It was never in our culture to waste. Growing up, our parents/relatives always found ways of re-using items, over and over till the life span of that item was reached. Bottles, clothing ,books, furniture, shoes etc were all re-used, recycled or up-cycled, as items were always repaired when they got damaged, or of cos, given out to families, friends or any one who needed them. This culture was probably born out of the need to save money, and it was a culture that worked, a culture the whole world wished was embraced as the industrial revolution took stage.
Growing up in the city of Aba, children looked forward to hearing the bell and voice of the dealer screaming “bottles, or condemned cloths”. The dealers bought them for a token to resell them. Oh my, those coins came in handy for biscuits and sweets. It was such a delight. And for some folks, the money meant some food on the table.
I remember lots of ways we lived a sustainable lifestyle. As children in same school or schools close to each other, we car pooled, and parents/guardians took turns with school run. I also remember that my mom had a shopping basket, made from woven plastics. After each visit to the market, it was washed, dried and kept away till the next shopping day. Today, women go the market, each shopping day with money for a new bagco bags, or pack items in little plastic bags to be torn apart and trashed once the needed items were taken out. Imagine how much we have each contributed to blocking our drains, causing floods and ironically complaining about how our cities are messed up and all littered up.
The craze to buy a new item instead of re-using the one we already have is swallowing us up. We have accepted the mindset that only the poor can re-use or re-cycle items. People even go on blogs and sites criticizing stars for re-rocking a particular outfit or accessory. For most people, how much one trashes indicates how rich one is. We have begun a competition with the west, yet most developed nations are looking toward Africa to save the planet, sustain the organic culture and put aside the consumerism way of living.
I have grown to realize how much our actions have become a burden to our planet. I have begun doing my bit to live a greener/eco-friendly lifestyle, and spreading the message as much as I can. I talk about the need to save energy, water, resources etc, appealing to facts. I also tell stories of those most affected by the impacts of our actions, hoping that by appealing to the emotions of my audience, our planet will be saved for us and for our children too. I find myself always screaming at my sisters to lock the tap when brushing, to switch off lights and ppliances when not in use, to stop their indiscriminate trashing of items they don’t need anymore (including weavons/extensions). I have thought them to find who needs them, or better still, wrap them up neatly with a bit of dignity in a bag before trashing. The trash collector could find them useful for personal use or for re-cycling, since Nigeria doesn’t have a recycling system that works. I must say I have made good progress with those around me.
I am counting down to motherhood, and taking steps to stick to the eco-friendly habits I have embraced. I am also hoping i can make my home green. I have made a pledge to teach my children the sustainable life style. The best way to ensure their future is to save give them a safe and healthy environment/planet; to let them experience nature and not show them pictures of trees and animals that have gone extinct because of our actions.
We can all do something. We can all change our habits to accommodate nature and bring back “green” in our homes.
An adage says “we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”. “Ecolly” think before you take any action. Consider all the benefits to mother Earth. Consider the small scale farmer in Amucha, Imo State Nigeria. Think about the source of your next meal and the growing cost of feeding yourself. If the climate remains stressed, agriculture won’t thrive and our very existence will be threatened.
Think green, act green, live green.
To help, click help http://www.worldwatch.org/resources/go_green_save_green