Disha’s vision of a sustainable life lead to the establishment of ‘Earthable’!

wingedclub Disha's vision to a sustainable life led to the establishment of Earthable!
Disha Gupta – Founder, Earthable

“I went on my first solo trip to Tosh, Himachal Pradesh. I trekked to the highest peak in Tosh. There was a group of people next to me who ordered cold coffee and asked for plastic straws. The moment they finished their cold coffee, they threw the straws in the ice. I got angry and instantly went to tell them that a place where even basic necessities like warm water are not easily available, they’re exploiting the place and nature by leaving the trash behind. This incident took a toll on me. I was still filled with so much rage that I started searching about the effects of ‘mindless tourism’ on the nature.

The more and more I read about it, I realized how bad the situation is. I started creating awareness about the plastic usage and how careless we’ve been regarding the same. I started getting a lot of appreciation from the people. They started noticing. It was inspiring for them.

But slowly, the conversation started drifting to what are the alternatives? I started researching on the alternatives. I realized there are a lot of people in the country who are doing good but they cater to very regional areas like wherever they’re producing, they’re supplying in those areas only. So, I started providing people with alternatives at a very personal level.Then Diwali happened and people started exchanging gifts. Some people asked me that they want curated gift hampers of these alternatives and that this will be very different from what they’ve been giving for years. So, I started curating, firstly for my family. My father asked me to build ten hampers for him to give to his friends. Once, people started noticing I was curating gifts, more orders started coming in. And before I realized, I was up with hundred or hundred and fifty hampers to make.

It was very challenging because it was just twenty days to Diwali and I was to curate almost 150 hampers. I pulled it off with my job aside. I used to come home at around 8’o clock and I would work on the hampers till 3 A.M. It required so much of time that it started affecting my health because I didn’t get time to sleep. By the time Diwali was over, I took a break for a month from the gift curation. But the requests didn’t stop. They kept pouring in. I had to curate gifts for different individuals.

Then I took my time and gave a thought to it that if I’m able to create a difference in somebody’s life, then why not? I took complete one month and I thought about it thoroughly. By December end, I decided that I’m gonna quit my job and create a difference in people’s lives. I started curating hampers and took it as my full-time job. That’s how ‘Earthable’ came into existence.

It all started because of support of people and especially the acceptance by people. It has been a journey for me as well. I was a consumer like anybody else but the only difference is, I was a ‘conscious consumer’ and did not litter but at the same time, I was consuming like anyone else. I really didn’t think of alternatives before. But now, I can proudly say that I’m not zero waste person but I do live a minimalist lifestyle.The biggest challenge has been the mindset of the people. While some people realize the need for change but there is still a majority of people who believe that we’re doomed to die like this; there’s nothing we can do about it. They choose convenience over making an effort.

The thing I hear mostly ,”Aisa chalta aaya hai, aisa hi chalta rahega!” People are not even willing to make an effort. I heard someone saying that this entire climate change is a sham. It is very common that people do not believe that climate change is happening or even if it is happening, some people have the theory of it is bound to happen and you can do nothing about it.

I heard this theory too that there was a time when there was ice age; climate change was happening then, that’s how the ice age ended. Climate change will happen now and it is a continuous process. Also, earlier efforts are futile. That’s the kind of resistance that we get whenever we try to educate people to make the switch. The major learning for me from this experience has been that everyone is coming from somewhere. They’ve certain experiences or backgrounds due to which they’re saying what they’re saying.

We cannot expect somebody to change overnight. Its a journey for everyone. Somebody can take the process too quick while other people can take years to complete that journey. For example, I heard my mother saying this that the things we call sustainable now are apparently very trendy. They used to use those daily at home when they were kids. Then, fancier and more convenient things came to the market so they quit what they were using earlier.

Sustainability is nothing new. It is what was there previously. Its just that within a span of fifty years, things have changed. Plastic has taken a major part in people’s lives. It is well articulated in our lives that now we feel its impossible to separate. But that is not true. We were living without it before. Its just about going the old ways. Just ask your grandmother how she used to do things before plastic came into being. And I believe if you understand how important it is to make that switch and start implementing it in our lives, we won’t be piling up the landfill that we are already living on. We can generate least waste if we’re cautious of what we’re purchasing. As consumers, we’ve a lot of power but we don’t realize it.

I’d like to request everyone to make a switch per day or per month. Imagine if you make a switch per month, you’ll be making twelve switches in a year and it can bring a great difference in the environment. You don’t have to completely go zero waste but you can live a minimalist lifestyle. We don’t just need a handful of people to bring a change. We need millions and billions of people to make a big change. Connect to organizations like Earthable and question things you’re doubtful about. Such organizations can lead you to a conclusion. To the young generation, I’d say be conscious of the choices that you make. Make sure whatever you’re getting your hands on, it is not harming the planet in the least possible way.

Count how many times you’ve been a contributor to the landfill just by using small things which you didn’t even realize will do bad to the planet.I’d also like to advice the adults to go back to the things they used as kids. Remember the times when plastic was not in existence and how life worked at that time. Plastic has caused many diseases. There have been cures but still. Prevention is better than cure always.Consume consciously. Make conscious choices. Understand the life cycle of your consumption. Living sustainable life is not for elite; its for everybody.”

Instagram – @earth_able

*The views expressed in the above article are of the writer and not Winged Club.