expect too much from the Copenhagen conference, knowing how reluctant some countries are to take positive steps to tackle global warming. However, we can do our little bit even if we are far away from Copenhagen. The United States is in a position to do a lot to halt climate change and a signature campaign by bloggers will tell President Obama that bloggers all over the world want him to take “bold and significant action to reduce greenhouse gasses”.

Click here to add your name and call on the U.S. to take action now.

Related Reading: Global Warming’s Impact on India
How will India manage Climate Change?

48 Comments leave one →
  1. October 15, 2009 9:10 am

    Hmmmmmmmmmmm @ the old sock bit. I find them rather disgusting. The first thing that I did was toss out the old sock when I took over the Kitchen. I also find the whole process of dish washing in India rather disgusting. Mostly people use cold water, which never cleans properly and leaves behind a whole lot of germs. So forget the environment, it will take care of itself by making the human race extinct anyway in the long term and do your dishes properly.

    I would again pretty much agree with everything else except using a handkerchief to wipe hands and nose. Use a tissue and toss it in a proper dust bin. It is much better and hygienic. The idea of carrying a bacteria/virus laden piece of cotton covered in snot in my pocket all day completely makes me want to puke.

    Remember tree huggers are just evil fanatical terrorists who want to change the way you live your life. Defend freedom and democracy! He he he.

    • "Tree Hugger" permalink
      October 15, 2009 9:58 am

      @ Odzer:

      //Mostly people use cold water, which never cleans properly and leaves behind a whole lot of germs. So forget the environment, it will take care of itself by making the human race extinct anyway in the long term and do your dishes properly.//

      If the environment is going to take care of itself by making us extinct anyway, why prolong the agony by using an allegedly “more proper” process of dishwashing?

      I suppose you have been an expatriate too long to recall that the “disgusting” cold water wash was accompanied by a thorough scrubbing with charcoal ash, coconut husk or similar other single-use mild abrasives, the residual traces of which were thoroughly eliminated with a final rinse, again with cold water. That is more than I can say about chemical detergents, whether liquid or solid.

      • October 15, 2009 3:07 pm

        I dont like diarrhea. Oh and you can’t do modern dishes with coconut husks. Not everyone eats in Stainless steel thali’s that leech aluminium in to your body and kill you quickly by destroying your kidneys anyway. I made a joke, take it with a pinch of salt and in the right spirit. Besides we are not hunting tree huggers today, its off season.

        • "Tree Hugger" permalink
          October 15, 2009 5:53 pm

          //you can’t do modern dishes with coconut husks.//

          Then they should be redisigned so that you can.

          No one likes diarrhœa, but it is not as horrible as the assorted cancers unleashed by chemicals.

          I am afraid my secondary school science does not stretch far enough to allow comprehension of the bit about “stainless steel thalis that leech (or should that be leach?) aluminium into [my] body” etc.

          Hunting tree-huggers may be off-season, but it is one of those things which, once it becomes fashionable, sticks like a limpet — or, if you prefer, a leech — (I’m certain I got that last one right!) 😉

          • "Tree Hugger" permalink
            October 15, 2009 5:56 pm

            Correction: ‘redesign’, not ‘redisign’.

          • October 15, 2009 11:38 pm

            And that is why environmentalism is death by a thousand cuts because you keep giving up things and making adjustments till finally you are just doing things not because you want to but because its “good for the environment.” Trust me the Extinction level event is much easier. One huge flood that washes us all away together, till then eat, drink and be merry. Keep the coconuts on the trees, they look there much better anyway.

            • "Tree Hugger" permalink
              October 16, 2009 5:58 am

              I agree that coconuts look much better on the trees.

              That’s exactly why it is impotant to “keep giving up things and making adjustments till finally you are just doing things not because you want to but because its good for the environment.”

              It’s a much better reason than doing (or not doing) things than because some smartass MBAs in marketing, assisted by some smartass advertising scum, seek to engineer your tastes and aspirations. Well, actually I am only speaking for myself, so instead of “your” read “Our Majesty’s”.

