Ever heard the words, you have got to fight for what you want; if you don’t stand up for your rights, then who will? In short, you have to take matters into your own hands instead of being passive and just wishing the problem away. And take matters into their own hands is exactly what a group of villagers did. They literally clung (chipko, loosely translated meaning hugged) on to their rights.
In 1974, in a small village named Reni located in the Himalayas, a group of female villagers stood their ground, embraced their beloved trees and saved their forest. They refused to let the contractor system of the State Forest Department decide their fate and rob them of their right to a better life. The trees do more than give aesthetic appeal to the village, they provide protection from landslides, they provide cleaner air, and they stop the erosion of land. The land that is important to the villagers for their and their live-stocks survival. Their protest paid off and their act of bravery inspired many similar acts on a grassroots level for forest protection. In the 1987, the Chipko Movement was awarded The Right Livelihood Award.
What are Soap Nuts ?
Soap Nuts are a berry that grows in the Himalayas that naturally produces a soap. The soap is called saponin, a natural cleaner that works as a surfactant, breaking the surface tension of the water to penetrate the fibers of your clothing, lifting stains from the fabric and leaving dirt suspended in the water that is rinsed away.
Soap Nuts also sometimes referred to as Washing Nuts or Ritha / Reetha /Aritha (in Hindi) or Anthwaal (Kannada). They are actually the fruits of the soap nut tree and contain Saponin, which is a 100% natural alternative to chemical laundry detergent and cleansers. When in contact with water, it creates mild suds, which is similar to soap.
Soap Nuts are gentle on both clothes and skin, making them ideal for those with sensitive skin, eczema, allergies and psoriasis. Because they are so mild, they are perfect for baby clothes and cloth diapers. All-Natural Soap Nuts are also great for septic and grey water systems. But don’t expect these shells to foam up like commercial soaps, which have artificial foaming agents. Foam simply does not represent cleaning power.
Soap Nuts are wild-harvested, meaning they are gathered from wild trees grown without any kind of chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides. The saponin actually tastes bad to insects so no pesticides are needed, and the trees naturally love poor uncultivated soil. They are organically grown by mother earth.
Soap nuts are both Ecological and Economical when compared to other forms of detergents.