As I write this article, I dig in for another serving from the plastic container that the delicacy got delivered with. The stock pile of these white objects in my kitchen storage keeps stealthily growing. The tasty bite melting in my mouth dissolves the guilt of collecting them from my past explorations for the newest cuisines in the city, delivered in 30 minutes or free. These plastics are going to far outlast the companies that sent them and will linger through many a generation of humans before calling it a day.
What’s not going to last through another generation are the mountains in the countryside that are being eaten up by the mining mafia. I feel a tinge of sadness seeing the beautiful carvings of nature disappear. But I also love to flock to the very shopping malls that get decorated by the polished stones from these graveyards. And, don’t we all want the most expensive marble stone our wallets can afford to “upgrade” our homes?
Speaking of housing, building newer homes in ever expanding cities comes with its own price tag. For better or worse, a few handful cities with already strained infrastructure have become symbols of “progress”. Having witnessed this first hand in the city of Bengaluru, chances are that most of the new construction here in the last 15 years has supplanted either a lake, a farm, an orchard, or a forest, and along with it an entire ecosystem of flora and fauna.
Some of the explosive growth here in the Silicon Valley of India is a result of the “arms race” to dominate the untapped digital market in a country of billion plus. The global tech giants that are leading the race are fighting this turf war across the globe and along with it fueling a steep demand for mobile phones. Most existing mobile phone users move to a new device every 2 years. Unless recycled appropriately, the heavy metals in the electronic waste can do irreparable damage to the environment it lands in. All of this is only the tip of the iceberg.
At best, we are like the oblivious passengers of the Titanic, lost in comfort and not conscious of the impending danger. At worst, we are as guilty as some of the crew of that fateful ship, full of hubris to submit to workings of nature.
Irrespective, we are all partners … partners in crime. And the Earth is one big messy crime scene. You and I alone may not be able to move mountains but each of us can surely make a dent. And hence, I plan to start this new year with a simple resolution — a resolution to ask more questions.
In personal life, it means asking questions to become a conscious consumer. Do I really need to buy what I am looking at? If yes, are there any sustainable alternatives? Who am I buying this from? Is the brand doing enough to minimize its impact on its environment? Are there options to source locally to reduce the shipping footprint? What can I reuse or recycle versus abandoning it in the garbage dump? Some of these questions apply at work too. It will require pushing the envelope for conscious business practices, whether building a product or delivering a service.
Now, chances are that most of these questions may not immediately make any difference in our personal and professional lives. However, the answers to these questions will increase awareness around choices we have.
One way to kill old habits and acquire new ones is by knowing…knowing that there’s always a choice.
So then, do you have any questions?
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