environmentalism, water conservation

Thousands have lived without love, not one without water

“India uses up more groundwater than US and China.” Yay! Rejoice fellow countrymen for we have successfully surpassed US and China to become World  number 1 and in what? In depleting our groundwater resources. Hey, wait. That’s not good. We’re not supposed to be happy over that. Take that back, please!

With the world’s water resources becoming scarce, the time is not far when there will be rampant “water-wars”. Many people are under the delusion that water-scarcity is a third-world issue. No! Not true. Even states in the USA like California and Detroit, and most of Australia are drought-stricken.

A global crisis

Now, when the world is climate-changed, it requires us to not only judiciously use our water-resources and conserve them but experiment both policy-wise and technology-wise. Here, I am not talking about policies about waiving-off water bills or providing huge subsidies to people practicing a particular profession or to a certain sect of the society. I feel that this is a very myopic policy and only serves as a temporary fix. This has a very counter-effect. Take for instance Delhi Chief Minister’s generous claim of providing water at no cost to everybody in the city. Now, I guess everybody will agree with me that working in the government sector and putting the government’s water utilities under tremendous debt by promising free-water and waiving off people’s bills is sheer foolhardiness. Albert Einstein famously said “We can’t solve  problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Secondly, it encourages people to use more and more water, which would result in over-exploitation. We need to put sustainable policies in place to avert a hydro-apocalypse. Like following the example of drought-prone California to irrigate fields with adequately treated sewage, could save so many farmer suicides in our country too. And it’s not even rocket-science, there are fields that are irrigated with sewage water in India also and I can say it with such confidence because I have actually worked on that project (in Keshopur in west Delhi, if you want to know). What we need is our policy-makers to learn from successful stories, customise them to our country or rather areas’s specific needs and apply them. Effective implementation of policies and projects is what we need and half of our woes will be over. It’s not that difficult! Oh, our mighty government, do you hear me??

Einstein famously said “We can’t solve  problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Okay, after this cute little rant lets move on to focus on WHAT WE CAN DO to better the situation. Let me first enlighten you with a few facts about the Water situation in Delhi (read Metro cities). No. Forget the facts. There is a truth and the TRUTH is that things are pretty bad, we have messed up A LOT. It’s no surprise that most areas in the city have completely dried up and function on tanker water, DAILY! This is the story of  people who can afford their water supplies but the poor ones are still left at the mercy of the civic authorities. Areas that still have underground water have plethora of other issues of water contamination. So, not any better than having no water at all actually. AAARRGGGHH… All this makes me very angry. Anyway, remember we were taught about water conservation methods, those really really easy ones, at school? The ones that we conveniently chose to ignore? Ring a bell? No? Nevermind. I will help you revise through them once again because now we’re all grown up and have brains and we can think well for the environment which is a rendition of self-care and well being. Isn’t it? Lol. Obviously you didn’t know that. But now you know.

So here’s top 10 things which you can do.

  1. Fix leaky taps and pipes because “Leaks make your future bleak.” Yeah, that a wtaer conservation slogan I heard about in school which really did mean something. A lot of water is wasted due to leaky and faulty plumbing systems. Hence, it is very important to maintain your home’s plumbing system and to not overlook those leaks and to not procrastinate their fixing. I say “Fix ’em leaks yo” (That is really hip by my standards).

  2. Mop floors, don’t wash them. Don’t wash floors, everyday. It’s unnecessary. Mopping will do. It saves gallons of water.

    They see me mopping. I water saving. They learning
    -Sakku Bai (2017)

  3. Take bucket baths not showers or bubble baths. Start by taking shorter showers and gradually switch to bucket bath. Same goes for your car and your pets. Who doesn’t like taking long hot showers or soaking up in a hot tub but it isn’t sustainable. It’s pretty simple. Let me explain how it works. Today, you take a shower which equals a lot of wasted water which implies that more and more water gets exhausted from the source (A lot of people believe that the source of water is their tap. No, thats incorrect, there are aquifers under ground). Now later when the water utilities will have to supply water for your extravagant showers, they will still extract water from the same source (which now has lesser water, because we are not letting it replenish) which supplies to the same number of people or more. Now, understand that to meet the demand and with less raw material to work with, the quality decreases.Simple economics. The water quality standards will be compromised with. So, the next time you take a shower, you are actually risking yourself to a lot of toxins which can give you skin allergies. You don’t want that, do you? Soooo, take bucket baths and save water. By this I don’t mean that you can use as many buckets of water as you may like. That defeats the purpose. What I’m trying to say is lower your water usage for bathing purposes.You-Have-The-Power-To-Take-A-Short-Shower-333x500
  4. Practice rain-water harvesting. People have this general misconception that rain-water harvesting requires technical skills and some expertise. You actually need zero engineering skills to make a working rain-water harvesting system. All it requires is a barrel w or w/o tap, few pipes, duct tape and a plastic tap (Mostly). So, get on with it. Spend your weekend making this beautiful thing. Its such a joy to make something with your own hands, however it turns out to be, isn’t it?

