Lockdown Musings-3- Can we focus on health please?

7 days since lockdown. Haven’t been able to write much in the last 3 days as work has been keeping me busy. Writing with a heavy heart today after an overwhelming day. Lots of reasons for the overwhelming but will not mention them all.

The number of covid-19 affected has crossed 8.45 lakhs globally and 1345 in India are affected. Today we also saw the largest number of additions in a single day. Globally, as well there is no evidence of a receding trend. (Source: Worldometer)

Over these disheartening numbers, there were two stories that really bothered me- A super-spreader hotspot detection at Nizamuddin in Delhi in a mass congregation that saw more than 3000 people gathered on 19th March, 2020; at a time when the State Govt. had already evoked the Epidemic Act which prohibits mass gathering of  more than 50 people. The other story was the  incident of a religious procession in Solapur, Maharashtra at a time of National lockdown, where on being stopped by the protecting Police, the people began attacking the police instead.

Both these occurrences show that the seriousness of the situation hasn’t yet seeped in the minds of people despite a lockdown. If the spring-breakers of the western world value their freedom over health and life, here we have people who value religious rituals over health. I say religious rituals because if it was praying to  any form of God that was important, there wouldn’t have been need to gather in masses. I yearn to see the day when health and life in all forms will be a matter of concern for us.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, I feel, social distancing in our country is a privilege that only some classes among the masses can afford therefore it is all the more important why these privileged class needs to be utmost cautious in following it and enabling the lesser privileged in sailing through to the other side of the lockdown. The tragedy of the mass movement of migrants is unfortunate, whose effects will only be fully clear in the coming days and weeks.

I am a hopeful person, and I hope that through this pandemic we come out better and wiser. Stories of people, doing their best to help the lesser privileged out, distributing food and collecting funds and doing what is possible in their strength is really heartwarming. I ended the day on a higher note knowing about the goodness that is emerging out of this.

This pandemic has highlighted the importance of a strong health system and the need for a greater health budget. Let us learn to demand greater commitment towards health system strengthening and a greater budgetary allocation on healthcare. Let us give the ownership of health to the communities. Only if we learn to fight our elections based on real issues like Health and Education, can we hope to become more resilient and face the future threats, for there will be more, better.

Lastly, I hope you all are taking care of yourself and following necessary precautions. Stay safe, stay healthy and help those who depend upon you, to stay safe and healthy as well.

Lockdown Musings- 2

It has been 4 days since the lock down. I had a 12 hour day-duty in emergency yesterday. Attended to many patients with anxiety symptoms. On speaking for a while eith them, and probing a bit on their symptom onset it was evident the anxiety is a direct result of the lockdown, fear of coronavirus and fear of the future. I also realized giving them words of comfort, reassurance or just merely listening to their fears goes a long way in alleviating their fears.

Today saw many scary news images of migrants and daily wagers scrambling to  move away from Delhi, Mumbai to their homes in UP and Bihar. It made me both scared and angry at seeing this mass frenzy amidst what was supposed to be a lockdown. If these movers take back the virus to their villages, it is needless to say it will be utter chaos. As I thought more about it,  I could understand the fear of those people- fear for their present and future and their helplessness. I also feel if despite the reassurances of the government that their needs will be taken care of during the lockdown, this mass frenzy to move only shows that we as a Nation and society have failed them as we were unable to alleviate their fears beforehand. All I hope is we come out of this stronger and better.

I have not been sleeping well lately due to worries of what will happen in the coming days, fear for my family and friends I can’t meet despite being in the same city, for the family and friends living outside India as well as for my parents who are living in Kerala, one of the states with the highest number of cases. But in all this what helps is that I have been working more and have been talking a lot more than I used to,  to the people I love- my friends and family.

Some useful tips I have been following that helps dealing with the uncertainties and anxiety better are:

  • Reading: It takes you to places when you are stuck in one place.
  • Talking to people: If you or someone near to you is anxious just talk to someone or lend a listening ear.
  • Exercise: Exercise releases endorphins which are ” Happy Hormones” that instantly lifts your mood up and also helps in long-term happiness and fitness. Also, more fitness means you are less likely to fall sick.
  • Clear the Clutter: Cleaning, de-cluttering and organizing is therapeutic. It not only helps in improving your surroundings but clean surrounding helps in clearing the clutter of the mind as well.
  • Learning:  Try and learn something new, a new topic, a new skill or update your existing skills or bring back a forgotten skill.
  • Writing: It may be a few sentences or a page, but it also helps in organizing your thoughts.

