Friday, December 30, 2011
Sunday, December 18, 2011
The instant response from my husband on it was, " You have some magnetic attraction towards the sustainable bag, you track them from anywhere in the World!" My husband's this reaction made me realize that I have addiction to eco-friendly bags! LOL....Yes, you may find it funny, but there is a psychology behind it.
Honestly speaking I don't look for those bags, but I stumble upon them. I am always interested in environmental news, campaigns & awareness and this leads to collection of eco-friendly bags. Because I believe in "Say no to only Plastic Bags, but not to Eco-friendly Bag though!"
To get an overview of my addiction I checked out the place of these Ecofriendly bags in my life. I have around 20-25 ecofriendly bags at home!!! Few of them I bought & other I collected from wherever I get them! The regular places of collecting these bags are sustainability/ environmental conferences or shopping from environmentally aware shops/brands.
My everyday tiffin bag to office is a cute tiny cotton bag by Environment & Protected areas authority, Sharjah. This is such a convenient & good looking bag with logo in English & Arabic. Added advantage is the bag is well suited to my job profile. Some of my office colleagues always enquire about it or appreciate it.
I always keep one cotton bag in each of my purse and few in my car. Whenever I buy something, I say no to plastic bag & use these bags. I sort of feel proud, when I hang the ecofriendly bag on my shoulder on any dress. The jute bags I use while going outdoors or for bulky shopping. I have specially dedicated some jute bags for camping & outdoor fun. I like the bags, on which some awareness message is printed instead of brand names. Some of the bags are souvenir of some trip or some event. The green bag from Paddy's market in Sydney is just one example.
My most favorite ecofriendly bag is from Beeah, Sharjah on which message is printed, "I care Do you?"
I love to give away the ecofriendly bags from my collection to friends. Many of my friends even know that I am right person to ask for cotton bags. I have gifted these bags to my office colleagues as well. So if you start saying no to plastic bags, there is a slightest chance of getting addicted to eco-friendly bags like me....be aware ;).
Thursday, October 20, 2011
1. Clothes drop off- In discovery gardens, there are good no. of cloth bank bins. forgive me, if I didn't mention in my last post about junk, I am using these bins since 2 years now.
2. Maria Christina Foundatation- They accept all personal & household stuff including furniture, clothes etc. You can call their personnel in Bur Dubai/ Mirdiff/Um Suqueim. For more info & contact nos. click http://mariacristinafoundation.org/
3. Electronics- You can get cash for your electronics like mobile handsets etc. click to find more http://www.cashformobiles.me/
4. All Junk at your home- This is private organisation, collects junk from indivisuals & companies & redistribute to labourers. Some of the junk they sell to keep running their organization, the junk which is not usable they recycle. You just have to email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/sms 050 1704045! Without much delay, they will come & pick up your junk. Find more on http://www.takemyjunkuae.com/
Slogan of Take my junk rightly says, "One man's junk is another man's treasure".
Friday, September 16, 2011
So at first place if we shop less, then waste will be less. But suppose, people suddenly stop buying all those not so necessary things, surely it will affect the market, employment and the economy, isn't it? If the old items which we need to discard are damaged then they may not be useful for charity. Also recycling of every item is still not available in many places. So what we can do is only reusing those unwanted items creatively at our home. The added benefit is you save money & can own an unique, personalized home organizing or interior item, which will be talk of your guests for sure!
The items found in routine garbage from our home are generally these,
1. Plastic/glass jars, containers, bottles
2. Packaging boxes small or large of paper/cardboard
3. Small bottles, boxes
4. Toiletry, chemical containers
5. Tin boxes, containers, jars
6. Chipped or broken crockery or ceramic or china wear
7. Take-away food containers
8. Old clothes, bags
9. Wooden/metal/plastic furniture & accessories
REUSING TRASH ITEMS:
Here are some of my personal favorites & some experiments of reusing things which may be otherwise trash.
