How I gave my first eco-friendly speech in the mountainsJanuary 22, 2021
I remember the exhilaration I felt when I accepted the challenge of speaking in front of more than 25-30 trekkers from all across India that come along to trek with Indiahikes, India’s largest trekking company to trek India’s most popular trek, Roopkund in Uttarakhand. I was all pumped up.
I sat for hours preparing my Green Trails speech. Once I was done, I decided to practice it on Manu since with him everything was a joke.
I began, “Green Trails is an initiative started by Indiahikes about seven years ago to keep the mountains cleaner than we found them.” Then I asked him, “Do any of you know what is the main problem we face in the mountains?” No response from him. “Yes, that’s right, it’s waste” I said and you must be wondering why?”
He’s like, “Nah, not really.” “Since the past ten years people have looked as trekking more as vacation plan. which has brought more trekkers to the mountains. And with the increased amount of trekkers comes the increased amounts of waste. In cities, however we have a municipal corporation to deal with waste while the mountains it is either burnt or thrown into the landfill.”
“Now a company whose sole existence is based in the mountains, we couldn’t bear to see this happen and came up with creative ways to deal with the waste.”
I paused to find a bottle brick, spotted one, ran a good ten meters and rushed back, breathless and handed it over to Manu, and continues, “This is one way we deal with the waste. It’s simple plastic bottle, filled with plastic wrappers with a stick. It’s pretty hard as you can judge.”
Manu bursts out laughing at this point of time. I couldn’t have found a more loosely filled bottlebrick that made weird squeaky noises. Determined to take this seriously, I continued, “With that we have built staircases in schools, benches and stools to sit on.” With that being said I bursted out laughing as well.
Then we have ‘Eco pillows’ or ‘Travel Pillows’ made by the local women from villages surrounding us. We asked the women to wash, dry and cut their old clothes. Then when we visit the community we carry along pillow covers to stuff them over here. You can purchase them as well. The last way we deal with our waste is my compositing whatever leftover food we have at the bascamp.”
You’ll understand the magnitude of the problem once you see it with your own eyes.”
Finally the day arrived when I had to deliver my speech to the trekkers. I still remember it was pitch dark night as the cold winds blew across people’s faces as they cosied up in their sweaters. It was 28 May 2018.
I remember starting off confidently, speaking well, a little too fast, and when I realized I slowed down. I legit forgot to introduce the main element in our Green Trail initiative,the Eco bag. One of my responsibilities was to brief the trekkers about the initiative and what we expect them to do on the trail.
Now, since I told them about an Eco bag without formally introducing it, I felt stuck and turned around to my other Green Trail fellow Leo. Without hesitating, he stepped forward, introduced himself, just when he was about to begin the speech, a trekker interrupted him, saying we want her to speak. I looked confused with a smile and pointed to myself, “like me, really haha okay,I’ll give it another shot?”
The trekkers insisted I stand in the center when they began applauding my mini-speech. 🙂
This was a rather embarrassing post to put up on my blog. The reason I did so was that Neil Gaiman knows what he is talking about!!!
“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”