              • October 16, 2009 4:49 pm

                and that is your problem indeed, such and such is good and such and such is bad. You are just stuck in dualism. How can you be sure that whatever X type of people are doing for ‘environment’ is actually good for it? Do you really think humans can protect the environment or destroy it? All conditioned things are impermanent and so is this planet and the creatures on it including man. How can you be not sure we are not following natures plan of evolving in such a manner that we destroy ourselves eh? If indeed nature has planned it that way, then we should certainly hunt and persecute the tree huggers for throwing the proverbial spanner in nature’s wheel. I guess this is my last message, I don’t want to hijack Nita’s blog for a slanging match even though I guess I would admit I am enjoying this sort of an activity after a long time. Bye Bye Tree Hugger.

                • October 18, 2009 8:51 am

                  “All conditioned things are impermanent and so is this planet and the creatures on it including man. “

                  Odzer, I can safely assume that your words above are somewhat influenced by Buddhist thinking. If so, then you must be aware of the story of new robes donated to the sangha, and TathAgat decided that the old robes would be turned into bedsheets, the old worn bedsheets into towels and old worn towels into rags for cleaning. Impermanence does not imply irresponsible living, or a free license to do anything and everything (since everything is impermanent), or living a life that harms other creatures in this world – at least that’s not how I interpret it and neither have I found anything even remotely hinting at that in my readings of Theravada Buddhism. Buddhism as well as Indic religions and philosophies are markedly less anthropocentric than Abrahamic religions, which makes them intrinsically “eco-friendly” – at least in theory. Rest all is up to practitioners and their understanding.

    • October 15, 2009 10:45 am

      Old t-shirts are also good…I use them…I don’t know if I would want to use a sock though…

  2. October 15, 2009 9:16 am

    Quote “If you live in a developed country you probably use clothes dryers. Try not using them. Dry your clothes on a line.”

    I truly want to know how many of the 20 and 30 something crowd even knows what a clothes line is or how to use clothes pins!

  3. October 15, 2009 10:02 am

    Superbly written! I am sure your tips will go a long way in preserving the environment…

    Thank you so much for writing this post!

  4. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    October 15, 2009 10:34 am

    Nita:

    //Increase the temperature of your air conditioning by a degree or two if you live in hot climate and lower it if you use heating.//

    If you live in a hot-arid (or even semi-arid) place, consider using evaporative cooling instead of air conditioning, at least in residential and lo-tech work spaces.

  5. October 15, 2009 10:41 am

    Hello Blogger Friend,

    Your excellent post has been back-linked in
    http://hinduonline.blogspot.com/

  6. October 15, 2009 3:36 pm

    wonderful post! shared it will all on my google reader

  7. Lakshmi permalink
    October 15, 2009 4:07 pm

    Great post Nita. I could adopt some of these. I have cut down on paper towels and have been using cold water on washing machine for quite some time now. You are very right saying that what each of us can do is not very less.

  8. October 15, 2009 7:20 pm

    The organizations I’ve worked with all have cut their paper cups and switched to ceramic ones.
    On an average a person would use 3 cups * 20 days * 12 months = 720 cups a year
    with 1000 employees in each company and having more than a thousand companies in one city, the figures are huge !
    And thats for one city.
    I think all organizations should switch to ceramic cups.

  9. rags permalink
    October 15, 2009 9:26 pm

    Thought provoking. Will keep the tips in mind. I wish people would realize how easy it is to lead a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle with a little bit of effort. Indians are notorious for saving up on every tiny thing and reusing stuff, we need to extend that to plastics too.
    If there’s something we should not learn from the West it is this attitude to “use and throw”. And also ban ayn rand and other creeps who want to promote individualism. (Ok, I don’t mean that, but honestly life would be so much better without the ‘me me me’ attitude).

  10. October 15, 2009 10:45 pm

    Such relevant points! I try and do most of the the things- barring the old sock, though.

    There are so many small, but effective ways of working towards an eco-friendly lifestyle.. We walk where ever we can, using public transport where possible…

    Fantastic, relevant post!

  11. October 16, 2009 2:02 pm

    Hi Nita,
    Small steps do matter.. good post!

