I would see trash littered all over the streets when I grew up in China. I’ve always been someone that enjoyed living in a clean and organized environment. When I young, I saw myself inventing a giant trash magnet that can suck up all the trash on Earth to be sent into outer space. I would find a way to do that and boom the problem will be solved. I’ve been told that I am a 'big idea' guy.
This week, we had a chance to learn about how the people in Hasiru Dala were engaging the citizens of Bangalore to start composting their wet food waste. We visited a garden called SwachaGraha Kalika Kendra where plants flourished, and vegetables grew plentifully within a couple months of the garden’s opening. It was a beautiful urban garden among this massive city.
They told us that they do door to door outreach as well as distributing posters to inform people about the composting events that they host. This was all too familiar to me because I had interned with Waste Management’s outreach team all over Puget Sound. We did something similar to what Hasiru Dala has been implementing. However I always questioned the method of outreach that they taught us because behavior changes like these are tangled with so many other problems.
This is my goal for my time here in India as well. I want to make a lasting impact. Lasting impacts need a clear understanding of what needs to be done to initiate a behavior change in a community. I would like to think that there is some big idea out there that could instantly change people’s minds.
I came across this article on India Today this past week that talked about how the city of Indore was rated the cleanest city in India. One of the strategies that was talked about in the article was their focus on educating the youth on the importance of these practices. These youth serve as ambassadors for the movement and influence their family members’ behaviors. Door to door outreach and events with Hasiru Dala will be the first step in realizing this reality. We can’t afford to let another generation neglect these grand challenges.