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An Interesting Green Map

>> Wednesday, 30 December 2009

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Retail Industry's Return Policy - Impact on the environment

Retail industry is in a never ending race to keep prices low and remain competitive and appealing to customers. In reality, operational costs and other capital costs are always rising and never come down. However retailers are forced to remain competitive (quality and price), in addition to providing a set of perks to customers.

One such perk being the return policy. Let us try evaluating the impact of one returned good on the environment.

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Each time a consumer walks in to return his purchase, he gets his money back.Examining the retailer's side of the story - allowing customers to feel empowered means ensuring themselves (retailers) a loyal customer base and also a possible increase in the number of customers. It sounds like a win-win right !! Rather, the actual story may be otherwise. All this has a cost, in terms of economics and the environment.

One of the three things is what happens to the product.
  • It is dumped in a trash can if it is a produce or a consumable,
  • sent back to the supplier if the product is faulty
  • goes back to the shelf for a reduced (open pack) price. 
Any of these scenarios translate into a financial strain on the retailer. Most retailers try to maintain a customer friendly return policy and allow return of a product in the most deplorable state. Though this looks appealing in the short term, both the customer and the retailer lose in the long run.

How does this happen?
Every return adds up to the operational and overhead costs for the retailer. By law, retailers and suppliers have a limit on the number of products they can account for as write-offs. They have to consider logistics cost and stocking/inventory management of the returns before they are sent in through the proper channels (as mentioned above). All this means added costs for retailers/suppliers and a an inevitable struggle to remain competitive in a cut throat franchisee environment. This could mean quality deterioration. Although consumers may not observe sudden drop in quality, it does happen over a period of time. Every retailer tries to increase pressure on the suppliers, manufacturers and transporters to keep costs low. But  that doesn't happen always. At least a part of the costs have to be borne by the retailers themselves. That means costs are invisibly passed onto consumers. Thereby we, as consumers, have unknowingly increased the future costs for ourselves.

Impact on the environment...
Let us look beyond our wallets and assess this issues in terms of impact on the environment. Environmental costs associated with every product begins from its source of raw material, adds up through the entire value chain and ends with its consumption and disposal of packaging products. Use of non bio-degradable products adds to the stress on the environment as they are here to stay - forever!

For a product to qualify as being environment friendly, it needs to be green at every stage in supply chain/value chain.
As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, manufactures and retailers are supposed to account for the impact their product has on the environment, this process is environmental accounting. Every Enterprise Resource Planning software has a provision for this accounting process. I have my own doubts whether a profit-oriented organization will ever look into the environmental aspect seriously. Eco-impact calculators are supposed to be a part of every audit which happens in companies. What bothers me is if they ever look at these modules beyond their computer screens and the spreadsheets.

What we could do...
We as consumers can work on our consumption patterns and think twice before billing a product. It is difficult to see why many Indian friends of mine have eased themselves so well into this binging mentality. Indian retail industry never allowed for returns or even exchanges in some cases. Consumers have to be conscious of what they buy. What I cant come to terms with is the way Indian consumers behave in the USA. Cheap and shady behavior of (Indian) consumers in the US, and things they get away with is shocking. Does it never occur to them that it is going to come back to them (in true economic sense). That is how economics works!...and it doesn't take an Amartya Sen to understand this.

Do we need to add more than the usual to this?
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Organic food in plastic packaging?!!

>> Monday, 28 December 2009

Organic produce and food products are a nice buy..keeps one thing off your mind - all the pesticide residue. But is it not an oxymoronistic approach to sell organic and other "green" products in a non bio degradable plastic package?

What is the idea behind all the reams of plastic which went into packaging them? I have no clue...I don't expect things to be clear cut black and white but this packaging issue is stretching things too far!!!!! (Not that its ok for other products to be stuffed in plastic bag/wraps to be shelved in a retail store.)

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We cannot justify these pre cut organic fruits being sold in ridiculous individual packs. Even the most popular organic food stores indulge in this kind of mockery of green issues. Are they ignorant or do they just don't care?...It must be fun to meet all those who are into planning and execution of product packaging decisions in these organic and eco friendly companies. I really need to ask them one thing... how do these aisles in organic food store qualify as eco-friendly?

