It’s been about two months since I visited Antarctica. It seems like a distant memory now! While I sit here in the Delhi heat I can hardly even imagine what it must be like at this very minute. The winter must have set, the penguins must have left to live in the seas for the next few months and the whales must have started their long migratory journeys to warmer waters.
Winters in the Antarctic are not for the weak hearted. You only get about 3-4 hours of sunlight a day and its cold and windy throughout. At this very minute there would be absolute silence on the continent, interspersed with of course the crackling of ice and the occasional breaking off of icebergs. Going there seems a distant memory and it’s only been 60 days! Hopefully my pictures and videos will help keep the memory alive for many years to come!
The week after I came back from Antarctica was the hardest week. I found it so difficult to come back to reality and be okay with the fact that our way of life in every corner of this planet was slowly destroying the last great wilderness left! It’s slowly becoming easier to slip back into the real world and deal with everyday problems. The trip to Antarctica was not a random trip, which I undertook , surely it had a higher purpose. That purpose for me was to make as many people aware of what is happening down there and help people make concrete changes in their lives to live more sustainably. We don’t live in isolation on this planet, everything is connected and it’s important to remember that!
Over the last year I have tried my best to live a zero waste lifestyle. I have always believed that as consumers we have the power to drive markets. On this expedition after more discussions around the role of consumers I understood this a little more. I learnt that as consumers and members of society we have the potential to put pressure on our political representatives. We can indirectly decide how policies, rules and regulations are made. That includes collectively speaking out and making sure our voices are heard. Apart from that, considering companies need to spend 2% of their net profit on corporate social responsibility – encouraging these corporates to spend their money in investing in green technologies and ideas is also a step forward.
Apart from making individual changes in your own life I think its equally important to speak up and address the issue. There are many who deny climate change and then there are those who don’t understand it, its important to understand where they are coming from, listen to their points of view and then engage in meaningful discussions.
On the expedition we came up with a list of things individuals can do and divided them according to the levels of difficulty. The aim isn’t to accomplish all these tasks in a day or a week or even a month. The idea is to start small and slowly make your way up.
Be the change you want to see around you.
Things you can do
1.Take your own mug to coffee shops
2.Reusable bags for shopping / groceries; refuse tissue paper
3.Reduce hot water usage
4.Use shower timer
5.Use glass bottles instead of plastic
6.Avoid unnecessary water refills at restaurants
7.Use bicycle / public transit
8.Don’t charge phone at night
9.Turn off computer monitor when not in use
10.Unplug appliances during extended absences to avoid “vampire” current
11.Use non-electric devices to clean house
12.Donate to a cause or charity
13.Solar panel for basic charging
14.Awareness around expiration / sell-by dates
15.Sort trash in correct receptacle
16.Make dietary changes; “meatless Mondays”
17.Reduce straw usage / use compostable straws
18.Avoid or refuse receipts
19.Don’t assume food past the expiration or sell-by date is spoiled
20.Air dry laundered clothes
3.Install LED lights at home
4.Encourage local foods / farmer’s markets
5.Consume organic foods, skin care, jewelry
6.Recycle used electronics
7.Put a brick in your toilet tank or install different flush system
8.Use soap nuts or biodegradable soaps
9.Switch to renewable energy sources through electricity provider
10.Purchase carbon offsets for travel emissions (atmosfair.com)
1.Insulate your home
2.Make your own cleaning detergents
3.Have your own residential water treatment system
4.Evaluate community needs and pool resources (e.g. community laundry)
My journey to Antarctica may be over but my journey to save it has just begun! And I hope every single person reading this draws some inspiration and motivation to help save a continent that holds our future!