Project Shunya: Creating a Green Legacy
As per the Worldwatch Institute, "An estimated 299 million tons of plastics were produced in 2013, representing a 4 percent increase over 2012, and confirming and upward trend over the past years. In 2008, our global plastic consumption worldwide has been estimated at 260 million tons. The global plastic consumption reached a staggering 297.5 million tons by the end of 2015."
While the above numbers are pretty staggering all by themselves, what makes this problem worse is that all of the above pollutants are non-biodegradable. They are not even photo-degradable. It is white and light and found anywhere and everywhere.
According to a fairly recent study published by the Marine Conservancy, the estimated decomposition rates of most plastic debris found on coasts are:
Foamed plastic cups: 50 years
Plastic beverage holder: 400 years
Disposable diapers: 450 years
Plastic bottle: 450 years
This is where we get into the question of what kind of a legacy are we leaving behind for the generations to come ? We know that our children will be growing up in tougher times than we are because of the lack of water, excessive pollution and meaningless consumerism. The stories our children will tell as grown ups will be way different than the ones we do.
Our stories were shaped by our twice a year visits to our grandparents in villages, hearing about fables while eating on leaf plates. As the fables would get more and more interesting, the leaf plate would start getting emptier and we would be left scraping the bottom for the last morsel of chutney. The feast's for us as children were joyful occasions of us eating on the humble banana leaf plate or the sal leaf plate- each exciting in its own way-which could be easily thrown away to be used as cattle fodder or a natural compost to be applied in the orchard. Simple.
Simplicity today- in the time of rapid consumerism- is eating at parties using plates, ranging from plastic to thermocol, which is disposed or rather dumped off to a landfill that we cannot see or many a times see and decide to ignore. This is where we need to stop for a second and think about what kind of a legacy are we going to leave for our children behind. Are we going to be known as "the people who knew about their mistakes but did not care much" in their stories ? We need to stop and think. In the pursuit to offer cheaper and mass manufactured alternatives, we are sprinting towards destroying earth to the point from where it will be impossible for it to come back.
So now back to the thought of how we can offer our future generations a greener legacy? Project Shunya is essentially rediscovering our green ways of life by harvesting the knowledge across rural belts. The idea is to create green solutions locally and be able to make the presence of such products be felt globally. And all this while keeping the prices down to the point that we are able to compete with most commercially available but non sustainable option. How do we scale up such a model ? Well, there are a few ideas around this and we will soon know if we can achieve it at the rate we envision. But whatever the case be, we are here to stay, greening the globe (commercially) one segment at a time !
Project Shunya or Towards Nothing is an effort to strive towards reversing the trend of pollution as we see it. The day, each of us start doing our bit for the nature, we can all start going towards a collective goal of saving of our planet, else as the legendary American philosopher and naturalist-Henry David Thoreau- puts it, “What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?”