Most argue about the strain green packaging would put on the environment...but is it necessary to add more indigestible plastic junk for the planet to bear? Another arguement is of the corn plastic - the amount of money, effort and the resources which go into producing a single corn plastic container is not worth the effort.
 I don't know if it is just me or if there are others out there who are bogged down by guilt while buying groceries and other processed food. Its like an anti-thesis when companies which claim to sell organic produce and products, say even cosmetics, don't think twice before investing in plastic and other non-eco-friendly packaging material. I know I have cribbed and whined about this earlier.

Enormous demand for products and produce results in a significant strain on the environment, and then,  choosing paper or other eco friendly packaging material only adds to the planet's travails. However, when we weigh the pros and cons of going green and remaining economical, green idea wins- always. It is necessary to understand one base rule - any polymer based synthetic good produced is never going to decompose or biodegrade. However expensive it may be, earth friendly is the way to go (with the packaging as well). Smallest things like the plastic lid cap on glass bottles and jars matter to me. If an item on my grocery list is unavoidable, then I ensure that the jar I buy has a metal cap and not a plastic one....How many of you freak out like I do?

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Any inputs - welcome!!!!

I do not buy these plastic wrapped fruits and vegetables and feel good about not adding some more plastic to the environment.

We need to remember that each product we try, buy and consume is a vote of approval for the company to mark that product as a "success". So think before you try out a new product, be it consumable or other wise...your vote makes a difference. Simple things like making a choice between -

this jar 

and this

 When the sales go down, these companies are forced to change their strategy and cater to what we consumers demand...Time and again I have been mentioning this - we are at a stage where we are only making trade offs. Living green is a long winding road for the civilized world..the least we could do is to start making a difference...(I make a special mention of this thanks to all the flaky criticism  I put up with due to my green advocacy).

So the next time you are in a super market aisle, make an intelligent choice and Keep the planet happy!


Cardamom - A greener mouth freshener

>> Friday, 25 December 2009

We all know cardamom as one of the most popular Indian Spices, which works wonderfully in both sweet and savoury dishes. No payasam or kheer is complete without that dash of crushed cardamom (powder). You may wonder if I have confused my food blog with the green one...No, I have not. I wanted to write about use of cardamom as a mouth freshener and as a way to reduce our carbon footprint. Sounds out of syn?

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If you are among those who are used to munching a strip of a mouth freshener of your choice, you have just voted for the existence of at least three different industries - the Gum industry itself, Sugar processing plants, packaging industry and the transportation and retailing industry. And supporting these industries by chewing a strip of gum did not necessarily translate to over all economic growth.

On a personal level, you have invited a few health issues for yourself. How you may ask! Think about the amount of sugar you have consumed (without even realizing it). This is apart from causing a decent amount of damage to your jaw (applies to frequent chewers). You also consume all the artificial colours and flavours which went into manufacturing this gum and they aren't good for your kidneys.

Waste management...
You have generated unnecessary garbage by disposing three layers of packaging for every strip of gum consumed. Can we forget the thin plastic film which was used to protect the gum's "freshness" ? (If you dint know- every product packaging includes a layer of plastic, even the tetrapacks).

The label printed must have had a small amount of ink that used up some resource (from its raw material to final product and shipping stage. Plastic container used to ship the ink cant be ignored).
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How could we ignore all the cartons the company uses it to ship boxes of the gum to dealer warehouses and to the retailers for shelving. We could explore the entire value chain piece by piece and this post would never end!  All this is similar to every other consumer product, but a chewing gum doesn't necessarily have any utilitarian value in your diet and it doesn't really freshen your mouth. It leaves an after taste and also makes your teeth prone to germs, thanks to the sugar added to it. Even the "sugarless" variety has saccharides which is just a sugar replacement.

Phew! It is hard to see all this when you reach out for your pack of gum, but shifting to eat a simple Fennel/saunf or elaichi works well for you as well as for the environment. It is not a major shift to being green because of growing, harvesting, packing and shipping these spices surely has an impact on the planet. What we do by reducing our dependence on at least one processing industry is that we reduce the strain on resources by say 50%.  Shifting to natural products is not a fool proof solution, but only a trade off for the planet. Not just the planet, you are being kinder on yourself. If Elaichi seems like an expensive option, then we could explore similar natural breath fresheners. Most spices such as cinnamon and clove have similar freshening effect on our breath. Clove plays a dual role by not only freshening your breath but also being good for our teeth and gums.

