Monday, January 12, 2009

Being practical v/s. Being environmentally minded.

When people talk about recycling and using less resources...

I think back about my childhood.

Where we diverted the water from the bathroom and the wash basins to the garden.

Where clothes were handed around the extended family.

Were books were - story books, text books - handed across families and friendships.

Where old magazines, old milk covers and newspapers were regularly brought by the 'akrikkadakkaran' ( meaning junk buyer in English)

Where pickle and jam jars were used to store spices, where extra jars were given away to neighbors in need.

Were most of the cooking was done on stoves using paper and deadwood as fuel. Where the dried coconut rinds were used to heat water, cook rice and make curry. The ash was used to wash utensils and shine brass and as a fertilizer.

Were plates were either made of clay or steel. Broken clay-pot pieces were used as boundary for the garden, dented steel utensils were exchanged with the shopkeeper when we brought new ones.

Where plastic covers were reused.

Where jute thread used to tie the grocery wrappings were reused.

Where when traveling, a plantain leaf was cut, lightly boiled over a fire and used as a taste retaining food wrap which can be thrown away anywhere.

Were cats would eat the leftover pieces of fish and meat.

Where the kitchen waste went to the compost heap.

Where my dogs provided the nitrogen and ammonia elements needed for the garden - we never used any chemicals in the kitchen garden.

Where broken pieces of glass were collected and used by people as wall decoration.

And broken bangles and random beads were used for craft sessions.

Yes, my parents generation did recycle and were environmentally minded.

But they called it being economical and practical.

May be, just may be, in the so called third world countries instead of starlets urging people to go green and high priced organic produce on the stores,

Someone ought to go to the people and teach them how to be practical.

Just a thought.


Arun Jose Francis said...

Hmm, I don't know how practical your idea is now, when having a small backyard itself is very rare these days!

But I could completely relate to all those things that you wrote!

Surya said...

I was looking at the approach we take to recycling. Instead of giving save the earth spiels to the wast number of people who has to count each and every coin to make ends meet, we should show them how to make more money by being environmentally sustainable.

Renegade in Retirement said...

Bang on!

Where the Weekly magazines and newspapers are shared with neighbours and the older edition's glossy pages made for notebook covers.

Surya said...

I missed that one!

Naveen said...

Just a thought?
A great thought indeed...

Smashed Fingers said... have covered everything I can think of and I couldn't have rememebered.. :)- but here are a couple -

When Egg shell and used tea leaves were sources of Ca,Mg etc for the plants.

When Drainage from Kitchen was source of irrigation to the garden out in the backyard!

Anonymous said...

coconut shells were used to iron clothes...(this was more during our parents' generation)