26 Ways To Unfuck The Planet - An Indian Artist Shows Us How

26 Ways To Unfuck The Planet - An Indian Artist Shows Us How
Image Courtesy: Pooja Dhingra

‘A for... Always Carry a Water Bottle’

‘B for... Bleed into a Menstrual Cup’

Surely, you are wondering what just happened to the usual Apple and Ball that we instinctively respond with! But given the vast damage to our environment caused due to excess and unmanageable garbage, Delhi-based graphic conceptualiser Pooja Dhingra feels that it is time that we all learn something new. To add some fun to this learning, she has designed a colourful and appealing syllabus - entirely out of the 26 letters of the English alphabet - under a project that she calls Cut The Crap - 26 Simple Ways To Unf**k The Planet.

By linking every letter with one solution to a persisting environmental problem, Pooja has designed a solution set of 26 ways that are smart and simple to include in our daily lives and save our environment.

Image Courtesy: Pooja Dhingra

It all started when Pooja, now 38, wanted to change the scenario for the family of rag pickers that lived right outside her colony almost two years back. “They deal with the garbage that we make, often coming into contact with harmful trash such as used sanitary napkins. As they are exposed to various toxic materials without protective gear, they pose several health risks,” she told us. Through this project, Pooja is trying to spread some alternative ways of living to reduce the tonnes of waste that we generate daily.

The mammoth scope of graphic design today allows designers to create some seriously catchy art that not only grabs attention, but also shares a social message or two that stays with the viewers. Given the short attention span dedicated to online content, Pooja has created minimal art that talks a lot more in lot less time. With the 26 letters of the alphabet that everyone is so familiar with, she has associated the most sustainable methods of living with each alphabet so that they become an integral part of our routine lives.

Thus, each time we see the letter D, we will be reminded to Discontinue Disposables, thanks to Pooja’s efforts to build this easy-to-use guide. Tons of garbage is generated solely by the disposed containers of packaged foods and drinks, creating immense pressure on the environment. These materials, if not biodegradable, add to the soaring mountains of trash in the landfills. As a solution, Pooja recommends, with the letter K, that we all Keep a Kit that consists of a lunch box, steel cutlery and a coffee mug that will certainly help us keep the environmentally damaging plastic coffee containers and food boxes at bay. In case you’re wondering what the letter L might stand for, here’s the illustration that Pooja has made:

Image Courtesy: Pooja Dhingra

Although a conceptualiser and a graphic designer but not an illustrator, Pooja initially struggled with creating art out of her concepts. “My illustrator friend helped me bring my art into place, but insisted that I create the original work on my own as it is only me who knows best what I want to convey. So I made a list of things such as composting and saving electricity that I was already practising, along with some research from Zero Waste Lifestyle India, an online forum that discusses methods to live by creating zero waste, and websites like Dailydump.org and ecofemme.org. It was important to present the research through simple art and words for everyone to follow.”

Of the 26, Pooja has already imbibed 19 of her proposed ways to recycle and reuse. “Instead of opting for fast fashion, I buy my clothes from a lady who stitches them for me. I also grow several foods such as tomatoes, basil leaves, and other herbs in earthen pots that I have kept in my balcony. I bleed in a cloth pad, and I try to heal with natural remedies such as cloves for toothache and fenugreek seeds for period pain. Including all the 26 steps isn’t an easy job, but if we can practise at least five or six of them, I think our efforts will bring an enormous change in the environment.”

Pooja has published her project online for everyone to see and use free of cost, thereby spreading awareness about saving the environment. If anyone wishes to print the contents of the project, it should be on ‘edible or compostable paper with natural inks’ and no other paper. As Cut the Crap is both interesting to look at and easy to follow, Pooja hopes that schools take up the initiative to educate kids about the methods of minimising and managing waste with her project. “It is important that we start early to not cause more damage to our environment. One way to do that would be to teach our kids how to live sustainably,” Pooja says.

Image Courtesy: Pooja Dhingra

Pooja is presently designing an activity book for kids from which they can learn how to grow their own food. Full of anecdotes and pictures, the book is her next passionate project for which Pooja is presently looking out for a publisher to collaborate with. If you wish to get in touch with her and know more about her work, you can contact her here.

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