Time and again, I have been advocating that green living doesn't have to be just black and white. It is more of a learning process with each passing day. All we need is an open mind and will to change for the better. As a civilized society, we have reached a stage where most of us refuse to go back to living minimal. But starting off with a decent set of trade offs would be better than trying to believe that "one change wont really make a difference". May be, with an shift like this, we would be able to explore more such ways and means to reduce our take it easy mentality. We could take a step further in reducing (human) impact on the planet. {I seem to be saying everything possible for the processing industry to gang up against people like me :) }

Image source : wiki

On a lighter note...we could avoid this....
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A Green Christmas (Tree)

>> Thursday, 24 December 2009

 Happy Christmas to All

This is our first ever Christmas tree and as a part of being green, I decorated a wooden corner stand with mini multi-coloured lights and strings of beaded-stuffed-cloth birds. I anchored all the lights and decorative strings on a traditional brass lamp. The stand, lamp and the ornaments are handicrafts from different states in India. Corner Stand - Uttar Pradesh handicrafts; Brass lamp - Traditional lamp from Tamil Naadu;Beaded bird string - Gujarat handicrafts. It may not qualify to be called a tree...but it ushered in the holiday spirit into our tiny apartment.. :)

Hope you all have a great holiday


Home made cosmetics

I have a lot on my to-do list while waiting to recover from a truck load of things. One of the to-dos is to try concocting my own cosmetics (including soaps). This would take my `make everything from scratch` agenda one step further .

I have been bookmarking a list of blogs and sites with recipes and articles on home made soaps, scrubs and creams. This is to improve on my trials to avoid all the plastic and other non-biodegradable packaging from the FMCG industry. Crafting Green is one such webstie/blog I found while looking  for eco-friendly arts and crafts. Their article about Do it yourself - make your own beauty products looks quite promising. Do check out their articles on more eco-freindly ideas for everyday living.

Crafting a Green World


Updates - Green Bag Lady Bag

>> Tuesday, 22 December 2009

 loved one thing about the green bag lady's Giveaways. She asks each one of us (who has received her bag) to send in a picture of the bag being used. And she promptly publishes the picture along with the mail we write in while sending the picture...A great way to ensure accountability and also make us (receivers) feel special, right! (really thoughtful)

My update has been published too...Ah! I am a mini celebrity now! She has published my pictures in her blog - I have been sick so had sent the picture a bit late (and that also explains why I look so drained out :)....'Here is the link to the post`

I am using my green bag lady bag (printed one in the front ) with my cotton bag from the university days and the orange bag, a gift from my brother (gifted to me about five years ago, honoring my green efforts!)...Until next time....Take care and keep the planet green!


Updates on Seawood lake project

>> Sunday, 20 December 2009

I have been on a mission lately and I am happy. But the fact that things are not moving as I anticipated has me working harder on this. I had done a post on Save Seawood lake a few days ago.I was trying to send out emails and increase awareness about this project apart from scouting for people in the media who could help.

It is depressing to see real estate developers encroaching this lake by dumping debris and wanting to alter the natural landscape of this part of Mumbai.

 Image Source: Save Seawood Lake Group (Facebook)

  I have joined the facebook group called : Save Seawood Lake, dedicated for this project. HERE. (I did not have an account on facebook. But I joined in to be a part of this group. So I request you to make an effort and join this group...every vote counts!).

I wanted to share this information about the lake and the project. Inspite of all my research, I am sure I couldn't written in better than Rajee herself. I quote the information stated on facebook page for the group.

"Seawoods Lake is located in Navi Mumbai ... which is the city neighbouring the financial capital of India ... Mumbai.The entire creek surrounding this general geographic area is house to the most endangered mangroves ... the government of India has today in effect stringent regulations to protect these mangroves.As you come up the Thane creek ... please look at Seawoods lake ( located very near the panvel creek ... divided only by a abandoned manmade road ... this lake is not considered a part of the mangroves and suddenly dumpers have started to fill this lake with debri from other construction sites ... looking at the sudden drop in water levels ... it is very obvious the water is being drained out .This lake is the backdrop of a school ... and houses many wildlife species ... including the migratory pelicans and flamingos at certain times of the year(like right now) ... The Navi mumbai authorities are undertaking major projects in collaboration with NGO's to save and protect the wetlands and the mangroves ... also located close by is the office of the Konkan Commissioner ... also working towards the protection of the mangroves ... but somehow protection of this lake is becoming a case of ... 'slip through the cracks' ... Help us save this lake ... it is part of the mangroves ... it is the first line of defence for the local geographic area which is anyways a metre below sealevel. Incase of a repeat of a deluge tragedy like 26/7 this area would be a major disaster area in the absence of these mangroves ... irrespective of whereyou are located geographically ... let us all come together to prevent an ecological and environmental disaster.The authorities concerned need their attention drawn to this issue so that they take the urgent steps needed to save this lake .The mangroves are in danger if this lake is allowed to be drained away.Our belief and faith in our institutions and authorities keeps alive a flicker of hope.
By joining this group you will prove that protection of our environment is of utmost urgency ... we don't need scientist to warn us time and again ... deepdown we all know.The polar caps are melting ... sea levels are rising ... tsunamis are no longer stuff of sci-fi movies.... the rains are diappearing ... winters are shorter or lost in many parts ... rainforests are diappearing ... what more.
Help save this lake its part of our environment ...our Earth ... lets mend our ways ... one step at a time... this may be our only chance ... we haven't yet got another place to go."

