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How to Go Green and Reduce Your Environmental Impact This Diwali

Shaloo Walia is an astrologer and tarot reader. She is an Art of Living teacher and also an ardent Krishna devotee and a follower of ISKCON.

Diwali is a blast, but large celebrations can have a negative impact on our environment. Learn how you can minimize waste and still enjoy the festival of lights.

Diwali is a blast, but large celebrations can have a negative impact on our environment. Learn how you can minimize waste and still enjoy the festival of lights.

The diyas (clay-pot lamps) lit during the Amāvásyā (new moon day) of Diwali signify the defeat of darkness and ignorance by light and knowledge. This Diwali, educate yourself about the potential damage that boisterous Diwali celebrations may pose to our environment and society.

While electricity-consuming lights and air-polluting crackers have long been a part of Diwali celebrations, they are wasteful and can be highly detrimental to our environment. This year, embrace the real spirit of Diwali—spread joy, love, and laughter rather than consuming disposable resources and polluting the environment.

Why not choose to make your celebration eco-friendly this Diwali? Take initiative and go green by becoming more aware of your social responsibility and using the following methods to reduce your environmental impact.

6 Ways You Can Reduce Your Environmental Impact This Diwali

  1. Donate Money or Items to a Good Cause
  2. Limit Your Use of Crackers and Fireworks
  3. Reduce Your Electricity Consumption
  4. Cook and Serve Healthy Foods
  5. Don't Use Store-Bought Wrapping Paper
  6. Make Your Own Cards From Recycled Materials

1. Donate Money or Items to a Good Cause

Diwali usually reminds us of festivities, sweets, new clothes, and crackers (fireworks). We tend to spend a lot of money on expensive gifts, sweets, noise-makers, and explosives. Unfortunately, there are many underprivileged members of our society who can’t afford to indulge in these traditions.

This year, Instead of spending hours bursting crackers, overeating, and partying, spend some time with underprivileged children at an orphanage or elders at an old-age home. Play games with them or bring them healthy sweets from home so that they can celebrate Diwali with you. Donate old clothes, stationery, home goods, or cash to non-profit organizations that serve underprivileged and marginalized communities.

After the traditional cleaning of the home, I usually find that I have items (old clothes, toys, books, etc.) that I no longer use. I take these items to an orphanage where they are given to children who cannot afford them.

You can also donate money to environmental organizations. If you plan to ignite crackers or other explosives this Diwali, consider offsetting your environmental impact by donating to an organization that plants trees in areas that have previously been deforested.

May the supreme light illuminate your minds, enlighten your hearts, and strengthen the human bonds in your homes and communities!

— Common Diwali Blessing

Crackers are noisy, wasteful, and pollutive. Let's ditch the fireworks this year!

Crackers are noisy, wasteful, and pollutive. Let's ditch the fireworks this year!

2. Limit Your Use of Crackers and Fireworks

In recent years, a number of environmentally friendly Diwali crackers have become available. If you do choose to celebrate with fireworks, consider paying a little more for eco-friendly brands and models.

But why not give the fireworks a complete miss this Diwali? The loud noises produced by Diwali crackers may scare children and pets and can trigger stress in some war veterans. Instead of buying single-use crackers that pollute the environment and wind up in landfills, spend that money on a thoughtful gift for yourself or your loved ones.

Diwali means holidays. It’s a time to get together, go shopping, and have fun. We have a family get-together every year on Diwali night. Personally, I would rather hear the laughter of my family than the deafening bursts of noisy firecrackers.

3. Reduce Your Electricity Consumption

Burning traditional oil lamps, candles, and diyas is a great alternative to using electric lights. Historically, diyas, or clay-based oil lamps, were widely used by celebrators of Diwali. In recent years, however, electric lights have become far more popular.

One should not waste electricity in the name of modernizing a festival, so let's take a pledge to make this a green Diwali by using candles and diyas like we did in the old days. This will reduce the amount of electricity we consume, and the flickering diyas will look prettier too. If you must use electric illumination, opt for LED lights which use about 80 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs.

Besan Ladoo are healthy sweets made from chick peas, nuts, clarified butter, and other ingredients.

Besan Ladoo are healthy sweets made from chick peas, nuts, clarified butter, and other ingredients.