    I loved the sock idea.. Infact I have seen socks material being used for floor moping also, in places where vacuum cleaners had not reached.. it has a texture which is good for cleaning and sticks all fine hair/dust to it.. I guess that is a cool use of a discarded socks pair.. why should it be disgusting to use after its been properly washed.. It sounds practical enough for me to use a fresh pair too.. only thing is it isn’t absorbent enough like the spongy wipes we use do.

    first time here.. came thru Solzz

  12. October 16, 2009 4:08 pm

    Very interesting list. I linked to it here [comments section], in Rosaria’s blog, a woman from Oregon [hope the link works]:

    The Sisterhood Award and a Blog Action Day

  13. October 16, 2009 5:53 pm

    Thank you,I will try and implement some of these if not all.

  14. October 17, 2009 5:37 am

    First, Welcome back from your Europe trip! I hope you had a blast and a good break.

    Nita, the thought that always comes to my mind (and we have discussed this here earlier), is that India had(s) so many good, energy-saving, environment-friendly habits that we are giving up quickly in the race toward modernization and consumerism. A lot of these habits (many of them need-based, of course) are simple and can be saved:
    Remember the “raddi-wallah/paper wallah” from our childhood? How we used to recycle bottles and plastic and newspapers and sell them for a few rupees? Now, when these people move up the food chain (which they should), who will take over? Local govts. and communities have to.

    Or the fact that we still use clotheslines to dry our clothes?

    Or that we used chic blinds to keep the room cool and surahis to keep the water cool?

    Or that we built houses that allow maximum sunlight so we didn’t need to turn on the light until after sunset?

    Or that we made cloth shopping bags out of old clothes (Ma insists that men’s pants make for the best material for bags😉

    Or that we used discarded sarees and towels (mostly cotton) to use as wipes and rags and shoe rugs?

    There are so many systemic changes we need that can help us save these lifestyles: for e.g., if the government helps build good, regulated day-care centers, parents will get some extra time to actually cook meals rather than buy those fattening fast-food stuff. Don’t you think?

    I hope in the rush for the much-needed modernization, we don’t loose these great habits🙂

    [O, btw, BlogHer is also running a Blog Action Day. You can use list this post there. I think you can use Mr. Linky to link to your post on this issue.]

    Good to have you back, Nita!

    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
      October 17, 2009 10:18 am

      SS

      //…discarded sarees and towels (mostly cotton) to use as wipes and rags and shoe rugs…//

      You forgot an important one — discarded cotton sarees and dhotars folded and stitched up to make thin, light but cosy quilts.

      The problem with such nostalgia is that recycling cuts into the market for newly manufactured consumer goods. This goes against the compulsion of manufacturers to sell, and the aggressive, offensive exhortations you and I continually face to buy, buy, buy (because the manufacturers must earn enough to sustain their obscenely in-your-face, consumptive, polluting, environment-degrading lifestyles). In short, it is against the spirit of modern capitalism, therefore of “development”, “democracy” etc. and ultimately it is “anti-national”. Thus anyone talking about recycling, sustainable development, environment etc. is a traitor.

      And the sheer thanklessness of those of us who refuse to buy! Look at the trouble they take for us, bringing Hindi filmstars, cricketers, fashion models and other assorted glam personalities into our living rooms at such great expense.

      If all this means that overwhelming majority of those who starve or just subsist must perish, then “so be it”.

      • rags permalink
        October 17, 2009 10:40 am

        Right on spot!

      • October 20, 2009 12:45 am

        Vivek, you are absolutely right! Couldn’t have put it better myself.

        I don’t mind capitalism and the fact that we can buy what we want when we want. That’s not bad. But there has to be a balance. What’s the point of being able to afford an A/C if there’s no source of fuel any more?

        You know, it amuses me to see how in the U.S. (where I live now) — the consumer capital of the world– people are beginning to advertise — yes, TV ads!! — the use of cloth bags for shopping.
        Many cities in California, especially in the Bay Area, require residents to recycle plastics, metals, paper and in some cases, organic food wastes.
        In fact, whenever we look for a new apt, that’s one of the questions we ask: Do you recycle?

        In my view, I feel people who can afford stuff should make an extra attempt to save. Nobody’s asking anybody to walk around dressed like the Mahatma all the time (unless, of course, that’s what you want). But connecting sustainability to poverty is a dangerous idea. That implies once I can afford, I must/can be wasteful!

