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New decade, stronger eco-resolutions

The writer is an architect,  urban designer, dancer and  chief designer at Shilpa Architects

Published: 11th January 2020 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th January 2020 11:18 PM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: So, what is your New Year resolution for the coming decade? With all of us vowing to live better, how can we make the Earth also happy with us? If nature is always giving us the best she has to offer, how are we giving back to the planet by making small changes in our behaviours and habits which could have a potential long-term impact on the planet?

Every one of our ‘small’ changes makes a huge impact and remember even a minor lifestyle alteration — even if that is only adopted by a mere 10% of the population — would create a revolution and make a huge difference for our health and well-being of this fragile planet we love. This year, let us move our resolve beyond plastic and garbage. Though these are seemingly eternal problems, merely carrying cloth bags and metal bottles does not make the cut for being eco-sensitive. One significant way to reduce plastic is to look at the way we buy products.

Online ordering almost always has more packaging and therefore leaves behind a larger footprint. A good move is to switch to DIY methods for most household items — from cosmetics to cleaning. We will save on chemicals and the amount of packaging going out into the garbage as well. Also, consider how you buy products that you cannot make — for example, a soft drink in a can recycles better than a plastic bottle; a snack wrapped in banana leaves is better than in foil. Look for these choices and don’t be shy to ask for an alternative — this is what increases the demand for conscious product packaging.

Another great resolution is to avoid fast fashion. The issues with fast fashion are manifold — big chain stores with really good deals support the unscrupulous farming and dyeing industry. It is said that fashion is the second most polluting after the oil industry. Typically, we don’t ‘outgrow’ our clothes once we reach adulthood and therefore the need to replace clothes periodically comes down. So, this year, consider not buying any new clothes at all — or only buy what you need. When shopping for clothes, try to choose timeless styles that won’t go out of fashion in six months, high-quality materials and handlooms if possible so they will last. Buying local and domestically made garments also helps keep the overall footprint of your clothing choices low.

With all our Indian cities focusing on transit, we are seeing new Metro lines in tier 1 cities being set up. Another addition is the Smart Bike programme in our city, which is coordinated with the Metro and aids last-mile connectivity for citizens. Anything you can do to reduce your transportation footprint this year by walking, biking, taking public transportation or telecommuting — even just one day a week — will provide less stress on the environment and your wallet. Think of your resolution as the start of an environmental revolution — every single change we make counts, cheers to the new decade and beyond.

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