Environment


And so we had the event  on Saturday.

Tulika started the event with a brief introduction to the book and then asked the author(aka PP ) to talk a little about his book.

The limelight-shy hubby if given a choice would have dug his way into the ground and decided to go into hibernation and had to be coaxed into talking. Luckily he had to talk about the one thing that he is most passionate about- trees  and soon he was yapping away.Kids asked him about how he came up with the idea for this book, they talked about the trees/plants that they had planted, their favourite trees etc.The media happy son on the other hand reveled in the limelight that he shared equally( maybe a little  more than equally :-D) with his dad.

We then had a little treasure hunt organized for the kids to make the event more fun and also to increase awareness about some of the common trees that we see around everyday.

We had put up posters of  7 common trees  in nooks and corners of the rambling three storied Mother Earth store.The kids were given  limerick based clues(some commonly known facts about each tree ) and they had to identify and hunt down the tree poster where a volunteer then gave them the clue to the next tree. The treasure hunt saw the kids running up and down the stairs shouting out ‘Where is the Neem tree’? , ‘Where is the Banyan tree’? ( got to admit that the banyan tree was the most difficult one to hunt down). The final clue led them to the Mango Tree. And  what better treasure than some lovely organic mangoes from the Mango tree!

And lastly and most importantly, we had the tree planting activity. PP at this stage completely shook off his shyness and got into the groove of what he loves doing the most- planting. PP  and BB then helped all the kids fill a pot each with soil and plant the Pongamia seeds.


The event made it to the Bangalore Mirror yesterday.

Thank you Art and Abha for spreading the word and for taking time off and making it to the event.

And special Thanks to the Tulika team and the Mother Earth team for doing such a good job of organizing this event at such short notice.

Here are the Treasure Hunt clues. Can you identify the trees? (click on the picture to read the clues)

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When we moved into our new house in April 2006, PP hauled a huge concrete pond up to our second floor terrace, obtained Lotus plants from a nearby lake and planted these plants in the concrete pond on our terrace.Unlike its cousin the Lily, the Lotus is not very easy to grow. So to ensure that  their move from their wide spaced natural habitat to the constricting lotus pond did not affect them adversely and to see them through the initial days of their relocation, PP got the lotus plants with large scoops of lake soil and planted the plant with the lake soil in the pond.Within a few months, we had some of the most beautiful lotus flowers blooming right outside our bedroom window.

By September 2006, we had many lotuses blooming at the same time and the terrace garden had a riot of different shades of pink as the newly bloomed bright pink lotuses blended in the with pale pinked lotuses on its way out.By the end of the year, about 20 lotuses must have flowered in out little lotus pond.

PP very religiously collected the seeds of all these lotuses and every time we went past a big enough lake or pond, he would pop a couple of seeds into the water body.So the seeds from our terrace lotus pond has found its way into an almost dried up lake near my parents place in Bangalore, a couple of ponds near my ancestral village in Kerala, a few lakes on the highways in and around Bangalore and when we went on vacation up North, a few seeds also found its way to the Dal lake in McLeodganj.

But 2006 was the last year the lotus flowered in our pond. The lotus plant still thrives and sprouts fresh batches of healthy looking foliage very frequently, but has not flowered since then.PP even replaced the old soil with  fresh soil from the lake,but to no effect.

So imagine our surprise this year when the dried up muddy lake near my parents place filled up with water during the monsoons and suddenly turned into a colorful riot of green and pink.The little seeds that were dropped by PP into this lake years ago had finally taken root, grown into  healthy lotus plants and were flowering!

(Please excuse the quality of the pictures as we didnt have our camera and we just had to capture this joyful sight using the mobile)

A little act was all it took to share the beauty that we enjoyed.

I am an environmental engineer by qualification. And if that was not enough I am married to the eco fanatical PP. So effectively I have no excuses for not being environmentally conscious. But I sometimes get a little lax and stop making that little extra effort to  incorporate a new green habit into my life . So it helps to get a wake up call every now and this tag from Chinkurli was just that.

Rules:
1. If you’re tagged, you have to mention three resolutions you’ll take to save our depleting resources/energy.
2. Tag three more people and let them know.
3. Mention the rules in your post.

