Bengaluru has a perennial festive buzz in the air. The city’s inviting climate and lush gardens have attracted Indians from different states and foreigners by the hoards, making it a populous and popular urban metropolis. And when it comes to Indian festivals like Holi, Makar Sankranti, Ugadi, Gauri Ganesh Habba, Diwali, Onam or Christmas, they are all celebrated with equal fervour. While each festival bears a unique celebratory significance, auspicious beginnings are specifically associated with the festival of lights Diwali. It is the time to honour the triumph of good over evil, and welcome the goddess of wealth and prosperity.
Diwali heralds positivity and refurbishing of ideas. Grand plans of house cleaning, polishing and shining every corner and eclectic piece is the modus operandi. The idea is to welcome the new, as gifts and home decorations revive the charm of bonhomie. Right from diyas to rangoli, creativity permeates home environments during this festive period. Over the years, Diwali has also invited concern over the firecracker din and excessive garbage. Minimising pollution and embracing a planet friendly spirit during the season is key. So why not pause and rethink about our habitat and lifestyle and embellish our lives with a greener footprint? Here are 10 ideas of bringing home the eco spirit.
GO Solar: Solar energy is the mood of the eco thinker, and many ooreans have opted for solar power in their homes. Solar energy is clean, renewable and cost effective. The city can now boast of houses that are independent of electricity supply and run on 100 per cent green energy. Think of the advantages freedom from power cuts, safety from electrical mishaps and a pollution-free environment. Gift your home a partial off-grid solar system and enjoy the difference.
Walk on Green Inside Your Home: Usher in bamboo flooring. Bamboo replaces hardwood that is sourced from trees that take upto 50-100 years to mature. Bamboo grows to full height in five to six years, which makes it a highly renewable source. In greener and low cost options, cork flooring is also a good idea for surface installations.
Unstick the Plastic: It’s time to chuck away plastic. Be it for warming food, water bottles or carry bags. With Bengaluru generating 1,050 tonnes of plastic waste daily, the government has wisely banned bags above 40 microns. Using recyclable bags made of 100 per cent cotton or jute, and glass bottles is the way forward. Switching to ceramic ware and stainless steel cookware is not unheard of either, yet recyclable serveware made of millet and sugarcane is the future. Sugarcane containers are strong, and grease and cut resistant, while indigenous flatware made of millet, rice and wheat flour is edible! Plain, sweet and spicy flavoured forks, spoons and chopsticks can be found at bakeysdotcom, a brainchild of Narayana Peesapaty.
Earth Hour Every Day: What started as a movement by the World Wildlife Fund 10 years ago is now a global event integrating more than 100 countries, and millions of people. Earth Hour is just an hour a year of no electricity clearly not that difficult a task. Switch off appliances, step out into the warm sun or evening breeze. Create a happy planet.
Distribute Home Grown: Organic home-grown produce is a suburban reality in Southern India. Cultivate a pesticide-free garden and consume chemical-free veggies and fruits. Kitchen waste can also be converted into nutrient-rich soil with home composting. It adds a plethora of microbial life to the soil, promoting healthy plant growth. You can use water from rice and dal washes to nourish your garden, and recycle tins, paper cups and ceramic ware into pots. It’s also a great way to encourage family bonding and distributing homemade organic goodies in the spirit of festivity.
Hang Those Electric Coolers: Ancient Indian traditions are our pride and joy, and these valuable methods and practices goes a long way in organic living. For instance, using a food condiment, you can make cool curtains! Yes, I’m talking about khus-khus curtains. This aromatic grass is not only used to make cool sherbets but can also be woven into curtains and mats. All you need to do is sprinkle water to bring down the temperature. A cost effective and eco chic idea to cool the house, don’t you think?
Does Furniture Mean Wood? If you want to go ecological all the way, you can opt for au naturel in furniture too. There are several eco-savvy choices Water hyacinth, bamboo, rattan and wicker, lantana, stone and corrugated board are pocket-friendly and low maintenance. Recycled post-consumer waste like glass, plastic, wood and metal is also being used to manufacture home décor, accessories and furniture All non-toxic, bearing zero environmental impact. Furniture is no longer about just wood!
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint: The average energy consumption can be reduced by regulating lighting. Sometimes technology isn’t the enemy, especially when you can programme electricity usage. Installing motion sensors is a drop in the ocean of energy conservation, and your wallet will be a happy camper.
A Different Kind of Shopping: Lastly, savour the goodness of Bengaluru’s ubiquitous flea markets and indulge in some eco gifting for friends and family. Quit fancy shmancy, get festive with the best of environmentally-conscious arts, crafts, apparel, furnishings, fresh produce, artisan baking, vintage and virgin décor and much more. You won’t have to dig too deep for eco smart products and experiences. The finest flea markets are Sunday Soul Sante, Kitsch Mandi, Souk on The Move, A Hundred Hands, Rangoli Metro MG Road Flea Market and other smaller local community ones. Whether long term or short term, eco-friendly measures undeniably make a difference to the ecological balance, which is crucial. Being environmentally conscious is a triumph of good over evil and this is the season for it.
Paint from Plants: Diwali is synonymous with redecorating homes, and a fresh coat of paint is imperative. But paints contain heavy metals like arsenic, lead and chromium. To enhance the shelf life of a product, paint manufacturers’ employ chemicals called VOCs or volatile organic compounds. Such harmful agents can be totally avoided by using eco paints and coatings made of naturally-derived elements from plant sources and minerals. Eco-friendly thinners, paints and waxes are sourced from essential oils, citrus peel, seed oils, tree resins, bee waxes and natural pigments, to name a few sources. They have a low environmental footprint and have been used for centuries.
— The writer started with family brand Tubestyle, and later conceptualised and built Vyom, focusing on innovative design, form and finish, delivering customised solutions....