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Sustainability Paradox

Some years ago, plastic bag got tagged along with us every time we do our grocery shopping. This later got replaced with paper bags, reusable bags and other alternatives. At some grocery stores that I have been to, plastic bags cost more than the paper bags, which makes the eco-friendly switch easier.

While I was happy with the alternatives that help to curb the plastic use, I was stuck in a paradox as I thought about this entire grocery bag ecosystem.

Which is more sustainable: a plastic bag or a cotton bag?
Image source: Earthbits

Let’s get this straight : Be it a plastic bag or a cotton reusable bag, every such commodity has a carbon footprint. 1 plastic bag generates about 33 grams of co2, whereas a cotton bag generates about 4 kg of co2! Also a paper bag has 3 times the carbon footprint of a plastic bag. A fine example of a Sustainability Paradox.

We notice cotton tote bags everywhere around us these days. As Susan Ruffo, a plastic expert says “we have a history as a species of solving one problem with great intensity, only to figure out that we’ve created another one.”
To put that into a perspective, the cotton bags are to be used more than 100 times for it to offset their carbon cost. There is no positive impact in buying the cotton bags frequently assuming it to be a smart choice as this does more harm than the single-use plastic bags. We need to pick on our alternatives wisely.

Bottom line: Opting for reusable bags is way better than single-use bags, only if we re-used them as much as possible ♻️

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle | Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Image source : mo.gov

This made me remember my childhood memories back in India, where my grandma (also my uncle) used to carry a cotton bag every time she went out for buying groceries. She effortlessly re-used & recycled different commodities/produce. Their day to day sustainable, eco-friendly and economical methods are worth taking note of. 🌱

#GrandmaProTip: The cotton bags needn’t be washed after every use. You will know when the bag requires a wash. πŸ˜‰ This helps with the durability of the bag as well.

References:
UK study on Supermarket bags , Nytimes , Npr , euronews

Featured

FOMO

Lately, I had been contemplating on my social media usage and mental health. I noticed myself being restless and anxious at times. I know what was happening and how to save myself from this, but I couldn’t take any action as I was stuck in this ‘Fear of missing out’ zone.

Image source : Houston public media

Thanks to the recent outage of social media apps – Instagram, Whatsapp & Facebook. I had been really happy that evening. I felt as if I got a new meaning to my life (not kidding!). However, this was short lived since they all were back after six hours. Sigh!

But it is interesting that there was a breath of fresh air during this downtime. It also made me realize a bunch of things which I can take action on. May be if the downtime was a bit shorter, I wouldn’t have even thought about this.

I came across an article on WSJ and I felt like throwing my mobile after reading it. It was about how Instagram is toxic for the teens and that Facebook knows about it. Quite scary!
Here is a glimpse of one such research results on teens:

Image Source: WSJ

What is the need of the hour is to contemplate on our requirement to be on the platform & time spent on such apps. Unless the user is a celebrity or promoting a business, the need to be on the app for long hours each day creates adverse effect and in long run leads to depression.

So what is the way out you think? If users move out from the above platforms, they would potentially seek refuge in some other social media platform. This seems like an endless game until we are aware of what is presented to us and how toxic it can turn if we overused it. After all, its our game and we can end it if we want to!
Peace.



P.S : Interested to read the referenced WSJ article? Here is the link:
https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-knows-instagram-is-toxic-for-teen-girls-company-documents-show-11631620739?commentId=ef8c17f5-3501-458b-afb8-169f94169aee

Mind Full

When I was asked by my friend what I ate today, my mind went blank for a minute without even being able to process that information. I went to the kitchen to look for it. There are days where I have forgotten if I had taken a bath or had my tea.

I had my meal one day and just after half an hour, I ate again forgetting that I ate already. This made me wonder what I am doing to myself pushing me towards observing my actions.

Image from Goalcast

As a child when your parent feeds you – you just eat, when you want to play – you just play, when you were massaged – you just laid down and enjoyed it. This is how we developed different senses over time. I believe it is a beautiful feeling to be able to use your senses and experience every activity in your daily life.

Our generation has been doomed with a lot of distractors like social media which consumes us in different ways. Though we are aware of its implications, we always have a love-hate relationship with our social accounts. Even though I agree that social media is a powerful tool, it is up to every individual as to how they are going to use it.

Though these accounts help us to keep in touch with people/stay updated with certain topics, over time we could develop FOMO (Fear of missing out) which might lead to stress, anxiety, or disturbed sleep patterns.

Does that mean we need to quit social media accounts altogether? I don’t think that is going to help. Probably being aware of how long you spend your time every day might be of some help. But this does not address the main problem.

I wrote down a set of question to ask myself to understand the problem :
1. Do you brush your teeth focusing on every teeth to make it clean?
2. Do you take bath giving attention to every part of your body?
3. Do you enjoy your meal without any distractions like tv or phones?
4. Do you stop using your gadgets at least 1 hour before your bedtime?

Yes, I am talking about ‘Mindfulness‘. This word sounds so fancy and complex at the same time, though it simply means “to be aware“. Often mindfulness is misunderstood for being fully focused all the time. However, it is about being aware of your thoughts and actions (without trying to control or fight the mind).

Here was a small mindfulness experiment I tried with a goal of eating as slowly as possible:
Day 1: I got so restless that I ate my meal fast.
Day 2: I tried to slow down though I yearned to watch some content
Day 3: I scrolled my phone when I ate
Day 4: I tried to stare at my watch as I was eating eat
Day 5: I tried to eat as slowly as possible

This simple exercise gave me reassurance that being aware of what I do is possible, though it needs a constant effort to be present at the moment. This has also helped me to not plan so much for the future and enjoy the present moment. In the end, the choice is ours if we want to be “Mind full or Mindful

Probably making time for some ‘childlike moments‘ in your daily life would be a giant leap towards mindfulness.

All of this feels like a mountain to climb, then I realize it is all about taking one step at a time surrendering yourself in this process, like a child.

Cardamom buns

It is an interesting history to read about how cardamom has traveled to the lands of Scandinavia. Coming from India, to see the spices like Cardamom, Licorice, Ginger, Cinnamon, Pepper, Cloves, Saffron being a part of the Scandinavian kitchen made me all excited and happy. πŸ₯³

When I first tasted Cardamom buns in Sweden, it left me all nostalgic and reminded back home that I chose to hunt for the best versions at the local bakeries. 🀀 It was thrilling to see Swedes appreciate cardamom the way Indians do 🀠

Thanks to the scary corona warnings, I decided to make my own version of kardemummabullar. πŸ‘» Baking these lovelies was an amazing and grounding experience altogether. πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈπŸ˜‡

The twisted lil dough getting ready to be baked πŸ‘―β€β™‚οΈ
Baking in progress 😌
I literally screamed after seeing the batch of cardamom buns come out of the oven and my entire home smelled divine sweetness. πŸ₯Ί
And the Swedish kardemummabullar is here 😭🀀

Dark winters

Embrace the dark is the first thing I heard when I moved to Sweden.
Having been living all my life in a tropical climate, this was something new to me.

Image source : My photography

Making the home lit with nice scented candles, lights all winters, getting active with a sport, spending time with friends was how I learned to spend my winters.

The winter this time is unusually dark and gloomy with no trace of sunlight throughout the day.
With the pandemic becoming worse day by day, this prolonged darkness is of no help πŸ˜‘
Our mental health has gone for a toss! πŸ™†πŸ»

Image source : Movie ‘The Shining’

The only savior from these dark and depressing times is a glass of warm glâgg with some crunchy almonds and raisins! Ah, bliss! 😌🍷

Image source: The Local sweden
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