HOW I GOT MY “ECO–WEIRDO” TITLE
When Wardah Abbas looks back at some of the things that have happened on her journey into being green, she can’t help but let out a giggle while she forges ahead. The distance that has brought her here was not covered without encountering some ups and downs, highs and lows, and whatnot
Right now, as I stare at the keyboard in front of me, I remember how many of my colleagues at school looked at me askance with their lips curved downwards and called me an eco-weirdo with a spark of eco-madness. I guess you want to know what I did to earn that title. Trust me, it never bugged me. Instead, I called myself an eco-queen.
As a matter of fact, I guess it is part of me to always want to totally embrace any way of life I adopt for myself. This explains my lifestyle. Knowing fully well what being totally green entails, I gave myself up for it. In all aspects of my life, I strive to be green. Water usage, food preservation, waste management, healthy lifestyle, fashion and beauty, and what have you.
So, it didn’t surprise me that the many times in a restaurant when I ate a plate of food without leaving a grain left, I attracted people’s attention to myself. Or that the many times I went shopping with my sister queens and I rejected their purchase suggestions because I was carefully looking out for eco-friendly substitutes, I got loud sighs as reactions. The many times I sat in the shade at the school to relax with a pack of chocolates and found myself handpicking the dirt and food wraps that littered the ground, I always had someone ask me if I had just been employed as a gardener.
I love the green experience. It has made me a better person and a better Muslim too
I remember a day I had to hold on to some biscuit wraps till I got to a hostel because I couldn’t get a waste bin on the way. My room mate asked me if I had suddenly gone nuts. My friends also discovered that I insisted on using my own plates and cutleries because I did not want to use the disposables which were used to serve our meals at restaurants and they just couldn’t comprehend the whole thing even after I had explained it to them. So, they embarked on a journey to honour me with a ‘befitting’ title.
I have decided to share my eco-experiences because I know that it may not be that easy for some of us to adapt quickly to the changes the world needs, more so that some people may make fun of us and cause us to change our minds. It’s first about loving what we do. I called myself an eco-queen because I love the green experience. It has made me a better person and a better Muslim too. So, I don’t really care about the stumbling blocks any more.
I am not saying that fun moments you will very much cherish won’t come your way. Of course, eco-living is fun-filled. But I want to just make you bear in mind that you will come across people who will criticise your new lifestyle. And isn’t that always expected especially when you are doing the right thing? Bear in mind that there is strength in standing out from the crowd for what is right. So, if tomorrow, someone decides to call you an eco-miser, don’t hesitate to change it to a more positive name that will boost your confidence.
If trying to build myself a mini garden in my backyard when everyone else concrete over their own, and trying to eat fresh raw foods and meats while everyone else prefers the processed ones, makes me stand out as an eco-weirdo, then I gladly embrace the title. So, the bottom line is that even in the down moments, there is fun and I won’t hesitate to share every bit of it with you in this series In the subsequent issues of YMM. In the end, I’m proud to be an eco-weirdo because I’m weird for what is right and that is what makes me an eco-queen.
Indeed, this Qur’an guides to that which is most suitable and gives good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a great reward.
The Qur’an, Surah Al-’Israa’ (Chapter of the night journey) 17:9
Wardah Abbas is the Earth Care writer for Young Muslimah Magazine, she writes for SISTERS Magazine, and she celebrates Islam and highlights issues affecting women on her blog: http://therosespen.wordpress.com/