I’m sure we are all aware of the famous 3 ‘R’s of the environment.
Children’s EVS books now contain pages and pages around the significance of sustainable practices because the environmental graph seems to be trickling down threatening the existence of our species.
Why? Because 7 billion (and counting) humans are gradually tearing through the limited resources found on mother Earth.
The need to switch to sustainable living is growing stronger by the day and world leaders and scientists are tapping into solutions that will add some more hundreds or thousands of years to our planet. This concept of “reduce, reuse, and recycle” is actually new in theory only recently, while has been practiced by mankind (in small settlements like villages, towns) for years to keep a balance between nature and needs.
I saw this fascinating documentary on Mega-Kitchens in India produced by National Geographic that showcases how religious institutes combine local resources to run their kitchens that feed thousands and thousands of devotees each day. For example, a small temple town of Dharmasthala in Karnataka, temple Manjunatheshwara, has close to 50,000 pilgrims every day that rely on the temple’s kitchen to be fed during their visit to the idol.
Now you may wonder how does the idea of recycle and reuse come here? You’d be surprised to know the extent of its reach in this small temple town. The family that runs the proceedings of this holy place has acres and acres of farmland, which provides the temple’s kitchen with some of its ingredients. From vegetables to spices to rice to coconuts, all are products that are sourced from the farmlands that belong to the temple. The farmlands get organic fertilizer from the food waste that comes from the kitchen, which further increases the yield. Some big kitchens even have their own cattle shelter where cattle waste is used to produce biogas, which is used for cooking and electricity. This makes the whole system self-reliant, and self-dependent.
Breeding cattle, especially cows and buffalo, is a very common phenomenon in all the villages in India. The main purpose behind this breeding is the abundant milk production, which helps the owner make a living out of it. Not just that, but these cows and buffalos become the backbone of the household for not just financial stability, but also to provide luxuries like electricity and cooking gas.
In New York, before automobiles hit the streets, horse carriages were the most popular mode of transportation in the city. In the year 1907, the horse population grew to 12,500 leading to 133 tons of manure in a day!
Can you imagine what that amount of manure could be used for?
Not just as a fertilizer but also to produce biogas. It releases an abundant amount of methane that can be utilized for cooking and electricity…and this is exactly what the villagers do.
Breeding cows and buffalos leave them with enough manure to run their household smoothly. Also, some of them have even mastered the art of converting cow’s urine into a useful pesticide that keeps their crops from dying.
These are some life hacks that were known to man before we discovered machines, because this helped humans survive in nature. It was a balance of give and take, which led to the growth of human life, which now seems to dominate the environment. A reminder to get this equilibrium back is absolutely necessary today. Don’t think we’d want to piss off nature now, do we?
By- Sukanya Sharma