4. Cook and Serve Healthy Foods

To many of us, Diwali is an excuse to binge on sweets. Because of the high demand for sweets around Diwali time, many shops have unfortunately resorted to adulterating their pastries with unhealthy additives in order to produce a higher volume of product.

Instead of wasting our hard-earned money on unhealthy and potentially adulterated treats, why not try our hands at creating some healthier, home-made delicacies like besan laddoo, coconut barfi, shakkarpare, or gajar ka halwa.

5. Don't Use Store-Bought Wrapping Paper

Why do we buy wrapping paper for our Diwali gifts? Most store-bought wrapping papers are used once, torn apart, then discarded. Wrapping your gifts with self-decorated, recycled materials will save you money and reduce your environmental impact.

You can paint newspaper or spare cloth to make one-of-a-kind gift bags/wraps that will be more meaningful to their recipients than generic, store-bought wrapping paper. Similarly, instead of buying gifts, you can gift homemade sweets, home-baked cakes or cookies, or potted plants to your loved ones. If you have artistic talents, consider creating artwork for your friends and relations.

6. Make Your Own Cards From Recycled Materials

Instead of purchasing wasteful greeting cards from retail stores, consider making your own Diwali cards this year. Use spare stationery, colored pencils, newspapers, and paints to create personal images and messages for your loved ones.

You can also send paperless e-cards to your friends and family or communicate your Diwali wishes through twitter, facebook or text message. Better yet, pick up the phone and wish your relatives a happy Diwali in real-time.

Diwali Trivia

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

  1. Who is the husband of Goddess Lakshmi?
    • Lord Vishnu
    • Lord Shiva
  2. Who killed Narakasura and when?
    • Lord Rama, Treta Yuga
    • Lord Krishna, Dwapar Yuga
  3. What is Diwali also known as?
    • Festival of Lights
    • Festival of Gifts
  4. What do the Sikhs commonly call Diwali?
    • Bandi Chhorh Divas
    • Deepavali
  5. Which empire was Lord Rama the ruler of?
    • Hastinapur
    • Ayodhya
  6. What type of oil is traditionally used in oil lamps lit during Deepavali?
    • Olive Oil
    • Mustard Oil

Answer Key

  1. Lord Vishnu
  2. Lord Krishna, Dwapar Yuga
  3. Festival of Lights
  4. Bandi Chhorh Divas
  5. Ayodhya
  6. Mustard Oil

The 10 Best Diwali Songs From Bollywood Movies

More on Indian Celebrations

  • Hola Mohalla: Celebrating Valor
    Holla Mohalla is a unique Sikh festival held annually at Sri Anandpur Sahib, India. It is a big event for Sikhs around the world and also marks the beginning of the Sikh New Year.

© 2018 Shaloo Walia

Comments

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on December 12, 2018:

Thank you! We emphasize on Green Diwali because the excessive use of crackers during Diwali cause so much pollution.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on December 09, 2018:

Shaloo

Really enjoyed this article, many of the tips are also good to use at Christmas, we often use them at Christmas.

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on November 16, 2018:

@Mary Kodai Kanal is a lovely place. No wonders you know so much about India!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on November 16, 2018:

My husband studied in Cody Kanal, the hill station when his parents were assigned in Delhi so India is close to our family.

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on November 15, 2018:

@Mary You have been to India...that's great! Hope you liked my beautiful country!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on November 15, 2018:

These are great tips. We have been in India during Diwali and were really amazed at the celebration. I support crackerless Diwali as well. Just like New Year.

manatita44 from london on November 08, 2018:

Good on you. A noble endeavour. Om Shanti!!

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on November 08, 2018:

Thanks Manatita! Pollution touches all time high during Diwali due to crackers. Govt. has ruled to burst crackers only for two hours during Diwali night. We should be conscious towards the environment and not wait for the govt. to pass regulations. It's been almost 8-9 years that I have been celebrating crackerless Diwali.

manatita44 from london on November 08, 2018:

Shaloo this is one green Divali with a difference. A new take! Chuckle. You have made your point all right. Most of these write-ups are quite festive and celebratory in mood, but yes, there is this other side. Kudos to you. Happy Divali! Salaam!

Shaloo Walia (author) from India on November 08, 2018:

Thanks Bill!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 08, 2018:

I always love learning about other cultures. Thank you for this lesson about Diwali! Enjoy!