The citizen’s dilemma

I get up in the morning and slip my feet into my house slippers, and the first twinge starts. If this is real rubber, is it OK? If it is synthetic rubber, is the manufacture of these slippers causing some harm to the environment?

I switch on the geyser. Oh, am I consuming scarce electricity? Should I heat up water on the gas stove? But that will use up scarce LPG….

Should I heat up the milk for my coffee on the gas stove or the microwave? And should I have the whole kitchen lighted up for this or just switch on the not-enough lamp over the stove?

Oh, I didn’t want to take the car and use up petrol to go to the only store which sells organically-grown vegetables, so I walked and got these vegetables which are probably bad for me…I just watched a program which says that the apples I bought are injected with preservatives…should I eat them or throw them away? How can I waste food like that?

How can I give such food to my maid or to the urchins on the street, if I don’t want to eat it myself? I brought along paper bags because I didn’t want to use plastic, and the damn bag disintegrated in the middle of the street, and I have wasted so much…

I am saving electricity by doing my dishwashing by hand…but what about the soap I am using? How bad is it for the environment? And what about the chemicals my washing powder and the washing machine are releasing into the ground water?

Should I use the shower while bathing? Or several buckets of water?…or do they both come to the same thing? Did I remember to turn off the tap when I was gargling and flossing in the morning?

Should I wear eco-friendly cotton and keep washing and starching them or should I use blends? No, I don’t want leather footwear or handbags after watching that documentary about how leather is made….but am I robbing artisans of a living by not buying leather handmade stuff?

Should I use my cellphone? Will I develop a tumour in my brain?

The dilemma that set this off….I am cycling to the shops to get my groceries…but what about the lubricant I am using to keep my cycle chain oiled? Is that ecofriendly or not? How much damage does it do to the environment when the factory makes my cycle and paints it?

My head aches with these questions. Should I take aspirin, which might be bad for my system, or herbal medicines, the manufacture of which might depelete the forests? And what about Amrutanjan or Vicks? Surely that’s a petroleum jelly base….

And so I go to bed, trying to listen to soft music and wondering if I am consuming even more electricity doing that…

And now, typing this brief article, with the modem on and the laptop on and the light on….

Excuse me while I go hang myself. But then….should I leave instructions to be buried or cremated?

About Deepa Mohan 145 Articles
Deepa Mohan is a freelance writer and avid naturalist.

4 Comments

  1. While thinking about environment humans cant forget that they are a part of that environment too and your health in that environment matter. How eco friendly you are depends on how you use things. Everymorning if you are buying newspaper stop that as you can read them online and it will save cutting trees bu will make rag pickers jobs harder. Everything we use has a life cycle and the life cycle analysis shows that using microwave uses 70% less energy than gas or electricity so preheat what you can in a microwave. Next it is not so much ecofriendly if you are using phosphate soaps to wash dishes or clothes as you are contaminating water. bangalore ground water is highly contaminated. Just get the analysis done you will see. next wearing cotton is not user friendly as cotton consumes lots of sprays, generates greenhouse gases due to use of tractors fertilizers etc, uses energy from coal powered plants to make and maintain. So it is not as eco friendly as one thinks. Rubber and plastic are by products of petrol which is used anyway. The trick is to use minimally and recycle. Dont use bottled water as it consumes maximum amount of energy. Take water from home.Yes leather tanning pollutes water so use non leather items whihc are easy to maintain. Individual house hold energy is about 30% of net energy use rest is moving items and transport etc. Buy localy produced food and clothes as they are not spending energy for transport. use home cooked food vs shop bought. These are simple things which existed in India even a decade ago. However Banaglorians now act as if they are born and brought up this way by aping the west. Get real start loking at how people used to live and still achieve things.

  2. Ohh good god! You are thinking too much! I think moderation is the key than abstinence 🙂

    If you are cycling to the store then its definitely better anyday although you are lubricating the chain with oil because that quantity is way lesser than the petrol you would end up using if you drove. We can’t completely stop plundering the environment, even primates used to do that. But how to do it with as little damage as possible is probably the key? 🙂

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