How promoting Handmade Products can help our Economy & Environment

This article is about how we can help our environment alongside the economy by choosing handmade products & articles. 

“The Greatest THREAT to Our Planet is the BELIEF that Someone else will SAVE it”

– Robert Swan

I understand a lot of us to feel that we might not be majorly contributing to the environmental damage, However, millions of us together are definitely forming to be a BIG part of the problem.

How important is it to save our environment?

How can we go about this? Can we get that desired change all by ourselves?

Do you feel it is our responsibility to let future generations enjoy the bliss of nature and experience its glory in the most unadulterated form?

I believe that is the least we could do to the human kind and generations to come. 

One of the best ways of indulging ourselves in eco friendly products is to look for handmade products & crafts.

Well, One person at a time taking the decision to actively contribute to saving the environment can collectively help us reduce the damage and inspire people around us to do the same. While most of us would want to produce less plastic and other waste which takes ages to decompose, it is a conscious decision we must make while buying products for ourselves and give it a thought of how environmentally friendly they are. 

The traditional handicrafts help us preserve the heritage, rich culture and traditional wisdom of its glorious past. Outside contributing to be the part of international revenue and rural employment, it is important to realise the fact that they are Environment Friendly. Since these crafts are made using natural processes and materials they can help us reduce the carbon footprint there by manufacturing products that are nature loving.

It is a known fact that addressing problems of the environment requires lifestyle changes. One of the best ways of doing so is by choosing handmade crafts. A range of jute products like hand bags, office bags,wall decors, table cloths can replace many utility and decorative items produced in factories. The decorative pieces used for home decor are mostly made by using bamboo, different kinds of leaves and grass which makes the art look very graceful and beautiful. 

Most of the states in India produce handicrafts that are biodegradable. The bamboo products from Assam, the classic Odissi paintings from Orissa, chikankari work of Uttar Pradesh, batua craft of Bhopal, kangra paintings from Himachal Pradesh, fine metal work from Karnataka & Tamilnadu are some examples of India’s craft traditions. Such a rich legacy and India has a share of just 2% in the global handicraft market. Eco Friendly products are high in demand in western countries and if marketed well with right policies and encouragement by Government of India this could be a boon to 5 million artisans in India. 

There was a study conducted by the National Institute of Fashion Technology in 2014 to understand the strengths of traditional handicraft manufacturing with regards to environmental issues. Some of the important parameters considered for the study included raw materials used, environmental pollution, energy requirement and recyclable nature. The crafts studied are wooden toys like Etikopakka toys, Nirmal toys, Kondapalli toys- Dokra brass castings, Pembarti brass all of them being traditional crafts of Andhra Pradesh, India. It was observed that all of these crafts consume minimal energy, recyclable in nature and generate minimal pollution.

There are a few sustainable approaches that could be practised to rejuvenate the handicraft industry and promote the handmade craft in the most effective way possible. With government’s “AtmaNirbhar” program, The “Vocal for Local” campaigns presents immense opportunity to the handicrafts majorly the handloom sector to position themselves in the textile industry. Additionally, handloom is one of the largest, most unorganized sectors in India which has over 4.3 million people from rural and semi rural parts of the country involved in its process of production.

Being less capital intensive, adaptability to market requirements, eco friendly quality, minimum consumption of electricity and openness to innovations are the USPs of this sector. Unfortunately these industries need to face challenges and cut throat competition with the price agressive power loom industries in terms of skills, aesthetics, supply chain and infrastructure. Unavailability of raw materials at the right time and inefficient methods of promoting their products leads to lower pricing which demotivates the craftsmen of whether to continue this as the source of their livelihood or probably pull themselves out of this and look for other ways of making a better life. 

One of the best ways of upscaling this industry and probably contributing in the efforts of keeping the art alive would be to organize and regularize this industry and its methods of operation under the wings of the Government of India. The Government can come up with welfare measures, growth based schemes, marketing, development in import & export schemes and how to protect this sector from the big industry players in the market can be of great help to weavers, crafters and artisans. 

Finally I would like to conclude by saying let’s be more aware of our purchases and how we can consciously shift our buying decisions to protect our environment and support the craftsmen. 

Lets uplift our crafters and ensure the glory of our heritage is experienced by many more generations to come across the world. 

Thanks for staying tuned. 

Let me know your thoughts!

I would love to hear back from you of what you think we should be doing to encourage crafters and artisans. 

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