Abstain to Sustain

Sonal Panchal Shah
3 min readApr 22, 2021


“We Do Not Inherit the Earth from Our Ancestors; We Borrow It from Our Children” Aptly said! Now more than ever the subject of sustainability has come into the spotlight. Just look at what is happening around us — cyclone Nisarga to locust attacks, Uttarakhand floods owing to the glacial lake outburst and finally, the pandemic of the century — Corona virus! Nature is reacting at a pace that humans can’t cope.

While a large part of the population worldwide, is sensitized about the perils of modern lifestyle, industrialization and deforestation, actions are yet to be translated into a “movement”. And, like every other change this is also slow. The question is do we have that much time? We don’t! It is not just environmental activists like Greta Thunberg, or celebrities and responsible large corporations but common man, every household who need to play their part — small and meaningful; responsible and accountable to bring about the desired change.

Sustainability starts at home. Here, are a few modest and effortless actions we have embraced into our day-to-day lives to happily co-exist with Mother Earth. Let’s make her smile😊

1. Replace plastic water bottles — For over a year now, we have been living in confinement. We always had a large earthen jar to store water, to keep it cool. But then bottles were used — to carry water from home to office or to school. The good thing with ditching bottles has been that we now walk up to the kitchen whenever we are thirsty. That way we remain active, walk and give a little exercise to our body.

2. Handmade cloth bags — We are using old clothes, torn bedsheets to sew fancy carry bags. That keeps us excited enough to use them every time we step out of home for purchasing grocery, fruits, or vegetables.

3. Home Gardening — This has always been on my radar but somehow between balancing work, home and my child I never found the time. Or, it would be appropriate to state, I never made the time. The thing is, friends, home gardening can be therapeutic. Infact, it is a good activity to keep your child engaged. In the past one year, we have started growing everything from mint to tulsi, ajwain, lemon grass, curry leaves, chillies, tomatoes and more. If there isn’t adequate space in your balcony, use the building compound or garden premise to grow fresh fruits, vegetables and more.

4. Minimize the use of air conditioners — Upgrade your windows. If your home has old windows, they might not be energy efficient. Besides, having more fragrant indoor plants helps feel fresh and energized. We love our nigh-blooming jasmine (raat-rani) so much that we keep the balcony open on most nights and ditch the air-conditioner.

5. Zero-food wastage — As per statistics, in a world where we produce enough food to feed everyone, 821 million people — one in nine — still go to bed on an empty stomach each night. Even more — one in three — suffer from some form of malnutrition. We take the matter very seriously and therefore; we cook using measurement. Its fine if the food cooked is less. Couple of times we ran into situations where my daughter asked for more because she loved the dish but then we supplement the shortage by adding dates, salads or fruits to the meal. That way we control wastage. Furthermore, we make sure that we are feeding the needy. I do not advocate the idea of feeding leftovers. So, our cooking routine covers adequate proportions for our domestic help, her kids and the building security. Each one can certainly feed one!

Now, these are a few baby-steps we have taken towards leading a sustainable life apart from using high-quality natural bamboo toothbrushes, using waste kitchen water for watering plants, switching to organic / plant-based substitutes and using bucket for bathing instead of showers.

It’s a choice we have to make — to sustain or abstain. What’s yours?



Sonal Panchal Shah

An adventurous professional, an imperfectly perfect mom or a WooMAN with special interests! I live life at the mercy of words-it pays my bills after all:)