Category: Real Talk

Real Talk

Dear Smokers: Smoke alone and die alone. Stop infecting others with secondhand smoke.

Given how polluted the air is in India, do we really need smokers making it worse? Can your lungs afford it? No, they can’t. Since today’s World No Tobacco Day, let’s remind smokers everywhere that if they insist on poisoning their bodies, let them do it by themselves. The rest of us don’t need to suffer from secondhand smoking.

In fact, world governments should create designated ‘Smoking Centers’ where smokers can gather and smoke themselves to death. Smoking should be banned everywhere else. Let’s hope that by World No Tobacco Day next year, there are fewer smokers ruining it for everyone else.

Real Talk

Everyone In India Smokes Due To Pollution

“We have no non-smokers in India. Everybody living in India is a smoker. Air is needed for every breath. The only thing you can do if you want to avoid total damage is to stop breathing, which unfortunately you cannot do for more than a minute.” – Dr. Arvind Kumar, chest surgeon and founder of the Lung Care Foundation

According to Air Quality Life Index, developed by the University of Chicago, air pollution cuts life expectancy by almost two years and the consequences of pollution are more fatal than HIV/AIDS, cigarette smoking, and even terrorism.

Not breathing is not an option but including the right foods in your diet can help prevent the ill effects of air pollution. Like broccoli and broccoli sprouts, which prevent a common nasal allergy that occurs with exposure to diesel exhaust.

Real Talk

Every time you wipe your ass a tree dies

Well maybe not every time but 10% of trees are cut down every year to manufacture toilet paper. While the alternatives aren’t appealing, such as using a piece of cloth that you have to wash every time you take a dump, it is worth keeping sustainable alternatives in mind. But then again is that really sustainable? You’d have to use water to wash that cloth… Well, the point is that you should always think about how to make your lifestyle more sustainable.

Educate YoSelfReal Talk

Go, Goa, Gone?

Photo credits: Kedar Marathe via goa.me

Ah, Goa. Land of sun, sea, and sand; the top spot on the Indian college kid’s bucket list. And indeed, tourism is one of the biggest revenue generators in the state.

But everything has a cost, and haphazard tourism infrastructure development has indeed made an ugly blot on the state’s landscape and livability.

According to stats revealed by the Department of Tourism, Goa, the number of tourists visiting the state has steadily increased from 3.1 million in 2013 to a whopping 6.33 million in 2016. Compare these numbers with the state’s population of just 1.8 million. At any time, the tourists in the state outnumber the residents.

This poses severe challenges to the administration – the need for adequate infrastructure for tourists, waste management, reducing the impact on the fragile eco-systems, and more.

Eco-Tourism- What and Why

What does the term “eco-tourism” mean? Very often, people assume that eco-tourism is just another term for going green. Building lodges in the middle of the forest, geothermal powered hotels, efforts by tourist operators to reduce their carbon footprint and more.

While all this is part of eco-tourism, it doesn’t present the complete picture. Eco-tourism has to be sustainable. When it comes to sustainable tourism, there are three pillars to consider – economic, environmental and socio-cultural.

The current approach of unregulated mass tourism, with no thought to the environment or the future, causes irreversible damage. Garbage piles dotting scenic beaches, loss of marine life (see reports on the impending death of the Great Barrier Reef), large luxury hotels and resorts that chew through power and other natural resources – stand as testimonies to the negative impacts of unsustainable tourism practices.

The state should take a leaf out of Portugal’s book: the country recently won the title of Europe’s leading tourism destination for 2018 at the World Travel Awards. Faced with mounting debt and financial crisis, Portugal has managed to revitalize its economy by focusing on travel and eco-tourism. The country today has emerged as one of the most sustainable tourist destinations in the world.

Goa, just like Portugal, is rich in both natural bounty and a downplayed but vibrant cultural history. The Department of Tourism of Goa should focus on converting existing tourist accommodations into eco-friendly and sustainable structures.

Getting B&Bs, hotels, lodges, beach shacks, and restaurants to install sewage treatment plans, waste management systems, and to switch over to renewable energy will not only benefit the state’s environmental landscape but also increase the revenue for tourism operators in the long run.

That said, a shift to a sustainable tourism model will require the involvement of several parties – the central and state governments, tech entrepreneurs, hotel and restaurant owners, green activists and above all, the local communities.

The Final Word

It’s time that Goa moved towards a sustainable and culturally relevant tourism experience by getting all stakeholders on board. The current exploitative model of ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’ will not stand the test of time.

Either it goes, or Goa does.