Subrata Dutta believes that if humans have to survive, they need to switch towards a more sustainable lifestyle
The earth is being plundered and its resources exploited at such a rapid rate that future generations face a frightening scenario. In fact, it wouldn’t be incorrect to say that with the continued destruction of the ecosystem, the existence of life on earth itself is under threat.
Most of us are aware of this but vague about what can be done at an individual level in order to contribute to restoring and preserving the ecosystem. More often than not, we leave it to the government and environmental agencies to do the heavy lifting. But a change is imperative for every drop counts and does add up to make the proverbial ocean. ‘Going organic’ is a dynamic way to get started and contribute.
What does ‘going organic’ translate to? To put it simply, it means adopting lifestyle practices that do not harm the environment, and instead help restore, preserve and nurture it. Here's taking a deep dive into how we can go about it and help preserve the earth’s ecosystem.
- Eat organic
This translates to choosing foods grown the organic way. What is organic farming and how does it help preserve and nurture the ecosystem?
Excessive use of such chemicals in conventional farming practices contaminates the soil, water and air and allows the development of disease resistance in plant-eating insects, fungi and bacteria. Organic farming relies on ecologically based pest control mechanisms and vermicomposting to ensure maximum preservation of environmental resources.
No use of chemicals during organic farming helps in preserving and improving soil health. The practise also wards off soil erosion and decreases nitrate leaching into groundwater and surface water, and recycles animal wastes back into the farm. Such farming practices have a positive impact on the ecosystem, additionally promoting biodiversity to the fullest.
Organic Foods: Must-Know
1) Ensure that the product is certified organic.
2) Authentic organic foods in India carry these labels: India Organic, EU Organic or USDA Organic labels.
3) Organic foods and supplements are healthier since no chemicals are used in growing or preserving the food or supplements.
- Wear sustainable fashion
Several fashion brands are rushing to initiate their eco-friendly fashion lines — clothes made of plant-based fibres and developed in an ethical manner. The manufacturing process in a sustainable fashion setup does not involve polluting the water, soil and the environment. On the other hand, synthetic fabrics are made using chemicals and manufacturing processes that deplete and damage the ecosystem.
‘Going organic’ also means we buy fewer clothes, opt for more durable iterations and avoid what is termed as ‘fast fashion’. (Remember, the more clothes we use, the more of earth’s resources we use up.) ‘Fast fashion’ means churning out frequent lines of cheap clothing, using quick-fix chemicals, dyes and practices of manufacturing that include destruction of the environment, polluting of waters and more.
Opt for sustainable fashion or clothes manufactured using ethical practises that help nurture and protect the ecosystem. In this case, less is truly more.
- Other ways to ‘Go Organic’
Opt for local produce: This supports the community’s economy, helping it thrive. One of the key pillars of ‘going organic’ is to support the most prized of earth’s bounties: mankind. So, buy local. Another way this helps support the ecosystem is by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by cutting on the transport of food from distant places.
Use ‘green’ products: Read labels and be mindful of all products that you use — from house-cleaning agents and cosmetics to your garbage bags and containers. Look for cleaning products that do not include phosphates and phthalates; avoid non-degradable plastic (the frightening videos of plastic clogging up the earth are not fictitious); opt for jute bags and glass containers and shun cosmetics that are harmful to animals or contain damaging chemicals (check the Environmental Working Group website for more).
It’s time to do away with the careless, consumerist lifestyles that most of us tend to indulge in.
Use transport more efficiently: Change your car to one that guzzles less fuel — a limited natural resource. Cut down on the use of vehicles by combining errands, opting for carpool or walking more often. You will be reducing the greenhouse gas emission that leads to global warming that and continues to be one of the biggest threats to the ecosystem.
(The author is group managing director, Organic India.)