Significant milestones for this Project:
  • Member strength on facebook: As on Dec 20th 2009 - 175 (More the merrier - Its for a cause - Join in)
  • An article in  the Mid Day : HERE:  Cry for me, Copenhagen             
Image source: the article

  • Hindustan Times mentioned the Signature Campaign started to save the lake. (participants- 600 residents)
Image source : Seawood lake Group on Facebook

Group Admin Rajee Sood updates the Facebook wall with the latest for all of us to feel the connection to this project orrespetive of where you live. Please do let me know if you are from the media or know someone in the media (in mumbai or elsewhere) and can help the project.


Green Irene

>> Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Even the greenest of crusaders need inputs from fellow green beings from time to time. I keep researching for innovations happening in every sphere and industry to keep track of who is doing what, better than I am. As I always mention, living green is a journey. It is for us to be open to ideas so that we could improve on what we are already. Researching helps me to make changes for the better. My basic idea is also to read about which corporate is doing what in terms of making a difference to the environment. (they are the major force in how the world takes to green living. (Let us not buy their claim that they (corporates) are driven by customer demands, is it not logical that if they dint manufacture a non green product in the first place, things would happens for the better! first kick all the so called non green product inventors and innovators and the companies who mass produce them, invest in marketing the product, make money and forget about all the ruckus they create for the planet)

During one such researches is when I found this website - Green Irene. They are basically a product marketing company, with consultants in almost every possible state in the USA. What grabbed my attention is that apart from selling "green" products, this company also provide you with inputs to live  greener life while making small changes in ur home and office. I thought it would be great to mention it in my blog. I am not however convinced about the product packaging which is not green yet. I would recommend that you read through their blog and see if you can find anything that you would like to work on (in your lifestyle).

Find a Green Irene- Eco consultant near you ..their blog

The views expressed here are my own and am not promoting any company or product offered by them. I am not a part of Green Irene or any associates there off...this was one of my finds during my research for "green jobs" (I m jobless :-) )...until next time..take care


Why not to invest in gold - A social and economic perspective

Gold is one of the most over rated commodities in the investments market. Most commodities can be made to look lucrative by sheer manipulation by a group of well connected buyers. These buyers' extensive networks, can fluctuate the supply and demand. Hence, it has been a point of debate among analysts about feasibility of opting for Gold as an investment option.

Unlike any other mineral or metal, gold can be mined in its pure form, also called raw gold. Investment in gold happens in three forms - jewelery, coins/ biscuits, and raw gold. I am not sure of the purity of gold jewelery we buy from jewelers in India. Although they claim to sell 22k jewelery gold, time and again, it has been proved that most jewelery is not more than 21k (most reliable sellers). So is there a real reason to go about accumulating gold in jewelery or any other form. There was a time say just a few years ago when investing in gold meant a washout investment with no dividends and an added headache of storage and safe guarding the metal. I do not want to delve more into the financial analysis part of owning GOLD.

Gold coins

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Raw gold - nuggets

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Major cause for concern is the dowry system prevalent in India. Even in the most decent of families, brides are put on a comparison chart for the amount of jewelery and money they bring into the family. Financial strain on a girl's parent turns into a perfect alibi for female infanticide and foeticide in in India. Dowry system is a major strain and a huge emotional trauma for the girl as well. It is rather a matter of ridiculous pride to show off the loot for the groom's family. It doesn't stop there....greed leads to murder or suicide(Newspapers carry at least one story each day). Educated and well to do families don't stop lusting for more money and literally auction off their sons in the marriage market. (Pathetic).

