Category: ecology


E from hlf 2020

Could attend only day 2 of Hyd literature festival 2020 . Lavish buffet for thought…. Paromita , Saba Dewan -new perspectives. Remembering Nabaneeta Dev Sen . Bahar dutt , kalpana Sharma – Rewilding and the need for environmental journalism in the era of bushfires, Delhi smog and massive climate changes. Although , people in urban spaces are also slowly speaking up, there is need for more voices changes for environmental preservation. Paromita and Usha Raman – New digital era – freedoms gained but landscapes lost. We have LOST THE LANGUAGE OF FEELINGS. The blanket of morality…. Is marriage an outdated concept? Stepping beyond binaries into fluidity. Experientiality is most important today ,as shared experiences create lived wisdom. A healthy relationship is not a preset, it should be personalized. Freedom to live his , her or their own life,is its own education. The difficult experiences educate one about what he or she they want in life. Theyyam and kodiyattam – Margi Madhu, Ingu G and Indu Chinta- art as worship , artist as devotee. Landmarks such as schools -memories – tangible heritage. Art forms and cultural traditions are intangible heritages . The kodiyattam artist, Margi Madhu said that practicing for 10 years only made him mimic his guru. He needs 25 years to think, reimagine and develop his own style. Such a dedication is difficult to sustain in contemporary society, where patient audiences are needed to sit through a 2,3 or more hours of performance. Theyyam is not a dance – it is purely ritual – a visual spectacle . The word “Theyyam ” is derived from “daivam ” – God. It refers to both the art and the artist . It is an act of worship, where spectators are more like devotees. Learning is by instruction and imitation. It is a visual spectacle , with ornate hairdressing and face drawing . There are 30 basic patterns which are mixed and matched to create 600 designs. The artist is a mirror in kodiyattam. An optional history of Indian women- Saba Dewan and Paromita Vohra. What is “acceptable” womanhood ? What is “acceptable” creative expression ? Women always set themselves up to impossible ideals, and are constantly in this betwixt and between about wanting to be and should be. Women continue to be defined vis a vis their relationships with men. A woman has a right to be unapologetically herself, without being a flag bearer of anything (i did it or i am this way because i like it , not because so and so happened to me). In an epic the story never ends, it’s ending is only a beginning. Humanising plants is a way of saving them – Nirupa rao -plants of western ghats

Plants …urban jungle and auroville

https://stanflouride.com/2016/11/26/nasa-guide-to-air-filtering-houseplants 

Interesting site about houseplants,greenhouses and interiors – https://www.haarkon.co.uk/explore-blog/

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/heaven-in-the-eyes-of-the-beholder/article19706338.ece
“My biggest inspiration is my life in Auroville,” she says, over a Skype call from the experimental township where she lives and works. The rolling landscapes and unfettered spirit of Auroville are her muse. “Her untamed wilderness often hits my heart. And I always work spontaneously following a mood in my heart.”
Much of her latest collection, “…so many heavens…”, which will open at the Centre d’Arts Citadines, Auroville on September 16, is a paean to Auroville. “We had a bad monsoon last year and lands were starving for water,” she remembers. Her work at that time was dark, “shades of brown and bronze, with pools of blue,” to symbolise “this longing for water”.
Then there would be one shower and in two days, star-like wild jasmines would light up the gritty dryness. “It was glorious; this alternation between seeming death followed by abundance and optimism. And this would make me weep that we are surrounded by so many heavens… each a universe in itself.  “We all carry seeds, many different kinds of seeds,” says Sundaravalli. But like a plant, it needs the right environment to blossom, she smiles.  

Research – http://www.sacar.in/index.php

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.Albert Camus  

Iconoclast till the end – The Hindu.

………………. carved out a place for himself in the intellectual history of the modern world. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957 and became a world icon with a lasting legacy.  Camus left behind an impressive crop of writings comprising fiction, plays, non-fiction, letters and essays that still continue to be read and widely admired. He pioneered a new literary-philosophical movement with a fresh idiom and a remarkable style of narration whose parentage he disowned. He introduced a new world view that was avidly picked up by the members of the counter culture everywhere, encompassing the conscientious objectors to the beat generation. He was inspiration to a whole generation of writers and translators in the postcolonial societies who saw in him and his art an effective antidote to the establishment.

 

Camus broke every stereotype and rule of the game. He survived an early attack of tuberculosis in 1930, and fought under the name of Beauchard (as the novelists George Orwell and André Gide did during the Spanish Civil War) for the underground Resistance in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. He opposed the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima and was against the two power blocs during the Cold War. He gave up a lucrative association with the UNESCO in the 1950s for the world body granting membership to Franco’s Spain.

Charismatic and ebullient both in life and letters, Camus led a chequered life. Married twice, he was friend to some of the most illustrious men and women of his times including Jean Paul Sartre. It is with Sartre that he is generally associated for the literary philosophical movement best known as existentialism. In some quarters, Camus is also known as a major exponent of the Absurd Movement in literature and drama. Both claims have a ring of truth, and yet both must be open to necessary caveats.

 

On different occasions, both Camus and Sartre denied their affiliation to existentialism as it has come to mean in the literary-philosophical circles, while Camus shows a qualified and nuanced approach to the notion of the absurd in his literary works. The best treatment of the theme of the absurd in Camus is seen in his iconic works such as L’Etranger (The Outsider), 1942, La Peste (The Plague), 1947, L’Homme Revolte (The Rebel), 1951, the play Caligula, written in 1938 and performed in 1945, and several essays such as ‘Reflections on the Guillotine’ and the collection of essays posthumously published in 1961, entitled Resistance, Rebellion and Death.

