5 things that can make a green lover see red

Being a green lover can be frustrating, especially when you’re starting off and trying to get family and friends to think the same way. Here’s how.


I believe in being green. At first I thought this was a simple lifestyle to follow. But I was wrong. Here is why; often, simple rules are easily forgotten, taken for granted, or tweaked to suit personal objectives.

1. Plastic bags

plastic bags - Zainub Razvi - flickr

Pic – Zainub Razvi | Flickr

Take for instance, the case of the ubiquitous plastic bags. A couple of years ago, I tried hard to get rid of them from my life completely. But I soon realised I was alone in this battle. Even as I followed a strict ‘no polythene bag’ policy at home, it always somehow found its way into my house, through my father who thought vegetables would rot otherwise, or my husband who sheepishly said he had forgotten to carry a cloth bag.

After months of tireless explaining, pleading, yelling, and sometimes even threatening, I managed to persuade my husband to do the right thing. He has now placed cloth bags everywhere—in the bike, car, and near the house entryway too. The battle with my father’s generation continues but I will not give up.

2. Zip-lock bags

Pic - Jack Kennard | Flickr

Pic – Jack Kennard | Flickr

Zip-lock bags are another invasion I detest completely. Sure, they are handy to pack pickles and podis (edible powders) when you travel, but they are a menace at the end of the day. My mother-in-law is often upset that I don’t have enough plastic bags at home for her to pack the home-made pickles for distribution among relatives. I am suffering needlessly, she seems to think. Well, I would rather ‘suffer’ without plastics, than suffer with them.

3. Paper bags

paper bags - [puamelia] - flickr

Pic – [puamelia] | Flickr

If use of plastic bags gets my antennae up, so does the excessive use of paper bags. Many of us think we can reuse them while gifting. But how many do we really need? I only I see scores of paper bags lying around crumpled at homes. The frustration deepens when I see toilet rolls, tissue papers, air-conditioners, and hand sanitisers being used indiscriminately.  (My cleanliness freak husband can never have enough of the sanitiser!)

4. Commuting

Pic - Ramesh NG | Flickr

Pic – Ramesh NG | Flickr

I am far from being perfect in the green world. For instance, my husband loves to take the public transport whenever, wherever possible. My older son too loves a good bus ride. But this is yet to rub off on me completely for reasons of comfort and laziness. But I do realise the serious need to inculcate a sense of pride in using public transport, especially among children who have become the victims of needless pampering.

Huge chauffeur-driven cars dropping off one child at the school is a common sight today. This achieves precious little except traffic snarls near school gates. World over, people are switching to greener fuels and smaller cars or using the cars only on weekends. But in India we still feel the need to flaunt. Or convenience always seems to score over consciousness.

5. Energy resources

Pic - romana klee | Flickr

Pic – romana klee | Flickr

Conscious use of resources is a value we need to instil in our children. And I am thankful to my husband for being quite the nag when it comes to saving electricity. He has taken it upon himself to teach my children simple things like switching off fans and lights when not in use, or turning on the tap only as and when required.

Of course, we still have a long way to go before we can call ourselves truly green. We are green in some respects and not-so-green in others. We haven’t completely turned to organic living and that is work in progress. I have also just started exploring options for recycling or upcycling things. This is an attempt that has met with resistance or disbelief from friends and family.

“Why are you still hanging on to broken mugs and pails? Can’t you afford a nice pot for your plants?” someone asked me the other day. Should I bother explaining? Or should I just shrug my shoulders and walk away?


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I am a freelance writer and editor based in Chennai. I write on travel, homes, and gardens, and dabble in a bit of children’s writing. Earlier, I was a business journalist with The Hindu Business Line newspaper. I am a mother of two loving boys who drive me up the wall with their insane energy and enthusiasm. more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I am a freelance writer and editor based in Chennai. I write on travel, homes, and gardens, and dabble in a bit of children’s writing. Earlier, I was a business journalist with The Hindu Business Line newspaper. I am a mother of two loving boys who drive me up the wall with their insane energy and enthusiasm. more

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