Wednesday, November 26, 2008

First Steps

Faith is good. Prayer a necessity. And nobody does the prayer-faith routine with as much fanfare and diligence as we Indians do. Our schools still begin with the grand assembly, where prayers and national anthems are interspersed with announcements and prefects checking for uncut finger nails. I light the lamp at home every evening and chant the only Sanskrit I know with eyes shut and complete fervour. It makes me feel good inside. And that is so important, isn't it? Feeling good from within?

When my 9 year old, slammed his environmental science book shut and refused to study for his test because nothing the book advocated was followed by anyone around him, I was shamed into silence. I didn't feel good from the inside for a long time after, even when I prayed. Today I am thankful for the discomfort. It sent me on a journey of introspection that has since impacted every decision I make as parent, teacher, friend, shopper, and now blogger!!

Today, I understand the frustration my son felt that evening. How could I help him make a poster on the " Say no to plastic bags" campaign when I had a refrigerator full of food neatly packed in Ziplock pouches and plastic wrap? Of what use is it to teach children in school about building embankments to conserve water? Teach them instead how much water they consume when they shower every morning. Teach them how long their plastic toy will take to decompose.

In the many workshops on this theme that I have held since, I have been amazed at how quick the kids have been to understand the magnitude of the crisis facing the earth today. How quickly and effortlessly they have changed habits since. They have coerced their parents into changing even as the adults grumbled and mumbled about the inconvenience.

This blog is for all my young friends whom I have met the last year, ages 3 to 19, who have so inspired me to write and share. I confess, I am a reluctant blogger. I am wary of writing on a platform this public. But I care far too much for the environment to let my inhibitions get the better of me.

This space is for simple folks like you and me, who want to BE the difference. This space will capture and applaud the smallest of endeavours to go green. Whether its a sapling you planted, a poem that your child wrote, a play that you are doing in college, an essay you want to share, a telling photograph that speaks of our apathy, an anecdote that will inspire, frustration at a lifestyle that is so conditioned, a habit that you changed, a teacher who has inspired you, a wish-list of things you hope to change for the better, a painting or poster that speaks volumes, small lessons you have learnt from your child: do go ahead and send it all in.

Even as we pray that the coming year will see less famine, hunger and flood, and show us Nature at her benevolent best, let us remember to galvanize prayer into action. "When you pray, Move your feet".