By Shakir Ahmad
Once upon a time there was a woman living in a small village in Gojal Valley, Hunza. She was a very hard working woman of her age, taking care of all the domestic chores. She raised healthy and well-mannered children through her dedication and loyalty to her family. She had very less means to survive on in those harsh times of life in this part of the world. The extreme winter season would put an end to life and everything will be covered under white blanket of snow. The roaring winds will carry the dust and sand from one part of the village to the other throughout the long dry season for many months. In summers she was working in fields of potato and wheat to obtain maximum yield from the small terrace farms. She had to rely on the animal dunks as fertilizers for the crops. She used the fruits of the season and dry them up in the sun for the upcoming harsh winters. She collected the seeds of Apricot fruit and extracted oil from it which was eventually used for cooking and as medicine at home. She had all homemade tools for storing things including food and household items. They were made from wood or animal skin. For carrying things the traditional baskets were used. For sending gifts to other people the home made cloth bags were utilized. All this was done within the limits of natural ecosystem with minimum harm to the environment.
Then came the road of change in the region and new forms of lifestyle evolved throughout the entire region. People got access to many things coming from other regions ranging from food to transport and social change. Young people got opportunity to discover new cities through education and in search of work. Her house was not exception from this change. Her children brought many new things at home that made her life easier. The traditional way of farming and storing food was kept aside and new methods were introduced. She no longer had to rely on hard working in summers for storing food for winters.
This changed the relationship between nature and people. The most important and useful thing introduced to the society at this time was “plastic bag”. This item got used in everyday life of every home for everyday things. The application of its utility for multiple purpose and ease in use made it the most successful product of the market.
Time passed and then she saw that her village is full of this best applicable item. It was present in every corner of the land. The lightness made it easy for the wind to blow it in every direction of the place. She got annoyed of cleaning the dirt every day in her house caused by plastic bags. She also joined the local community to clean the streets during the year on many occasions.
After some time she found out that the best way of getting rid of this affordable but annoying item is to reduce its utility in everyday life. This was not easy but with determination in her will for the environment beauty and natural health she committed to her goal. This really changed her surroundings after a while.
She now uses the traditional cloth bags made of old cloths for shopping and carrying things around. She introduced the idea to many other people around but many laughed at her for her old fashioned ideology but she kept her action in practice. Some children introduced her idea in schools and within a short span of time the community was free of this not disposable thing from their village. They no longer had to clean the streets on regular basis under various banners and promotional programs. She changed her environment by changing her lifestyle at home.