Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Internship Encounters - Carbon Neutral Freshers' Party

 Dear All, 

Last time I shared an incident from one of our interns during her internship survey. You can check out the blog here. The same intern Tejaswini Datar writes again to talk about one of her interesting encounters like having a Carbon Neutral Freshers' Party. 

Check it out, how aiming at Carbon Neutral helps a long way in making conscious decisions in everything that we do in a way to make the world a better place to live.   

Freshers' Party Decoration

Our class once had a lecture by Dr. Priyadarshani Karve ma'am. The lecture was so inspiring that at the end of it our perspective changed drastically. We casually started throwing words like primary, secondary, tertiary scopes of carbon footprint. We started carpooling more. Hangout places were changed. Everyone double checked the light, fan switches leaving any room. We started consuming less electricity, started thinking about how to reduce the waste we generate. The whole class decided to start being more careful about our next steps to reduce carbon footprint. (get it?!) That change was subconscious. I remember buying something and contemplating my options over material, origin of the product, manufacturing, lifespan and decomposition period. It was just a T-shirt! 

Amidst of all this, someone suggested we throw our freshers a party, a zero-carbon party! We considered everything. Including invitations, preparation, decoration, catering, transport, entertainment, party favours, wrapping paper, bags, energy consumption, utilization of resources, end result, decomposition, wastage etc. What could be considered? What comes under which scope? We wanted to ensure zero carbon emission. It was an ambitious plan which didn’t work out exactly, but we figured if not a zero carbon party, we would settle for a carbon neutral party. 

(Need help to simplify definitions)
Zero carbon means that no carbon emissions are being produced from a product or service. This may be ensured by using totally renewable resources and energy through the lifecycle of the product or the service.
Carbon neutral means that while some emissions are being generated by a building or a process, these emissions are balanced by being offset somewhere else, making the net emissions zero.
Carbon offsetting is basically a process where organisations and individuals ‘balance’ out their carbon footprints by financing emission reductions elsewhere, which can ‘offset’ their own activities and emissions.  

After A LOT of planning and organizing our game plan was ready. We wanted an environment friendly party but not a shoddy, tawdry affair. Because, izzat ka sawal tha! We opted for locally sourced goods, local caterer (walking distance), reusable, washable utensils. People were instructed not to waste food. It was subtly monitored. Leftover food was carefully collected and donated to needy people. No wastage there! Waste paper was reused for planning, invitations, coupons, gift wrapping, decoration, etc. Every paper used in the party was reused. Reminders were sent digitally. Electricity consumption was minutely observed. Carpooling with nearby colleagues reduced the number of cars thus reducing GHG emission. A happy accident happened as a result because people mingled with new people and not just their usual group. Entertainment, games were either propless or organised with reused materials. Gift favours were a small tulsi plant. 

We had a blast! It was a great party! When we started out, we aimed for zero carbon, settled for carbon neutral, and ended up with a low carbon party. We had a great time, but our attempt was not totally successful. We genuinely worked so hard and at the end, we were faced with harsh reality. This was the result after a lot of planning and hard work. We realised that doing all these couldn’t achieve zero carbon, what would have happened if we hadn't even taken these measures?! What happens when we don’t apply some thought in our everyday chores? The realization was horrifying. We are failing by not taking preventive measures. We are already late to the party, soon, it would be too late to do anything about it. So, come on, let’s do this together. Let’s make our world better! Offer our future generation to inherit a better environment to survive, to grow and to party!!

                                                                                                                   Author: Tejaswini Datar

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