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@Ramya
Ramya V
@Ramya · 1:38

Women in Sustainability- A Conversation with Tamanna Sharma of Earthling First

article image placeholderTamanna Sharma, Founder - Earthling First
As the founder and director of Earthling First, a waste management and sustainability consultancy, she is on a mission to send zero waste to landfills and help organizations reduce waste generation and facilitate proper disposal of waste through composting and recycling. Thank you so much, Tamara, for your time and joining in this conversation today

https://www.earthlingfirst.com/

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@tamannasharma
Tamanna Sharma
@tamannasharma · 0:19

Hello!

Hey, Ramya, thank you so much for inviting me to this platform. I'm looking forward to having a great time today and to talk about sustainability and the importance of bringing in solutions in a timely and efficient manner
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@Ramya
Ramya V
@Ramya · 0:27

Idea behind Earthling First

So, Tamanna, you basically hail from a background of journalism, right? So from reporting and writing up news articles to coming up with this innovative concept of a sustainability consultancy, how did that even happen? And what was the spark that led to this idea behind Earthling first? I would really, really love to know
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@tamannasharma
Tamanna Sharma
@tamannasharma · 3:23

From Reporting to Diving into the Cause

But since I didn't come from a very financially crazy background where I didn't have a lot of money. So the idea of starting an enterprise the back of my mind. But it didn't happen till 2016, when I thought, Enough is enough. Let's just go for it
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@Ramya
Ramya V
@Ramya · 0:36

Initial struggles?

That is so interesting. Domina, thank you for sharing that. And I really love the thought behind the name Earthling first, as you say, when we do look at things through the lens of being an EarthLink First, I'm sure we we just might end up doing things very differently. So my next question is this what were some of the early struggles that you faced? And how did you get takers for your initial and how are you able to make a larger impact with Earthling first
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@tamannasharma
Tamanna Sharma
@tamannasharma · 4:46

Narrowing down the Targets

Now I was an enterprise and an enterprise works on marketing sales, selling a product or a service out to somebody. And that's how it is. So I changed my approach. Instead of giving people presentations about how I would make them environmentally conscious and how I would reduce impact, I simply went and told them that, hire me. I will take care of your waste. You're only going to be hiring somebody to do it. Let me do your cleaning
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@Ramya
Ramya V
@Ramya · 1:34

https://s.swell.life/SSuHQxKZ5uL1Ojb

But if I'm right, almost all municipal authorities in India end up depositing solid waste at some dumpyard or a landfill site somewhere in the suburbs of the city or somewhere far outside the city in a very half assured kind of manner. Experts believe that we are as a country following a flawed system of waste disposal and management. What are your thoughts on this?
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@tamannasharma
Tamanna Sharma
@tamannasharma · 4:25

Simple solutions trickle down faster

I remember Bill Gates saying that about one of his employees that I would rather hire a lazy person because that lazy person will come up with a solution, which is the most efficient way to get things done because it will be faster and you don't have to put too much effort into it. So municipalities should know that segregation will make their lives easier. And if we just focus on segregation at source, everything will fall into place because you'll have less diseases, you'll have labor safety
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@Ramya
Ramya V
@Ramya · 1:32

Project Jalori

Absolutely Tamanna segregation at Source is definitely the way out of this mess. I just hope that, you know, as you said, strict enforcement around this begins to happen soon. So fingers crossed on that. Okay. Moving on. Project your Lori, your brainchild is a breakthrough model in waste management for eco tourism destinations focused on bringing about cultural change and environmental awareness, both among locals and tourists who flock to the place
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@tamannasharma
Tamanna Sharma
@tamannasharma · 4:59

Pilot Waste Management Model at 10280ft

But I thought that maybe it's time to go back to the grassroots. Why I chose Jalauri Pass of all places was because it was an upcoming destination that was still not a hotspot of tourists in a way that is Manali or all these places where everyone just goes every day. There are thousands and thousands of people here. The number of people was still curtailed under a thousand
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@tamannasharma
Tamanna Sharma
@tamannasharma · 2:26

Continuing

So I'm doing something very interesting now I'm coming up with a program. This is a new program that I'm coming up in a few weeks time I'll be launching the program and I'm inviting applications from people who are interested in doing waste management in eco tourism destinations, specifically. Now in the program in one month's time I'd be teaching them how to create their own model. What are the things that they need to understand to create a foundation of the model?
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@Ramya
Ramya V
@Ramya · 1:17

Making profits vs social impact

Thank you so much for sharing that Tamil and Kudos to you for coming up with an initiative like Project Jewelry. Please do keep us posted on Swell about the workshop that you're coming up with. We would really love to share it. It in our circles and do our bit in spreading the word about the workshop
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@tamannasharma
Tamanna Sharma
@tamannasharma · 4:21

Every Enterprise has a social impact innone way or another

And when a social enterprise comes in, they have to follow so many things which are not naturally occurring in our economic habitat, which is fair trade, sustainable consumption of materials, innovation ideas that are of yesterday. And we forgotten about traditional things that used to work for us and to bring all of that back is more of a struggle than anything. And finances, yes, finances is definitely one of the biggest enemies for at least people like me who are all about curtailing resources
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@Ramya
Ramya V
@Ramya · 0:35

Work life balance

Every enterprise in a way is a social enterprise. How true. I really love that perspective that you brought in to this question. Thank you so much for that. So talking of Covenant 19 and working from home, though I'm not sure how much of your work gets done from home. But my question is the pandemic has disrupted our routines and made work life spill over into personal life. I So how have you been dealing with this?
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@tamannasharma
Tamanna Sharma
@tamannasharma · 4:06

That struggle is real!