It is not a great thing though but, I too was among those who were taunted for not having enough gold. My parent's financial situation, my aversion to gold and the compulsion to wear jewelery for my wedding led me to make some real fine pieces of precious stone jewelery in silver...ridiculous as it may seem but my family calls them artificial. Time and again I have tried making them see the economic and aesthetic perspective of my choice, but I failed..god save me......:).

A good friend of mine believes - heavier the bride's wedding neck wear (mangal suthra /thaali), the better it is for her married life...(in a way yes!! she wont be tortured or insulted in her in-law's home)....Are such thoughts nothing but justifications for the dowry system. I am not sure. My question - what about those families who cannot afford heavy jewelery?

I have been researching on the green perspective on gold mining. the post is turning out to be quite horrific...and its coming soon....


Go Green with your Chirstmas tree

>> Monday, 14 December 2009

Indian Christmas means people decorating plants and trees in their backyard/front yard. Climatic conditions and traditions in Americas, Europe and elsewhere have people putting up Christmas trees indoors to usher in the festive season.

In the USA and other developed parts of the world, retail chains stock up large quantities of real and fake Christmas trees. Long aisles are packed with plastic Christmas trees and other related decor.

I cannot keep myself from weighing the impact of these Christmas decor, buying and shipping gifts etc, have on the environment. Let us assume that we cannot forgo traditions and have to put a Christmas tree. The least we could do is to go green with your choice. Here is the tree at Washington DC senate. :)

Fake vs Real trees...
There has been a long standing debate on which was a more earth friendly choice - using a real tree or buying a plastic one. (Assuming that the plastic/factory made tree would be reused for a few years to come). As always, I set out researching for stats on what makes the earth bleed lesser (with regards to Christmas trees this time)...and found a few articles online. I thought I'd share snippets from my research.

Comparative carbon footprint (source: )
One uses the same plastic tree for nearly 20 years to match their carbon footprint as one natural tree felled each year. As much as it is not great to chop trees, we may have to bear with people making this alternative to any plastic junk. More than 3 kilograms of carbon dioxide is produced in the growing, transportation and disposal of a real tree compared with the 48 kilograms produced in the manufacture of the average artificial tree.

Why not plastic...
Most plastic trees are made of polyethylene (PEE) and the cheaper ones are made of poly vinyl chloride (PVC), both have high recycling cost and even when recycled have by products which are similar to tiny pellets. These pellet like bits end up in the digestive track of marine life and then into the food chain. Phew!

One thing is for sure, any plastic produced, is never going to go the choice is nothing but a real tree, (the lesser evil angle!). If by using a plastic tree, you thought that you were saving a tree from being cut, think again, you are actually choosing to increase instances of neural disorders. It is not just a coincidence that issues such as ADHD, autism etc have become a cause of concern. Deep routed "throw away" culture, means that consistent use of anything is never a possibility. The plastic or any styrofoam trees would land in the garbage some day.

We also need to consider all the energy and resources spent on production, packaging and shipping of these trees to your living room. Plastic trees are known to contain lead and other toxins which will enter your home environment. Simply put, you are inviting neurological disorders into your life once you make a "plastic" choice with things.

Choosing a real tree doesn't exactly mean that there are no issues either. Most real trees you buy from stores and nurseries are "farmed" there by wasting precious land and resources. Other impacts on the environment are due to packaging, shipping and disposal of these trees.

Going green...
  • You would want to try "non tree decorations"  
  • Renting a tree - look for options to rent a tree which could go back to a community garden or a bio reserve.
  • Use a potted fir tree and plant it in your own backyard or your community after Christmas. This way you would have helped increase the number of trees in your neighbourhood at the end of the holiday season.

Have a merry holiday season and be kind to the planet...


No Plastic? Fantastic

During a recent visit to Kroger, I found a teeny tiny sticker near the billing counter. It said "Less plastic? Fantastic!" . I decided to write about this campaign and began my research as soon as I reached home. To my surprise, I couldn't find any material about this campaign initiated by Kroger. I had to go to their website and look for campaigns and initiatives. Here is where I found an article on their mission to save a billion bags this year -  Less plastic? Fantastic!

There was not a single copy of the above mentioned sticker in print or online..Strange!! So do we assume that the corporate policy on social responsibility is nothing more than their ploy to "meet legislative requirements for corporate environmental responsibility"? Even if the program is supposed to be genuine, we don't see any retailer visibly encourage use of reusable bags- say by means of ads or any other promotional programs. Just hanging them at the billing counters doesn't help...right!.