        I have to admit that I have learned to appreciate these things over time, not when I actually practised that lifestyle. When it used to rain and pour in Kolkata, I wished we had a good dryer. It was a PAIN to dry clothes in the monsoon. So, I don’t mind the dryer as long as we use it when we need it only. In short, use consciously, when needed. It’s a tall order, but can be done with a little effort.

        I fail more times than I succeed. But I can try.

        That kind of restraint can only come with awareness. I feel a lot of us are wasteful simply because we are not aware and don’t think so much about this.

  15. October 17, 2009 8:46 am

    We need to do our bit, not because the planet needs saving, but because humanity needs to be saved..after all Earth has been here for billions of years…When will people realize this?

  16. October 17, 2009 10:06 am

    Hey Odzer, your views on environmentalism are well known and unlike Tree Hugger I prefer not to argue with you!🙂

    pobept, perhaps we need to have a HowTo post on putting up clothes lines and using clothes pins!🙂

    Parth, thanks and you are welcome.

    Vivek, yeah that’s a good idea. Cooler are better in a hot dry climate, inexpensive too.

    Hinduonline, thanks.

    sraboneyghose, old Tshirts to wear as nightclothes you mean? I do that too. But do you mean old Tshirts to use as wipes? Yeah, I do that too! But you will be surprised how well a sock behaves once its split down the middle and used as a wipe! Its great!

    Reema, thanks.

    Lakshmi thanks. I wish more people would realise that every bit counts! Just yesterday I mentioned to someone that buying a Rs 35000 washing machine which comes with a clothes dryer isn’t a good thing for global warming but all I got was surprised looks! Most people do not have global warming on top of their minds! I think its important for us not to make the same mistake as the developed world did. And in the bargain we save money!

    Xylene, I agree. Any owner of a business can make a huge huge difference!

    rags, I agree that Indians do things which are good for the environment but they do it to save money. A large class of Indians are now coming into money and the fear is that they might adopt wasteful habits from the west. Now that the danger of global warming has been recognized, I just hope that educated Indians at least don’t go the western way!

    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
      October 19, 2009 6:53 am

      Nita,

      //perhaps we need to have a HowTo post on putting up clothes lines and using clothes pins!//

      …and a HowTo post on putting the clothes with a stick on lines strung across just below ceiling level — very important when you don’t have the frame with lines drawn across it, which you can lower and raise on pulleys; when you there is no outdoors space at ground level; or a facility for tying the lines at waist level outside a balcony parapet. (In any case the last one is unsightly, and best avoided).

  17. October 17, 2009 10:12 am

    Smitha, living in a developed country means more temptation to waste! But at least the awareness there is better and people are doing things.

    Hi Tara and welcome to the blog. I have been seeing your name in comments and I think I even checked out your blog once.🙂 And I agree wholeheartedly with you about the old sock bit. It’s a great material for cleaning.

    Man of Roma, thanks. I visited her blog and thanks for introducing me to a nice blog. Will visit there again!

    BK Chowla, that sounds good!

    SS, thanks. You are so right, we have such environment friendly habits but these are being slowly discarded. Me too guilty! For example I almost threw away the wrappers that came with some Diwali presents. Just a couple of years ago I would painstakingly remove the cellotape and save them for another day. I realised it, picked up the discarded wrappers and spent half an hour removing the cello tape! Saved money too!🙂 Money saved is money earned! And will check out BlogHer. Actually with all the Diwali cleaning and meeting people, have had no time to spend on the blog.

    Vishesh, thank you. What a wonderful comment!

  18. October 17, 2009 1:31 pm

    I wonder how many Hindu families will use a sock in the kitchen. My mother, for one, will drop her jaw! Even I can not bring myself to using a sock like that [I’ll be uncomfortable even with a new sock] though I am environment-conscious.

    Also I love tissue paper and I can probably never live without it!

    Now some positive things: I became a veggie for life since some four months [lacto-ovo vegetarian].

    I wash clothes once in a blue moon!🙂

    I eat less [two rotis only most of the time] during lunch and dinner though snacks are heavier and more frequent.

    I cannot live without my cycle!

