Mindful Consumption-the need of the hour


Climate change is not a threat any longer, but a reality.  Freaky weather conditions, rising temperatures, long spell of summers and flash floods are signs of global warming. Water scarcity, a sign of environment degradation, is assuming crisis dimensions in many parts of the world including India. As per Niti Ayog 21 Indian cities are likely to face severe water scarcity by 2020.  Taps running dry and people queuing up for water is already a grim reality in many cities.  Acute water shortage in many villages forces women to tread miles together for potable water. Scarcity of drinking water is scary but equally worrisome are the sharply declining water tables.

Water is precious, must be conserved to conserve life. We can’t allow water to go down the drain. Rain water harvesting- preventing  wastage by managing rain water – saving when in excess and using the surplus in dry season – should be compulsory for new constructions and also for all public buildings, educational institutions and hospitals.

While government devises policies for water conservation, we, the consumers must pitch in to do our part. ‘Mindful consumption’ is the first step towards avoiding wastage. With awareness comes the need to conserve and avoid misuse of resources. Do we realize how much water is wasted when the tap water keeps flowing while we brush our teeth mindlessly? Once conscious, we tend to use water judiciously while doing various mundane activities – shaving, brushing, washing utensils and clothes. Instead of washing fruits and vegetables in running water, we can keep these soaked in a bowl of water, and utilize this waste water for watering the plants. Against 20 to 25 liter water for a bucket bath, shower dispenses about 19 liters per minute (old type shower head). For flushing 250-400 m liters of urine, we use approximately 10 liters of water. A staggering amount of treated drinkable water flushed down every day! Outrageous! We must find ways to economize. Dual flush system ensures significant water saving – more water when needed, but for most flushes half a flush is good enough.

While we conserve water, we must also be mindful of energy consumption. Switching off the electric gadgets when not in use and turning off lights and fans while going out of the rooms should be a habit whether at home or in the office. However, significant power saving is possible by keeping air conditioners at optimum temperature. Why set the temperature so low that we need quilt while sleeping in summer. What a huge electricity wastage it is when the temperature maintained in malls and multiplexes is so low that we start feeling cold! The idea should be to feel cool and comfortable and not create semblance of winter in hot weather. ACs are not only power guzzlers but also add to global warming. Today there are too many AC compressors dotting urban walls that spew fire in summers.

Mindful consumption also implies being aware of damaging effect of plastic on environment. We must avoid single use plastic and say ‘no’ to poly bags. Carrying a cloth bag is the best option since a paper bag also has negative environment impact in terms of trees chopped for it.

The idea of mindful consumption extends to ‘mindful merriment’, festivity keeping greener goals in mind as hyper consumption and thoughtless consumerism ware major reasons behind environment degradation.

We ought to be mindful of our consumption to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ so as to conserve resources. Even if we can afford, it is a crime to waste resources. Money may be ours but resources are not. Resources belong to the community, the country and the world at large.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            (Published in Chandigarh Tribune on November, 2019)

15 Replies to “Mindful Consumption-the need of the hour”

  1. Mindful consumption is the key Rama. Little contribution by each one of us can bring about a big change. I wrote a poem with a similar theme, though in Hindi. I can’t resist posting it here

    देववृक्ष पीपल
    जड़ में विष्णु
    तने में केशव
    शाखाओं में नारायण
    पत्तों में श्रिहरि
    फलों में अच्युत
    चौबीसों घंटे लेता
    ज़हरीली कारबन डायआक्सायड
    उत्सर्जित करता प्राणवायु आक्सीजन
    पर्यावरण हितैषी पीपल
    नहीं बन सकते हम पीपल
    चौबीसों घंटे लेते हम प्राणवायु
    उत्सर्जित करते कार्बन डायआक्सायड
    फिर भी हो सकते हैं
    पर्यावरण हितैषी
    करके कम ज़रूरतें अपनी
    कर सकते हैं कम
    ज़हरीली हवाएँ
    बचा सकते हैं
    अपनी धरती
    अपने वन और समन्दर
    अपने जीव जंतु और पक्षी

    1. Alka , your self composed poem is so beautiful,I love it. It says it all- the need for resource conservation and mindful consumption . Beautiful indeed !
      Alka,a request- please post it in the group.

  2. Rama an excellent write up on saving of power and water . These reminders are very useful and needed . Congratulations
    . Keep it up

  3. ‘Mindful of Merriment & ‘Mindful of Consumption is the top notch Question of the day Rama as you have reminded us number of ways by which we can conserve water & electricity I just want to add like as now in restaurants cutting water is offered in the same way we can use smaller vessels for offering oblations to God. Watering the kitchen garden plants with hand sprinkler. In other countries this is the only mode used not water pipes Poly bags should be totally done away with.
    Rama your article is very awakening we must conserve for our progeny not only money but resources as well so that they don’t have to que up in lines for water and other natural resources

    1. Thanks Mrs Chopra. Always a pleasure to know your views .It’s good that we are becoming aware of the need to conserve resources. It is a good idea to use water sprinklers instead of water -hose for watering the plants .

  4. Very thought provoking article,madam.It is same as you used to taught me,when I was in graduation.I assure you madam,I will try to save natural resources as much as I can and teach it to others also.
    Alka madam’s poem is also fantastic.

    1. Thanks Garima. If we all try sincerely, we can make a difference. Sometimes we tend to use the resources carelessly because we are not mindful of the damage we are causing to the environment
      I shall definitely convey your complement to Alka ma’am for her beautiful poem .

  5. Rama article is awakening but often people have a tendency to consume a lot of resources when they are sitting in the office. Lights , fans, AC, heater are on even when they are not needed. My father use to tell one thing that spend only when absolutely necessary. It’s true for all the resources. All of us should practice it.

    1. Very right Neelam. We all tend to waste resources especially when we don’t have to pay for these out of our pocket.No wonder we use electric gadgets so callously in offices.But many times we end up wasting resources because we are not mindful of overuse/misuse.

      Uncle’s advice is indeed pertinent in conservation of resources. In fact,’reduce’ and ‘reuse’ had been a part of Indian culture -the way party dress became home wear to night suit and then a duster.Also how the dress of elder sibling would be passed on to the younger one.

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