Did you know that kroger has an entire segment of their website dedicated to GREEN LIVING. I dint until I searched through their website. I was so angry about their attitude towards green projects that I researched for them online. As mentioned these programs do not get as much publicity as their "SALES and discount coupons" (nonsense)...They need to work more on these programs rather than restricting it just to their website. The least they could do is to show people using reusable bags in their TV ads, but the ads glorify the idea of plastic bags being brought home..and the focus is on Save money live better!

I am not sure what Kroger intends to achieve with this tiny sticker or the program for that matter. When a billboard sized hoarding on these topics can't work its magic on people, what difference could an insignificant one inch square sticker make?

Retail giants don't push a green programs fearing a dent in their customer base. Retailers and corporates are here to make money and "create wealth for their stakeholders"...sounds from our financial management books on wealth creation....(sic!). I have nothing against Kroger, its subsidiaries or any other retailer for that matter.

None of the convenience freaks (read customers) would have "seen the sticker" or would want to even acknowledge that plastic or anything with throw away culture is bad for them. Don't I see a suicidal tendency in them...hmm...seems like an interesting way to look at the whole issue.

Its not lack of information but lack of integration of know-what to know-how which glorifies throw away culture. A simple thing like going to a temple and asking for "prasadam" means using up two fold able styrofoam containers and of course one plastic/styrofoam glass for water. I have stopped buying anything from Hindu temples here in the USA or even carrying home food from restaurants.

It pains to see that not one person standing before me in a billing counter has ever said no to a plastic bag....And to top it all, they look at me like I belong to the jungle and not the civilized world...why you my ask?...because I take my own bag and specifically ask the billing clerk to pack things in my own is just a small effort and a major start to bigger things...

My eyes are sore looking for just one more environmentally responsible earthling around me (in person)!!! Will I ever be able to come across one ..I don't know...when are all these convenience freaks going to realize that they are being a pest on this planet.
If you are among those who can think, can feel and surely make sense out of happenings around you...How about spreading some they say knowledge is power...and we can bring in change when we are committed to it.

Share this or similar videos with family and friends. I am sure it is more a lack of awareness than lack of common sense that people don't realize a lot of things. Here is a talk on TED by Captain Charles Moore on why we need to get more conscious...brilliant and surely is nothing short of a horror movie

Image source: Kroger green living website


A must see Talk on world with out OIL from TED

>> Sunday, 13 December 2009


Managing skeptics

Image source:

If you know some one who majorly argues that

  • climate change is inevitable and thats what has happened over billion years of earth's existence 
  • or that nothing can be done about non-biodegradable debris floating in the oceans . 

Just shake them up to make them see sense, and tell them..that though climate change has been cyclic over the last million hasn't been as rapid as it has been in the last two decades.

I know I am sounding too hostile in this post...but it is no longer a matter where we can spare these fools from waking up to reality. It is getting tougher to tackle these M*r*ns who are all out to display their pseudo intelligence.Will they wake up only when their own body is afflicted with some form of irreversible health issue? or will they bang their heads to the wall when they realise that their new born has some health issue because of all the moronic choices they made over the years?

Let them continue being as ignorant as they are and increase risk of breast and prostate cancer, genital abnormalities in male babies, infertility in men, early puberty in girls, Type-2 diabetes, and many more helaht issues thanks to all toxins seeping into the eco system.

More than saving the world from "things"..We better save the planet from these pests....


My Bag Arrived! - Gift from the Green Bag Lady

>> Thursday, 10 December 2009

It is great to see one lady make such a huge difference around her. Yes, I am talking about the Green Bag Lady - Ms Teresa. :). The Bag she sent me has arrived...It is a beautiful cotton bag. I ll update this post with my picture of the bag....when I am out shopping for grocery this weekend.

Thank you once again Teresa...

As is the update for this post....My Green Lady Bag in use along with my other regular bags!


Say no to plastic and paper shopping bags

>> Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Once upon a time people carried their satchels and bags on their shopping trips.  Then plastic was invented and we were pushed into thinking that grocer supplied bags meant convenience. It is really unfortunate that we have come a long way with this "convenience".

Having realized its impact on our lives, a select few started looking for solutions and are trying to spread awareness. I came across this petition and wanted to show the lack of interest for such serious issues among general population.

