The present condition of our environment pains me to no end. Unplanned cutting of forests, climate change, water and food scarcity are plaguing the world. Yes, they are big words and don’t affect most of us. But something that we should remember is what affects our neighbours comes to haunt us eventually. I try to do as much as possible to improve it. But I realise the importance of having more such change agents. And as we say charity must begin at home. So I am encouraging my child to be a nature’s lover.
We have a few plants at home and she loves to water them and asks me pertinent questions about their growth and care. I see it as a positive step. Whenever she plucks a leaf or a flower, I tell her that how it hurts the mommy plant. She looks at me with a pained expression and drops it. It might be a small thing, but it’s a start alright. I hope going forward she will love to plant trees and avoid things that hurt the green cover.
Respect water and food
There are currently about 7.1 billion people on earth and according to an estimate, this number could rise to about 9 billion by 2050. Can you imagine the burden it will be on our natural resources? With so many mouths to feed, do we ever think where will the water and food come from? I may or may not live by then, but it doesn’t mean I shrug off my responsibility till then.
As a parent, I need to save natural resources and teach my child to do the same. Having said that, it doesn’t mean I ask my child to polish off her plate even if she is full to avoid food wastage. It means I cook a little less or teach her to not heap her plate with huge quantity of food that she cannot consume in the first instance.
Love animals and birds
We might think animals and birds are inferior beings and dominate on them. But it’s wise to respect their position in the whole ecosystem. Keep in mind, most of the deadly diseases, we are seeing today, have sprung up because we disregarded that space. I do not love animals but I do not hate them. I respect them and keep my safe distance from them. That’s the least you can teach your kids as well. If your kids love animals and birds, good for them and the society. Encourage it.
My daughter loves feeding pigeons, so I get her some millet every day. Her joy at seeing the pigeons coming close to her to pick up grains is indescribable. Also, I am scared of dogs and cats but my daughter loves them. So whenever we come across a pet dog or cat, I make it a point to stop by and encourage her to pat them. I am very firm on the point that my fear should not be passed on to her.
Reduce the use of plastic and recycle
My daughter sees that I always carry old or used plastic bags with me whenever I step out of the house. I use them for carrying things back. I say no to new plastic. I carry my own vessels for buying milk/paneer/curd to the nearby dairy.
Make use of kitchen ingredients for alternate uses
For last few months, I have started bathing with ubtans which I make from lentil powders, turmeric, neem powder, orange rind powder, curd, milk cream, etc. It’s a soap free way of cleaning your body and you do feel fresh and clean without the harmful onslaught to your skin. My daughter loves bathing with these aromataic ubtans too. Also, soaps, body washes and face washes are full of chemicals that pollute our sea waters.
What else I need to do in the future to set a good example to my daughter?
Start composting. Though I have been toying with the idea of home composting since years, I have still not been able to convince myself fully. My fear of insects, slugs and bugs gets me every time and I step back. But, I need to get over it and start it soon. Will let you know once I start the process.
Make detergents. I made a batch of bio-enzymes from orange peels that I collected from a juice stall. A simple process helped me make phenyl, liquid for washing vessel, clothes, mopping, glass cleaning, toilet bowl and wash basin cleaning, etc., hand soap, etc. However, I need to make it on continuous basis and stop buying them from the shops.
Make shampoos and toothpaste. I tried washing my hair with a concoction of amla, areetha and shikakai, but couldn’t continue. Somehow it doesn’t clean my hair and my hair still feels sticky after washing with it. But, I still need to find alternate methods to wash my hair. Also, it’s very easy to make toothpaste at home. I need to start doing that too.
Enjoy nature. One more thing I need to teach my daughter is to enjoy the nature. I want to take her for nature camps where she understands and appreciates the beauty of nature and also learn the fact that there is much to enjoy and rejoice in nature than in technology and gadgets.
In what ways have you been encouraging your child to love and respect nature?