World Earth Month 2023: Indian Individuals Who Are Trying To Make The World A Better Place Through Their Sustainable Beliefs And Work
It is an absolute no-brainer that all of us will soon be facing the brunt of the damages that we have caused in the form of global warming. With each passing day, we hit a new low when it comes to being responsible for the global climatic meltdown and now more than ever we need to be conscious of our activities and be committed to the act of reducing our carbon footprints and also being well within the limits of our planetary boundaries.
Sustainability is definitely not something that one can wrap their head around in a jiffy but it is the need of the hour and the sooner we embark on this journey the better it is for us, the planet and our future generations. Luckily for us, we are surrounded by certain young minds who are not just passionate about giving back to the planet but are also committed to inspiring people around them to understand the state of emergency and act on it wisely.
To celebrate and honour World Earth Month, NW18 reached out to a few such individuals who are absolute heroes, to say the least, and are putting their best foot forward to fight the boon of climate change in every little way possible.
As a young tennis player playing in the junior circuit, Samriddh had the opportunity to travel far and wide, and these travels as he points out helped him “gain a certain perspective, where I experienced that the world is much bigger than what you experience day to day and there is a sort of imbalance in society but at the same time in how everything is interconnected.” Owing to all the travelling that he was doing from a very early age and his tenure as a Liberal Arts student in the United States, he slowly started to understand the value of community and appreciate nature and all that it had to offer in all its glory and all this slowly culminated into a major force that led him on his journey into sustainability and years later was also an inspiration behind the work that he does today with his brand The Burlap People.
“Sustainability is at the very centre of my work, it is the reason why we started The Burlap People in the first place and when we talk about sustainability we need to consider three aspects of it, the economic viability, the environmental impact which is key for us and also social responsibility and in that sense, it begins with the material that we use to make our products,” says Samriddh.
He further added, “When we say we work with jute or cotton, this is to say that the products that we make are almost biodegradable and environment friendly.” Samriddh believes that the first step to ensure that one is living consciously is to gain as much knowledge and awareness as one can and try to understand how as an individual our actions impact everything around us and the fact that we do not exist by ourselves but are interdependent on all that we are surrounded by. The message that he would want to put out this Earth month is, “Things are worse than what most of us would like to accept and maybe even understand, the planet has been heating at an alarming rate and whether we would like to accept it we are exposed to it, it is the most important conversation that we need to have at the moment. There is no longer time to wait or debate and it is time to come together and make changes in our lifestyle choices.”
Vyashnavi’s journey towards sustainability started around 2018 when she came across multiple videos and also witnessed real-life incidents of animals consuming plastic in landfills, that was the triggering point for her and made her realise that “ We are doing a lot of damage to the earth and its inhabitants in the short span of time that we exist.” On the personal front, she makes her own natural tooth powder and even shampoo in order to live a more conscious and fuller life. This young Vegan blogger from Hyderabad is a firm believer in the art of thrifting and practices the same as well when it comes to the choices she is making to be more sustainable in her life.
She says, “I work towards sustainability by spreading awareness and offering zero waste solutions through my brand Eco Studio India. The thing is, we need to make sustainability and our planet a part of our daily conversations and I am able to do so by creating content around the same.”
When asked what her Earth Month message would be, Vyashnavi said, “We are in a severe climate crisis. It is very much needed to make a change in the way we live and even more importantly the government and large corporations need to act right when it comes to protecting our environment and passing laws for better environmental health and safety. We need to rewire our brains on how we consume and discard our waste. That’s the only way forward.”
Ajit and Roopa
This lovely duo run a quaint boutique Airbnb stay tucked deep inside the little town known as Marayoor in Kerala. Consciously built and lovingly nurtured, The Mudhouse Marayoor is home to traditionally constructed mud houses and a treehouse. Ajit narrated that “The Mudhouse began with just one cottage in half an acre of land bordering the Marayoor forest. We found the land through my uncle, Dinesh who is an avid bird watcher by passion. During one of his travels, through a friend, he had the opportunity to visit the Marayoor village in Kerala and became fascinated by the mud houses built by the tribals in the area. Some of them dating back to 100s of years. The simplicity of construction truly intrigued us.”
He further talked about how conscious living is at the very heart of their project, “It was a conscious decision to build with locally sourced materials and give importance to the culture of the area. We always encourage our guests to ditch their vehicles and try bicycles or leisurely walks whenever possible. We have introduced organic farming on a patch of land adjacent to the cottages. Everything about the mudhouse is a chance to be reintroduced to the land, nature and our culture. We are constantly thinking about what we can do without and how we can be more responsible towards the environment. Plastic is a big no inside the property. Guests are given instructions to be prudent with water; toiletries, laundry and everything else. We source locally grown and seasonal fruits and vegetables for food. We encourage guests to slow down and experience the beauty around them. It’s always amazing to find happiness in exploring one thing rather than seeing 10 different places in a day.”
While talking about why the very concept of sustainability is important to both of them as well as the ones around the duo, Roopa mentioned, “ Sustainable travel is not a trend. It’s going to be a way of living and we are proud to do our bit to make it a reality, though it’s never complete and we have a long way to go on this journey. Travellers wish to explore and experiment these days, and they are increasingly becoming conscious of their ecological footprint. In the beginning when we had started, there were people who couldn’t digest that such a concept was even possible. But we pressed on. Today, we have guests visiting from all over the world who find the experience exhilarating.”
She went on to add, “We love to encourage people to choose slow travel. Travelling without thought is a burden our planet doesn’t deserve. Staying in one place for longer, experimenting with local cuisine, and understanding the culture can be an amazing experience and such a unique way of travel.”
For the longest time, Shrutanwita was not someone who lived her life consciously and sustainably. She was quite versed with the global environmental crisis but somehow it never really impacted or even reflected much on the choices that she was making. It was during the pandemic that she started to understand more about the consequences that our choices can have and started reading more about the concept of sustainability and was intrigued by the little things that one can do in order to heal the earth in whatever way we can. She says, “ It is not one fine day that you realise you are going to be sustainable. But once you do these small changes and once it becomes your habit, it makes you feel good. I think it is our responsibility to be conscious about our environment, the earth where we live in. There is no one trigger moment, but the pandemic was an eye-opener for me.”
To give us a more in depth view of her sustainability journey, the co-founder of a sustainable fashion brand called QuirkyBae said, “Conscious living is a state of mind. Even small steps like using a bamboo toothbrush, switching to a menstrual cup, remembering to turn off the tap while washing my face, reducing the use of plastics as much as possible, shopping consciously and shopping less goes a long way. Also, conscious living is not just about the environment. I feel, to be conscious about things that are considerably affecting society is what conscious living is. Treating people with respect, and treating people as equals is also a huge part of my conscious living. I believe empathy brings consciousness. If you are empathetic, if you feel moved by the problems around you and act on them, you are a conscious person. It started with checking on my habit of overconsuming fashion and now I am creating a fashion brand on sustainable ethics,”
Considering the fact that the fashion industry is one of the top three industries to contribute to pollution she has co-created a brand that tries to cover all the aspects of sustainability right from, dyeing to packaging to paying their workers and treating them with respect, as a brand they are constantly trying to follow the sustainable ways. Shrutanwita’s message to everyone around her during this Earth Month is, “ Climate change is real and is super-fast. Slow progress won’t help any of us. It is our time to take action. If you are thinking to make those changes, start right away, switch to a menstrual cup, and bamboo toothbrush, and carry your own bottles everywhere. These small changes can make a huge difference, our Earth deserves it.”
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