Green is the new Black.

I dedicate this post to the Earth in honor of Earth Day.

I could probably fill pages with ideas that I have come across on how we can contribute to the green cause, small changes in our daily routine that could ease the burden on our groaning planet and help support a healthier Earth. But today I am taking my inspiration from the words of Robert Swan, who said, “The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it”, and hence I would like to share a list of 5 things that we have done in our home to try and be better keepers and inhabitants of Earth.

Please click on the image for better viewing. Image credits are listed at the end of this post.
#1. Carry a bag for shopping. 
This is super easy. We keep reusable shopping bags in the house and the car…in case we leave house without the bag or have to do some last minute shopping... And I have one of those expandable bags which folds into a strawberry I keep in my everyday bag. Those thin plastic bags that our vendors use are invariably the worst kind, and we have managed to reduce their usage by almost 95%. The 5% is when we buy fish or meat and they end up being wrapped in those thin plastic bags. 
#2. Buy local/organic. 
Organic agriculture not only benefits the earth and its ecosystem, it is a healthier option for people too. You could read FAO’s article on the subject here. We like to get our vegetable supply from the weekly farmer’s market. And when buying organic is not an option, we buy local. It takes an outrageous amount of chemicals and energy for those Washington apples to reach you looking superficially fresh. Also, my dad loves his kitchen garden. Right now we are content with the occasional harvest of potatoes or carrots and a constant supply of chilies, but he has big plans once he retires next year! 
#3. Turn off lights. 
Not just lights, turn off the fans, laptops, mobile chargers and other electronic appliances when not in use. Production of electricity is perhaps one of the largest source of greenhouse gas emission. 
This one took a lot of practice, but now it is second nature for us to turn off the lights and fans every time we leave an empty room. Not only is it good for the environment, but we see it reflected in our electricity bills too! We have also, ditched all our incandescent bulbs in favor of CFL and taken advantage of the 'Poila Baishak' sales to upgrade old inefficient appliances with energy efficient ones … we now have an LCD TV which is way more ecofriendly than our old CRT one
Bonus gyan: Turning off unnecessary lights also reduces the light that may be cast up into the sky, benefiting migrating birds, and preserving our view of the stars! Read more about Light Pollution here
#4. Go Digital. 
We pay all our bills online, file our taxes electronically and get all our statements online. It has taken a fair bit of convincing for my dad to let go of his traditional ways but he is now firmly on board. He even uses Evernote for making shopping lists! 
My personal contribution is that I have almost given up buying physical books in favor of eBooks… I say almost because at times I have succumbed to the enticement of glossy hardcover or two, but I am getting better at avoiding book shops now *wink*… Anyway, as I was saying eBooks are good for the environment, easy on the wallet and honestly I have run of out physical space to store books!
Transition to eBooks has not been as hard as I thought it would be, but I think that is because I have an incredible lending library in my neighborhood.   
Of course we are quite a bit away from being a paperless home, but I believe this is a decent start. 
A shout out to Indian Railways’ recent initiative to further paperless ticketing.

#5. Plant a Tree. 
I saved the best for the last. I cannot stress enough the importance of planting a tree. The very breath that sustain us is a gift from the trees. Just click here to see what the folks over at Green Yatra has to say on the subject. 
I am blessed to have a home with a garden and a mom who loves her trees. The tiny saplings she planted more than two decades have all blossomed into tall sturdy trees. My favorite is the gulmohar tree, my dad favors the mango tree and my mom absolutely refuses to pick a favorite amongst her babies! 
Like they say, the best time to plant trees was twenty years ago, the second best time in now!
One simple change is our life is all it takes to make this world a cleaner, greener place. Keep in mind, that we have no PLANet B!

Here is where I leave you with Studio NH 47’s beautiful video dedication 'Earth is Calling'. Hope the song inspires you treat Earth with the respect It deserves.

This post is my entry for a contest organised by Indiblogger in association with Green Yatra.

Please log on to to know more about the NGO's initiatives.

Image Credits: #1 Inhabitat #2 Hunger For Change #3. Pink Tentacle #4. Eco Vegan Gal #5. The Chive