The Petition: Ask retailers to stop-using-plastic-bags

There have been many such requests, crusades and petitions which have gone unheard. I agree that this is not the only problem plaguing us today. We need to start somewhere and this is the easiest change we could make and make a huge difference in the way we treat our planet.

Video source: youtube

We don't have a choice anymore. Being conscious and making sensible decisions is the only way out.

You make a difference too
Make sure you carry a decent sized bag with you and refuse a plastic bag at the billing counter. A small effort and  may be one bag at a time, and you will walk out of the store with a feeling of having done something right. Eventually, this will grow on you and you would have gone "green". Also, please stop asking for extra bags and don't justify that you use it to throw garbage out. Garbage doesn't decompose when enclosed in plastic bags. It only adds to toxic gas emissions.

Retailing giants are trying to do their bit by asking you to pay for the bag, it is not to see if you can "afford" it, but to cure consumers of their plastic bag addiction.

Giving this point a thought means a lot to our planet. Come to think of it, the planet doesn't need us to save it. By doing our bit, we are keeping our hopes alive to see another generation survive on this green planet.

Video source : youtube


Green bag lady offered me a Bag!!

>> Saturday, 5 December 2009

Image source: green bag lady

I was pleasantly surprised when I opened my inbox today.  Green bag lady had stopped by and commented on the blog. I was so happy to see that she had asked me if I would like to receive her bag!!

This is the link to my previous posts about her: Green bag Lady

I wanted to be among those who have her bag, and then I saw her notice about not accepting any more requests. It is not like I don't use my own fabric bags has been my thing to travel with a set of bags (jute and cotton)....I carry my own bags to grocery stores, to buy clothes , and for anything and everything. I have made it a habit in the last twelve years to not accept either paper or plastic carry bags from anyone.

As for her offer, I thanked her for the gestured and I hope my bag is on the way....I am glad she stopped by and offered to give her bag (Imagine when millions have had to request..I must be among the few she volunteered to send one (all by herself)...yippppeeee!

I am looking forward to receiving her bag...and will post the picture once I get it!


Save oil - keep your cost of living low

>> Thursday, 3 December 2009

For all those skeptics who think going green is nothing more than a buzzword and a Fad and also say that you alone cant change the world....think again....

Here is one more reason to quit relying on disposable water bottles (also to work on the addiction to plastic grocery bags)..To keep your fuel costs low! Do you think you need a reason better than that?

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World economy relies on fossil fuels. Unnecessary diversion of non renewable, expensive and scare fuel to unsustainable industries (read plastic bags and bottled water industry among other list of things) doesn't make any sense. Instead of complaining about ever increasing cost of living, we could conserve and stretch our resources and keep cost of food, fuel and everything in general, low.

It is simple, our dependence on shipping and transportation is directly impacted by fuel costs and so is the entire pricing economics around the world. We can start by making minor changes, using our own cloth or jute shopping bags and avoiding use of disposable water bottles/beverage bottles for starters. Let those grey cells buzz.....I would like to quote a research I found on a website:

Food for thought....

  • In California, 18 million gallons of bottled water was shipped from Fiji in 2006, producing about 2,500 tons of global warming pollution. Most bottled water comes in recyclable PET plastic bottles, but only about 13 percent of the bottles we use get recycled. (CA figures). In 2005, 2 million tons of plastic water bottles ended up in landfills instead of getting recycled. Source: National resources defense council:
  • PET plastic bottles take up to 1,000 years to decompose and contribute to the vast vortex of plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean, which is harming wildlife.It takes 3 liters of water to produce 1 liter of bottled water. Source: Sierra Club
  • Plastic (PET) bottles generate more than 100 times more toxic emissions than an equivalent amount of glass. Source: Berkeley Ecology Center
  • The total amount of energy embedded in the use of bottled water is the equivalent of filling a plastic bottle one quarter full of oil.Source: Pacific Institute
  • The GGPNC sponsored “King Oak Gardens project” utilized, during its Big Sunday event, filtered water at an estimated savings of 900 bottles x .40 cents = $360. As a result of this success, according to Sherri of the Big Sunday organization, they are studying the feasibility of using filtered tap water instead of bottled water at 2010 events. Source: GGPNC green committee
  • According to Ramona of FOLAR, it is her experience that they do not find a lot of plastic bottles during their clean up events because she believes they are collected along the river during the year for their redemption value.
  • In 2004, nationally, 85 percent of all non-carbonated PET bottles ended up in landfills, or as litter in parks, roadways or rivers. In 2005, 28 billion per year or 66 million water bottles were purchased every day in the U.S. The market is growing. Source: Container Recycling Institute.
  • ''….U.S. demand for bottled water requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel some 100,000 U.S. crs for a year,'' Source: One
  • In 2008, 200 billion gallons of tap water supplied to 4 million residents of Los Angeles met or surpassed all health-based drinking water standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the State of California’s Department of Public Health Source: LAWDP 2008 water quality report
    There is lot more to do and miles to go on the green request is to spare atleast a minute a day to ponder on the choices you made through the day. With a little efforts, things can improve for the better....Live well and let live!
    Take care


