On Adopting Change

By Vinod Urs

The environment around us has many problems but it also has solutions to those problems. As an organisation, we focus on solutions; how can water pollution be controlled, how can we stop wastage of water, improve segregation systems, build toilets etc. There are many studies conducted and articles published on the above concepts. We’ve all studied about them in school and college but even then there is very little that has been done to bring about a positive change in the environment.

Here at Reap Benefit, we are working on the root of the problem — behavioural change. We attempt to solve local civic and environmental issues by targeting behaviour. Everybody in the organisation is known as a Problem Solver.

Some phrases that are used in our office which have inspired me greatly are:

Solve Small Dent Big

Stop Talking Start Working

Fail Fast Learn Faster

Get Shit Done

We are constantly trying to reduce the time that we take between spotting a problem, generating possible solutions and attempting a fix. We prototype till we achieve a certain degree of success and then take the solution to the field for user testing. Working at Reap Benefit has been a huge lesson in implementing solutions aimed at behavioural change.

My experience at Reap Benefit has taught me a lot about the environment and I believe that I have slowly started contributing to the solution.

A change in approach

While creating awareness about saving water in school I realised I had not adopted water savings practices in my own life. Creating awareness would then be of no use, right?

So I decided to make small changes in my life.

Earlier I used to shower for long periods of time, thereby unconsciously wasting water. Now however, I find that my mindset has been altered. I keep telling myself consciously or unconsciously to save water. I have also become more conscious about other issues like waste generation, electricity consumption etc.

One day I found a great opportunity to bring about a change. A set of college students were planning to organise a strike in the college premises. For this purpose they had bought tyres to burn so that the pollution created makes everyone uncomfortable.

The tyres all set to be burnt

I instead convinced them out of the idea, took the tyres home and used them to make a gardening area. The experience left me satisfied at having truly solved a problem. It reminded me of a quotation — a quotation I had lived upto — ‘Don’t be a complaint box, be a solver’.

Preparing the tyre-planters
My new tyre-garden. Problem Solved!

Another major problem that I have been able to work on is that of waste segregation. I am pleased to share that in our house we segregate waste into wet and dry. We compost our wet waste and use the mature compost for our plants.

These small changes have allowed me to proudly declare that I am Problem Solver. It allows me to speak with my students with more confidence.

You too can make these changes in your life.

Join us in our mission to make every solution count, check out www.reapbenefit.org.

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