Sustainability has become a bit of a buzzword recently and something I myself am incorporating more and more into my life. When doing research into how I could adopt a more sustainable lifestyle, I realised growing up in an Indian household I was already inherently equipped to live sustainably and thanks to my parents and my culture the changes I was consciously making were a lot easier than I would have anticipated.
The idea of reusing items such as jam jars and biscuit tins is something I grew up with. Remember the plastic shopping bags supermarkets would just hand out before the 10p charge? We collected them to transport the food we would share with friends and family. In turn, said friends or family members would reuse the bag when they did the same. Biscuit tins and jam jars were already being used to collect sowing needles, threads or for storing cupboard items such as lentils and sugar preserving them for months to come before it became the thing to do. Once it was empty the same jar or tin would be washed and refilled.
Being Indian we also never just chucked anything away. If we had a wardrobe clear out, I would place all the items in bags and take them to the charity shop or mosque where they would be distributed to those in need. I have magazines which I have collected over the years which my father has been nagging me to go through but it has never crossed my mind to chuck them away, instead, the ones I no longer want to keep will be taken to hospices and hospitals for others to read. Having been in and out of hospitals for appointments I know how much my dad and I value having a magazine to read while we are waiting for me to see a doctor. (We are both big readers – we would read cereal boxes just because they are in front of us)
One in one out policy
Coming to a new country with very little money and living in a small space meant my parents made the most out of what they had. There was no surplus of clothing, toys (if any) or any other items. Although I grew up in a much more fortunate position, that mentality was passed on to me. I grew up only purchasing clothing when I need to replace something. When a button fell off, my dad would say it could be fixed. If a zip was stuck he would try and alter it before giving in to replace it. Shoes would get scuffed and he would show me how to polish them to look new again. Now if I buy something I don’t need I often have a sense of guilt wash over me stopping me from making ridiculous purchases.
Being Indian, and in turn, having these part of my culture be inherently part of me, is something I am proud off and could shout from the rooftop about.
What parts of your culture/ lifestyle have you inherited from your parents?