So what have your mechanisms been to deal with this? Wishing everyone good health and hopeful wishes for the future days.

Lock-down Musings-1

On 24th March, 2020 the Prime Minister announced a lockdown of 21 days as a necessary step to flatten the curve of Covid-19 pandemic. As you all know, this pandemic has caused widespread global devastation. This is our only chance to limit the devastation, and each one of us must do what is in our capacity to prevent the disaster unfolding in front of us, by practicing social distancing, hand washing and following the recommendations and advisory. A temporary inconvenience is better than a long-term devastation.

As a doctor and student of community medicine, I have been spending a lot of time reading, learning, updating myself on the situation and working as per my role as a health care professional. What needs to be done has to be done, but at the same time it is important to take care of our mental health and cope with the stress.

With this in mind, I decided to take solace in writing and revive my dormant blog. Writing, you know, is therapeutic and helps relieve the buzzing thoughts in mind. I decided to document my thoughts during this period as a personal anecdote of thoughts. Hoping it will relieve my own stress and also help anyone else if it can.

Day 1:

Being a doctor means, stay at home isn’t always possible. Had an emergency duty today- a night duty of 12 hrs from 8 pm to 8 am. Geared up for the duty during the day with ample of sleep, a bit of reading and an attempt at studying.

My MD exams were scheduled for May, right now, I don’t know when it will be, but gearing up all the same.  With the plethora of calls  from family and friends, work responsibilities and the pandemic situation buzzing in head, it gets difficult to concentrate on studies with the same dedication that was possible until a couple of weeks ago(How time changes!)  but trying to do as much as possible anyway.

21 days of lockdown and social distancing for an introvert like me is bearable but that is perhaps because I have the comfort of being at home with my husband, and whoever I want to see or speak to is just a video call away. While we are spending time at home with families, it is important to think of those who are not and help them as much as we can.

I also took up another comfort activity that helps me de-stress- Reading. I am a bookworm through-and-through but have  kept myself away from non-academic books in the last 4-5 months in order to prepare for MD exams. But I couldn’t bear the separation any longer, my waiting books were calling out and I picked up my habit again. I feel reading works wonders at stress relieving.  Now that I  have picked it up again, I wonder why I ever stopped- because even 15-20 mins bed-time reading, which is all I can manage now, works wonders at calming me down. I decided I will never entertain the thought of giving up on books, whatever exam looms on head.

Day 2:

Returned from Emergency duty and spent the day sleeping, talking to friends and family. Me and my Husband have a ritual of sitting in the balcony for evening tea and talk, the ritual continues. We listened to the birds chirping and observing their evening flights- A sound made more prominent with the absence of sounds of human activities, vehicles, flights etc. It almost seemed as if they felt free at last.

I tried to do some more studying today, and was successful in doing more than I did yesterday. I sat thinking about the patients I saw during the emergency duty. Many of them inconvenienced by the lockdown and threat looming over our heads.  I wondered what would happen to all those routine patients of chronic diseases, elective surgeries and those seeking routine health services like antenatal care, immunization etc.  While covid is a big threat and the actions are necessary to contain it, it becomes even more necessary to flatten the curve as an overwhelming rise in cases means that routine healthcare is compromised.  That is why, I urge all those who can and are privileged to do what they can and practice recommendations so that those who aren’t can be safe and access care.

I am reading a book called Laughing Gas by P.G. Wodehouse. I love Wodehouse humour and thought it is much needed right now. This is an unusual Wodehouse book. The story revolves around an Earl of England who visits Hollywood and a child star. Both are under anesthetic( laughing gas- which was common in those times) when a strange thing happens- their identities or rather souls are swapped in the fourth dimension and they are forced to lead each others lives. What follows is the narration of the events that occurs due to their swapped identities.

