Every day we hear of crimes against the environment. We see trees being cut down, we see forests being burned to ash and animals being choked to death. Now, most of these crimes are committed by Capitalists and Governments, such as the burning of the Amazon rainforests or the cutting down of trees in the Aarey forest. But this does not mean that the common man is free from all charges.
We harm the environment through a million other ways; by using plastic excessively, by burning plastic wastes thereby releasing toxic fumes, by cutting down trees, by preventing rainwater from seeping into the ground, and a lot more. But getting rid of these crimes won’t be an easy task since these activities or their outcomes have become such a naturalized part of our lives. Take plastic, for example, its wide range of applications has made it indispensable. We have let convenience take precedence over the security of the Earth’s future, our future. But slowly, it has dawned on us that being environmentally friendly is imperative to the survival of the human race.
Still, most people will be confused as to how to lead such a life or how to incorporate these values into their day-to-day activities. This is where a few women from the department of English, B.C.M. College, Kottayam, led by example.
The Communication and Journalism students from Bishop Chulaparambil Memorial College, Kottayam were puzzled in the beginning as to how to make the third version of their Media fest, Vox Pop, different this year. It was then the idea to have an environment-friendly college fest popped up. Both the teachers and students got actively involved in the preparations and started brainstorming for ideas. But it was only when they much researched into it that they realized how difficult and important of a challenge it really was. Everything from pens to chairs had elements of plastic in it. And since a large number of students were expected to attend the fest, the amount of waste generation would also be high. But all these hurdles just made the girls work harder, and the result was, as they claim was successfully conducted on August 31st,2019. Vox Pop 3.0 was Kerala’s first eco-friendly media fest.
Looking back at the efforts taken, the student coordinator of the fest, Athira Lakshmi S. says, “We had no idea how big of a task this was. And it was saddening to see that a single event like this had staggering effects on the environment. This fact increased our conviction to conduct our fest in the eco-friendliest way possible. We had faced many challenges like working within a limited budget. But we emerged successful in the end! The amount of research that went into this fest made all of us a lot more aware of environmental issues and how to tackle them. We worked day and night to set up this event. The only plastic used were adhesives, refills of pens, and plastic in the wires used to set up light and sound. We are very happy with our work and we hope that others take our effort as an example and try to conduct such programs in an environment-friendly way.”
The students spent days doing the stage décor which was mainly done using coir and the plants that they had grown over the days leading up to the fest. They even took care to keep the volume at the prescribed level so as to avoid noise pollution. Paper pens were used instead of plastic pens and wooden benches took the place of plastic chairs. Food was served on steel plates which the students cleaned themselves and apart from the food waste, all the other waste that was generated was recycled or reused.
Talking on the inspiration behind such an idea, Ms. Sona Saira Tharian, a staff coordinator of the fest, says, “I think that our endeavour is great because we did the right thing. Who says one cannot celebrate without causing harm to nature! From plastic pens, food packets to stage decorations, a single fest of celebration can cause so much havoc. We wanted to show the world that we can celebrate by being eco friendly.”
The students from participant colleges were amazed by the effort put up by the students and were inspired by them. The main event of the fest was Novus Terra – ramp walk, where participants exhibited a variety of clothes made of biodegradable materials. The competitions were based on the elements of nature such as fire, water, earth, and so on. The students also organized awareness programs such as seminars and mimes in schools and other public spaces to further spread awareness among the people.
Praises were showered on the organizers for bringing forth such an idea and successfully converting it into reality, thereby setting an example and spreading awareness. The girls have led by example and now it is our turn to follow them into this lifestyle.
Vox Pop 3.0 is proof that a lot can still be done for the environment. All we have to do is return to a pre-existing lifestyle, and force our lives to adapt to it in the best way possible. If we can’t do it as a whole, we can at least do it in part. Let us make the Earth a lot less grey and a lot more green, one step at a time. As we so often used to write in school for essay competitions-
“We have not inherited the Earth from our ancestors,
We have borrowed it from our children.”