A Year of EcoLogic with Miss Moti

Miss Moti is a body-positive character that I created to deal with my own issues with weight and self-image.

Over the years, she has become an outlet for my mental wellbeing. When I got postpartum depression following the birth of my daughter, I created the Miss Moti-vation series to evoke a more positive frame of mind. So, when I started to feel increasingly concerned about the state of our planet, I turned to Miss Moti once more and started the EcoLogic series that was a weekly feature in Nepali Times for the past year.

Eco-Anxiety is described by Psychology Today as ‘a fairly recent psychological disorder afflicting an increasing number of individuals who worry about the environmental crisis’. A lot of people feel overwhelmed at the magnitude of the problem and powerless as individuals. I was inspired by the #FridaysForFuture movement and the proactiveness of young people around the world. As an artist, I thought I could contribute through my art… I could raise my voice to help raise awareness of our ecological plight.

I started with an image of Miss Moti juggling recycling materials and, every week, as I researched for ideas, I gained more insight into the environment and tried to implement better practices. Over the course of the series, I myself became more rigorous about recycling and about using reusable products. I switched to ecological cleaning products, changed to LED bulbs, turned off electric devices not in use and ditched sanitary pads to use period underwear. We reduced the amount of meat, and the things we bought.

A few months into the series, the coronavirus pandemic started. We all had to change our way of living. New environmental threats like disposable masks appeared, and I could not promote some obvious green practices, like encouraging the use of public transport. We needed to reduce flying, and it did highlight how we are all connected and dependent on each other.

I had to also change some of my own misconceptions. Previously I used to think that banning palm oil would help save rainforests and orangutans, but realised that palm oil is also an efficient crop, producing more oil per land area than any other equivalent vegetable oil. Extracting the same amount of alternative oil would just threaten other habitats and species. I shifted my stance to focus on the sustainability of the palm oil industry instead.

I also learnt that making electric cars or harvesting renewable energy like solar, wind or hydropower have their own environmental impacts. Sometimes things are not just black or white, and one has to weigh risk vs benefit. The interconnected aspects of our lives create complex issues and we all need to lend a helping hand.

Every human being has the fundamental right to a safe living environment. Governments have the obligation to protect this right in the face of the climate crisis. We need to hold governments and polluting corporations accountable, and we need to stop their tactics to delay meaningful climate action.

The year 2020 showed us how the whole world can come together and adapt to face a crisis. And as this series draws to a close today, and we herald a new year, it is important to remember that we need to continue to raise our awareness, and our voices, for people and the planet. Our personal choices, our daily actions, our purchases, and our voice makes a difference.

For Miss Moti’s previous visual creations visit Nepali Times ePaper archives.

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