Sunday, 21 March 2021

Roundtable 4: Sustainable Living: Towards a Better World Everyday

 The Department of Sociology and Social Work conducted its fourth student roundtable of the academic year 2020-21 on Monday, 22nd March 2021. The panellists were Niyanta Desai (6EPS), Manisha D (2MSW-HR), Rahil Parekh (2PSEco), Ahana Mukherjee (2MSoc) and Nishaanthini M. (2MSW-CCP). The moderator was Suryaveer Singh Deora from 6PSEco

The session started with an introduction to the topic by Teethi Nag, who gave the audience a background on the topic and introduced the key speakers for the day. The first speaker was Ahana, who spoke about what exactly is sustainable living and why it is important for our future. She also outlined the importance that the youth play in perpetuating this issue.


Sustainable Lifestyle at Home

Manisha spoke about how consumers can collectively influence companies, by choosing to say no to polluting products. Next, Nishaanthini gave deep insights into the topic of sustainable practices at home. She spanned over electricity consumption at home, plastic usage, water purifier systems, and much more. She also highlighted how meat consumption is detrimental to society. She gave tips to the audience, like switching to bamboo toothbrushes over plastic ones, installing rainwater harvesting systems and solar panels, and concluded her inputs by urging everyone to adopt such practices.

Sustainability Goals and their Importance

Rahil took up this topic, emphasizing building a future that is efficient and in harmony with the environment. Sustainable goals go hand in hand with social goals like gender equality. Moreover, minimalism also is connected to sustainable living, as it has to do with doing the most with the least resources.

Food Industry and Sustainable Practices

Ahana talked about the food industry. She started off by explaining organic food, and although it is completely environment-friendly, it is not affordable. The water resources are also heavily stressed, and expected to last only for the next 30 years or so. Plus, the world is facing water scarcity for around 4.7 million all over the world. Virtual water is the water required for the process of producing food, and a lot of this water is wasted. Hence, the food industry also stresses already depleting natural resources. She further iterated how groundwater and freshwater resources are being overexploited by governments. Moving on, she spoke about the various methods that can be used to replenish these water resources. Sustainable packaging is also an emerging concern for many companies today. Rahil continued this topic by speaking about organizations that are propagating sustainable practices. Many start-ups are working toward sustainable agriculture and renewable energy.

Fashion Industry’s Impact

Manisha addressed how society induces us to consume more fashion products than we actually need. Also, the fashion industry is one of the leading waste producers in the world, with the third-largest carbon emissions and being the second largest water consumer worldwide. A single pair of jeans and a cotton t-shirt can take up to 30,000 litres. Moreover, many garments are made of plastic-based materials and particles from this enter the water bodies when we watch them. Several corporations make claims that they are green, but this is not always true. Manisha further suggested tips each person can follow to reduce fashion consumption and brought up an idea for a club where students can swap clothes to be ‘green’ in fashion.

Sustainability in Developed and Underdeveloped Countries

Niyanta gave the audience an overview of the scenario and spoke at length about the state of developing countries. They are more vulnerable and have a lack of financial resources to cope with natural calamities. Climate change and its various calamities are one of the major causes of many deaths, globally and annually. The gender issue is also rampant in climate change issues, as women and girls are more vulnerable to the ill effects of climate change. She posed the question ‘should countries with historical responsibility for emission be obliged to compensate?’

She further iterated that the need of the hour is that developed nations must spearhead the attempts toward fighting climate change and pave the way for developing countries to do the same.

Post this, Suryaveer opened the floor for questions from the audience. Finally, Manisha spoke about consumer behaviour and how we need to change. She also said that collectively, consumers can coerce organizations to take actions that are environment-friendly. Ahana added to this and talked about biodiversity issues and other various issues that are present today.

The session was wrapped up by Suryaveer with a concluding note and a vote of thanks. It was a fruitful session and provided great insight on the topic of discussion.

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