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

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

My City My Responsibility: Think it through

Dear All, 

Hope you all find it exciting to do our bit to make our city livable or say Sustainable. It excites me because it gives me a sense of ownership of my city along with citizenship. And I believe that when you own it only then you care about it. We own this Earth and so we should take care of it.  

Regarding the solid waste problem that we are currently facing in our city, I am sure we as individuals are definitely doing our bit by segregating the wastes into wet waste and dry waste. As per revised city development plan our city generates around 1300 MT of solid wastes daily. Considering the current population, per person we are generating around 400 g of solid waste. Out of the 1300 MT, the household waste or domestic waste constitutes around 69%, i.e around 966 MT. While the remaining 31% is generated through street cleaning, hotels, markets, hospitals etc. Thus, in a way, 69% of the problem of solid waste is in our hands as citizens of Pune. 

This led me to think that by segregating the waste I am helping in better management of the solid waste which is a great thing. But if I can help in minimizing the waste will it be even better? What do I mean by minimizing the wastes? Here's an interesting image posted below, which I came across on social media and felt like sharing. I am not sure who is the creator though. 

Source: www.pinterest.nz

Its a simple flow diagram that directs you to think before buying is it really needed ? I know its easier said than done. But can we start thinking on these lines. It is about being concerned and thinking consciously about our actions which will lead us to Sustainability. We will discuss more about responsible consumption that can lead to responsible production in our next blog. 

Pournima Agarkar.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

My City My Responsibility: Walk the talk

Dear All, 

This is my first blog entry. I am going to post under this heading every Tuesday and share with you about how we can do our bit to make our city a livable place. 

Being born and brought up in the city I am an authentic Puneite but not a typical Puneri I mean ''Sadashiv pethi''. Pune being a multi cultural city it invites diverse cultures, food, music, rituals, clothing, way of life etc. I believe that transforming has been the way of life for us as we are constantly changing. 

I am a naturalist by passion and love to observe nature and the way it keeps on changing and accommodating us and our wastes. My passion got transformed into my profession when I chose the path to be an Environmentalist. I believe that as much as human beings are the stakeholders of the city, other forms also significantly contribute to our city. The trees, birds, insects, the animals, the buildings, the roads, the modes of transport and not to forget the Climate which is rapidly changing at the rate with which we cannot even cope up. 

Change is evident and I feel that in order to make the change a better one for all of us, we need to look at the changes from a Sustainability lens. So what’s a Sustainability lens??? Let me put it simply, it’s our attitude and Punekars have lots of it...Just kidding! Our attitude i.e the way we look at our surrounding neighborhood, society, locality and last but not the least our City it matters a lot. An attitude that has concern, care and solution oriented, constitutes a Sustainability lens

While reflecting on the same lines I realized that even a small act can be a Sustainable one. For instance, walking instead of using a bike to go to a nearby grocery store (not more that 500 m) can help reduce considerable carbon emissions if all of us strive for it. It has to be an concerted effort through a conscious decision and an attitude to understand why this change is required. So if it motivates you to do your bit for your city, stay tuned...

Pournima Agarkar.