The Gift of a Sustainable Life

The Gift of a Sustainable Life

This month we’re delighted to share with you a blog written by a Toddler’s Den parent – Ruchita J. An urban designer and an architect by profession – Ruchita shares her experience of introducing her son – Ruvansh – to a sustainable lifestyle on his birthday.

July is quite a special month for us. Not only is it our son’s birthday but it also marks the beginning of a new academic year at school. So, it is a month of new beginnings in my child’s learning journey! 

And with July comes the inevitable decision of choosing a gift for my son. This year I considered, what if I gave my son a new habit, a new practice, instead of adding to the pre-existing pile of material clutter? And thus I made my call.

I decided to gift him a plastic-free and sustainable lifestyle. Unlike presents bought from the store it can be cherished as a lifelong habit, so no expiration date here! This also gives the rest of our family an opportunity to improve our lifestyle, moreover bringing home a sense of responsibility towards the environment. 

One would imagine that a 3 year old is too young to learn this but let me tell you, never underestimate the potential of these young souls! They observe everything around us at an unbelievable pace. They never cease to ask ‘why’, constantly seeking the reason behind everything. Their curiosity is an opportunity for us parents to teach them about the world around us. 

My son Ruvansh has already gotten good at segregating wet and dry waste at home. We have made it very simple for him by colour-coding the waste baskets. Paper, plastic, and other dry waste goes in the blue section and the banana peels, chikoo seeds, and other wet waste goes in the green section.

It’s fun for him to separate the waste, to identify the colours, to finish the task with utmost care, and to inform me with pride so that I can award him with praises. This is just one example that demonstrates how kids can become self-reliant and independent when we guide them to take responsibility for their actions.

Although we have consciously shifted from plastic toys to metal or wooden ones, we still have lots of them lying at home and they keep coming in in the form of gifts. So to my kin and friends, I happily declare, no plastic please! That would be the first step. As for what already exists at home, we shall pass it on to Ruvansh’s baby cousins or to less fortunate children so that we recycle what we have already acquired.

Plastic undeniably possesses a lot of advantages: it comes in beautiful colors, it’s lightweight, pocket-friendly, and can be moulded in convenient forms. But the rapid pace at which it is harming our environment demands us to sit up and take notice.

Ignorance about or perhaps insensitivity towards our waste disposal practices is putting our future at risk. Our next generation should definitely not repeat our mistakes. We are the only source of information they have, so why not start educating them now? 

The current hour, the eleventh hour, needs more awareness. If we do not dispose off the little plastic that we bring home correctly, then we may find it either in the DNA of the fauna or in the form of microscopic fiber in the rain.

Changing our practices may be a herculean task but “Let me try” I say to myself. I may fail several times but I will not give up so easily. Ending on a hopeful note for our future.

Ruchita J.