John: Call out people who hurt animals
It is not uncommon for people to get pleasantly surprised when actor John Abraham arrives at events and for meetings without his car. The actor almost always chooses to walk to places located at shorter distances, instead of using a vehicle....
‘The pandemic has made the earth greener’
“There is no planet B. It’s the little drops that make the ocean and I think, it is time we made sustainability our manta in life. The use of plastic is a huge issue today; it is a new panic,” says John. Like many others, the 48-year-old actor believes that the pandemic has been an eye-opener for many as far as nature is concerned. “Covid has made a lot of us think why we are doing what we are doing. We are thinking about what we are doing with our lives, and questioning our actions, behaviour, whether we are going on a right path, what and who are we living for, etc.,” says John, adding, “Our planet has become greener and cleaner amid the lockdown and that is the only silver lining in this whole unfortunate covid crisis. It made all of us realise that we need to make this planet a better place and more sustainable.”
‘ I want to do my bit and lead by example’
John ensures that while he cuts down carbon footprints in his everyday life, he doesn’t get associated with brands that don’t align with his idea of a sustainable earth. “As an actor and public figure, I am conscious of what I promote. As an actor, I am very clear about the brands I associate myself with or endorse. We actors often become the prisoners of our own image and oftentimes, we get money and we endorse a campaign or a brand, without knowing what they stand for. I don’t believe in doing that at all. There are certain actions that need to come from within and you must lead by example,” asserts John.
John shares a throwback picture with his pet babies:
In his day-to-day life, too, the actor makes lifestyle choices keeping nature in mind. He tells us, “I am definitely conscious about the use of plastic in my everyday life. We’ve tried to completely negate it at home and in daily activities. Only if we live consciously at a micro level, things will change at a macro level. Using electricity carefully, not using vehicles too often, and walking or running or cycling to places that are not too far are some of the ways I do my bit for the environment and I encourage others to do that, too.”
The 'Force' actor lauds the efforts of those feeding strays during the lockdown:
The actor stresses that outdoor fitness activities like running or cycling are great ways to reduce pollution. “My brother (Alan Abraham), who is an architect, has planned cycling tracks over the Western Railways in Mumbai and I think it is an important step. Just like the Greenway bike path in Barcelona and New York, even we should have the bicycle tracks not just in Mumbai, but all over India, to make our country a greener nation,” says John.
‘ The new generation is environmentally-conscious’
Highlighting the importance of educating children about the environmental impacts of their day-to-day actions, John points out that the lack of awareness is causing people to hurt nature and animals. “ Bachchan se maine dekha hai ki, log raaste pe thookte hain, plastic, biscuits ya chips ke wrapper idhar udhar phenkete hain. Shayad yeh hamari country ka problem hai ya phir awareness ki kami iski wajah hain. I failed to understand this attitude and I continued to question this from a very young age. In fact, just recently I was someone, who owned an expensive, luxurious car rolling his window and throwing trash on the road. I was appalled,” says John.
He continues, “All I am trying to say is, this tameez and sensitivity towards the environment don’t come with money but with the right upbringing and right kind of education from a very young age. Mere maa-baap ne toh humein yehi bola hai ki wrappers dustbin mein daalo aur agar dustin na mile toh pocket mein rakho aur ghaar akar dustbin mein hi phenkna hai.” However, the actor is optimistic about the new generation and calls him ‘environmentally conscious.’ “I call these youngsters #greentribe. I want to build a tribe of such minds who will make a difference to the world,” says John.
‘Be environmental police and call out those who harm nature’
An avenger of the cruelty against animals, the 'Dostana' actor, who is supporting initiatives associated with the protection of the environment, doesn’t shy away from questioning those hurting flora and fauna. “My family and friends keep reminding me that I don’t need to behave like police and call out people who spit on the road, litter or harm dogs, or torture horses because I do that often. On the other hand, I feel we all need to be police in real life. Every human being needs to act as police and be vigilant about one’s surroundings and not shy away from calling out those who try to harm nature or animals,” urges John.
‘It is important to have the right narrative around skin colour’
Recently, several skincare brands have shifted their focus to skin nourishment and stopped endorsing skin-lightening formulations in their products, while some dropped words like 'fair' and 'fairness.' When asked if this will help change the skin colour-related biases in our society, John says, “Removing terms like fairness, whitening, and lightening makes a huge difference. We shouldn't play on people's emotions. The narrative that sold the idea, ‘if you are fairer, you get the man, if you have lighter skin, you bag the job, you succeed, etc’, needs to change. Brands must stop manipulating people into believing that they have to have a certain skin type or colour to fit in. Leave the consumer to decide what they want. In certain parts of the world, tanning products are a rage, in other countries lightening products are popular, leaving those preferences to people. It is important for brands to have the right kind of narrative.”