Tuesday, December 26, 2017

My City My Responsibility - Think before you consume

Dear All, 

I am back and I am glad, all of you appreciate the idea of thinking before buying is it really needed? I am sharing an image created by my friend that shows consumption as a cycle where we get stuff from nature in the form of a raw material and give it back in the form of a waste material exploiting it completely. 
PC: Rajath Dasanakodige Manjunatha

While understanding consumption one should know about the lifecycle of any stuff. By 'lifecycle' I mean the entire journey of the product right from the time its born till its death. The entire process involves generation of wastes in every stage of the cycle, which is also called 'cradle to grave'. 

Lets take an example of the vegetables that we consume daily. We require fertile land, seeds, adequate amount of water, chemical fertilizers and pesticides, along with appropriate climatic conditions and consistent human efforts to grow the vegetables. A lot of energy is also consumed for harvesting and transporting the vegetables to our homes in the cities. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s 2016 State of the Forests Report 7 million ha of forests are turned into agricultural land annually in order to meet our food demands. Are we indirectly depleting our forests in order to fulfill our consumption needs? So what do we do about it? 

As an individual we can explore options like Permaculture and organic farming in our backyard or terraces that can suffice our household food demand, wherever possible. Also, we should consume food as per what and how much is needed for well being. 

However, the bigger picture lies in understanding lifecycle of any product. Since it helps us know from where and how does the product come to us. What are its impacts on our environment, health and economy? How can we reduce or minimize these impacts and act responsibly? Is anyone producing the same stuff as per 'cradle to cradle' (the waste of one product becomes source for another product) philosophy?

If we start consuming responsibly, businesses will be forced to produce responsibly. 

Pournima Agarkar

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