[melodic music plays] [Fatema] It's definitely easy to think, you know, if I make this little change, like what sort of impact is it going to even have?
I'm only one person.
But I think you have to realize that it's not just you who is going to make that change.
[music continues] [kids playing] [Fatema] Buddies, buddies.
Let's sit down.
It's time to eat.
Food is definitely something that connects our community a lot.
Everyone take one.
We always eat our dessert first, which is my favorite part about it.
So we are a branch of Shia Muslims called the Dawoodi Bohras, and we have about a million followers worldwide and a growing community here in Pflugerville, Texas.
You'll take some rice?
Something you see us doing at every event is coming together for a meal.
And it's just a great opportunity for us to be able to just reconnect.
Our faith has always encouraged us to be very mindful about the people around us and also the environment around us.
Make sure you clean all the danas.
You know what a dana is?
It's a little piece of rice.
One more big bite.
We're very conscious about the resources that we use.
I guess the light bulb moment for me was seeing the single use plastic waste that was happening during Ramadan.
[music plays] [water boiling] [Fatema] During the holy month of Ramadan we fast for those 30 days.
And so at the end of the day, we break our fast.
And so I think that's really where I realized that there was a lot of single waste items that we were using.
So, for example, when we would break our fast with a cup of tea, we would use Styrofoam cups or we would pass out individual paper plates.
There's a lot of dishes and utensils that are used.
And, you know, in one night you may not realize how much you're using, but that builds up over time.
Knowing that our faith promotes preventing wastage so much, it definitely made me realize that that is something that I wanted to change.
It was just figuring out the logistics of how we could do it here.
Okay, so we're going to play a big matching game where we try to match the order... [Fatema] The first thing for us was having that conversation with the rest of our community.
We decided to make a presentation.
I remember, you know, making spreadsheets about, you know, there's this certain cup that we use right now here are alternatives for that.
And I think a lot of people really realized that this is something that was on their minds, too.
And we just had to sort of start that conversation.
We replaced all those Styrofoam cups with metal cups that we wash. And then on top of that, things like plastic spoons, plastic bowls, plastic trays and paper plates and stuff.
We transitioned all of that to corelle items that we can also wash. We recently did start a garden here, and we started implementing recycling in our jamaat because we do still use a few recyclable items.
So we wanted to have that here instead of having to trash those.
We try to provide meals for everyone in our community to make sure no one goes hungry.
Right now we use plastic containers, but we're doing a pilot program with metal tiffins, and we're going to see how that goes and hopefully we can implement long term change with that as well.
[melodic music plays] [Fatema] As a community, it's very natural for us to want to give back and make sure that we leave things how we found them and that we treat our earth and our environment well.
And so it was really nice just knowing that there's so many people who are so passionate about this.
This is what we strive for, this is what's important to us.
On an individual scale, it may seem difficult.
You don't really know what impact you're having, but when you can encourage other people to do that, I think that's when you can really see monumental change.