28 July 2008

Green Sikhs?

This latest Sikhtoon and another article in Sikhchic, brought to my attention by Jasleen Kaur, has gotten me thinking. How to be greener. Being, at the moment, physically handicapped - not disabled, I'm still pretty abled - this presents a challenge.

As much as I hate to admit it, some things I cannot do right now. Hanging clothes on the outside line is simply impossible. (Not to mention, I live near Seattle and it's usually pretty wet out.) I have cut back on the time I use the clothes dryer, though. If that article isn't quite dry, it gets hanged up or spread on the bed to dry. I also have moved from warm water wash to cold for most things. I do admit to washing bedsheets in hot water - please forgive me - because of a totally obsessive-compulsive thing about bed mites.

I have taken to using reusable cloth bags for grocery shopping. But I did that years ago anyway. I am knitting a bag now to have something a bit more expandable. If any of my volumnous readers are knitters, please go here to read about 1Bag. Such a great idea. Someone join me? OK, I know - or at least suspect, most of the readers of this blog are young Sikh men who are probably not that interested in knitting. There are a few women, however, - at least one of them knitters - who read this, and they might be willing to do this.


I found a nice pattern for crocheting a bag that I'll try when the left hand in working better. I can knit now pretty well, but crochet is difficult.

I have taken to planning shopping trips carefully, so many little trips become just one. Unfortunately, there is not even a convenience store where I live that I can walk to and bus service is limited to a little bus that comes once an hour during weekdays only, and I have tried that a few times. Hard to get off and on, but I can do it. (Yes, the bus does have a lift; I feel unsteady on those things, though, and I'm sure they use extra energy, so Mai struggles off and on.) I use a backpack for carrying purchases, as I need to use a cane for walking these days. It's hard to get off and on , but I can usually find some kind soul willing to do a random act of kindness. The real problem there is that some stores just don't allow backpacks because of shoplifting problems. Most will hold them while I shop, but a couple refuse. Liability, I suppose. OK, they don't need my business and I don't need their goods. An even exchange. My valuables, of course, are in my fanny pack, in lieu of a purse

Cooking I am unsure of. Does the rice cooker use less energy (electricity) than the stove (natural gas)? I don't obsess, but I'd like to know. I know doing processing by hand would save energy, but I admit to using the food processor quite a bit. I have, however, gotten a hand spice grinder to use instead of the electric coffee grinder I had been using. I think the hand ground spices taste better, too. We eat a lot of tortillas, both corn (maize) and flour. I have invested in a tortilla press, a pretty little thing, quite decorative actually, and am now making our own tortillas. Fresher than from the store and I know my hand work saves energy over those huge machines in the factories. In the summer, I make my own curd (yogurt). It doesn't seem to grow well, though, in the cool of other seasons.

My favourite green thing is my green thing. My little organic garden. This year, unfortunately, it's something of a bust. During the early spring planting season, the temperatures were below freezing; then when the weather warmed, my husband's back gave out and he couldn't cultivate for me. (Try cultivating with half your body not working. I did. It doesn't work. I kept falling down and quit before doing real damage to myself.) We do have a small crop of pumpkins growing, plus some collards, voluntaries from last year's crop gone to seed. I have also gotten a promise that next weekend we will plant some cucumber seeds. My experience is that those will grow very easily, in fact will take over the whole garden if you let them. For next year's crop, all of this should provide a good basis for a real garden again. I forgot to mention my curry plants. They have gone wild, seemingly happy and free. And delicious, too.
I also do the obvious little things. Turn off anything that isn't being used, lights, TV, computer, etc. I am considering turning off all the power strips at night to cut down on the use of stand-by energy. I'm not quite ready for that, though, because many of our electronic gadgets have to be reset after a power outage and I'm not sure if I'm ready for that every morning yet.

I remember back when there was a severe water shortage and I learned to take three minute showers, five when hair washing. I haven't quite gone back to that since I never really felt clean, and since the stroke, everything takes more time. I have, however, stopped dawdling in the shower, the first thing here that is a real sacrifice for me.

I have also heard that the methane produced by the cows of India are a major source of global warming. I'm not sure I believe that, but in any case, that is out of my hands. Totally.

Am I crazy enough to believe these silly little things are really going to save the world, stop global warming, make a real difference, all that stuff? Sure! Why not? "Great oaks from little acorns grow." "The journey of a thousand

miles begins with a single step."

Now, next problem...How are we going to save our beloved Punjab, both in India and Pakistan (Occupied Khalistan), from desertification? "The difficult we do at once. The impossible takes a little longer." That said, the sooner we get moving, the sooner we'll see results.
BTW, in Sikhtoons, you can find many cartoons about the Third Sikh Holocaust (Teeja Ghalughara).by going here: http://www.sikhtoons.com/ThirdSikhHolocaust.html



  1. Mai... where can i download bani to play to my son? Also, what would you recommend? At the moment, i just do small slokas for him.

  2. So how if little 'Forever Young (in spirit)' doing? I have thought a lot about him.

    I'm thinking of how we taught Sandeep. Of course, in those days, we had no pc's and the Internet was the stuff of science fiction. Hence no downloads.

    Mani and I were great jap-naamers and Sandeep's first multisyllable word was Wadagaga, that's baby talk for Vaheguru. I sang him nursery rhymes, substituting Vaheguru for the words - it was often necessay to put an extra syllable at the end of a line, but that's easy enough. Try 'Mary Has A Little Lamb' or 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.' It works surprisingly well.

    From babyhood, he accompanied us during our prayers and he picked up a lot from that. He first learned the Mool Mantar - of course. I love Harshdeep's recording of that from Rang De Basanti. A lovely version with Sikh pictures, not the movie, is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNb1efvF9J0&feature=related.

    I also download from Sikh Lionz (http://www.sikhlionz.com) Click on their multimedia

    Sikhi To The Max (http://sikhitothemax.com) is a great resource. There are many really cool things there.

    Sikh Philosophy Network (http://sikhism.us/) also has a good library

    I would also suggest googling on 'gurbani for children' or for kids. I'm no expert on children at all. Our one child learned by watching and listening to Mom and Dad. Now there's an idea. Maybe your singing to him might be more effective than anything you could download. Just an idea that came to me as I type.

    Give him my love, please!

    Chardi kala!

    Mai, TINK



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