World Environment Day-3 simple ways of saving our Blue Planet

How can we preserve the only place where we live, the Planet Earth? This World Environment Day, let us have a look at some simple solutions that can help save the Blue Planet.

  1. Avoid toothpaste

I am dead serious when I say ‘avoid toothpaste’. Not only is this chemical harmful to our gums and teeth, it also harms the environment. You need aluminum to make the tubes that store your paste and mining this metal is injurious to the forests and hills.

So what is the environmental impact of mining aluminium?

Overall, the entire process of transforming raw bauxite into aluminum is incredibly energy intensive, requiring copious amounts of electricity, water and resources to produce (that is the main reason why power plants are built solely to support the aluminum industry). Since pure aluminum ore is so stable, an extraordinary amount of electricity is required to yield the final product and, at least in the U.S., half of the smelting energy consumed is courtesy of coal, one of the most notoriously polluting fuel sources known to mankind.

So, what is the alternative to the omnipresent toothpaste?

The humble datoon or the Neem twig.

World Environment Day
Image courtesy- Flickr

In India, you can never miss a Neem tree. And there is a reason why you will find so many trees of this species everywhere in this country. There are many benefits that are associated with this wonderful tree. And one of its benefits is that its twig can be chewed in the morning to brush your teeth. Not only does this activity freshen up your gums and teeth, it also strengthens the foundations of your teeth.

Other benefits;

It fights germs, maintains the alkaline levels in your saliva, keeps bacteria at bay, treats swollen gums and also gives you whiter teeth. The twig also shreds into threads, almost like bristles that also destroy and prevent plaque.

I always advise my traveler friends to discard their toothpaste while coming to India. Travel light and save your environment this way.

2. Use pitchers made of mud

Kumhar Gram

I must apologize to my overseas friends for providing India centric solutions such as using pitchers made of mud for storing water in summers.

Refrigerators, as we all know, are not really great friends of our Blue Planet. No doubt many people use them to make water cooler but at what expense? The price is terrible. Read this National Geographic article on how refrigerators harm our environment.

The best alternative is to use natural products like mud-made pitchers for storing and cooling water. In India ,they are called Ghada or matkas. These vessels go easy on the environment, are easily disposable and do not cost a bomb. Besides all these factors, water stored in these vessels tastes great.

Even today, many Indian households use ghadas for their water storage needs. But this tribe is losing its numbers. The attraction for modern refrigerators is too much for Indians to resist.

By the way, there is a community in Delhi that makes lovely pitchers. It consists of more than 100 families and if you are interested in visiting them, do let me know. We can plan a visit. 

3. Use less glass

This World Environment Day, let us pledge to use less glass in our buildings. Glass, as we know, reflects light and heat and directly adds to our ambient temperature. 

I live in Dwarka, a suburb in Delhi which was planned as an environment-friendly habitation. All the buildings here have big windows and spacious balconies. The idea was that citizens of Dwarka should use fewer ACs to cool their homes. Balconies were supposed to let air pass through the homes and cool them.

But funnily, many citizens missed this important point. They covered up their balconies with glass screens and converted these empty spaces into some kind of a storage space.

The result is that this marvelously planned neighborhood becomes a giant oven in summers. Heat reflected from these glass screens raises the temperature of this Delhi suburb by several degrees. I am sure many cities around the world permit the mindless use of glass as in Delhi.

Though there are many other measures that we can adopt to save our environment, I thought these three solutions are easily implementable.

So, this World Environment Day, let us pledge to adopt the above steps and make our planet livable for our kids and future generations.

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