How to Live a More Sustainable Life Living in a City

It is easy to feel helpless and overwhelmed when you live in a city and try to save the environment. In an ideal world we would have loads of land and plant hundes of trees and grow all our own food. However, living in an apartment building can make that fantasy a lot harder.

Here are a few tips to live a more sustainable life living in the city.

Reduce, don’t just recycle

In the pecking order of the green movement, refuse precedes everything. If you can refuse it, you don’t need to reduce, rethink, reuse, repair, repurpose or recycle it. Once promoted as the solution to our ever-growing needs, recycling today is a crumbling industry with a single-digit success rate. “On a personal level, we can all aim to reduce our own footprint with a diet that involves less import, and by reducing consumption, reusing whenever possible, mending what is broken, and engaging in a shared economy by renting or swapping,” suggests designer activist, Céline Semaan, who founded Slow Factory, a sustainability-focussed design lab. It’s to say, shop if you must, but boycott blind consumerism—it doesn’t make the world a happier place.

Ask for alternatives

Replaced the plastic bottles at home with glass? Now do the same outdoors. At hotels, ask for a filtered water jug instead of reaching out for the plastic bottles in the minibar. And frequent flyers, carry your own toiletries. CGH Earth’s Marari Beach Resort’s no-plastic policy has prevented 1,09,528 plastic bottles and 36,250 straws from annually polluting the earth. Others like ITC Hotels follow suit, as they are driven to eliminate over 150 categories of single-use plastics (toiletries, water bottles and so on) that most hotels use in their day-to-day functioning. “The world is changing, and we must steer that change in a positive direction. From January 2020 onwards, ITC Hotels will be replacing all plastic bottles with glass bottles in the rooms, restaurants and at the back end,” says Nakul Anand, executive director at ITC Ltd, about their Sunya Aqua programme.

Build your plastic-free arsenal

Even before straws became the 21st century manifestation of evil, lawyer-turned-environment champion Afroz Shah had formed a handy kit to eliminate single-use plastic. Travel with a bag (I keep the IKEA Frakta in the boot), for any unplanned shopping that comes your way, and fill it with a glass or steel strawcoffee mugcutlery, and water bottle, just like Shah, a UN Environment’s Champion of the Earth and one of CNN’s Heroes of 2019.

Save a tree

Even if you’re militant about your plastic usage, depending on paper isn’t the way to go. Tissues and used paper towels cannot be recycled the way printed paper can. At home, switch to reusable cloth or bamboo towels instead of disposable cleaning wipes. At hotels, use reusable towels and hand dryers over paper. In office, print pages on both sides with a single-space setting.

Offset your travel footprint

Nothing is guilt-free anymore, not even a holiday. Travel, one of the fastest growing sectors in India (we are among the top five nations with the largest travel carbon footprint), is also a rising pollutant. To balance the damage your flight does to the planet, pick a direct flight (planes burn the most fuel during take-off ) or sign up for a carbon offset programme with your airline that will financially support green projects, or companies like Climate Care, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions by investing in pollution-reduction technologies.

Incorporate green meals

If Leonardo DiCaprio couldn’t change you, should we even try? Raising livestock produces more greenhouse gas each year than every car, ship, plane and train combined, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. Switch to a plant-based diet, at least for a few days a week, if not altogether. Need more inspiration? This month, the fanciest gathering of people—first at the Golden Globes and now the Critics’ Choice awards—came together for a meat and dairy-free dinner. Eating healthy is easy. As the author activist Michael Pollan puts it, “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.”

Recycle old gadgets

If Alexa wakes you up, G Suite works with you through the day and Siri puts you to sleep, you are using way too many devices. But in this digital age, when repairing doesn’t resurrect and your trusted electronics die, make sure you dispose of them responsibly. Management experts warn against dumping them all in your garbage— after all, electronics comprise a laundry list of toxic metals. According to the Global E-Waste Monitor 2017, India generated over 20 lakh tonnes of e-waste (a number that will grow by 500 per cent by this year) and recycled only five per cent of it. Look up your local e-waste drop-off points or contact electronic stores like Croma, which feature drop-off e-waste kiosks at every outlet across India, and even offer a pick-up service for the same.

Attend a clothes swap

On average, an item of clothing is worn seven times before it hits a landfill. Aimed at creating mindful consumption, clothes swapping initiatives like The Exchange Room (Bengaluru), This For That (Delhi) and Swap at Sadhana Dell ’Arte (Goa) are attempting to slow down the fast fashion cycle by giving them a longer life. If shopping is your serotonin, you may not go shop-free for a year like the viral Extinction Rebellion campaign urges people to, but skip the mall this year in favour of a pre-loved item. It’s easier on the pockets and the planet. “We started in 2014 with just 10 swappers and now have a community of over 2,000 like-minded women,” says Prithvi Rao of Exchange Room, whose last event sold 1,200 pre-loved items in just four hours.