Reading the book got me thinking- whose life would I want to trade my own life with for a day if given a chance. The book nerd that I am, I rattled off a dozen names until I had to remind myself that these are fictional characters and not real.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all hibernate to a  fourth-dimensional fictional world till the real world gets rid of  Covid-19?

This is obviously the Imaginative Me thinking this and the Doctor Me knows that the only way the world can overcome this pandemic is by continued, co-ordinated action. But that’s the hard truth and that’s why we have imagination to unwind at the end of facing the realities of the day.

SITAYANA

I have always enjoyed reading mythological re-tellings. Sita- from Ramayana is one of the most revered women in Indian mythology- the epitome of feminine and spousal virtue. Sita has been popularly portrayed to be a simple, submissive and innocent character. But there are varied portrayals of Sita in literature, and reading some of these re-tellings made me feel there is more to Sita than what we read commonly, see or hear.

I read these 3 books in 3 consecutive years- Liberation of Sita by Volga in 2017, Sita- The Warrior of Mithila by Amish Tripathi in 2018, and Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Diwakaruni in 2019. While Amish has shown Sita as a Warrior and Leader, Chitra B Diwakaruni has shown her as a Healer. Volga, on the other hand, has portrayed her anguish and as a voice of other wronged women.

In Volga’s interpretation, we see Sita’s anger and her suffering. We see her transforming from a young, gullible girl to a wise, experienced woman. In her journey of self-realization, she not only learns from her own life experiences but also begins to understand other wronged women. She becomes the voice of anguish for Urmila, Ahalya and even Surpanaka. I remember reading this back in 2017, and thinking that this is an important book that should be read by everyone.

In 2018, I read Sita by Amish Tripathi after reading Ram. I was earlier, highly impressed by his Shiva Triology. While the Ramchandra series has received lukewarm responses from many readers, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I enjoyed reading Sita’s story as told me Amish. I really liked her portrayal as a warrior and the Chosen Vishnu. Amish’s Sita is a strong woman, adept at warrior skills. She is an equal partner in her marriage with Ram. She is also a Princess and a Minister who understands state matters and knows how to lead. As Amish’s story is still to be completed, I feel there is more of Sita to be discovered in the coming books. The relationship between Ram and Sita has been portrayed beautifully. I have always thought that to support Sita, you cannot be supporting Ram, but this book managed to change that thought. Also, the story borrows from the current social milieu and is therefore, relatable.

In the Forest of Enchantments, which is Sitayana in the truest sense- depicting her from Birth to Death, one gets to see many sides of Sita. Sita as a child, feisty teenager, love struck young lady, wife, companion, captive, queen and a mother. But most importantly she is a healer throughout.

This Sita was the most believable one for me, because she is flawed. She has her strengths and weaknesses and her moments of regret. But she rose above it all and endured. Endured- as women have always done- her captives, her people as well as her husband’s decisions. This Sita also explores and understands various forms of love. She understands the depths of relationships and how they can become your strength as well as your weakness. She loves her husband, despite never understanding the wrongs he subjected her to. she hates her tormentors, despite  understanding the feelings behind their actions. Above all, this Sita understands forgiveness. She willingly bestows this forgiveness not only upon her Husband but also Kaikeyi, Surpanaka and even Ravan.

She silently endures her hardships and banishment, but is also dignified enough to emerge strong and make the most of her forest life- a forest she loves dearly. She raises her sons with the humility of hermits, but with the skill fit for the Princes that they are. She doesn’t let Love weaken her, but respects her love’s decision towards her. But when the time came, she spoke against the injustice. For she knows, that if she doesn’t, no one will and her women will forever be subjected to judgment for their every action.

What I love the most of mythological re-tellings is that they show each character in a different light and force you to see the same story in someone else’s perspective. Something we must all strive to do in our daily life. Surprisingly I read each of the three versions of Sita when I was in three different emotional states. I read Liberation of Sita when I was perpetually angry at things happening, may be that compelled me to see the anguish within Her. I read Sita-the Warrior of Mithila, when I had a rebellious attitude within me, so I was drawn to the Warrior and Leader within Her. I read Forest of Enchantments, when I had developed an attitude that I will face all that life throws at me calmly and patiently, thus drawing me to the Sita that endures. Although I did not pick up the books with any preconceived notions in mind, I would like to believe that, I too, have grown up a little bit more by reading each of these versions.

