Offerings to Gods

We in India give generously to our gods if not to people who need it the most (pun intended). A country where people worship multiple gods and goddesses, offerings to these deities are made in various ways and one of them is in the form of flowers.

It is estimated that some 800 million tonnes of flowers, including roses and yellow marigolds, are offered across temples mosques and gurudwaras in the country with the second highest population in the world. Now imagine if people were to receive them instead. But that is not the point.

What happens to these heaps of flowers which are liberally showered day after day and month after month with devotion? Well, maybe one thinks they are dumped in landfills. But no, majority of them aren’t. Not in India where these flowers are considered sacred. So where do they go?

Most of them get thrown into local water bodies like rivers, ponds and lakes, that too without any segregation of biodegradable and non-biodegradable components. The logic being that most rivers are considered sacred too, specially the Ganges.

While industrial runoff is often singularly blamed for the spike in pollution level in majority of the rivers in India, floral waste rarely gets the blame. Believe it or not but floral waste reportedly accounts for almost 16 per cent of the total river pollutants. Toxic Arsenic, Lead and Cadmium from the harmful farm-runoff, pesticides and insecticides used to grow flowers mixes with the river water making it highly poisonous (PH 6-8.5). These major pollutants affect the lives of 400 Million people linked to contracting dysentery, cholera, hepatitis and severe diarrhoea, which are the leading causes of child mortality across India and Bangladesh. While rotting flowers affect the water quality, the pesticides that are used on them, leach into the waters harming marine life as well.

Human beings are creative beings, and fortunately there is a segment of people who have come up with various solutions to tackle this sacred issue which is ultimately harming the environment and life in more ways than we can think of.

Avacayam, The Art of Living Foundation and Help Us Green are some of the foundations that have been successful in giving these flowers a new life. Avacayam for instance, is not only recycling these flowers into organic Holi colours but is also enhancing the livelihood of disabled people by empowering them to make these beautiful colours. Similarly the other two have also come up with creative ways to upcycle these flowers into incense sticks and other products.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

—Margaret Mead

Next time when you decide to offer flowers to deities, think twice. Will be even better if you could buy upcyled products made from flowers as well and be a part of bringing about a change.

NCR – Where death comes easy

NCR – Where death comes easy

If you are wondering how is dying easy by simply living in the National Capital Region? Well, all you need to do is breathe. The only time we are concerned about the kind of air we breathe is during Diwali because we can simply put the blame on firecrackers. And then? We get lost in the humdrum of our daily life with each passing winter season.

It’s all quiet. And whether you like it or not we are all dying a slow death every single day and some faster than the others.

As per the recent report by Lancet, air pollution killed nearly 1.7m people in India in 2019 which has been rising significantly year by year as per the research. And specifically, India’s capital, Delhi, tops the charts in one domain (if not anything else) of being the most polluted city in the world during its winter. For residents of this city and adjoining areas, experiencing a thick smog with toxic air particles is not a surprise anymore, when we can see and smell the smoke we breathe. This toxicity rises as much as 500% higher than the level the World Health Organization deems healthy. Therefore we are extremely far from breathing healthy air, rather everyday we breathe in air that is hazardous and lethal for us.

According to Dr Arvind Kumar, a chest surgeon at Delhi’s Ganga Ram Hospital and chairperson of the NGO the Lung Care Foundation, “Air pollution affects anyone and everyone who breathes. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and a sweeper on the street, both breathe about 25 000 times a day. However, the economic difference allows one to control the quality of air that goes into one’s lungs. An economically deprived person living in a shack or by the roadside has no access to any technology device which can in any way influence the quality of air.” And also, according to him, on an average day, when pollution is relatively lesser, people living in NCR inhale smoke equivalent to seven cigarettes a day and this increases with the level of pollution. So whether you smoke or not, you are smoking anyway including children and newly borns. Let’s not even discuss smoking hazards because we are all quite aware of those, but so far we only linked it to tobacco.

This year has been different, like an icing on the cake, pollution in Delhi was also connected to a rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths as the winter months set in, with the Indian Medical Association stating in November that 13% of the city’s recent Covid-19 cases may be linked to air pollution.

This week’s Lancet report also sets out the economic cost of the contaminated air, saying pollution fatalities in 2019 led to a total loss of $36.8bn, or 1.36% of India’s gross domestic product, with the poor and populous states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar hit worst.

“The high burden of death and disease due to air pollution and its associated substantial adverse economic impact from loss of output could impede India’s aspiration to be a $5tn economy by 2024,” the report says.

