Desperate situations call for desperate measures. And if we all agree that the Earth is spiralling south, then there is work to be done to create ripples of change. Here’s how you identify well-intentioned tree-huggers who resort to tactics that can encourage, shame, guilt, scare and coax fellow travellers of this planet to adopt sustainable ways of living. If you meet one such, indulge them for their well-meaning attempts – and go your own way if you please. Just remember to do what they say!
This is what they say, ask and do:
- “I don’t want a bag” loudly at the check-out. Look around from the corner of your eye to make sure you have an audience, take out a bag from a bag with flourish, and repeat to the poor cashier that you do not want a plastic bag. Depending on the length of the line ahead or
behind, and your in-built people profiling radar, identify a co-shopper who chooses to pay/use a plastic bag. Proceed to give a talk on the plastics-take-800-years-to-degrade topic. Everything said will be loud, so that others can benefit from the free lecture.
- “Where is your water bottle?” you may wish to bandy this phrase around children- especially if they belong to others (for how can your own kin sin?). This should be asked firmly and squarely at restaurants or parties or common events where plastic water bottles are served, and
everyone is casually helping themselves to half-sips. Unlike you with the always-full flask of water in your bag, the children around care little when they are parched. Use the logic that they carry water bottles to school, so why not after-hours? All the time rolling your eyes at their
- “Does he/she really need a gift?”. Choose to ask this not of the recepient, but a near-and-dear one of the said special-day celebrator. Try to explain why it is impossible to give a gift to people who are privileged to have everything they need, and then some. What is an extra dress or toy or book going to do? Instead, narrate stories in third person about current trends in Hollywood, like hand-me-downs or decluttering or gifting experiences!
- “May I borrow a ladder please?” If sharing is caring, borrowing is the ultimate show of affection for the environment. When you do go about borrowing indiscriminately, feel free to share your philosophy of community ownership. That you really think long and hard about buying anything before nicking it off friends and family. (Do return the item and favour though. No one likes a freeloader.)
- “How did your granny do it?” Find out time-tested secrets related to cooking, cleaning, laundry, managing a household, packing, gifting, composting, exercising and whatnot- and see how you can implement them in your day-to-day life. Shortly after, discuss over a cup of tea with neighbours on the glory of soapnut and the wonders of stainless steel tiffin boxes. Go on, you’ll still get invited to the colony Diwali bash. Afterall, you plan to carry your own cutlery right?
PS: To every individual trying to lead a cleaner-greener life, hold yourself to high standards. You may slip up and buy satchets, but let the guilt prick never fade.