Does it often happen to you, that you’re drawn to books that echo with your state of mind? Which other re-tellings would you recommend? Which is your favourite?

Let there be Light!

That time of the year is here. Diwali – The festival of lights. I have always loved Diwali, not for the crackers and the noise and the pollution (which by the way is there all round the year, but becomes more prominent at the time of Diwali), but for the dazzling lights that are on every window. Each showing, its uniqueness and yet showing a common thread that binds.  As a kid, I used to love wearing new clothes, lighting those lamps, and playing with firecrackers. Growing up, the fascination with crackers gradually ebbed off but the love for lights and colourful diyas still holds on. There is a child in me that refuses to grow up 🙂

The story of Diwali has been told to us since childhood. How Ram saved Sita from Ravan and returned to his land after 14 yrs of exile and the joyous moment was celebrated with a grand welcome with lights. How good always triumphs over evil.

The greater significance of diwali, though is about Illuminating the “Inner Self” and “cleaning” our souls like we clean our houses. In “modern” times, the disparity between good and evil has lessened; we have slowly discovered that the world is not just black and white but has many shades of grey too. This makes Illumination of the Inner Self a much more difficult task, doesn’t it?

As kids, we loved asking questions and never ran out of the Whys and How’s. As adults, we often continue the questioning but rather than curiosity , the questions become whiny- Why did that happen? What did I do wrong? When will this end?

If we actually do check our thoughts, we may realize that often we are too hard on ourselves and by doing so we are in turn hard on others, and thus the vicious cycle continues. Nothing in this world goes to the undeserving. You always get what you deserve. You always attract what you radiate. And unless you truely believe you deserve, you will never be truely enlightened. Yet, sometimes, we may want and believe and work yet things will not turn out the way we expect it too because such is life.

For me Illumination and Enlightenment is about knowing and accepting this. It is about changing the whiny how’s and what’s to its original curious form. It is about knowing your own worth. It is about remembering that you create the world you live in as you grow. Because Diwali is not just about the victory of good over evil but also  of Knowledge over Ignorance.

This Diwali, while we clean our houses and adorn our finest clothes and light up our homes with beautiful diyas, let us all stop for a moment to think about why we are doing this. Let us also clean our planet and our mind, our one True Home.

Think about what you are doing to this planet. In each thing that you buy and use, do not just picture it in your house in all its glory but also think about where it came from and where it will go when you are done using it. Every time you buy a diya, ditch that super mall and buy it from the local roadside seller who waits all year for this time of the year. You might just illuminate another home by doing so!Most of all, spend some time in self-reflection. Cleanse you mind and rid it off all the negative thoughts. Fill the darkness of ignorance with the light of knowledge. And be accepting of the knowledge of others as well.

This Diwali, let there be Light in the truest sense 🙂

 

Psychic Connections

A very strange thing happened yesterday.
As part of the PG curriculum of community medicine, I’m required to be posted in other departments for a while to get some hands on experience in them.
There was this one patient whom I distinctly remembered from my medicine posting which was in December. She had suffered hypoxic brain damage, had a tracheostomy tube and depended on nasogatric feeds. She was in this chronic debilitated state since almost a year. Her daughter-in-law was her dedicated care giver and I had helped her in finding a home nurse for her mother-in-law’s care. I had developed a special affiliation to the old lady during my posting as she reminded me of my Achama(Dadi). Despite this state, she was always smiling. My medicine posting ended after a month and with that ended my interaction with her.
Yesterday, out of the blue, for no rhyme and reason, I remembered her and for quite some time I was occupied with the thoughts of the lady and wondered if she is still alive or not.
I’m now posted in Paediatrics and I had night duty yesterday in the same. I had gone to the emergency to attend to a Paediatric call, and in comes this lady wheeled in by her daughter-in-law, to insert an NG tube as she had pulled it off. The daughter in law spoke to me and asked me about my well being and all. She told me her mother in law is still the same, chronically sick but smiling and happy.
It struck me as a strange co-incidence that this woman had come to the emergency at the exact time that I happened to be there, on the very same day that I just happened to think of her nearly 10 months after I last saw her, as if to assure me and put a rest to my wonderment about her condition.
This may just be a remarkable coincidence, but as I sat wondering about it, I realised I have often experienced this in the past. People that I don’t talk on a daily basis to, happen to call minutes or hours after I suddenly think of them. Does this happen to you? Have you experienced such seemingly psychic connections? Do share your stories.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

