• Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Interview With Rohit Mehra, Author of "31 Green Habits to Save the Planet"

on Jul 25, 2022
Rohit Mehra

 Rohit Mehra is known as Green-man of India. He is an IRS officer of 2004 batch. Besides being a taxman, he is known as Vertical-Garden Man of India. He is also known as Forest Man of India and Seed-ball Man Of India. He has re-introduced ancient Vrikshayurveda (ancient Indian science of plantation). He has started the first ever Tree and Plant Hospital which is also equipped with a Tree-Ambulance in India. Besides he has also started a Mobile Tree ATM. He has written 3 books: Super Child-52- Habits of Parenting, Gift Lungs To Future Generations and 31 Green Habits to Save the Planet.


Frontlist: What inspired you to develop these 31 ideas for saving our planet?

Rohit: We always talk about saving mother earth. But, how, why, when, and what actions I can take at the individual level to help save the planet are the questions that come across when we think of living in harmony with the planet. We have evolved from our observation, experience, and research 31 small daily actions and habits which we have named as Green Habits to save the planet. Each month has maximum of 31 days, so if we follow 1 habit each day, we can go a long way in doing our bit to saving the planet. These are small daily habits that though seem small but have a huge incremental impact cumulatively. This is what inspired me. In my day-to-day life, suppose, I save 1 unit of power consumption in 1 week, I am saving 52 units of power in a year; now multiply these 52 units by 130 crores of individual citizens of India if they also start following these habits. Imagine, the national saving we can make in terms of power and ecology. 


Frontlist: How do paper consumption and production affect the environment?

Rohit: We, human beings, are the only creatures on the planet who first cut the tree and then make paper out of it and display on it ‘Do not cut the trees’! Paper is directly produced by way of cutting trees and is one of the reasons of deforestation as well as disappearance of the biodiversity since the demand of paper forces for agro-forestry replacing the native trees. In this book, we have suggested simple yet highly impactful habits how to save the paper. One such habit is to use both front and back sides of paper while printing. This habit can reduce the use of paper to almost 50 %.  

Frontlist:  Sinking groundwater levels are a stark warning, and while rainwater harvesting is a practical step, what other measures can be taken with urban households in mind? Please list some of the benefits.                                                                                                                   
Rohit: We are running out of our drinking water because of use, misuse, overuse and abuse of one of the essential elements of life. There are many habits which we have suggested like closing the tap while brushing, using the waste water of RO for wet-mopping, saving water in office and workplace etc,. One such step is rain water harvesting in household and workplaces. Rainwater harvesting technique is very simple, cost-effective and easy to install. We will have a water supply throughout the year. It will help maintain the groundwater level table. 


Frontlist:  According to Chapter 7, Water is the elixir of life, and water contains medicines. In light of the fact that water is essential to life, how can people learn to use it wisely and reduce wasteful water consumption?

Rohit: Water is one of the five basic elements of life, the other 4 being earth (soil), fire, space, and air.  We have a limited quantity of human usable water. The only way is to preserve this water. We can simply make Green Habits like using the amount of water which is actually required, saving RO water for other purposes, saving water from AC for plantation, using bath-shower for less time, turning off the shower when we are applying soap, etc,. We can go for water harvesting also. Instead of using pipe to wash our car, we can use dry-cleaning of the car.


Frontlist:  Even though there is a wide range of awareness practically everywhere, from textbooks to newspapers, there hasn't been a significant change. Where do you believe we are going wrong, and how do you envision your book addressing the issues?

Rohit: Change is not an event but a process and a matter of habit. Though the environmental awareness has increased, it is not manifested on the ground at a practical level. There is a gap between being aware and action for the environment and habits for the environment. If we develop green habits as part of our lifestyle, this gap can be minimized. This book is a user manual on how to develop environmentally-conscious habits. 


Frontlist: Where do you see Mother Earth in the next ten years as people continue to deplete her resources? What advice would you give to people as a motivational speaker?

Rohit: We are heading towards an environmental disaster if we keep on at this phase. Indian ethos teaches us to worship nature and its manifestations be it space, air, water, soil or hills, rivers, mountains; plants and trees; birds and animals, etc. We must revive our cultural ethos so that we can live with nature in harmony. We have only one planet and there is no Planet B. 

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