Use less energy

As children, we were taught to turn the light off every time we left a room. Bring back these lessons into your adult life. Unplug electronic appliances when not in use. Switch to compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs), which use 75 per cent less energy and last 10 times longer. Invest in smart gadgets like the Powerslayer USB wall charger by Velvetwire, which protects a device from overcharging, overheating and wasting energy. Wash clothes in cold water—it uses 90 per cent less power. And sometimes, skip the gym for outdoor workouts. For bathrooms, devices like the Altered: Tap Nozzle are good investments, designed to reduce the use of water and energy with 85-98 per cent.

Try a green period

On average, a woman uses over 10,000 tampons or sanitary pads during her lifetime. In India, we dispose of over 43.2 crore pads every year, creating 9,000 tonnes of waste. While alternatives exist—environmentally friendly brands like Carmesi and Heyday, reusable zero-chemical pads by Rebelle and EcoFemme—it’s the menstrual mindset that needs a reboot. The next time you wrinkle your nose at a menstrual cup—the rinse-and-reuse silicone cup that lasts up to 10 years—consider that if your great-great-great-great grandmother had used a sanitary napkin 500 years ago, that plastic would still be here!

Don’t get greenwashed

The downside of sustainability becoming a buzzword is that everyone wants a piece of the green pie. Even as fast fashion, the billion-dollar empire fuelled by rampant consumerism, continues to eat up our planet, unscrupulous conglomerates ‘greenwash’ buyers with unsubstantiated marketing tactics and claims of being environmentally friendly. As Hasan Minhaj says in Patriot Act, it’s time we call the bluff. If your T-shirt company tells you it’s good for the environment without comprehensive data, dig deeper. “The problem with the fashion industry’s solution to turning plastic bottles into thread, and later, a fleece or a polyester item, is that once washed, these items release microplastics. So we are taking a visible plastic bottle and returning it into the ocean as invisible particles,” points out Semaan of Slow Factory.

Weekly Update: China-India By-Bye; Only In India, Two Parliaments; Law Is Politics

India and China are on their 12th round of what they both like to say ‘talks’. Neither country is run by armies. China is a one party State. Leadership emerges through the political ladder. Decisions are made by the political leadership. India is a democracy. Its leaders emerge through the political process.

The normal protocol for issues to be resolved between countries is through a political dialogue. Yet it is the armies of both countries that are engaged in the process of withdrawing from flash points.

Admittedly talks between the two foreign Ministers did take place, the Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. This happened early in July at Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Surely the principles and the landmarks would have been decided between Beijing or Delhi. All that the armies have to do is get on with it, left foot first or right foot first depending which side of the new cold war one is. Yet talks after talks there is some hitch and the feet don’t move.

The number of dispute areas have metamorphosed like the Covid virus. There were only two areas in 1960s, now there are over 10 hotspots.

The 12th round of talks is about a small part. The larger Depsang Plains further North are not even mentioned. Here Chinese troops have been preventing Indian jawans from accessing their usual patrolling stations. This is near the Karakoram Pass.

It’s clear that the terms, pace and method of engagement is being determined by China. It is gradually wearing down India. China wants to carry on with its CPEC road project through Pakistan and protect it from any Indian attacks in future. Until it feels assured that India won’t interfere with that, we are likely to see 13th, 14th and so on talks between military hierarchies of both countries. Not to forget the elephant in the discussion room between the Indian and Chinese Commanders, the United States with its own strategic policy casting a shadow on any bilateral Sino-Indian talks.

Happens Only In India

There is the Lok Sabha and there is the Kisan Sansad, a mock parallel Parliament of farmers. Kisan Sansad is not quite elected by universal franchise, vote cheating or fisticuffs. It’s been a gentle process. Farmers wanting to push Modi to reverse his farm laws, have been at pains to ensure their protest remains peaceful and lawful.

The Sansad (Kisan one) has repealed some of the laws. It even had a ladies day with all members being ladies. A 100% ladies Lok Sabha might not be a bad idea. They might bring pragmatism and policies to feed the population rather than feed superpower ambitions.

Meanwhile, Modiji who first tried adopting the persona of a vegetarian version of Raksasha, the terrible, soon found that the Constitution does not cater for Rakshasas anymore. Times have changed since Vedic days. Moreover the International community went tut tut. So Modi backed off.