It is not often that one reads a book that ends up having a profound personal impact. A book that speaks volumes in a few pages and a book that leaves you so overwhelmed that you carry it with(in) you for days.
The story of Eleanor Oliphant is one such story. I had read a lot of reviews about the book and knew that it was about Clinical Depression, but nothing prepared me for the story. Having suffered from the same myself, and also being an introvert and bookworm like Miss Oliphant, I already felt a sense of connection with the character but the book exposed me to such depth of emotions, that I ended up empathizing with the character in a way I haven’t done in many years with a character.
Eleanor is just another girl, who you may be passing by everyday without giving a second glance- Plain, Introvert, Socially Awkward and Quirky. But even if you do manage to glance- you wouldn’t know who she is. Because she is much more than what she appears to be. Within her composed and disinterested demeanor, there lies an array of emotions and a loneliness that is insufferable. She is funny, logical and kind-hearted. A strong, smart, independent girl with a troubled childhood; so troubled that she finds it difficult to make and maintain normal human relations. But nevertheless a girl who craves for the same, a girl who longs for a caring human touch and wants love; but also a girl who knows her worth.
I could write an essay on her, but that’s not the point of this article. The point of the article is how we perceive Depression and Human Emotions.

“If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days.
Why is it that when someone asks how we are doing, we always answer without blinking an eye, almost reflexively, that we are fine? Even when every cell of the body seems to signal otherwise? Why is it not okay to accept that somebody is not fine? Why is asking for help or admitting one’s inability to cope considered embarrassing or even shameful at times?
These days, loneliness is the new cancer – a shameful, embarrassing thing, brought upon yourself in some obscure way. A fearful, incurable thing, so horrifying that you dare not mention it; other people don’t want to hear the word spoken aloud for fear that they might too be afflicted.”
And that is exactly where the problem lies. Depression and Loneliness are considered problems that need to be hushed for Personal or Professional reasons and for reasons of fear of being judged. What if you are labeled abnormal? And yet the seemingly normal of a large part of society may be the abnormal trait.
There are many instances in the book that made me want to reach out to Eleanor and hug her and tell her its okay. She doesn’t have to fit into the social norms set by the so-called “Civil society”. She is much more worth than she gives herself credit for. When her rigid schedule breaks because of a chance friendship with a colleague, she is left surprised. Her amazement and joy at the gradual realization that she has a friend (A real friend!) is so well described that I could relate to her on many levels. As a kid, I was an awkward, bookish introvert who was only close to my small family. My naive surprise when I made friends and had a group was similar to what Eleanor felt. But over-time, when I saw so many friendships around me fall apart, I realized that it is better to have no or few friends than fake friends who you can’t relate to. People who live alone aren’t weak. They are stronger, as they know how to survive alone and can do so fearlessly. And that is exactly what Eleanor feels too. That doesn’t mean they don’t crave for human contact like Eleanor’s longings are so beautifully described.

Despite the heavy theme, the book is hilarious. Despite its light-heartedness, it has its dark moments. And that is exactly why I recommend this book wholeheartedly. Like its three parts, life too, will have Good Days, Bad Days and Better Days. You don’t get rid of your past, but you survive. You can always rise above your depression, because you are much more than your illness. And till the time you don’t, you learn to live with it, taking each days as it comes.
My favourite moments in the book are: One, I have already mentioned as the time when she realizes to her amazement that she has a friend she really cares for and who really cares for her(You deserve it E). Second, when she is overwhelmed with emotions at the counselors office, begins to cry her heart out; only to be send out abruptly with a goodbye as it’s the end of her session. Her annoyance is understandable at having been left open with the extracted emotions she had long since buried within (Hugs). And finally when she, very bravely confronts her “Mummy” the source of her troubled childhood, and puts an end to her relation with her (Proud of you, E).
Gail Honeyman you need to take bow, for having made such a brilliant debut and creating such an excellent character in your debut novel. I am completely blown over by Eleanor and it is going to be hard to get over her. I recommend this book to everyone out there, in the hope that it will help each one of us become stronger, compassionate individuals and help create a society that is accepting and kind.