So my three resolutions are:

1. Carry a handkerchief . Everyday I waste about 2-3 tissues just to dry my hands after washing them at work. I know a clean handkerchief will serve the purpose just fine. But being the absent minded me, I forget to pop a handkerchief into my handbag. Just seeing all that paper in the waste paper bin everyday is such a turn off.

2. Carry a water bottle. As already mentioned here, I tend to forget to carry my own water bottle on long drives and we sometimes end up buying water bottles.After watching that video, it would be a crime to continue to do so. Since I anyway carry BB’s water sipper everytime we step out, it should not be too difficult to fill a bottle for us too.

3. PP is an active volunteer with this tree planting organization Trees for Free in Bangalore. I am a passive volunteer and participate only when the mood sets in. But I am going to make that little extra effort to contribute both time and money towards a greener Bangalore.

Some of the things that we already follow are:

Carry a cloth bag when we go shopping ( PP avoids the plastic bags like the plague for these reasons) ,use the washing machine only when we have a full load(I wash BB’s clothes by hand as they need to be washed on a regular basis ),reuse BB’s bath water and the grey water from the hand washed laundry to wash the bathroom or terrace, avoid unnecessary printouts , car pool with my colleague ( OK honestly I car pool because I hate driving and not with the good intention of saving fuel,but it still serves the purpose, right ? 🙂 ), switch off unnecessary lights, fans and appliance that are not being used, use a fuel efficient car and compost our organic waste instead of dumping it in the trash.

On the same note, have you read this ? The irony of this is that PP had mentioned this in passing sometime back and I had to google this for more details. 😀

Following rule 2, I tag ChoxboxRichajn and Muchkin’s Mom.And since the focus is also on spreading the word, feel free to take up this tag or note down some of your resolutions in the comments sections.

“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” Native American Proverb

So the least we can do is make some simple lifestyle changes to salvage the earth before we return it to our children.

Edited to add: Forgot to mention the highly toxic dry cell batteries that we try and avoid. With a toddler at home and the consequent battery operated toys that he owns, PP and I were shocked at the number of batteries that we were using up. So sometime back, we bought some rechargeable batteries and shuffle these same reusable batteries among his toys. So BB does not get to play with all his battery operated toys at the same time, but I think thats no big deal.

Bangaloreans can also use the collection receptacles set up by the  NGO Saahas to safely dispose your e-waste

This week was a nightmare come true for us.
We  moved into this house  in 2006 and since then we have been running from pillar to post, paying all the required bills and getting all the required documents to get a legal , regular water connection in place. But for some reason, nobody seems to be interested in providing a water connection to the locality we live in. Finally sometime last year, we were provided a temporary connection which we share with 2 of our neighbours. But with the water playing truant on most days, we  could hardly depend on this connection for our day to day water requirements. So all through these years we have been reluctantly forced to call on  private water suppliers to take care of our water needs.
This  Monday morning , we called our regular private supplier and asked them to deliver a tanker of water. But there was no sign of the tanker even at the end of the day. Repeated calls to the supplier didn’t yield any results and we managed to get through Monday and Tuesday by  rationing the very limited water stored (for such emergencies) in a a drum. By Tuesday evening we were running out of this water also and after desperate, repeated calls to our regular private supplier and to other private suppliers in the area, we figured that the common borewell  used as a water source by all the private suppliers had some problem and no supplier in the locality could supply water to us.
Tuesday afternoon and evening brought with it some showers to Bangalore and this turned into a big blessing for us as we have installed rain water harvesting. 🙂
The rain gods continued to smile down on us and Wednesday brought with it more intense showers.All this stored rain water saw us through 2 days for only on Friday did our  private supplier deliver a tanker full of water.
I have always thought of Lord Indra as a proud and haughty God and he certainly never featured in my List of favourite  Gods.
But after this incident, I think I he is my favouritest ( I know I know there is no such word, but you know what I mean , don’t you ? ;)).

Slightly long video, but really worth a watch

The story of bottled water

And I am guilty of not remembering to carry my own bottle of water and then end up buying the bottled water.Hope this video helps stimulate those grey cells  and  remind me to pack that bottle of water when I step out next time.