Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How green are we?

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can incorporate little changes into my lifestyle in order to make it more environment – friendly. So I’ve listed down a list of thing I do on a conscious basis to be friendly to the environment. These are very simple things that you could also do. More importantly, I’m also looking for ideas and suggestions on other simple little things I can do to be more clean and green.

  • We are lucky that the house has four balconies, and lots of glass doors and windows, so we get fresh air and lots of sunlight and don’t need to switch on a single light in the house till 6pm. Even after that, there are only two lights switched on in the house at any one point – one in the living room, and one in the room in which we are at that point.
  • Till lunch time, we don’t use electricity at home for anything other than the geyser, and the fridge. The maid uses the rice cooker to cook rice only if we are in a hurry, or if she is using the pressure cooker to make dal. Other than the one hour of television I watch during lunch, and the laptop and internet I turn on late afternoon, I use no electricity till the evening.
  • In my opinion, the most difficult change I have effected is in reducing the usage of the washing machine. I’m one of those who just cannot stand unwashed clothes, so I would run the washing machine almost every other day, even if it was only for one tee! Now I keep the laundry bag in the kitchen balcony so that I am not tempted to unload it into the washing machine every time I look at it. I've also developed a simple rule of thumb for doing the laundry – I put clothes in the washing machine when I’m about to run short of underwear!
  • I’m seriously re-thinking the idea of buying a microwave. As of now, we heat food on the stove, and it is perfectly convenient. Since I’m no cook, the primary purpose of the microwave is to heat food, so I might as well forgo it since it is going to be additional electrical instrument in the house.
  • Another thing I’ve recently started doing is to make sure none of the switches in the house are on, when the instrument is not in use. For example, we leave the TV turned on at the main, and switch it off at the remote. Or the mobile charger is plugged in and switched on, though the mobile is not connected to it. The modem is switched on, even though we aren't using our laptops. I don’t know if it makes a difference, but I’m just making it a point to turn these switches off too, unless they are in use.

  • I never, ever litter, ever. I always put it in a dustbin, and in the common scenario of not finding a dustbin close by, I actually put it in my bag and take it home! I also shamelessly nag and harass everyone around me into not littering the streets. Clearly, it’s only the first and most basic step towards better waste disposal facilities and waste management, but hey, it’s a start!
  • I feel very guilty about using those black bags for the kitchen dustbin. However, if I don’t use it and throw kitchen waste directly in the dustbin, the bin, the kitchen and consequently the house will stink to the high heavens, over time. Alternative suggestions for disposal of kitchen waste are very welcome. I’m thinking of composting the kitchen waste, but I don’t know if I am actually capable of doing it – especially since we grow no plants and will have no use for the compost!

  •  For a long time now, I refuse plastic bags in shops, unless I am buying a lot of stuff and can’t carry it all in my hands. I’ve decided to be more proactive about that now, and take my own carry bag with me when I know I am going shopping. I did that the last time I went to Avenue Road to buy books, and I have to try and remember it the next time I am about to step out on a shopping expedition.
  •  In the two weeks since I have moved to Bangalore, we used the air-con in Nike’s car only once, on a very hot afternoon. We have decided to cut down drastically on using the air-con in the car. It is difficult to avoid it if we are out on a very hot day, but since we mostly go out in the evenings, it’s not such a big deal. Of course, in the evenings, the noise from the traffic and the pollution are irritants that tempt me to roll up the window. Actually, this is much more difficult to do when we are going somewhere with other people. Everyone always insists on turning on the air-con, even if we are out in the evening or night. When I protest, they always claim that it’s too noisy or polluted so I just have to shut up and sit back. Sigh!
  •  I’ve also decided to try my hands at gardening. I’m going to buy a couple of plants in terracotta pots, place them in the balcony where they can get lots of sunlight, and water them every day and watch them grow and marvel at my green fingers! Of course, in all likelihood, this will go the same way as the other two hobbies I took up recently – colouring and jigsaw puzzles – and die an early, unlamented death.

So I hope this post gave you some ideas on things you can do to be a greener household. And if you have tips or ideas that I can incorporate, shoot them away!


Bj said...

Ahem with respect to the electricity section, most of your alternatives seem to be using the stove...does that run on some solar or wind energy???

Da Underdog said...

Happy and Prosperos Birthday...

Hope Ur Satisfied with all that you get In Life

and Once Again very best of the Married Life

God Blezz

Praveen Kandanala said...

CFL usage is a good alternative, though it has reactive power implication.
One more important area is to reduce usage of car/vehicle for shorter distances (healthier option as well !)
these are what i generally follow

Mihir said...

Microwave is actually more energy efficient than stove or any other means except solar. So go ahead and buy it off, and stop using stove instead :-)

Ramya said...

@BJ: No, the assumption being LPG is more environmentally friendly compared to electricity (fossil fuel generated electricity, as opposed to solar/wind/hydel)

@Da Underdog: Thank you so much! :-)

@Praveen: Yeah, reducing car usage for shorter distances is a tough one for me, I HATE to walk!

@Mihir: Oh, really? That's surprising! If thats true though, then I would rather buy it and do all warming/heating/popcorn/maggi on that, I spose

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