Now Modiji seems relaxed. He has realised its all about votes. No point in being ‘Fury with a Sadhu look’. His new wardrobe incarnation is a sadhu or perhaps even a demi god look. It might catch on as the fashion iconology of the year. Imagine Biden and Boris in one. Xi certainly won’t try it. Imran Khan has his own ‘salwar kameez’ look.

Meanwhile, farmers have reached some sort of a plateau in their campaign and adopting innovative ways to keep the media attention. Jantar Mantar is an apt name for the Sansad. They haven’t quite leveraged the international community.  They are also hoping victory will come at the polls. Narendar Singh, a former Agriculture Minister in Bihar said this is a revolution.

Only in India, with all its idiosyncrasies and polarities can one have two parliaments at the same time without violence or crackdown or charges of sedition.  At the same time, only in India can a sedition charge be masted on one’s head if someone says something nasty about dear leader Modiji while having Article 19, the freedom of expression.

Ultimately, Law Is Politics

If there is any evidence needed that the law is merely a tool in the broader cloud of politics, the United States enquiry/no enquiry on the 6th January Capitol Hill insurrection is it.  Everybody with a TV, smart phone or gadget to look at news, saw what happened. The faces of the insurgents and the speeches and tweets of those encouraging them are in the public domain. Not even hidden. But no enquiry to who threatened law and order or even worse, the democratic fabric of the country always bleating on about democracy and human rights.

The law in its finality is made by politicians in elected chambers or by politburos. It’s the politicians who decide what will constitute crime, fraud, rape, violence etc and in some cases who gets thrown in jail. They then put it in circulation. The lawyers work within that frame. There is no such thing as natural law. Go and stand in front of a lion and say, ‘I have a right to life’. Nature does not observe man’s law. Man’s law is made by man. Simple.

The USA that wants a rule-based international order and countries around the world to have constitutions and proper legal instruments based on human rights principles, obviously believes that, ‘do as the Mullah says, not as the Mullah does’.

To prove the point of politics as the source of order, law and arbiter of legitimacy,, the ultimate city crier of law and order, the US Republican party is opposing any enquiry into how the insurrection occurred, who was responsible for inciting and organising and who bears responsibility for breaking the law!

Statues of justice with a blindfolded lady really need to have a small figure of a male politician with a chain on her foot to portray the honest state of affairs. At least in USA and in motherland India. In both countries politics interprets the interpretation and even frames the scope of interpretation. Work that out, My Lords.  In fact in most countries. Ask Russians and Brexited Europe.

But there is some honesty, somewhere. The High Court of Rajasthan has the figure of Manu depicting Indian justice. Manu was quite a misogynist with clear ideas on roles and duties of women. Moreover he seems to have handed quite a bit of arbitrary power to the ruler, now the politician. That is the reality of law in India.

Just as in US, the Republicans can stop a criminal enquiry into the perpetrators of January insurrection, Indian politicians are able to stop enquiries on rapes carried by them. It’s a united world of politicians.

1 Cr COVID Vaccine Doses Administered In Delhi: Kejriwal

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said that one crore Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the national capital so far.
“A little over 1 cr doses of COVID vaccine have been administered to people in Delhi so far. The milestone was reached today. These have been administered to around 74 lakh people – 26 lakh received both doses while the remaining received single dose,” Kejriwal said in a press conferenc
“Out of the 2 crores (approx) population of Delhi, 1.5 crore people are over 18 years of age and eligible for vaccination. So, out of 1.5 crore people around 74 lakh people have received at least one dose. This is 50% of the population,” Kejriwal added.
Moreover, the chief minister added that of 1.5 crore Delhiites eligible for vaccination, 50% have got at least one dose. “So, out of 1.5 crore people around 74 lakh people have received at least one dose. This is 50% of the population,” he said.

Tokyo Olympics: Sindhu Loses Semi-Final, To Play For Bronze On Sunday

India shuttler PV Sindhu will not be able to return with a silver or gold in the women’s singles event after losing to Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu-Ying in the semi-finals of the ongoing Tokyo Olympics here at the Musashino Forest Plaza Court 1 on Saturday. Tzu-Ying defeated Sindhu 21-18, 21-12 in the semifinals. Sindhu will now play for bronze on Sunday.

The Indian shuttler matched her opponent shot for shot, but it did not prove to be enough as Tzu-Ying ended up taking the first game 21-18. Sindhu needed to win the next game to stay alive in the semi-final.
The number two seed Tzu-Ying continued from where she left off in the first game and despite Sindhu throwing her best shots, it was not enough and the Indian shuttler lost the semi-final clash in straight games. The entire match lasted for 40 minutes.