 

Small Talk

Hello and welcome
Warm greetings to you.
Are you having a good day today?
Do you wish to catch up over a glass of wine?
Or would you rather sit  home and read?
What mask are you wearing today?
Is it the one you normally wear,
Or the one that you rarely reveal.
Surely, its not the one that no one has seen?

Do you sleep well at night,
Having happy dreams of the days to come?
Or do you cry silently into your pillow,
For all that you have loved and lost?

Tell me about your fears-
The ones that make you quiver
But also tell me what sets off that sparkle of your eyes.
Tell me what keeps you up all night,
What gives you an adrenaline rush,
And what makes your dopamine levels shoot up.

I don’t wish to know about your day,
For a day is something that never stays,
And it does not belong to you or me.
Tell me instead of what you think,
When the moon lights up and the stars appear.
Talk to me about everything under the sun,
But do not ask me about the Weather.

I do not wish to be a part of the crowd,
Tell me instead of what sets you apart in a crowd.
Do not clutter my mind with hollow conversations,
About the neighbours wife and the celebs in town,
Or the latest gossips doing the rounds.

Call me in the middle of the night to talk about an epiphany you had.
Or show up at my doorstep and lets go on an adventure- unplanned and unprepared.
Tell me anything-
Anything that resonates
And dulls the white noise that infests the world.

Climate Change- Save Our Earth

Recently Climate change was in the news because of US President Donald Trump’s decision to walk out of the Paris Climate Agreement.  The Paris Climate Agreement was adopted on the 12th of December, 2015 and as of 2017 June, 195 countries have signed it. With The US pulling out of it, it has joined Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries that haven’t signed the agreement. Much was talked of the implications of this decision and its impact on the developed and developing nations and the world as a whole.  A lot was also talked about the Political motivations regarding the same.

The Paris Agreement aims at preventing the global average temperatures rise to less than 2 degrees till the end of the century. It also states the need to curb the greenhouse emissions to a large extent in order to achieve climate change resilience and reduce the impact of climate change, to lower fossil fuel production and divert finances towards harnessing Renewable sources of Energy. This was stated as one of the main reasons for Trump to back out of the Agreement. One cannot stress enough on the Danger the world faces because of the bad decisions of an ignorant leader of a “Developed” Nation who refuses to accept the pleas of the Scientific Community and chooses to remain ignorant.   The Agreement also urges the Developed Nations to help out the poorer countries in this bid to slow/prevent climate change. The Paris Agreement is an entirely Voluntary agreement that relies on the Good sense of the administrators and legislators of the countries that have signed it, and talks of no penalties to countries which fail to stick to the agreement. Whether this makes the Agreement a weak one or a cause driven one is something that only time will tell. But what can surely be said is that Climate Change is real and it is happening now and it is happening fast. Ignoring it will not prevent it or stop it, so it is time for the people of this world to come out of their bubbles and face reality.

Unlike 20 years or even a decade back, when Climate Change/Global Warming was spoken of as a change that would be faced in the coming decades, by the future generations; today it is spoken of as a change that is happening at a rapid rate and is being faced by the present generations. If you want evidence for climate change you only need to look around you. Soaring Temperatures each year, unexpected rainfalls and lack of it where it is expected, climate related sickness are all telling us that the world is burning and we need to quench the fire. I’m writing this post from Delhi which only last week had a heat wave that caused the temperature to rise to a dangerous 48 degrees. It has become a common sight in summer to see people vomiting and suffering from faint attacks because of the unbearable heat. It has also become second nature for many people to wear masks while travelling in order to protect from the unhealthy air that we breathe every day. Let me tell you if you don’t already know it, this is NOT a normal way to live and breathe every day. But people are being driven to such extreme measures as respiratory ailments are on the rise like never before.  NASA has stated that the carbon-dioxide levels are at a peak of 406 parts per million, global temperatures have been 1.7F higher since 1880 and there has been a 13.3% decline in the Arctic Ice in the past decade.

