Action 284: Plan Diwali with the environment in mind

Diwali celebrationsDate: 11 October
Action: 284
Cost of taking action: £/$/€ NIL

 

The Festival of Lights is approaching!

Around the world, Hindus are preparing to celebrate Diwali from 04 November (this date varies as it is based on the Hindu calendar).

Diwali means “Festival of Lights” and for many people this five day event honours Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth. Lamps are lit and windows and doors are left open to help Lakshmi find her way into people’s homes.

Other ways that Hindus celebrate the festival include:

  • Spring-cleaning the home
  • Wearing new clothes
  • Decorating buildings with coloured lights
  • Fireworks displays
  • Exchanging gifts and preparing festive meals

Just like at any celebration, like a birthday party or Christmas gathering, the last of these brings some environmental considerations. If you are preparing for Diwali we would like you to give some thought to this for today’s action.

Here are some ways in which you can make your celebration gift-giving and meals greener.

What to do

  • try to give “sustainable gifts”, avoiding plastics, plastic packaging, and excess packaging
  • traditional gifts such as fruit, sweets, and home prepared treats are best of all
  • consider giving gifts to an environmental charity of your choice instead of over-giving to family
  • plan Diwali meals carefully to limit food waste
  • if after careful planning there is still surplus food, think about how it could be used the next day, frozen, or given away – perhaps to a local foodbank or homelessness charity
  • when buying Diwali foods, try to avoid excess or plastic packaging
  • if packaging is essential, make sure it is recyclable … and then goes into the recycling system!
  • let your family and guests know about your concerns and desire to reduce Diwali’s “plastic footprint”
  • encourage friends and family to adopt this action too
  • try to purchase or make paper decorations instead of using plastic

Take action

We all recognise the importance of cultural and religious festivals such as Diwali, Christmas, Eid, Passover and many, many others around the world, and we are not suggesting for one moment that this should change.

However, we must also recognise that sometimes, in the past, our celebrations have been less considerate of the environment than ideal. By collectively taking measures to reduce the impact of our consumption at these times, we can really make a difference to overall levels of food waste, carbon emissions and plastic use.

Happy Diwali!