As I look out of my window, I notice my grandmother's balcony has these Madhumalti flowers that I remember so fondly from my childhood. The creeper is hardy, low maintenance but most of all, resilient to the harsh temperatures and the hot summer breeze. I'm reminded of summer many moons ago when I would add the flowers into my plait or make bracelets for my sister by piecing them together.  This creeper, like most of the natural world around us, intuitively knows what it needs to thrive and it doesn’t fear leaning in for support as it rests on the boundary wall. Every morning, my mother picks some of these beautiful pink flowers that have fallen and puts them in water near the entrance of our house.

It's late in the afternoon and now my attention has been caught almost entirely by the beautiful Gulmohar tree with vibrant red flowers- blooming, providing shade, a home and a safe space to so many birds, bees, insects and squirrels. The view from my window teaches me simple but some very important lessons.. Lessons that I intend to hold onto..of leaning in for support and that we need to learn to live harmoniously for ourselves and the sake of our planet.

At amala earth, the earth (our planet) is our greatest teacher and our biggest inspiration. If we look and listen closely, we will notice that she nudges us and gently paves the way for us. I have to admit that earth-friendly living can seem daunting with most of us wondering where one should even start. However, the most beautiful part is that we can start small and we can start today.  We can begin this journey with just one tiny step and each one of us has the power to give back and pay respects to our provider.

To be earth-friendly benefits everyone. It is a kinder and safer way of living for ourselves (individual), for those around us (our community), for animals, our waterways (environment) hence better for the world at large. If you are starting out on this journey, here are some steps that you can take even today to make a difference. 

Energy Efficiency:

At home, make the switch over to energy saving LED lights if you haven’t already. Make sure to switch off all switches when not in use. If you are going away for a bit, it might even be worth your while to unplug major appliances from the power source. Have a bucket bath or time your showers. Install a water saving showerhead in your bathrooms. These tiny, almost imperceptible changes will make a world of a difference.

Do a little research and try to figure out ways in your locality to go solar or adopt alternative energy sources. It's worth the investment in the long run. 

Alternatives :

Whether you are looking for kid-safe and pet-friendly household cleaning solutions or cruelty free beauty products, please do your own research. Be inquisitive, ask questions and read labels and find alternatives that are kinder and safer for us and the environment. 

Reuse & Repurpose:

Go through your closet when you find time and put aside a pile of clothes you would like to donate or give away. When doing a quality check, please sew on buttons and check for irregularities or tears before you donate.

When purchasing a new garment, opt for a brand that has ethical standards and incorporates the use of sustainable fibres such as flax linen, hemp, jute and tencel. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions about the process. 

Repeat your outfits. Style them differently. Make your clothes work for you by looking after them and keep them in good condition. Resist the urge to wash them too often and spot clean wherever necessary, as overwashing not only wastes water but also reduces the lifespan of the garment.

If you need to give your clothes a new lease of life, try a home DIY natural dye experiment using pantry ingredients. Natural dyes are a great way to utilise food waste. Turmeric, Madder Root, and Marigold can give clothes a vibrant shade of summery yellow while Purple Cabbage, Beetroot and Pomegranate skins can turn an otherwise worn out cloth to a beautiful shade of pink. 

If your clothes are no longer in good shape, consider repurposing them into a wash cloth that can be used to keep the house neat and tidy. 

Tech Help:

Take a moment to unsubscribe and delete emails and attachments you no longer need. This will not only free up space, make your mind feel at ease but also help reduce your carbon footprint.

Switch over to Ecosia- a search engine that plants trees while you scroll the web.

Make sure to switch off and unplug all electronic devices when you are away or not using them and remind others to do the same.

Harmonious Living:
One way to inculcate a sense of compassion in our children at an early age is by encouraging them to learn, spend time around and show care for animals. Have a bird-feeder on your terrace and place a few bowls of water everywhere so that our avian friends have some place to get some respite from the heat, bathe and drink water.

If you can, batch prepare some meals for your neighbourhood stray cats and dogs and leave bowls of water alongside as they can be extremely dehydrated in the hot summer months.

If you or your family members have experience with fostering, you could even foster a kitten or a puppy and look after it before it goes to its forever home.

These are just a few tips to help you on this journey. Feel free to come up with your own. Earth-friendly living doesn’t have to feel tedious or boring but it means being able to love and nurture the earth in our own little ways everyday. 

I wanted to end with one of my favourite quotes by Kurt Vonnegut-

Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies - "God damn it, you've got to be kind."

Jia Singh