Responsible consumption

Am back from attending the 3 day JLR NTP (Naturalist Training Program) at the Bannerghatta national park, conducted by JLR’s Chief Naturalist, Karthikeyan.

It is an amazing program (and Karthikeyan is a super-fantastic teacher) and I am extremely happy that I attended it. A long pending wish got done in my bucket-list.

During the program, one of the discussions was about how much effort actually goes into food production and how we trivialize it into simply idli and sambar.  We often do not realize how intricate and inter-connected things are in our lives.

We take for granted, the plate of rice and often end up wasting quite a bit. There’s so much that goes into the process to enable that plate on our table.

We pay for it. We pay in paper currency. Why bother with trivial data? Why care about some farmer’s hard work? Or about the involvement of nature in it? Or the time it takes to grow it?

We have jobs. Good pay. We have a right to enjoy the best. We have a right to consume!

We have money! We pay for it. It is nobody’s business if we waste things!

Is it right? Give it some thought.

Being rich and capable doesn’t mean that one has a right to abuse consumption. Of course, am not talking Socialism vs Capitalism here. Just simple economics. Of production and consumption.

Today, we take for granted a lot of things:

  • food that takes months to produce
  • electricity that takes a lot of effort to generate and to bring it to our homes
  • fuel, clothes, electronics and what not, that can be consumed in a very short span, but takes months, years and decades to produce

All these things take an awful lot of effort to make it available to us. Sometimes (mostly, actually) involving those who aren’t as fortunate as we are. As a society, if we continue doing things as we do now, it could get bad. We cannot eat our paper currency, gold and silver!

We need to be responsible consumers! And minimize wastage in our consumption.

Well, am not preaching you not to indulge in things. By all means, do. But please do realize the entire story behind what you consume and respect it.

And yes, aim to be a net producer and not a net consumer (and produce in ways acceptable to the environment / ecosystem).

When we consume only what we need (and not necessarily what we can afford), waste less, produce more (in the right manner)… we can definitely be more self sufficient!

Self sufficiency, which our forefather’s practiced diligently, is fast losing its way in our generation of iPads, DSLR’s and 500mm prime lenses.

And we look towards the west for answers. They are an horrible example when it comes to self sufficiency. Let’s go back and look at our own ancestors. Let’s learn a thing or two from them.

Let’s try to be self-sufficient!

PS: Thank you Karthik for being a wonderful teacher!

7 thoughts on “Responsible consumption

  1. V nice post, Prem. Makes me cringe about a lot I do, and we do collectively.

    Its not just the effort- its actually lives. Our energy production, fuel consumption, usage of more and more goods – all of this has costs in human lives, quality of life – diseases, nutrition etc. Indirectly, people die, get sicker each time we drive, buy a new gadget. Some of those people are our own kids, and theirs.

    Need to be really conscious of whether “we” can afford it as a whole, not “me” as an individual.

  2. Good thought & note!!! used to get questioned by Parents when I picked up new gadgets… in the course of days realized that the need for it and the impacts. It takes a while for this generation to understand, whats need and whats luxury, though I took it up early.

  3. @Sameer: Thanks Sameer! The credit for making me wonder about all this goes to Karthikeyan (JLR Chief Naturalist).

    True that it really has to do with the way we live today. The ‘more’ is good mentality which we seem to struggle so much with/for.

    Don’t know if those things can be tackled, but as an individual, the least I can do is to avoid wastage in our own home, cut down excess and unwanted consumption and be more responsible towards and understanding of the ecosystem.

  4. @Dhuruva: Our parents / grand parents are our best examples. My Dad reuses / recycles almost everything. No one ever did a campaign to him about being so or about being sensible towards the environment. He just knew it.. because he grew up that way!

    We have grown up in the post liberalisation world and western influence has only screwed things up. We use a new phone every 2 years. We don’t stitch torn shirts, we throw them away.. heck, we dont even give them away to the poor. And of course, the poor don’t want to wear used shirts anymore.

    Today, if you try to maximize usage of something, chances are that you will be branded a ‘miser’. Because, we have changed.. for the worse!

    We have a ton to learn from our own parents and ancestors.. NOT from the West!

  5. Electronics itmes, especially, are a rip-off. We pay 30000-40000 for a phone or laptop and they don’t even last long enough either due to degradation in functionality or due to new products and innovations. And the environmental hazards during the production and disposal of such electronics items is almost irreparable.

    1. I guess it has to do with our changing attitudes as well. We don’t have time to get stuff repaired. Labour costs have gone up. Slowly, companies have taken advantage of it too by creating products with smaller lifecycles. 🙁

      True, Electronic waste is really alarming.

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