On Friday, Sindhu had stormed into the semi-finals of the women’s singles event after defeating Japan’s number four seed Akane Yamaguchi in the quarterfinals.

Sindhu defeated Yamaguchi 21-13, 22-20. The quarterfinal clash between Sindhu and Yamaguchi had lasted for 56 minutes. (ANI)

‘I Have A Request For Olympic Viewers: Do Not Judge’

Olympian and Arjuna Awardee Virdhawal Khade, 30, talks about what it takes to be among the best athletes in the world. He says criticism is important but toxicity on social media can impact an athlete’s morale

I was the youngest Indian swimmer to make it to the Olympics at the age of 16, to become part of the 2008 Beijing Olympics squad. In 2007, before I finished my 10th board exams I had qualified for the Beijing Olympic Games.

I was in great shape I remember. I was training hard, and had a crazy desire to win every race I swam in. There was a phase where it was all just about racing and winning. It didn’t matter where I was swimming and who was swimming next to me.

I realised the worth of being an Olympian after I reached Beijing. Being among the best athletes in the world, living among them, eating at the same place, meeting athletes whom I had only seen on TV was a surreal experience. There I was, an Olympian, like my heroes. That’s when it struck me. I was proud and happy about what I had achieved.

I participated in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, won a Bronze Medal in Asian Games 2010, and have participated at six FINA World Championships and have held four National Records for over 13 years. I would say it takes hard work, dedication, consistency, sacrifice and perseverance to set about an Olympic journey. When you put your performance together on the race day, all those grueling training hours, early mornings, sore muscles, routine discipline, diet control… all of that makes sense when you see the rewards.

India has come a long way in terms of international results in the past few years, but there is still a long way to go. All we need to do is stay on this path of upward trajectory. We can’t expect our athletes to go from not making a semi-final or a final to directly winning a medal.

If you take cricket for example, crores of children take up the sport, at the end of the day only a few hundred of them earn a name for themselves as a distinguished cricketer. When more children start looking up to heroes from Olympic sports and when parents realise their children can win glory from sports, only then will we have a huge volume of youngsters and then our coaches can do a better job of mentoring the next Ian Thorpe or Michael Phelps from India. My father got me into the pool before I turned five and I started competing a year after I learnt how to swim.

ALSO READ: ‘Quit Self-Pity, Swim Against The Tide’

It’s unfortunate and a sad reality that your own countrymen back home troll/judge athletes when they are not able to win or qualify to a certain level. Hardly do they realize the punishing schedule and challenges that an athlete goes through to compete at the Olympics. It’s there in all sports in India. If you do well, you are a hero, if you don’t, then you are a traitor and a fraud.

Social media has given everyone a voice and some of them are extremely toxic. I would like my countrymen to think of the athletes in Tokyo as our own children. Criticism is important but being toxic will only do harm than good. It would help greatly if more people played a sport. 

Everyone trains hard to do the best they can for their country, for their parents and for themselves at the biggest stage in the world. To all the athletes out there who couldn’t make it at the Tokyo Olympics, if you have given your absolute 100 percent in training and in the competition, accept the result. Plan for the next one and improve. Compete with yourself. Be better than you were yesterday. And remember that you are in Tokyo, the whole world is watching and you are representing 130 crore Indians. You are the best among us, so be proud of it!

As Told To Mamta Sharma

J&K:Two Jaish Terrorists Gunned Down In Pulwama

Two Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists were gunned down by the security forces in Kashmir in an encounter in the Pulwama district on Saturday morning.

“Two terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) were killed in an encounter today. One of them (Mohd Ismal Alvi) was involved in the 2019 Junaidpura attack”, said IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar
A name of a Pakistani terrorist, who was involved in today’s Pulwama attack was surfaced in a chargesheet that was produced by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Parineeti Shooting Quietly Amid Covid

Bollywood actor Parineeti Chopra, who is vacationing in London with her elder sister Priyanka Chopra Jonas these days, conducted an ‘Ask Me Anything’ session on Instagram recently, where one of her fans asked her when is she announcing her next film.

In the session, one of Parineeti’s fans asked her, “When are you announcing the next film? We’ve been waiting since March when you said next week.”
Replying to her fan, the actor disclosed that she had been shooting ‘quietly’ during the pandemic.

“There are so many factors involved in announcing a film! I’ll just say this- I have been shooting during the pandemic (quietly), so trust me, a couple of announcements will come soon. Thank you for the love”

In a ‘Ask Me Anything’ session hosted in June, Parineeti spoke about her 3 releases this year– ‘Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar’, ‘Saina’ and ‘The Girl On The Train’.

