The other day I called on a friend who stays in a beautiful house quite a distance away from the city. The house, constructed some thirty years back, still looks new and the rooms being spacious, it is really cool inside. However, I felt that there was something lacking and then it struck me that there was not a single tree in that big property.
My friend explained to me that their decision to cut down all the trees had been a wise one. Now, the courtyard always remained clean without the leaves that used to be shed incessantly by those trees when they were there. Moreover, they could now save the money which they had to spend on pruning the trees every three months. Also, they were now free of the niggling worry that strong winds might uproot a tree or two.
I back home, I thought about her reasoning and felt so sad. How grossly materialistic have we become! How sad that we turn our backs on nature and shut out the light and life from that wonderful source! The only solace is that there are people still around who care about nature and strive hard to keep the green canopy over our heads.
It is in this context that the efforts of people like Lakshmi N. Menon need to be reckoned and appreciated. Lakshmi, who is a designer by profession, is the director of ‘Pure Living’ an organisation involved in propagating eco-friendly products. An ardent lover of nature and a successful entrepreneur, she is currently busy in making hand crafted paper pens that would not only reduce plastic waste but also contain seeds that would grow into trees.
The entire concept is interesting and challenging. She has named her project ‘En tree’ and her paper pens, ‘with love’ (vithu means ‘seed’ in Malayalam). With these pens this enterprising, young ecopreneur expects to initiate students into growing trees and conserving nature. Once they finish using the pens, they can plant them in the soil and the seeds packed into the rear end of the pen would sprout and grow into useful trees.
The findings made by a group of students studying in a government school in Palakkad district revealed the extent to which nature is damaged by the throwing away of the seemingly innocuous plastic ball point pens after use. More than 10 cores of ball points are being used and thrown away by the students community alone, in Kerala. The amount of plastic that gets accumulated in the earth, they point out, is alarming.
Ever on the look out for an opening to introduce her eco-friendly products, Lakshmi saw in this a tremendous opportunity. She came out with her paper pens containing seeds of the Agasthya tree (botanical name – Sebanica grandiflora) at its rear end. In her own words, “the concept also takes into account children’s emotional connect with pens and it will prompt them to care for trees.” The pens are made of recycled waste paper by a team of women. We wish and pray that Lakshmi and her team succeed in their mission and inspire many to follow their path in conserving nature.