    rain barrel
    This is how a rain barrel with fitted pipes carrying rain water look like
  5. Re-use grey water. Okay, I know grey water sounds nasty but grey water actually is all the watse water generated at your homes which does not have faecal contamination. Best example of this is RO waste-water. It doesn’t even require too much effort. All you have to do is insert the pipe that ejects waste water from the RO into a bucket and use that buckt water to wash utensils or mop floors.
  6. Zap the Tap. Turn off water while you brush your teeth. If I hadn’t seen that with my own naked eyes I wouldn’t have believed that people do that. I mean, why would you?? All I knew since childhood was to brush my teeth first and then rinse. Where does brushing with the water flowing come into picture? What purpose does it serve anyway? It’s purely illogical, irrelevant and foolish. I’m sorry if I hurt any feelings out there. But this needs to stop.
  7. Water your plants early in the morning. In case you don’t have plants, buy plants, they are nice things. Water them and watch them grow. Watering your plants early in the morning ensures that the roots absorb enough water before it evaporates.

  8. NUDGING. Okay, so this part is pretty interesting. A lot of people run their taps while brushing or washing utensils at full flow even when it is unnecessary. Following years of research into this issue by ME (kidding. it’s just an observation and I put my training of social science research methodologies and methods to use by asking my maid this question), I discovered that it is a mental thing. We believe that if we wash a utensil with a tap running at full flow, the utensil will be cleaned better and faster (Btw, this was her answer).What bullshit!!!! #doyouevenscience? In case you believed the same too, please un-believe it right away. So the fun learning here is that whenever you see anyone running a tap at full flow, unnecessarily, ask them to lessen it. And do it each and every time you see them doing it. Nudge them, prod them. Until they mend their ways. And they will.
  9. Use water-smart electronics. Making ethical consumer choices and buying electronics that are energy-efficient and lead to less water-wastage like ACs, washing machines and ROs, can save a great deal of water in the bigger scheme of things.
  10. Don’t play stupid water games. It’s a fool’s business. On a serious note, its inhumane. So STOP. Don’t do it.

Follow the aforementioned everyday, RELIGIOUSLY. Because I do not write these things for myself to just see and feel good about it. I write it for ya’ll to know.

These are some of the easily doable ones and I call them doable for a reason, you guys get me, right? Oh and yes, because I’m talking about water today,  thought you’d like to know that “the sea is rising three times faster than we projected” and this is a BIG CAUSE OF WORRY. We are in DEEP WATERS (pun intended). So don’t just read it and forget about it but ACT upon it. Also, pass on this river of knowledge to any other unenlightened person you cross paths with. Because a river needs to flow.

Remember, YOU are responsible for YOUR LIFE and WATER IS LIFE!

Note:
1) The word “Bai” used in the first quote translates to a maid in Hindi language.
2) Featuring image (heading) credits: http://www.philomathean.org/2010/11/1367/

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environmentalism

BABY IT’S HOT OUSSIDE. TAKE A CHILL PILL, HOW BOW DAH?

Hugh Jackman might’ve saved Zac Efron from a fire recently but he ain’t coming around to save you guys from this scalding heat.

Read on or listen (link to the audio is posted right below) to know how to keep yourself cool and beat the heat this summer season.

Click here to listen to the blog

FOOD AND DRINKS

  1. Drink loads of water. Zing up the normal water by adding lemon wedges, mint, vitamin-C enriched fruits (oranges, kiwis, strawberries, anything!). Water maintains your body temperature and keeps you going through the day.
  2. Having coconut water daily (if you can, that is), nothing like it.
  3. Eat loads of seasonal fruits and veggies. There are just so many options around. The good ol’ APPLE, the ever-so-good APRICOT, the summer specials, WATERMELON and MANGO. Just go for ’em.
  4. Avoid very spicy and very salty food, meats, alcohol and caffeine. I mean don’t avoid them like the plaque but don’t go overboard with them.
  5. Ditch your regular Chai for green teas and infusions. There are amazing varieties of these available in the market. You can even make them at home using cardamom, fennel seeds, mint, lemon, fenugreek seeds, honey, peppermint etc. Flower teas are amazing too. You can use rose buds and chrysanthemum flowers to start with. These can easily be found.
  6. This one is preferably the most loved drink by anyone who is above 40 years of age and widely loathed by people below 25 years: ALOEVERA JUICE! As much as I hate to admit, it is actually pretty wonderful.
    (Note to everyone who is fed this magical potion forcefully inspired by my works, I am deeply SORRY. Also, I feel you guys.