Many of the “Critics” of climate change and the Paris Agreement have stated that the Agreement is unfair for the developing nations. The developed nations have long since enjoyed the liberties of Fossil Fuel Consumption and have contributed the most in the greenhouse emissions. The Developing Countries like India, who have only now begun to enter into the comfortable world of fossil fuels (and yet we have become the third biggest carbon emitter after US and China) and still have about 300 million homes without access to electricity, are now being told to curb their consumption and make their economy grow in a carbon-restricted environment.  This may seem a tad bit unfair, but these nations must realize that renewable energy is the new way forward and a Healthy Planet is in the interest of all Nations in the long run and it is better to make this transition at a nascent stage than realize the need to do so later like USA and China do now. Also, if not realized soon, the planet may not survive long enough to sustain it. Also, when Climate Change strikes at its worst, it is the developing countries that will suffer more and their economies will be hit the most.

A lot many political comments have followed the Paris Agreement and the subsequent pulling out of Trump from the agreement but if we are to Act upon the Climate Change, one must rise above the Vested Political Agendas and go beyond  mere Climate Activism to make changes. I feel all hope is not lost yet as despite Trump walking out of the agreement, most US states have resolved to strive to move towards renewable energy and reducing their carbon footprint. Many NGOs in India are already working on lighting the unlit villages using Solar energy and are doing so successfully.

However, I believe Tackling Climate Change is like Swachch Bharat Abhiyan. Government Policies and Backing is important but collective will of the people is equally important if we are to see some positive results. So what can we as individuals do to reduce our Carbon Footprint and slow down Climate Change? Here are a few small but effective steps:

  • Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Wherever possible re-use your plastic bags and articles and recycle whenever possible.
  • Reduce the plastic usage and replace it with bio-degradable and nature-friendly materials.
  • Reduce your air travel and opt for greener modes of transport like buses and trains as air travel increases your carbon footprint massively.
  • Use fuel efficient vehicles and wherever possible Walk, cycle or use a public mode of transport.
  • Choose Locally Available food rather than Processed and Packaged Food Products. The processing and packaging increases the Carbon Footprint of the food that you consume.
  • Go Vegetarian. I know this statement will anger many, but the fact remains that it is scientifically proven that Vegetarian food is not only green symbolically but also Greener for the Planet. Non-Vegetarian food, especially beef contributes to more than 15% of the methane emission.
  • Say no to processed food made from Palm Oil. Palm Oil plantations have been a major contributor for the release of greenhouse gases and loss of some precious rain forest areas that are greenhouse protectors of the world.
  • It is not only about what you eat, but how much you eat. Be mindful of the quantity you serve and consume and reduce your food waste. Every Food Waste that goes in the bin overtime as it degrades adds to the carbon released.
  • Switch from your regular light bulbs to LED bulbs. It may be a small change but every effort counts.
  • Wherever possible switch to Renewable sources of energy such as solar energy, wind energy.
  • Be mindful of the electricity that you consume as each wasted energy is adding more harm to the environment. A simple step as switching of the electricity when not needed helps and doesn’t require a great deal of effort or sacrifice.
  • Try to be in tune with the natural climate of the place you live in. One may not be able to do away with the comfort of our air-conditioners or heaters completely but that doesn’t mean there is a need to be always in the made up environment of these devices. Also it is healthier for your body if you’re acclimatized to the natural weather of the place you are in.
  • Try to wash your laundry and dishes at an average room temperature rather than opting for a warmer temperature of water. Also try to rely on traditional hand washing instead of washing machines and dishwashers.
  • Save Trees, Plant Trees. Trees are our biggest assets and our greatest protectors from climate change. Save the planet by planting more trees.
  • Be informed and educate others. Needless to say one must not only make efforts but also encourage others to do so.

 

These steps may seem like small and insignificant steps but it is necessary that it becomes a part of the collective consciousness of our society so that we can rise above petty political motives and armchair activism and help save our Planet from burning any further. After all, we only have one Planet that is capable so far of sustaining life optimally. Let us keep it a happy,healthy and liveable planet for a longer time. Let us give back our Earth what is her  own right- Her Life.

 

References:

 

 

 

 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