"SAVE SEAWOODS LAKE " - Join in to fight for a cause!

>> Wednesday, 2 December 2009

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Many of us are in our pursuit to make this world a better place. Ms Rajee Sood is one such talented blogger who writes about design, lifestyle and photography. This time around she has written about a very serious environmental issue and I had to spread the word around.

Please do visit her blog and read more on the Crusade to Save Seawoods lake in Mumbai.

Imge source: Save Seawood lake group on facebook

Vested interests have made this place a landfill to come up with residential/ commercial real estate development. Which is going to ruin the eco-system in this area. If you thought that loosing one lake wouldn't harm the planet..please read more about the earth and increase your awareness. It is depressing to see a beautiful lake being encroached for  short term profitable venture. Also, let us not forget all the additional pressure on the city in terms of the waste management and amenities such as waster, electricity etc.

Remember....Environmental damage does not happen in isolation, it affect us in entirety irrespective of where we live. Let us try and do what we can! Join the effort to save this lake.


Paper products aren't great either - Reuse not recycle

>> Tuesday, 1 December 2009

If you thought you were doing the planet a huge favor by using paper products "instead of styrofoam and plastic". You are in for a rude shock. The first point being that these cups are single use and are a major strain on natural resources. Don't get fooled by these promotions by all the cafes and restaurants around the world.

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They are not as green as they are made to look. Compared to washing used dishes, disposables (paper, plastic or styrofoam) are definitely major resource guzzlers. If you thought you could recycle these cups, then let me burst your bubble, the thin film of polythene used to make these paper cup hold liquids, makes it a difficult item to recycle. Few brands also sell wax coated paper cups. This however doesn't make it any different when it comes to recycling. Commercial recycling cannot remove the glue in paper cups and plastic and wax covering on these cups only aggravates the problem.

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I have nothing against coffee lovers nor do I have anything against these big brands. All I am saying is, think about all the disposable cups you could be throwing after just one round of refreshement. I am not asking you to avoid drinking your daily cuppa. All it just needs is a few minutes and a small effort to go green with your routines. There have been ads about bio-degradable paper cups by a certain brand but it is surely not great when compared to our good old metal/ceramic containers.

This is how a garbage bin outside any Starbucks looks. It was shocking to see the number of cups being wasted to measure and pour portions to another (disposable) cup for the customer. Not to mention the stirrers, plastic lids and cardboard flaps (to protect you from hot liquids). It is surely painful to see dumps like these and not think about it....

imagesource: sustainabilityfrinq.wordpress

We can avoid this, it is cool to use your own coffee cup. I do (tea in my case) and get compliments for being responsible. Ceramic mugs are a great way to eliminate coffee cups (plastic or otherwise) while at work. When you are on the go, choose travel mugs (steel all over or with earth friendly silicone parts).
Don't you think it is more classy to carry your own travel mug to a cafe rather than beg them to give their stinky disposable ones? You too can save loads of paper/plastic/styrofoam cups from being manufactured, shipped, bought, stocked and then going to the landfill. Lesser garbage means lesser trips by the garbage truck and one less "garbage bag" for the dump. A little thought and a little effort go a long way. I found these cool ceramic travel mugs with silicone lids

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 Another funky one for you to choose from

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You could buy a steel thermos flask to hold an extra cup for your partner too! 

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Go greener, and let the planet survive a few more years. Come to think of it, we are not saving the planet, we are saving ourselves and million other earthlings in the process. I don't drink coffee, so Chai anyone :-)

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I Blog Cos I live

My weblog is my journey towards a greener living...I am not into any fad or being green for the sake of it. I feel very strongly about what I write.

My efforts continue - 24x7. I have tremendous support from my amma, my husband and my family who appreciate what I do and try to be a part of this crusade...

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