If this doesn’t wake us up and ignite the desire to do our bit towards the environment what will?

If you’re already on that path, do share your story with us.

Whose Grass is Greener

grass is greener book

Love thy neighbor versus envy thy neighbor, we would prefer to go with the former. It’s probably more peaceful that way, no matter how green the neighbor’s grass may seem. And the best way to convince yourself to love thy neighbor is to keep repeating, ‘The grass is greener this side of the fence’. Even better is to buy a notebook with this slogan on it.

We did what we do best, we made eco-friendly notebooks with this slogan. It’s made of handmade paper recycled from cotton rags. Available at The White Light.

Upcycled Gift bags. Anyone?

REd block print bag

Although the global awareness on environmental issues has increased tremendously, only a minute percentage of people have consciously changed their consumption patterns. Not that they don’t want to, but probably these products don’t add up to their coolness factor or their standards per se.

Nevertheless, we just don’t give up. We at The White Light, continue to find solutions to cater to the ‘likes’ of people, with bombastic designs, convince them to make the ultimate switch to conscious buying.

Our upcycled handcrafted gift bag is another one of our creations. Newspapers block printed and converted into super chic carry bags. Would you buy it or suggest it to anyone who cares enough?

Our Upcycled Pen Stands

pen stand upcycled

What do we do with used toilet paper rolls and all the discarded cloth that we keep collecting? Well, we get creative. We design, innovate and use every bit of material we have, doesn’t matter the combinations. Particularly when the goal is to reduce the waste dumped to the landfills, ideas do emerge.

A simple, yet very useful and durable product that we tried and tested and yes, also sold in large quantities are these awesome pen stands, made from discarded fabric and used toilet paper rolls. They turned out to be absolutely gorgeous, radiating brightness, making any dull space vibrant and happy and why not? They’re made with assorted fabric and colors! And life is all about the variety of spice you add to it, or shall we say colors? 🙂

To  know more click here.

Look what the Philippines invented!

salt water lamps

Some areas of underdeveloped and developing countries still do not have access to electricity. Lighting up homes is not only cumbersome but also hazardous to health. People have to travel long distances to collect dry sticks and buy kerosene to burn lamps.

As a solution to this painful problem which the poor face, Mejino, an engineer, innovated this absolutely brilliant lamp which can run for 8 hours, with salt and water! Yes, all you need is one glass of water and two tablespoons of salt. And if you happen to live by the ocean, voila! you just use the ocean water!

We do hope this impressive innovation in alternate energy brings respite to people for whom access to electricity is luxury.

Ref: SALt

The White Light Travel Diary Series…

upcycled glass

In one of our previous posts we shared a version of upcyled shipping containers we found in Chennai, India. This post is about a conscious lifestyle change, not in anyone’s home, but in a hip restaurant in New Delhi.

The cutlery holder with upcylced bottle caps got full marks from us! We hope that more restaurants and outlets can adopt such a simple yet very cool change to save this city from being one of the worst in being environment friendly.

The Upcycled Art Series…

skateboard art, japanease

There are numerous artists whose work of art is inspirational and people spend hours in art galleries to analyze and admire their paintings and sculptures. We do the same thing, just that we particularly appreciate artists like Haroshi, from Japan, who create artwork from discarded materials. Haroshi’s passion to upcycle discarded skateboards into intricate work of art emerged from his infatuation for skateboards in his early teens.

The work of art speaks for itself, the complex, yet immaculate finish has left us in awe. If more artists emerge like him, who can convert waste into the extraordinary, the world will become a more beautiful place, aesthetically and environmentally.

What do you feel?

The pen is mightier than the sword.

Eco-friendly pen

With electronic gadgets accessible at the palm of your hand, you don’t feel the need to use a pen that often as you did a decade ago. Earlier we used to buy pens in bulk to avoid frequent trips to the stationary store. But now, we buy a pen only when needed and it takes probably months before we buy a new one. This often leads to opting for an expensive pen, a designer branded pen probably, which is used more as an accessory in the shirt pocket, or complimenting a designer bag.

A pen is a pen, and a pen is mightier than a sword. The pen that we make at The White Light, is the mightiest though, because we make them eco-friendly. Such is the power of the pen.

For more details click here.

The Upcycled Wrapping Paper Story continued…

Red wrapping paperOur vibrant upcycled gift wrapping papers come in varied colors and block prints. Who would’ve thought that discarded newspapers can be brought to life once again, and for no other reason than to wrap the gifts that are given from the heart.

Made with passion to enhance the dignity of life for the downtrodden, giving hope to those with no hope. Being that ray of life through The White Light.