“2021 will remain a special year for me. It’s the year I released 3 films within a single month, and all 2 gave me back all the love and critics reviews. Cannot be more grateful,” she said.

On the work front, Parineeti Chopra was last seen in Dibakar Banerjee’s ‘Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar’ co-starring Arjun Kapoor.

She will be next seen in Sandeep Reddy Vanga’s ‘Animal’ alongside Ranbir Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, and Bobby Deol in the film. (ANI)

Tokyo Olympics: Vandana Becomes Ist Indian Woman Hockey Player To Score Hat-Trick

Vandana Katariya who scored three of India’s four goals against South Africa in the final pool A hockey game became the first Indian woman to register a hat-trick at the Olympics here at Oi Hockey Stadium — South Pitch on Saturday.

The 29-year-old forward’s three goals made sure that the women’s hockey team’s hopes to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics remain intact as it will now depend on the outcome of the Ireland and Great Britain game.
“She shoots, she scores! Vandana Katariya scored 3 of #IND ‘s 4 goals in their match against #RSA to become the first Indian woman to register a hat-trick at the Olympics!” Tokyo 2020 for India tweeted.

In their five Group Stage matches, India won two and lost three. Katariya scored her first two goals in the starting two-quarters of the match and completed the hattrick by scoring the winner in fourth. Neha Goyal was the other scorer for India as the team edged South Africa 4-3 in a thriller. (ANI)

BSF Troops Eliminate 2 Pak Intruders In Punjab

The Border Security Force (BSF) troops killed two Pakistan intruders in Punjab’s Ferozepur district on Friday, said BSF in an official statement.

“On July 30, 2021 at about 2048 hours, BSF troops deployed in AOR of BOP, Thehkelan (Amarkot), Ferozepur observed suspicious movement of intruders sneaking inside Indian territory between a border post,” the BSF statement said.
The troops challenged the intruders and told them to stop. But they did not pay any heed despite repeated warnings and continued to move towards the Indian side in an attempt to cross the border fence. Subsequently, they were fired upon by the troops and two intruders were shot down, BSF said in the statement.

A detailed search is in progress. (ANI)

Nupur Pens Senti Post For ‘Mimi’ Kriti

Kriti Sanon’s younger sister Nupur Sanon shared a long and emotional post on Instagram praising her sister for her performance in the much-acclaimed movie ‘Mimi’.

After watching the movie on Sunday, Nupur posted a couple of still images of Kriti who is essaying the titular role of a surrogate in the movie.
In her soul-stirring post, Nupur termed her sister as “phenomenal” and revealed that she was blown away by what by Kriti’s performance which also made her shed a few tears.

“I always knew your true potential. I always knew the level of acting you’re capable of.

But I was blown away by what I saw!! You did it, Mimi!! You were phenomenal! My Words won’t be able to describe what I felt. I have laughed and laughed and then cried and cried. There wasn’t even a single scene when I felt you weren’t 100 per cent Mimi !!” she wrote.

She further noted that she could see “a mother who fell in love with her child instantly. I could see her forgetting her own dreams in a split second for her child. I could see her world revolving around her child. I could see her being territorial for him! I saw anger, love, disgust , joy and so many subliminal emotions in you Kriti!”

Heaping her sister with praise, Nupur said that Kriti has made sure with her performance that nobody after watching her movie will call her as “just a pretty face” in Bollywood.

“You’ve forced every single person who has watched Mimi to take the ACTOR in you VERY SERIOUSY. And I’m SO proud of you! And I’m SO Happy for you! You have waited to get a film like Mimi way longer that the 9 month-wait Mimi had to for Raj Take a bow,love! @kritisanon,” she concluded.

The release date of Bollywood actor Kriti Sanon’s comedy-drama ‘Mimi’ was preponed, and on July 26, Monday evening (four days before the original release date), the film was released on OTT platforms, amid reports of its online leak.

This Hindi remake of Samroudhhi Porey’s National award-winning, Marathi film, ‘Mala Aai Vhhaychy!’ (2011), has been directed by Laxman Utekar and also features Pankaj Tripathi, Manoj Pahwa, Sai Tamhankar, and Supriya Pathak.

The film narrates a quirky tale of a feisty and carefree girl (Kriti) who becomes a surrogate mom to make money. Laxman Utekar has also written the movie’s story and screenplay along with Rohan Shankar, who has penned the dialogues as well.

Apart from ‘Mimi’, Kriti has an impressive lineup of films including ‘Adipurush’, ‘Bachchan Pandey’, ‘Bhediya’, ‘Ganapath’, ‘Hum Do Hamaare Do’ along with another unannounced project. (ANI)