Earth Day

“The Earth Is What We All Have In Common”
-Wendell Berry

Earth Day 2019

Am I about to patronise the day and ask you to be more like a certain X, Y or Z?
NO.

I’m not 24 hours late on expressing my feelings towards the day, but I believe that just about any day on the calendar is good enough to start talking and working towards the earth.


It was pretty recent, while talking to a friend over coffee that we discussed the infamous topic of ‘Believers v/s Atheists’. Let’s just say that I’m more than glad that there was a lot to take back from that conversation and I’m glad that there were no casualties at the end of it unlike most other times. We threw our understanding of the concept at each other and patiently looked at what stuck with the other, lending an open mind and quite lips. The coffee lost its heat while our thoughts ran warm and greased. It is safe to say, I respect her a little more than I did before.

I walked out of the coffee house with a vague sense of satisfaction, even though we did not completely agree with one another most of the time. But there is something that I knew I was about to carry with me for a long time.
I’m not who said it or who thought it, but we agreed that being an Atheist is not the lack of belief or faith in God. But its just the lack of belief in anything. And somewhere down the line we realised that, if our idea of atheism is the parameter, then there aren’t many (any) who are atheists.

If that is the case then who is a believer?
To get to the point, we thought that anyone who believes in the existence of something bigger, stronger and more valuable than themselves in this world becomes a believer.
To ride over examples, someone who values honesty over everything and believes that it is the universal necessity, then s/he is a believer.

Feeling fully comfortable in sharing my thoughts without the fear of judgement or social awkwardness, I admitted that I do not understand organised religions and the competitions they uphold. I still do believe that there is an all knowing and consuming force in the nature which will continue to exist even when we are long gone. And this force is made up of five elements according to my belief system- Earth, Sky, Air, Fire and Water.
While I’m no expert in religion, I respect them all for I have realised that all religions have one thing in common. All the traditions that they promote are, at a grass root level, actually in line with respecting nature. So how could I not?


Remember, we are only above it while we are alive, but these bodies that we love so much are about to spend a larger amount of time under it. Just like our homes above, lets make sure that we create and leave for ourselves a resting space worth our while.

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.

John Muir

Responsible Travel

For a few days or a good portion of your lifetime, if you’re spending time somewhere, then at that point in your life that place is Home!
And taking responsibility for your home is only fair.

Before we dive into this one, I thought I should ask you a few quick questions-
1. Do you like to travel?
2. Have you ever moved around (for work or leisure, for short or long term)?
3. Do you think the world is a beautiful place, full of surprises?
4. Do you take responsibility for your surroundings?

Now that you know your answers, lets talk about the most amazing teacher that the universe has offered us and how we can begin or continue to show it our utmost respect!
The chance to experience life from different perspectives teaches us things that most libraries fail to. To witness cultures different from ones own, makes us more accepting than any diploma. A rendezvous with a heterogenous crowd is sometimes all the spiritual awakening needed.

As promised to myself earlier, I asked for insights and help from people around me and I’ve had the most absorbing learning experience. To hear someone passionately talk about things close to their heart rubs off a certain sense of high even on its audience and that’s exactly how I felt. Be it scaling mountains, finding off-beat locations, swimming around the corals or creating experiences… it has been intoxicating.
While my three points of contact had me giddy with the information and the imageries they painted, I’ve tried to summarise and make a list of things that they couldn’t stress enough and are simple to practice.

I got in touch with each one of them individually and they have re-affirmed my approach towards travel and tourism. To me, travel is when I visit a place and let the place submerge me into itself, from the folks to the lores, its economy and cuisines, all of it. Travel lacks the fear of missing out, which for me is usually associated with tourism; the need to finish my checklist of places-to-visit, not necessarily taking the chance to truly enjoy it. (1)

Before I start with their insights, let me list the 7 outdoor ethics that the world should live by.
1. Plan ahead and prepare
2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
3. Dispose of waste property
4. Leave what you find
5. Minimize campfire impacts
6. Respect wildlife
7. Be considerate of other visitors
These pointers form the framework of responsibility and remain universal. These are further explained in detail by Leave No Trace; an organisation that is working towards sustaining the outdoors by teaching and inspiring people to enjoy the nature responsibly.

Moving on, here are the super obvious seeming things that most of us could easily over look while planning the next getaway, but should not. Things that were suggested by these super amazing travellers, and I know I’m going to adopt as a practice in my travels and life in general.
1. Research. Research. Research. Know the rules and laws of the land that you’re visiting. Acquaint yourself with their culture and practices so as to not offend anyone. Know the climatic swings and the culture sensitive points.
2. Travel Insurance. Its always better to be safe and protected.
3. Maps! Network and connectivity over mobile data could restrict you from exploring isolated spaces, but these will keep you from being lost.
4. Eat, Stay and Shop Local. The best way to support a community and enjoy it to the fullest is by being a part of it.
5. Do Not Feed Wild Animals
6. Carry your waste with you. If you cannot find a waste bin/basket on-site, then carry it with you until you reach one; plastic, cigarette buds, food leftovers, packaging wastes, etc.
7. Bring Reusable Bags. They are always handy and do not occupy space in your luggage.
8. Skip Straws and Single Use Plastic Water bottles. Use a water purifying system as and when possible.
9. DO NOT LITTER. Even if the locals do, and should goes without reason.
10. Lights Out. Everytime you leave a premise make sure to switch the lights off and other appliances, and try to use electricity mindfully.
11. Use Public Transport or Carpool. You never know which interesting story you might hear or become a part of!
12. Conserve Water.

TRAVEL FUN FACTS…. because, what better way to prove the above point!
Driving without your headlights on is illegal in Denmark, even during the day time.
It is illegal to spit in Barcelona.
Eating during Ramadan when in UAE is illegal.
You cannot frown in Milan.

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Much love and power to Mountaineerz, Wandermile and The Lume Weaver for being my points of contact, source of information and sharing their insights.

The picture is by Prakritee Sandilya, thank you love!!