  19. October 17, 2009 6:33 pm

    Happy Diwali to everyone here!😀

    http://i36.tinypic.com/15n52zp.jpg

  20. October 17, 2009 6:40 pm

    Err, Happy Diwali again [the previous one is now showing]:

  21. October 18, 2009 8:58 am

    Nita, a better way to “sell” clotheslines would be to indicate that people are giving away money (electricity, dryer) for something that is available for free – more so in many parts of India since India is a tropical country close to the equator and enjoys hot/warm weather throughout. Once the illogic and waste of money over buying a dryer is driven home and people realize how stupid it is, they will likely switch back to clotheslines and dry clothes just like their parents and/or grandparents used to.

  22. October 18, 2009 9:27 am

    every thing has to be re-designed in a environment friendly way, and we should stop blogging and commenting to save electricity

  23. October 19, 2009 2:45 am

    wonderful post Nita…

    I will try to follow some of the points mentioned here…🙂

    and for the summit in December… I am expecting zero there…. USA is the main culprit in polluting this Earth in bigger way and they are asking to others to reduce the emission levels… hypocrites…

  24. Vinod permalink
    October 19, 2009 1:02 pm

    Save water by having a bucket bath,

    As opposed to a shower bath or bath tub bath? What is the comparison made to?

  25. October 19, 2009 10:10 pm

    Vikas, I guess all of us have a weakness. I think I won’t tell you mine!🙂 And for some reason your diwali pix is not showing.

    Vishesh, to you too!🙂

    Amit, yeah you are right. If I talk about global warming to some people I know they think I am crazy!😦

    maya/uncommon, yeah we can stop having a bath too!🙂

    Kanagu, same here!😦

    Vinod, I mean any type of bath, shower or tub.

  26. October 19, 2009 11:05 pm

    Irrespective of the commercial implications, I think the going green movement is for good… Nice contribution from your side for the same Nita. I just wish the research on renewable sources of energy is allowed to take place to its fullest potential.

    Destination Infinity

  27. October 20, 2009 1:57 pm

    Nita, a good reminder indeed!

    I am not really concirned with the global warming/cooling because I am sure the Earth can regulate herself perfectly – after all, some massive earthquakes and fluds will finally teach us a lesson😦

    However intrestingly I can confirm that many of the points you ahve listed I do already, jsut naturally, on my own. Not because I am told to. I jsut feel this is a good thing to do and honestly, we don’t need soooo many thins we use!

  28. October 22, 2009 1:42 am

    Great post, Nita…like the eating less and turning veggie one! Keep ’em comin!

  29. wishtobeanon permalink
    October 23, 2009 9:03 pm

    Hi Nita, good points! But I wonder if these would be really effective if only a minority of people follow these – what about the governments who are actually responsible for widespread ecological damage? – just a rhetorical question.

  30. Rosa permalink
    October 30, 2009 12:58 pm

    Hey Nita,
    Nice to see someone concerned about the environment like myself. I enjoyed your tips. Some of them I already knew and do do however there were some interesting ones there. Living in Australia I am well aqainted with clothes lines and pegs, we invented the good ole ‘hills hoist’. I own a dryer but we only ever use it unless it rains and we have no room on the clothes stands we have inside😛.
    As a ‘tree hugger’ I also have some tips of my own:
    Simple tips for living greener to protect the environment and biodiversity include:
    – Recycle: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
    – Save water:
    Make sure to take shorter showers.
    Water your garden with recycled water.
    Buy a rain water tank to collect rain water for use in your home.
    Make sure that taps are turned off properly and that they have no leaks.
    Only turn on your dishwasher when it is full.
    – Turn off lights and use fluorescent light bulbs.
    – Do not use plastic bags. Canvas bags or biodegradable bags are a much better alternative. If you have to use plastic bags make sure to recycle them.
    – Carpool, catch the bus or ride to reduce carbon emissions.
    – Plant native plants in your garden.
    – Reduce paper consumption by not accepting junk mail.
    – Use reusable items rather than disposable items.
    – Wash your clothes with cold water rather than warm water.
    I got them from a document I previously wrote so I apologise that some of them overlap with yours.

    Also another interesting thing that people can do is make there own cleaning products, soaps etc. Its a great way to help the environment.

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