eco friendly diwali

How Eco Friendly Diwali Develops Empathy

Eco friendly Diwali is the way to celebrate the festival of lights. After all, it is our responsibility to safeguard our planet for generations to come.

We all know Diwali is one of the biggest festivals of our land. Diwali is also known as the festival of lights. In this age of LED lights, we still give importance to age old traditions and our culture. That is the reason why we buy clay diyas and light the lamp, the traditional way with cotton wicks / cotton battis and oil. The beauty and how our culture comes alive can be seen in a row of such diyas!

The connect with festivals

Festivals are a significance of nature and rhythm and how our body and mind connects to a particular event. Apart from religious reasons, there are also other important factors such as Pongal celebrated to observe harvest, Rakhi celebrated to observe the brother-sister relationship etc.
In a similar way Diwali is celebrated to observe the fact that always good wins over evil and with light, we create a path through darkness. While observing such significant days, we also celebrate by including those rituals that tend to make us happy. For some it is buying new clothes for themselves, for others it could be an opportunity to clean and decorate their home. And of course, celebrations are never complete without a feast!

Respect environment

While love and respect form the basis of our celebrations, let there be empathy and consciousness when we think of our surroundings and future years to come. That is when the thought of making Diwali cracker-free comes from! Green Diwali or eco-friendly Diwali are just not a fancy terms coined by environmentalists for fun. Rather, I would urge people to follow the consciousness whenever they can. It could be saving power, recycling products, reducing the waste, garbage segregation, helping the needy, volunteering etc.
Many of you know about the supreme court order that no crackers were allowed to be sold in Delhi markets for this Diwali. Last year the smog, that is created from the smoke generated by Diwali crackers has stayed on for more than a month. It is so alarming that many schools and other institutions asked people to stay indoors as it became extremely unsafe to be outside and inhale such polluted air. Especially, those who suffer with breathing problems or lung related ailments had to go through so much and it took a toll on their health!

And the discussions on social media…

Then I read few comments over social media about how it is ok to burst crackers for new year and not burst them on Diwali? The dialogue is not about when is the right time to burst some crackers but are we in a luxury to burst them anymore? Though I was never a huge fan of crackers, I did play with firing crackers year after year, right from my childhood to a few years after becoming a mom. As with every other change, there was a point of realization in me too! Being a mom, I want my child to grow up and be in a healthy and positive environment with bustling life all around. How far is this possible if we go on generating more and more pollution in the name of festivals?

Why it matters now?

Discussions on eco-friendly Diwali started in the last few years and so are the discussions about garbage segregation, recycling waste, growing more plants, reduce plastic usage etc. When we were less populated and had ample space to dispose the little waste generated (with less plastic in daily use) we were ok. Today’s story is definitely not the same. Today we live in a densely populated world with tons of waste produced that goes to landfill. Trees are brought down to accommodate flyovers and huge shopping malls. This is a developing world in a different sense. When we seek such a development, we also loose the luxury to generate waste and smoke as we please! The equation is not balanced with limited natural resources and unlimited waste. Whether one agrees or not, it is a fact that the number of clothes we buy, the number of household stuff we buy, the number of toys we buy, the number of gadgets we buy is on the rise. Leading a minimalist life is far away dream with the brands exploiting many of us.
If we understand this reality, we can also understand that we do not have the privilege of bursting crackers as we please. If you feel Diwali is never complete without bursting few crackers, start with reducing the number of crackers that you indulge in. Simultaneously make conscious efforts in making other lifestyle changes that leaves lesser and lesser carbon foot print. This way at least we take the initial step towards a more inclusive world. Let us think about the health of those people working in cracker manufacturing factories, who are exposed to harmful chemicals. Let us think about all the animals that are on the lookout for hiding from the sounds. Let us make it a practice of not bursting crackers so our kids learn by example.

Are you ready?

One person asked me if this act would make the smoke disappear if only I decide to go for a cracker-free Diwali? But then, how can you spread the message or convince others if you do not live by example? The change should always start from home. While we cannot do the 1000 other good things out there, start consciously inculcating those where you can do your bit and contribute to a greener environment. If you are thinking that it is boring without crackers or wondering on which ways to celebrate an eco-friendly Diwali, then we have some ideas for you!  Go green this Diwali and take pride in celebrating an eco-friendly Diwali with your family!

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