If..

If success or failure of this planet and of human beings depended on how I am and what I do , how would I be and what would I do ?

- Buckminster Fuller

Sweat the small stuff

Brilliant , thought provoking presentation by Rory Sutherland . Relevant for organizations / groups / individuals .

Seemingly small stuff makes a HUGE difference .

Use a cloth bag daily !

Make air travel eco friendlier

The search for industries which use huge amounts of plastic yields a few answers 35,000 feet above sea level . Airlines !

Airlines are notorious users of single-use plastic and paper – cups , food containers , cutlery , tissues . Practices established decades / years ago continue unquestioned . Some years ago a security scare caused airlines to switch from metal cutlery to plastic cutlery (which is frankly pointless . Metal cutlery posed no security risk ). Some airlines pack the blankets in plastic . To use the blanket the plastic has to be ripped apart . Needless to say this trashed piece of plastic will be immortalized somewhere on the planet.

The usage of plastic has reached new heights with an airline packing the in-flight catalogue and entertainment guide in a plastic cover that needs to be ripped apart to read the magazines. Entirely pointless and wasteful.

Here are somethings airlines can IMMEDIATELY do -

- switch to metal cutlery

- switch to ceramic or paper cups and dishes

- ditch packing the blankets , magazines in plastic

- encourage passengers to carry a reusable bottle in which the steward can fill water from a jug or at least hand out a bottle per passenger and keep refilling their bottles instead of getting a plastic glass every time someone asks for water.

- shift to bio degradable alternatives to plastic

- ask passengers for ideas on how to be more environ friendly , share information with passengers on their initiatives so far

The plastic generated chokes our planet . Food heated in plastic containers poses health risks . This gets multiplied for frequent travellers.

The next time you take a flight pl take a few mins to fill out the feedback form to the airline asking them to move to zero/minimal plastic (listing some solutions as mentioned above). Since airlines are not making the shift of their own accord we can and should use our voice as the customers to ask them to be eco friendly.

Your feedback counts . Pl choose to make a difference.

Eco Biz @ Japan

Japanese carry a lot of stuff . Most folks carry between 1-3 bags . Women on an average carry 1-2 bags (some 3 ) . Men carry at least 1 bag.

This is a country where bags are sold extensively . All kinds of bags – leather , cloth , nylon , polyester , faux leather . Yet , in my visits to retail stores I seldom see customers declining the retailer’s plastic bag and taking the product purchased in their own reusable bag . There must be folks who do so . I’ve not witnessed it yet whether in a dept store , convenience store , people buying lunch boxes from stalls or any retail format for that matter.

The Japanese are geniuses at making products that fold up into a compact size . The customers can easily carry a folding bag in one of their bags and use it to carry items purchased . Thereby reducing plastic  ( Japan is a HUGE consumer of plastic . More on that in another post ).

Japan has a very high literacy rate + bags are easily available in retail . It’s puzzling why using a reusable bag for purchases is not a widespread if not default behavior .

Until few years ago Japanese men wore suits to work . No exceptions . I suspect that the Wachowski brothers got their inspiration to dress the agents of Matrix in suits after a few rides in the Tokyo metro . Until Cool Biz came along it was unthinkable that a Japanese corporate male employee could turn up at work in any other attire . Cool Biz was almost like legalizing wearing just a shirt  and trousers to work. Possibly Japan needs an initiative similar to Cool Biz to make it acceptable / necessary / cool/eco friendly to take a reusable bag to stores and use it to carry products.

They can call it Eco Biz.

The Sapling project

Much needed initiative in Mumbai . Check out details at The Sapling Project .

Pl participate in the sapling plantation drive on 6 June at various locations in India.

Calling all superheroes

The rate at which we are generating, consuming and disposing a non-bio degradable substance aka Plastic – it would spawn a new kind of fictional hero or at least add a new task to already created fictional superheroes.

Circa 1990 – Superman/ Spiderman rescues the world from the bad guy(s)

In the future the super hero would not only be fighting evil folks . He / she would be swooping in on the Pacific garbage patch and similar heaps of non-biodegradable , earth polluting material and flinging them into outer space. All the superheroes would need to team up to clear up the plastic choking the planet.

The superheroes like Superman/Spiderman are fictional . The plastic on the planet is real . We need billions of people to become eco heros by making sustainable , responsible choices. At this point in time there is no answer in terms of solutions to bio degrade the plastic that is choking land and sea. The least we can do is to reduce the rate of addition to the pile.

Ocean champion

Superb talk by Roz Savage . Honest , inspiring.

She is rowing across the ocean to raise awareness on the perils of plastic . As she aptly points out we (i.e mankind ) haven’t gotten ourselves into the current mess due to big disasters. It’s the cumulative effect of daily choices made by billions of people.

The insights she shares from her journeys on the ocean and land – offer HUGE inspiration .

A true eco-hero.

Gift

Back from a walk in the area. The tree cover in the vicinity is wonderful . Trees possibly planted years ago line many parts of the road providing much needed succor in the sweltering summer . The sheer sight of lush green trees is an oasis in the midst of concrete buildings. The trees stand tall providing shelter , joy and reassurance . The trees in our office area are home to many birds . Though the day we hear varying sounds of the birds that inhabit them.

In the garden are trees that we planted as small saplings 2 years ago . When we were planting them there was a sense of impatience about seeing the full fledged trees . Nurturing plants teaches us beautifully that the rhythm of life cannot be hurried.

It’s a joy to see  Gulmohar trees in full bloom gently swaying in the wind with the sky as the background , mango trees full of mangoes , the venerable pipal..Trees are precious gifts.

Give yourself and the world a gift . Plant a tree.

Plastic 101

Plastic issues

Some of the facts about plastic in a succinct , graphic style . Pl read and share . Lack of awareness of issues pertaining to plastic is a part of the problem.

source : www.theplastiki.com

Celebrate Normal Day

Many of us go through life defining happiness as the response to specific events – when I get a great job , when I make 10 million $, when I have a home , car…The list could be as long as the planet’s population count . In linking happiness to specific events , material objects we blind ourselves to the miracles that surround us. Partly , the malaise of our times . We expect life to look like the choreographed , edited films and ads we see everywhere we look. ‘Normal’ in the context of a day is often used to mean uneventful / boring.

The tragic crash of the flight at Mangalore underscores the uncertainty of life . In an instant , the course of hundreds of lives – the victims and their loved ones changed forever. What they would treasure is a ‘normal’ day in which their loved ones are alive and safe. To someone ailing in a hospital a ‘normal’ day is a gift to be cherished . If you are healthy , global warming hasn’t yet radically altered your part of the planet , you have family / friends….then ‘normal’ is special.

Love this quote by Mary Jean Iron….”Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.”

Celebrate Normal Day.