A leap towards ecosystem restoration

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Subrata Dutta believes that if humans are to survive, they must adopt a more sustainable lifestyle

The land is being plundered and its resources being exploited at such a rapid rate that future generations are faced with a frightening scenario. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that with the continued destruction of the ecosystem, the existence of life on earth itself is threatened.

Most of us are aware of this but remain unclear about what can be done at the individual level to help restore and preserve the ecosystem. More often than not, we let government and environmental agencies do the heavy lifting. But change is imperative for every drop to count and add up to create the proverbial ocean. “Going organic” is a dynamic way to start and contribute.

What does “go organic” mean? To put it simply, it means adopting living practices that do not harm the environment, but rather help to restore, preserve and maintain it. Here’s how we can go about it and help preserve the earth’s ecosystem.

This translates into choosing organically grown foods. What is organic farming and how does it help preserve and maintain the ecosystem?

Excessive use of these chemicals in conventional farming practices contaminates soil, water and air and allows disease resistance to develop in phytophagous insects, fungi and bacteria. Organic farming relies on ecological pest control mechanisms and on vermicomposting to ensure maximum preservation of environmental resources.

No use of chemicals during organic farming helps to preserve and improve soil health. The practice also prevents soil erosion and decreases the leaching of nitrates into groundwater and surface water, and recycles animal waste on the farm. Such agricultural practices have a positive impact on the ecosystem, furthermore promoting maximum biodiversity.

Organic food: to know

1) Make sure the product is certified organic.

2) Authentic organic food in India carries the following labels: India Organic, EU Organic or USDA Organic.

3) Organic foods and supplements are healthier because no chemicals are used in growing or preserving foods or supplements.

Several fashion brands are rushing to launch their eco-responsible fashion lines – clothes made from plant fibers and ethically developed. The manufacturing process in a sustainable fashion setup does not involve polluting the water, soil and the environment. On the other hand, synthetic fabrics are made using chemicals and manufacturing processes that deplete and damage the ecosystem.

“Going organic” also means we buy less clothes, go for more sustainable iterations and avoid what’s called “fast fashion”. (Remember, the more clothes we use, the more we use the earth’s resources.) “Fast fashion” means producing frequent lines of inexpensive clothing, using chemicals, dyes and fast manufacturing practices. which include environmental destruction, water pollution and more.

Opt for sustainable fashion or clothing made with ethical practices that help nourish and protect the ecosystem. In this case, less is really more.

  • Other ways to “go organic”

Go for local produce: This supports the economy of the community, helping it to thrive. One of the pillars of the “switch to organic” is to support the most precious of the earth’s riches: humanity. So buy local. It also helps support the ecosystem by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the transport of food from distant places.

Use “green” products: Read labels and pay attention to all the products you use, from household cleaning products and cosmetics to your garbage bags and containers. Look for cleaning products that do not contain phosphates and phthalates; avoid non-degradable plastic (the scary videos of plastic fouling the earth are not fictitious); opt for jute bags and glass containers and avoid cosmetics that are harmful to animals or contain harmful chemicals (see the Environmental Working Group website for more information).

It’s time to end the carefree, consumerist lifestyles that most of us tend to indulge in.

Use transport more efficiently: replace your car with one that uses less fuel, a limited natural resource. Reduce vehicle use by combining errands, carpooling, or walking more often. You will reduce greenhouse gas emissions which lead to global warming and which continues to be one of the greatest threats to the ecosystem.

(The author is Group Managing Director, Organic India.)


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