1. Plastic & Glass Jars- Many plastic & glass jars with proper lid can be used to store grocery & arrange in your kitchen cabinets. Ex. rice, pasta, milk drinks etc which are packed in bottle or plastic jar can be bought then next time we can buy same item packed in bag & refill the jar.
6. Plastic ice-cream boxes, chocolate Boxes- These boxes can be used to store small items like stationary/medicines/hardware items or grocery. Chocolate boxes can also be decorated & used as gift boxes. I have assigned this empty Ferrero Rocher chocolate box to store sachets of sugar, coffee etc.
9. Broken ceramic plates or china wears can be used as colour pallet, if you do painting. From my experience it is better than any other newly bought pallet specially for oil paints.
10. Shoe boxes can be used to store collectibles, small home decor things, cards, documents, write ups etc. The clean & hard shoe boxes are my favorite home organizer items. I have kept all shoe boxes, some are used for storing home decore items, some hold collectibles. One box is dedicated for stationary items. This box in photo contains stock of cleaning accessories.
I have made a body shop box with transperant window on top of it as our collectible box. Al our natural collectibles like dried flowers, leaves, shells etc along with some memorable photos & postcards are stored in this box.
12. Washing powder/ cereal Boxes- Big empty boxes of cereals, washing powder, tissue boxes can be used for storing carry bags. one opening could be cut in the box, from where we can pull the carry bag out. It is good reuse also a nice idea for organizing those otherwise voluminous carry bags, which filled up space in cabinet below our kitchen sink.
After cutting the top side of the box, these boxes can be used as magazine holders or for holding excess wires, assorted things in store room.
13. Planter- Many items like broken earthen/ceramic/glass wears, shoes, tin/plastic containers, paint or chemical containers, ceramic pipes, coconut shell, can be used for planting small plants in your garden. Actually if you grow a plant in anything which can hold the soil & can have a hole or two facilitate axcess water to flow, then any waste item in your home can become beatiful planter. In this photo old tyers are used as planter.
19. Small empty boxes of Tic-tac or menthol or tablets etc can be used for storing nails, screws or any assorted tiny items.
I have stored nails in tic tac box. Some toothpicks are stored in one of empty calcium tablet container which can be used during travel or outdoor trips.
24. Unwanted, old, damaged furniture pieces- There could be many creative ways to use the old furniture piece for some new applications. I never did it, but I alawys like the idea of using old trunk as side table, it could add the antique touch to interior. These are some of the photos from other people, who reused there old furniture & result is these amazing art pieces.
Hope some of you would have developed interest in reusing old items, or have you started looking for them in your store room already? Let me know how it goes!
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
There are pedestrian path created which goes through the middle of community. Along these paths the swimming pools, grounds & tennis/ basket ball courts are located.
When on Friday afternoon you walk along this path you could see people, especially children playing in pools or play grounds. This definitely doesn't seem like these people are staying in dessert region. All of the street & pedestrian walk ways in Nakheel Garden are now shaded with fully grown trees. The buildings are small & their outer surfaces are shaded & covered by these fully grown trees. Obviously the heat gain is less, which in turn adds less pressure on air conditioning units in this area. So electricity is saved. Not only this but because of these trees weather feels little less extreme. People staying in Garden will agree with me, when I say temperature here is always 1 or 2 degree less than other nearby area in Jabel ali. Humidity also is lesser & m0st importantly there is fresh air & more oxygen. This adds health benefits of people staying in Gardens. The lush green surroundings & shaded pathways also motivate people to go outdoors & increase the activity level of residents.
