I often feel that while economic prosperity is doing wonders for people, it's turning out to be a bane for the planet. Financial abundance fosters an aspirational lifestyle and fuels consumerism. We buy because we can afford, so who cares about repairing or recycling or borrowing or that famed 'jugaad' ? Money is in abundance while time is scarce. The result is:
Increased consumerism = Depleted resources
Use and throw culture = Mounting landfills
The challenge is to inculcate a respect for resources and an awareness that the resources are finite. So while we can buy because we have the means, we should be cautious about how much we buy and that we don't end up wasting resources.
An example of this mentality surfaced in our monthly residents meeting. Due to increasing urbanisation and depleting water table, our part of the city is reeling under water shortage. A suggestion for water rationing came up. There was a huge uproar and many residents simply said 'Buy more tankers. We are ready to pay more.'
Nobody wants to practice frugality. Most people believe in paying more and avoiding any discomfort. Is that a good attitude?
I heard about a restaurant in Germany where people are fined if they waste food. No rationalisation on the lines that 'I-have-paid-for-my-food-so-I-can-waste-all-I-like'. Bravo!! We need more such efforts. There is an invisible social and environmental cost in all our actions which is very high and which we would cringe to pay if we could see it clearly.
So, how to resolve this issue? I asked a few fellow greens on why they tread this path of environmental activism. The answers I got echoed a pattern. Most of them have been raised close to nature. They have come to respect, love and appreciate nature. Now you can't hurt what you love, can you?
Once this love of nature is instilled in people, they will try to protect it. What better age to instil this love than when they are kids! That's why I prefer taking my daughter to a nature trail rather than to a mall. Please visit my other blogpost for more tips on how to raise a nature loving kid.