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One intervention that has helped to lessen the burden of discarded Tetra Paks in Bengaluru has been the upcycling of those cartons into baskets and bags by the creative humans at Anu Life and Joy @ Work. These projects seek to empower women by building livelihoods for them out of creating useful and beautiful products from materials that would otherwise fill the city's landfills.
Depending on where they lived, Indians generally grew up with milk reaching their doorstep each morning either in a glass bottle (which of course would be refilled and reused) or they'd have their steel cans filled by the milk man, who'd arrive with his own giant steel container. Today, milk generally comes either in a Tetrapak or a plastic packet-- neither one is healthy for our environment or for us because of its plastic content.
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Palestinian voices seem to be relatively absent in India today except when being described in AP reports about "violence" or "terrorism". It makes me think of Martin Luther King Jr.'s aphorism that "violence in the language of the unheard". And yet even with the escalation of violence in Palestine, why is it so hard for us to listen to Palestinians in the India of today?
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Although I have been reading books about Indian Jews for some time, none of my pressing questions seem to be answered by them: namely, why would a population that never experienced anti-Semitism choose to move to Israel? How did Zionism enter the Indian Jewish consciousness?
Clearly there is a relationship between living in a sustainable way and choosing not to engage with multinational corporations--especially when they're after your natural resources like the blue gold that is water.
"In May 1948 Ben Gurion declared the independence of the new state of Israel. It was immediately attacked by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon". But a good student of history would ask: Israel declared its independence from whom? From their British partners who, at least initially, trained them militarily and politically? From the Palestinians who did not have the military advantages and materiel that the European Jews had access to?
More recently, I made a switch from using tampons to reusable cloth menstrual pads. I'll be honest: tampons are absolutely more convenient and in many situations more comfortable. However, what I've learned over the past year about the damage that sanitary waste does to our environment was enough for me to withstand whatever minor inconvenience I may have each month.
When I was twenty-three years old my mother died. I had spent most of my college years dreading that moment, as the weekend I started classes at university she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.
In India, however, it's striking to see how little Indian literature is on official Indian syllabuses used in schools. In most countries, school is the place where nationalism is codified. It's the setting in which one learns not only his or her history, but also develops a love of one's culture, language, and hopefully a love and respect for other people's cultures as well.