Have your luxuries, but spare a thought for the environment

Is there a way to live extravagantly and still save the planet?

Extravagance. Amazing cars with powerful engines and huge exhausts and half a kilometre of unleaded petrol per litre, air cons anytime everywhere, huge houses, lots of servants, expensive furniture, real leather, fur, mink, how many of us are drooling as we read this?

luxuries

Let us admit it. We love extravagance. Unless we have religious reasons to stay away from something or the other, we just have to have everything. Let us just admit it; we are all not the Mahatma. That requires an extraordinary strength of mind, and more than a little madness in the blood. How many of us can boast of these characteristics?

But we all would like to see a green world, a clean world, one where you see natural beauty everywhere you turn, where breathing is a healthy and a pleasing thing to do, rather than a necessity you would avoid if you could (how many times do we walk the city with our hands over our noses?).

So how do we achieve both? How do we achieve that elusive balance between extravagance and environmental-friendly living? How do we enjoy our luxuries without feeling guilty, or wondering whether we are contributing to global warming?

By being aware, of course. You want to buy that car? That incredibly expensive car that people will stare at every time you take it out (or rather, try to spot it, because you are not driving below a hundred when you take that car out)? Go ahead, then, buy it.

But also include walking into your routine. Sure, if you want to zip on the highway, that car makes perfect sense. Sure, if you want to show off to your gym buddies, take it there. But to the grocery store? I am pretty sure those people at the grocery store really couldn’t care for the car you come in to buy your milk. Walk. Walk to your grocery store. In fact, why don’t you chart a mental map? Walk to all those places that are from a ten to fifteen-minute walk from your house.

When you go shopping, try parking your car five minutes away from the mall and walk. Saves that much petrol, and stops that much pollution. Five minutes. Can’t kill you. And even if you do have really heavy bags to carry, you could always come back and drive your car to the entrance to take them in, or ask the shop boys to help you. If for no other reason, they will help you for ten bucks out of your pocket.

Can’t be bothered to turn all lights and fans (sorry, a/c) off when you are not using them? All right, don’t. Can you turn one light off? By turning off that one light, you save that much energy. Just a pinch, maybe, but saving that pinch is better than wasting that pinch, don’t you think so?

Too cool to carry your own cloth bag to the grocery store? Ok, don’t. But you can at least make sure they put everything in one, or two bags, rather than using too many bags, cant you? I am sure that is not much of a sacrifice. But it saves that much plastic.

Too lazy to find a dustbin on the road? All right, don’t. But as you are walking, or driving, you will come across garbage heaps on the side of the road. Throw your garbage there at least. That way, you are still showing some civic sense, aren’t you?

Oh yes, go ahead and spend all the money you have on all the luxuries you can buy. Just make sure that you save wherever you can. That is all you need to do. So stop feeling guilty about all the harm you are causing society, and get involved in some any planet-saving activity. The smallest gesture makes a difference. And the word is awareness.

Sophia Yusuf – From THE HINDU

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