PLANTS (My favourite option)
Keeping these plants can drastically bring down the temperatures inside your home. Which means you become more energy efficient because you use your appliances lesser and therefore your electricity bills get decimated. Now, that’s just Einstein-level smartness.

Also, people who do not believe these claims are welcome to visit my house and witness the verity of my claims. Plus, I love that look on people’s faces when they are proven wrong. Okay, moving on, here’s a list of those most amazing flora varieties.

  1. Aloe vera: Slit it open and apply the pulp if you get nasty sunburns and it also cools and purifies the air too. Double whammy!
  2. Areca Palm: Not only does it cool the air, it removes hell loads of toxins from it too. It is a natural air humidifier and it makes your home look OH-SO-GORGEOUS!
  3. Ficus Tree: Another wondrous plant that purifies the air whilst keeping your home cool.
  4. Snake Plant: Also called as the Mother-in-Law’s tongue and rightly so because the characteristic of toxicity is central to both of them. This plant removes a plethora of toxins from the air while keeping your house cool. Quite contrary to its name, No? But, how cool is that? Voted #1 air-purifying plant by NASA too.
  5. Money Plant: One of the easiest growing and most widely grown plant is actually also a miracle plant. It thrives both indoors and outdoors, survives in soil and water alike and looks absolutely stunning anywhere it is planted. If you are not really a plant lover but want to keep your house cool and the air purified, this one’s just right for you.

TECHNOLOGY
Most people do not understand the relevance of the words Technology and Green in one sentence. But let me tell you, they go hand in hand. From switching to energy-efficient appliances to merely switching to greener habits there are plenty options that fall under this category. Read on to know how…

  1. Make use of natural light whenever possible. Replace your incandescent lights with LEDs and CFLs. They are more energy-efficient and cooler (I mean both literally and figuratively) alternatives.
  2. Switch off your appliances when not in use. You really don’t have to be tech-savvy to understand that gadgets and appliances give off heat when in use, just touch them and you’ll know 🙂
  3. Use coolers instead of ACs. The former are more energy efficient and less environmentally damaging.

By all this, I do not mean that one should completely phase out the use of air conditioners but we should limit its use.

CLOTHING
The kind of clothes you wear; material, texture, colour et al have a huge role to play in maintaining your body temperature during summers. Let me tell you how.

  1. Wear clothes that are flowy and made of breathable fabric like cotton or khadi. It lets your skin breathe by allowing air to pass through it.
  2. Avoid wearing too tight clothes or those made of synthetic material.
  3. If your work demands you to be outdoors a lot, carry a scarf/hat/cap with you to cover your head. Keeping your head cool is half the battle won.
  4. Wear light coloured clothes. They don’t absorb as much heat as darker clothes do.

BEHAVIOUR
If you ask me, this is probably the most important category among all. Taking baby steps towards a green lifestyle is always the best option.

  1. First and foremost, come out of the cold. I mean you need to start adjusting your internal dial. Just try not to switch on the AC every time.  Don’t behave as if you’re gonna die. You probably won’t because of not switching it on but otherwise. I know it’s hard but it is doable. Ask me! It’s 40 degrees outside already and I am surviving on just FANS. No AC, I swear! It’s just a matter of making your body used to the heat and eventually come out building a tolerance towards the heat which will make you survive summers better. More so, in the times to come.
    I am not even bullshitting, this is called “ADAPTING” and this is one of the best ways you can survive the effects of CLIMATE CHANGE. Yes, it’s real and happening, no matter what TRUMP says.
  2. Take a bath EVERY DAY. I literally mean it in shouty capitals. Not only it is extremely normal and hygienic to do so but it also takes the heat off off your body. Actually, taking a bath twice daily is also not a bad idea.
    (NOTE: I am using the word BATH and not SHOWER here. A spin-off blog on this one will be following soon. So, stay tuned.
  3. Keep the blinds drawn during the day to cut the heat out.
  4. Keep your house exteriors light in colour. Darker shades absorb more heat.

 

The list is never-ending and there are lots of alternatives too. I have tried to summarise as many as I remember and the most common ones in this article. So, if you have any suggestions, more of these cool ideas to share, any corrections or want more details on any of the aforementioned points (even if you want the recipes or how-to’s of the green teas/infusions, hit me up), please don’t hesitate to ask. I will be more than happy to help you out there!

For now, Adios.

Please do LIKE and SHARE if you liked the article. Your encouragement will be highly appreciated! Looking forward to your readership in the articles to come.

Also a very humble request to ya’ll.
Just as we feel the heat, animals do too. So please buy a water trough, fill it with water and place it on your balcony or outside your homes for birds and stray animals to drink from.
Muchas Gracias.