The best part of Gardens is that, it is landscaped in such a way, when you are there you don't feel that it is man-made. They avoided to do systematic landscape & using of same plants & repeating them in some order. There are different species of plants & planted randomly, which give feel of natural jungle. You can find trees like Neem, Gulmohor (peacock flower/delonix regia), bamboo, Palm in these landscapes. Some flowering plants like plumeria (chafa), oleander (kanher), Bougainvillea, cana, jatropha integerrima are also abunduntly used in gardens, they flower year-round. People staying here are definitely staying like as if they are back home. You can see bird feeders, water bowls for birds everywhere. And most of the balconies have their own small garden. The seating areas created in balconies shaded by trees can easily envy the rest of UAE residents.
The sustainability awareness is also seen. The bins for recycling materials are kept outside almost each building. The 4 separate bins are seen for glass, paper, plastic & general waste. Other than these bins, no bins are kept, which insist people to segregate their waste & recycle it. Of course the collection of waste & recycling is done on regular basis by Nakheel. The community is very clean & looked after very well.
This is the best example of landscaped community & new ecosystem of UAE. At same time from the example of Nakheel garden, some points are also educating for future development of such communities. first is high maintenance; swimming pools, play grounds etc are to be maintained regularly. Secondly high usage of water for watering such a huge amount of landscaping & for swimming pools. Though the gray water/recycled water is used for irrigation, the high evaporation rate in summers impacts badly on water consumption. But personally I think electricity is taken care nicely, less heat gain, promoted daylights in houses because of tree shades all over & district cooling plant this all decreases electricity consumption. Also Human health is taken care extremely well by fresh air because of trees & less pollution. Vicinity of Clinics, Ibn battuta mall, services inside mall, petrol pump & shops/ restaurants in Discovery garden promotes walking, reducing need of transport for basic facilities & make living in this community now very much convenient.
All in all I will say this is definitely a tempting place to stay, the long waiting list for rental for Nakheel Garden is obvious. If you are lucky enough to have friends staying in Nakheel Gardens, then from my personal experinece I will recommend you stay at their place in summer & have feel or experience of staying at a resort somewhere far away from the heat of dessert.
Monday, May 9, 2011
These communities around the city are made environmental friendly & sustainable. People of the communities are asked to segregate their waste. Waste collection & recycling is done by authority. In some suburbs people are allowed to plant only local plants in their yard. Recycled water, storm water is used for flushing & gardening on compulsory basis.
On manly beach we found a board 'Living with Penguins'. This is the only place in Sydney where small penguins visit regularly, the beaches are equipped with information boards for beach visitors guiding how they should take care for protecting these unique penguin habitat.
We were surprised to see use of solar powered equipments like parking meter, lights etc every where, especially because at least at that time it was clouded & generally rain is common there.
The sustainable buildings or Green buildings are picking up in Australia; we could see some green buildings in Sydney CBD, which were proudly displaying their sustainable status. Australia has developed their own Green Building rating system or standard, 'Green Star'. The buildings are certified by Green star on voluntary basis & given star rating as per their sustainability levels. Also a part of sustainability & conserving their culture & heritage, we get to see many old Victorian buildings in Australia which are preserved with some internal modification and are still used as shopping center, govt. buildings or tourist centers. The year of their construction is displayed on the top of nearly each heritage building. Preserving these building & using them for public use definitely meet Australia's heritage to modern world in CBDs of cities.
We also saw some banners of a political party named Green Party! Though I couldn't find out more about them, but hope they actually care for environment or sustainability.
Amongst all this, one appreciable point was' people living in Sydney were mostly aware about sustainability & knew what is intention behind this Sydney 2030 plan. So not just people or not just govt. or organizations, but making a city sustainable is a cumulative effect & needs participation from all.
We all know Sydney as a global initiator for starting Earth Hour, the sustainable movement in 2007. And this visit to the city made me believes that they truly care for sustainability & will be a good model for sustainable city.
During our visit to Melbourne, similar sustainability enthusiasm was seen with more culture & education added to it.
When we went to tourist information center, we were pleasantly surprised. We noticed a broacher for Sustainable buildings in Melbourne including list of Green buildings in Melbourne along with their location map for tourist! Pixel Building in Melbourne is Australia's Greenest Building.
