What Is Sustainable Change?
Sustainable Change is essentially development or change that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. – 1987 World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission).
In simple terms, sustainable change is the development of a situation from its current state to something positive and incremental which will prove beneficial for a long period in future to the beneficiaries. And it is the changemaker who contributes to the betterment of the society and its people in any way possible. Which brings us to the next question-
Who Is A Changemaker?
At the outset, we all know who a changemaker is.
A changemaker is the one who desires change in the world and, by gathering knowledge and resources, makes that change happen. – Ashoka Changemakers
Anyone who aspires to create a positive difference in whatever little way possible is a changemaker. That could be your teacher at school, the sweeper on the road or the cobbler in Mumbai who decided to look after all the stray dogs without asking a single penny from anyone. Regular individuals like you and me can also be changemakers if we decide to contribute to the positive process in our own small way which could create a huge impact!
How Can We Create Change?
Here are a few things we can do in our day to day lives to contribute to the betterment of the society and the environment.
- Segregating Waste
In my last story on Compost King – Firdosh Roowala, Firdosh rightly pointed out that, segregation of waste at a household level goes a long way in effective waste management. We can start simple by keeping organic kitchen waste separate from the dry waste and sanitary waste. Ever wondered why the European nation of Austria is listed among the most developed nations in the world? Waste management is practiced in every family in Austria in a bid to cut the carbon footprint caused due to incineration and landfills.
‘In Austria, every twentieth job is a green job,’ according to Christian Holzer of the country’s ministry of environment. More than 11% of the nation’s GDP is being generated in this sector.’
Everywhere in Austria, there are dustbins which have compartments for every type of waste to be recycled accordingly.
I happened to visit Austria this month and their practices of honest waste management held me in awe. In Innsbruck, Austria’s Charmaine Anderson, who is also a school teacher, has a recycling plant which recycles, everything that comes off as waste in her home – right from metals, glass, paper to organic wastes. Like she said, “In Austria, we recycle everything.”
- Consuming Less, Using Longer
In earlier days, our parents and grandparents often lived with a simple motto – buy only what you need and when the earlier lot is fully consumed. Overconsumerism is the ogre in the room which feeds the country’s wastes. Keep your buying habits in check. Just because you have the power to buy doesn’t mean that you need to. Start by reusing and recycling. Simple things like increasing their longevity by stitching torn clothes, renting out clothes for rare occasions like wedding instead of buying, refurbishing old shoes, and reducing our dependence on plastic bags can contribute towards a minimalist lifestyle. If you find these things difficult to do then the least you can do is regularly donating your excess stuff.
Organizations like Goonj, process usable wastes from the city and give them to the people at the BOP in exchange for any kind of development work. Kabaad Ka Jugaad upcycles wastes into usable commodities and motivates related innovations.
- Buying Ethical, Eating Organic
The label ‘organically grown’ might come across as elite but they are just pesticide-free, chemicals –free and traditionally grown crops that have been produced by farmers using indigenous methods known to us for over centuries. You can start by buying organic fruits & vegetables from local sellers or organizations like Purna Organics and reStore . Better still you can grow fruits and vegetables in your own backyard. Shift your shopping preferences towards ethical products made by fair trade organizations like ecoFemme, Sangi, No Nasties or Indi Green over high-priced commercial brands.
All of us cannot be great social changemakers and we don’t have to be. We can start by taking small steps in our daily lives. Segregating our waste, consuming less and buying organic are just a few things we can begin with.
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