Every Diwali we try to renew our essential existence by sprucing up our homes, refurbishing it, lighting it up; we go to beauty salons to cleanse, scrub and polish our inner beauty worn out in the daily drudgery of life; we freshen up our culinary skills to dish out some delicacies for loved ones, we buy gifts to put smiles on the faces we adore. Basically every Diwali we renew our search for happiness, prosperity, freedom from ills and evils – our quest for Life, the joy of living. But do we succeed? All the things we use in this search- cleansing material, skin care, cosmetics to look beautiful, new clothes, food we eat, packaging we use to wrap our gifts and contain our consumables, fossil fuels we use in our cars to go to vacations, crackers we burn, are all mostly not eco-friendly, bio-degradable and organic. This means our entire effort in search of health, happiness and prosperity actually takes us further away from these very coveted elements of life.
This Diwali let’s rediscover ourselves. We are lost in the darkness of our greed. We are like strayed, spoilt brats, who misused the respect, trust and freedom Mother Nature bestowed on them. Like those misguided children who run away from home to avoid a backlash for their mischief, we cannot or need not run away to the moon or the mars to save ourselves. We need to come back to mother earth and love her again. Because we belong to her.
Creating a sustainable lifestyle takes a lifelong commitment – to learning, experimenting, exploring, committing to increasingly sustainable practices and, above all, loving. Because beyond all the frightening news; beyond the frustrating politics; beyond the failed international agreements, there is one question – how do you want to live your life? With fear – or with love? The fear route feels defeated and helpless and frustrating. The love route, on the other hand, feels grounded, purposeful and hopeful.
And for that we just need to go back to organic and sustainable way of life.
What Is Sustainable and Organic Lifestyle?
Basically sustainable and organic lifestyle is a way of life that fosters health, longevity and happiness both for mankind and the environment, without depleting the natural resources.
Lester R. Brown, a prominent environmentalist and founder of the Worldwatch Institute and Earth Policy Institute, describes sustainable living in the twenty-first century as “shifting to a renewable energy–based, reuse/recycle economy with a diversified transport system” which reduces our dependency on the natural resources and curbs our carbon footprint.
We need to live a sustainable life both at personal and community level.
Ugandan author Agona Apell of ― The Success Genome Unravelled: Turning Men from Rot to Rock fame rightly said,
“Global warming will not end by Earth finding a shade under the trees but under our hands joined together”.
How Do We Live A Sustainable and Organic Lifestyle?
- Activities such as biking or taking public transport,
- carpooling or ride sharing,
- sharing tools, bartering for services and produce,
- becoming more self-reliant (learning how to repair belongings, sewing, growing food, or taking skill building classes),
- cooking with local, organically produced (without using pesticide and chemical fertilizers, artificial processing) fresh food ingredients,
- wearing organically produced cotton and other eco-friendly, skin friendly fabrics,
- using herbal and ayurvedic personal care products,
- opting for alternative treatments and naturopathy,
- recycling used yet functional equipment, clothing, furniture, appliances to those who cannot afford it,
- joining a local sustainability community, volunteering for social projects,
- opting for low impact entertainment activities such as spending time in nature, reading downloaded or library books, writing on slates, boards or unused side of used papers,
- water conservation and rain water harvesting, managing waste effectively, using solar energy powered devices and lighting and heating systems,
- taking up little lower paying jobs toward something that has a more sustainable and beneficial impact on the world, instead of high paying ones that isolate us in a vulnerable consumerist life,
will usher in a sustainable and happy lifestyle.
The good news is organic is slowly yet steadily becoming the global trend and a shift in consumer behavior has been marked in their growing preference for eco-friendly products.
Benefits Of Sustainable Lifestyle
The personal benefit of living a sustainable lifestyle is freedom from diseases, immuno- deficiency disorders, stress and early death. The community especially country like India benefits hugely from organic and sustainable lifestyle by livelihood generation at the grass-root level, both for urban and rural population.
There are lots of talent and skill among our rural folks who still constitutes more than half of the total population of the country, which is useful in making sustainable, environment-friendly products.
Young entrepreneur Arushi Agarwal, the founder of a Mumbai based start-up called The Initiative says, “a simple age old craft like making godhadi which is blanket native to rural Maharashtra, a comforter stitched by women at home with old recycled clothes and patches of fabric, can fetch them sustainable livelihood and provide people a beautiful organic product to cover themselves in winter instead of polyester blankets.” Arushi has so far provided income to 26 women by employing them for making diversified products using their skill of making godhadis. Her project has been incubated by Unltd India, launchpad for social entrepreneurs in India.
Sources of Organic Lifestyle Products
Here is a low-down on a few organic brands this Diwali you should consider for your organic metamorphosis.
While Bhu:Sattva founded by Jainam Kumarpal features ethical haute couture made out of certified organic fibre, brands such as Jaypore, Kilol, Mehera Shaw and Good Earth offer handwoven and hand block printed clothes, hand crafted lifestyle items for home décor and utility items procured from artisans and master craftsmen from all over India. There are more such e-shops selling whole range of organic products including grocery, vegetables, fruits, poultry such as ecotokri.com, itokri.com, nutrisutras.com, organicshop.in, naturallyyours, Organic India naturalmantra.com.
Sushma Seksaria is the founder of Mumbai based organic food retailer La Devi Organic which promotes sustainable living by procuring and selling fresh organic vegetables, fruits and dry fruits from far off places , such as Kodaikanal, Puducherry, Kutch or Sunderbans in West Bengal. She says, “It’s an irony that our food need to labelled as Organic and Edible and that it has become part of an élite lifestyle whereas once upon a time it was all organic and was available for everyone.”
La Devi Organic produce
This Diwali you can choose to light a bee wax lamp in a coconut shell and decorate the entrance to your home with handmade Pihu toran, wear a khadi dress or handwoven organic cotton or silk sari, make sweets out of organic desi ghee and sugar – it’s your choice – health and happiness or illness and sorrow.
Like it is said, “You are free to make your choices but you are not free to choose the consequences.”
So let’s not choose to kill the trees because they do not send wi-fi connections and only produce the oxygen we breath; this Diwali let’s stop turning water and air, the two most important elements that sustain life, into poison; let’s not use the soil of this earth that holds the root of all life as global garbage bin. Let’s not leave our legacy in the unending story of universe as a lost planet because it provided enough to fulfill our need, but failed to provide enough to fulfill our greed. This Diwali let’s illuminate the darkness in our hearts and within our civilization that have gathered over time through gluttony. Let’s take a U-turn in our journey on this earth towards a sustainable, eco-friendly and organic way. And we need to do it as a community and prove that we are indeed the most intelligent and smartest species on the earth.