These cities are full of greenery & parks. And govt. invested appropriate funds to maintain these parks, and also attract people to enjoy parks. This gives a good large open space to increase activity levels of residents.
We hear a lot about Australia's role in carbon credit & carbon offset. Climate control & sustainability is very much discussed on governmental & policy maker level in Australia. Frankly I don't know how much it is affecting on actual energy conservation or sustainability. I won't even talk about political part behind it. But it's effect on common people is environmental & sustainability awareness on great extent. Also many businesses & developers take interest in sustainability voluntarily. This is definitely a good effect.
Overall Australia looked very much open for all sustainability ideas & in near future it will definitely be a good model for sustainability.
Generally sustainable developments are asked to create facility for educating visitors about sustainability from certification bodies. But I found, walking on streets of Sydney & Melbourne will serve the purpose of sustainability education!
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Then what exactly is Sustainability?Sustainability is not just part of HSE or CSR or some environmental certification or campaigns on industry level but all these are definitely part of Sustainability. But be sure Sustainability is not some slogans, signs, green coloured things or marketing tact! On personal or social level, Sustainability is not only recycling or saving resources, but all this is necessary for sustainability. Finally Sustainability is not for Saving Earth, but on the contrary in big picture view, sustainability is for saving humans & our existence on Earth...'Sustainability would be long term survival of humans on the Earth'! Sustainability is philosophy, initiative, measure, plan, goal, action, process, result, quality, quantity, lifestyle & all inclusive best practice! Sustain means 'maintain', 'support' or 'endure'. So one will ask, what should be sustainable? & for whom it should be sustainable?
Sustainability is broad term which deals with Environmental, Social & Economic dimensions. Sustainability could be for humans, not for environment...but human depends on environment, so it would be feasible to say 'we need to have a sustainable environment to have sustainable future for us'. But can we sacrifice economy or development or society to have sustainable future on Earth...of course not, so we can have a sustainable living, in which we can make sure environmental sustainability, social sustainability & economic sustainability to secure our all inclusive 'sustainability' for now & in future. Isn't it a win-win situation? Does 'sustainability' sound like 'harmony' or 'balance'?
The simple definition of sustainability is 'Improving quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting eco-system'
According to definition by Brundtland Commission of United Nations "Sustainable development is a development that meets the needs of present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs"
Sustainability is a scientific research, it can be measured, accounted, audited, reported & has reference standards. Environmental Performance Index, Carbon Foot prints, Ecological footprint, Life cycle assessment, Air Quality index, ISO 14oo1, Green Building certifications, GDP per capita, Sustainable Governance Indicator, Biodiversity indicator .....these are few scientific techniques to deal with Environmental, Social & Economic parts of Sustainability.
Business to business approach to sustainability varies & of course not all places on Earth can have same social sustainability approach! But I am very positive that society & decision makers in industries are being more open to sustainability now than the past years. When professionally & socially people discuss with me not only some concepts in Sustainability but also paper recycling, energy saving, carbon footprint, some signboards they see here and there & how sustainability is mentioned in their children's syllabus. I say people are getting aware of Sustainability idea! Can't say beginning is half done, but first step matters a lot at the moment!
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
Let's cheer together for Green Living by adding all of our personal touch to it, by sharing our Green stories! These green stories are not supposed to be grand or CNN style green stories....but whatever we do in our routine life in line with our Green living mission, we can summarize. If we save energy, recycle paper, take stairs instead of lifts or do anything which shows that we care for environment, doesn't matter how small or big... Let's share how we lead our green life!!!
Let's show the world what we do, how we are leading a green life! Believe me, your stories will be inspiration for many others!Awaiting your comments or emails with some photos if possible. I would appreciate if you can take out few minutes. Let's make colaz of Green Living leaders!
Note: This is not for any commercial purpose, the intent is public awareness. Also if you want your name to get published or not is all upto you.