Sangeetha Krishnamoorthy, Pleasanton

While in the process of helping my own kids celebrate Earth Day, I had this sudden realization as to how we had been more ‘eco-friendly’, 'eco conscious’, mindful and health-conscious while growing up in India, before even these buzzwords existed, and found it so relevant on Earth Day to share it with my own kids growing up here.

I am sharing my perspective here as well.

Speaking about saving trees - Growing up, there was no concept of toilet paper. Water was the cleanser used in toilets - it was both hygienic, and obviously, we didn’t have to cut down trees! On festive days and weddings, banana leaves were used as plates on which food was served on, and later, the used-up leaves were also fed to the cows. So, zero waste, and recycling was so natural in its authentic purest form, too!

I still remember the fun work as kids we used to do - 'sorting vegetables' as soon as my mom got home from grocery with all vegetables mixed up in one single big cloth bag :). Nor did we need the modern-day NGOs preaching us of eco consciousness, as there was not an inherent plastic usage in first place!

Growing up, we didn’t even realize we were doing some form of yoga and meditation every day - every single time we prostrated to god and elders in the morning, did surya-namaskara for sun, etc. Yoga, a practice passed down through our ancestral yogis through generations, was so natural and part of everyday life and not the marketable, new-found business seen in the west to sell appropriated culture classes and high-priced leggings!

And last but not the least, the food we ate growing up - the turmeric, ginger, garlic, pepper, tamarind, cardamom, cumin, fennel, and ancient grains - millets, yogurt or curd, and fermented foods were all essential part of our everyday meal. While growing up, we did not have the concept of supplements, probiotics or immunity boosters seen in stores today.

On this Earth Day among the shelter-at-home times, it was a nice refresher to recollect, reminisce and even be proud of the naturally eco-conscious, eco-friendly, and hygienic way that we once grew up with without any of the tags attached.