I did not have to answer anyone but myself, and so I definitely am my harshest boss when it comes to targets and setting up goals and your work life balance kind of goes in. It easy as soon as you become a boss of your own work. The cons is that I totally missed out on the social and the technological shift that happened during COVID. I still don't know honestly how to run a Zoom call as well as any other person that I meet
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@Ramya
Ramya V
@Ramya · 0:54

Thank you and more power to Earthling First!

Working from the Hills. Now, that's something I could, you know, think about doing. Wow. That would be so, so refreshing, right. So, yeah. I must say that this conversation has been truly revelatory, Tamanna. So thank you so much for your time. All the wonderful stories and the experiences you have shared and the amazing journey that you've taken us along. So more power to you and to Earthling first
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@tamannasharma
Tamanna Sharma
@tamannasharma · 0:56

This has been amazing! Thank you!

Thank you, Ramya. Thank you so much for bringing me to this platform. To introducing me to Swell. I think Swell is super swell. This app has all the things that one needs to each other and to enjoy the very basics that we keep forgetting. Usually when we schedule posts, when we think about doing something later on and doing a podcast
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@Swell
Swell Team
@Swell · 0:15

Welcome to Swell!

@Adityakr
ADDY ..
@Adityakr · 0:08
Hey, Tamanna, great insights. I really want to know. Are there people who have inspired you to do what you do in some way or the other
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@Gaurav1106
Gaurav Chauhan
@Gaurav1106 · 1:15

#whynotequal

However, I think there is a lot of other elements which do not let them feel this way. I understand the cost also plays a very big factor. How can social entrepreneurs attract talent when there aren't really high salaries and options down there? I genuinely believe that even despite someone feeling the fact that they have to do something great, it either for them can be on a weekend, can be something they feel that I cannot give my dedicated life to this
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@Wordsmith
Sreeja V
@Wordsmith · 2:23

Wastemanagementindustry and opportunities

And when we look at developed countries and how they do manage waste and how they are approaching waste management within cities, within towns, within villages, et cetera, you will see this connect that it has in many ways developed into an industry where there are job opportunities available to people. There are also high returns
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@Gaurav1106
Gaurav Chauhan
@Gaurav1106 · 2:48

#changes

However, you would not have the support from your own community, even at times your own family, like Segregating Bins, if you go to some places like my mom or my nanny or my Daddy, they still do not do it. They just put everything in one, even despite you tell them that this is for organic. This is plastic. So how do you tackle the generations? How do you tackle people? How do you tackle all of this? I'm just interested in understanding that
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@satyamtiwari
Satyam Tiwari
@satyamtiwari · 0:12
Hey, Ma'am, I also have a question, what would be your advice for this Gen Z to get them more aware and involved in social causes and
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@tamannasharma
Tamanna Sharma
@tamannasharma · 4:14

Icons, Money, Fair Trade

Why are people in the social sector not getting paid like that? I think we are not supposed to get paid, like the engineers and the doctors, because the kind of money that is being earned comes to somebody getting really good salary would be that there would be somewhere down the line, somebody who's not getting something. There's somebody who's getting trampled for the benefits of a few higher ups. And that's what's created like this gap, which is increasing every year
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@tamannasharma
Tamanna Sharma
@tamannasharma · 4:11

Picking my battles and cautioning Gen Z

Climate change is going to really destroy a lot of basic necessities that we have a luxury to own right now. And that's just it. That's all I do. And that's it's all you need to tell somebody that. Look, this is the problem that you're going to face. You want to do something about it now would be a great time
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@Karan.Dev
Karan Dev
@Karan.Dev · 0:53

@tamannasharma- examples of local authorities doing good work?

Hey, Tamanna, thank you so much for this really insightful conversation. So I had a question pertaining to how municipal authorities are dealing with it. I live in Mumbai, and it's the way we segregate our waste in some areas sort of works out well. But by and large, I think in the cities, as an overall sort of city, I think it's really among the worst in the world. And this is despite the enormous budget that the municipal authority has
@Gaurav1106
Gaurav Chauhan
@Gaurav1106 · 0:39

Doingmybit

Wow. That was amazing. Tamanna. I mean, I had an eye opener today and I'm really, really, really thankful for what you're trying to do. Definitely would also do my bit. And thank you so much for doing what you are doing and just be this amazing person. And I really like your attitude and how you're aligned towards doing what you need to do slowly is the fastest way. Definitely
@jeevanshigulati
Jeevanshi Gulati
@jeevanshigulati · 0:04
Hi, Ma'am, how do you manage the family expectations
@NimishaDhami
Nimisha Dhami
@NimishaDhami · 1:11

How to internalise?

Hi Tamanna, it was great hearing you talk about different aspects of waste management. You even talked about how things will be easier if the waste is managed at source. Only. What I understand is that educated people do know how to define differentiate between organic waste and non organic waste. Taking an example of my College itself, there are three types of dust bins, at least red, blue, and green, and I even see people disposing the waste and correct bins. Surely education is the key here
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@tamannasharma
Tamanna Sharma
@tamannasharma · 2:03

Managing Family expectations

The more you disappoint your family, the more they are happy when you do one good thing in an odd day and they start making peace with it. I've been lucky to have a family that is quite chill in comparison to a lot of Indian parents that I see. And we have a communication pattern where we talk about what's bothering them
@tamannasharma
Tamanna Sharma
@tamannasharma · 2:50

Internalising individual change & an example of goodmunicipality initiative

Municipalities are trying, but this is limited to places where public is asking for accountability, so you will find some measures being taken in, say, South Delhi. There is an initiative by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation called Buddies, where they are encouraging and empowering people who are already segregating and composting to go and help out their neighbors. Some of these small initiatives will come in handy later on, and we can totally take into that into account. And these case studies can then be wherever you are
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