You have to fall in love with something to want to take care of it. Eco-consciousness came naturally to me when I saw the Arabian Sea in Goa, even as a child. You had to protect something so beautiful. Over the years, I have seen the way Goa has turned over a new and clean, green leaf. More importantly, I have seen how tourists have changed their behaviour to preserve it. Sign-boards urging people not to litter the beaches, are not necessary. When you see miles of gorgeous white sand, with nothing but crabs, sand plovers and an occasional gull, you know you have to keep that candy wrapper in your pocket, till you find a dustbin.
The inconvenience of carrying a plastic water bottle, along with the obvious damaging effects of using plastic at all, had turned me into a ‘local juice’ drinker, long time back. In Goa, drink tender coconut water. It’s good for you, it’s good for the beach and it’s good for the local economy. In central and northern parts of India, you will find sugarcane juice. Drinking local also gets you acclimatised to your location – there is a reason why gur gur chai is drunk in Ladakh and not in Goa!
Eat local. If I choose to eat rajma in Goa, I am encouraging them to transport rajma from the valleys of J&K and use gallons of fuel doing it. That’s crazy. Also, local food always tastes better because it’s fresh and cooked by people who know how to cook it. I tucked into my Kottai Idly as I watched another table eat chola (seasoned with Curry leaves!)- bhatura, in horror.
You are in Goa and not in an A/C room in Lajpat Nagar, because you want to feel the sea-breeze, I would presume. So open those windows/doors and switch off the air-conditioning. I come back from Goa all hydrated and glowing, because of the double effect of sea-breeze and the absence of skin-drying air conditioners.
The trick of being an eco-citizen is to remember that ‘What’s good for the earth, is always good for you’.
--- The author, Jayati Talapatra, is a human resource manager by profession who lives and breathes nature. A green crusader, she has been promoting exploring Delhi responsibly through her Facebook page, Dilli Meri Jaan. She can be reached at email@example.com.