 

To put the question simply: How does the individual deal with the sense of meaninglessness and the sense of the absurd in life? In his pivotal work, The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus shows that ‘the total absence of hope’ has ‘nothing to do with despair’. It must not be ‘confused with renouncement and a conscious dissatisfaction’. And thus, Meursault, the protagonist of The Outsider who faces imminent execution for manslaughter and is offered the prospect of salvation by the Christian priest in the prison, makes a paradoxical affirmation of life as evidenced towards the end of the novel in Part Two. Similarly, Dr. Rieux in The Plague must serve the citizens of Oran afflicted with the dreaded disease and the ensuing horror. …………….. It is the need for personal responsibility that can finally redeem our life and add meaning to our actions.

 

 

Camus lived as he wrote — on his own terms. An iconoclast till the very end, he saw the need for action in a world beset by horror and the spectre of war. He believed in the need to change the world, but rejected the doctrinaire approach. Camus’ protagonist may have remained an ‘outsider’ to his world, but he remained true to his individual conscience. As Camus wrote in typically Blakean terms: “I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t , and die to find that there is.”

 

Prose over verse 

At Shantiniketan, 1932.

The Hindu Archives At Shantiniketan, 1932.

 

 

The year 1913 was important for Rabindranath Tagore. It was the year four important works (including Gitanjali) were published in translation. His output during this period — innovative works in diverse genres (poetry, drama, novel, essays) — invites reflection, as does his contribution to the shaping of the modern Indian literary tradition. Tagore’s poetry has become the dominant lens through which we remember him. The Nobel citation spoke of “his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse”, and acknowledged the “consummate skill (by which) he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West.”

This is why he was appreciated by modernist poets such as Yeats and Pound. But    But many of these poets eventually grew disillusioned with him. Often, they diplomatically blamed the translations. Perhaps it was always a little odd that some of these modernist poets lauded a poet writing in an openly spiritual register in the old lyric mode. Even if the beauty of some of these spiritual ideas could not be denied, this alone does not make great poetry. In poetry, there needs to be a closer marriage of the sound of words and the ideas they carry. The problem is compounded when poems travel between languages.

His prose, however, poses no such problem. And though there were extraordinary achievements in many prose forms (letters, memoir, essays, drama), Tagore’s most comprehensive achievement was, perhaps, his novels.

Tagore wrote around 12 novels, ranging from large, sweeping works such as Gora (1910) to miniature novellas such as Chaturanga (1916, translated as Quartet) and Dui Bon (1933, translated as Two Sisters). His novels span the period of the coming of age of the Indian novelistic tradition, which had its earliest beginning in the last quarter of the 19th century, and reached maturity in the first half of the 20th in almost all the major Indian languages.

The influence of Tagore’s novels is evident in the oeuvre of writers not only in Bengali, but also in languages such as Hindi. Premchand’s correspondence with Jainendra, another great Hindi novelist, is full of admiration (and some competitive envy) for Tagore’s imagination of the feminine voice. The novels are arguably Tagore’s greater legacy. They have too often been sidelined by the immediate beauty of his poems and songs. However, the novels travel further, unencumbered by Tagore’s brand of 19th century Advaitic spiritualism, which is not always intelligible or accessible to contemporary readers

  ………………..the more sublime Tagorean qualities — the facile creation and shifts of mood, the light touch with which he paints a world, the kaleidoscopic quality of his novelistic architecture.

Breaking free of the shackles of lyric spirituality, Tagore emerges a more lithe-limbed, incense-free contemporary novelist, with more concrete, more useful, more modest, and thus ultimately more powerful things to say to us today.

Slow food – Asia

  • Knead the dough. Photo: Shonali Muthalaly
    The Hindu Knead the dough. Photo: Shonali Muthalaly
  • Asia’s first big Slow Food gathering focussed on introducing children to a wide spectrum of flavours that will change their perception of food.

 

…………………Namyangju, in South Korea, may have been chosen to host Asia’s first big Slow Food gathering – AsiO Gusto — because of their organisational skills and exhibition space. However, over the six days that the festival runs, drawing more than 5,30,000 visitors, the locals also show the Slow Food movement the simplest way forward: Create a generation that cares about what they eat by introducing children to a wide spectrum of flavours.

Slow Food, an international member-supported non-profit organisation, which began in Rome in the 1980s has grown far beyond its original mandate, a simple opposition to fast food. Now this eco-gastronomic movement — once criticised for being Europe-centred and elitist — works with grassroots organisations around the world to fight for food that is “good, clean and fair,” and promote biodiversity.

………………………..“Think of your favourite food. Then think about eating it every day — breakfast, lunch, dinner. We need diversity. We love tasting something new.” Reade suggests that teaching people to appreciate quality food “removes much of the need to learn about sustainability, ecology, nutrition, distribution and food systems.” He adds, “People have to learn to taste. Learn to listen to the components to food. Taste enables you to recognise nutrients and toxins.” We are a generation biased towards sweet and salty flavours, thanks to a lifetime of processed food, layered with sugar, salt and fat. As a result our taste buds are so over-stimulated that we crave exaggerated and familiar flavours constantly. The market responds with dumbed-down food, creating a vicious cycle.

Former lawyer Heliante Heman, who supports Indonesian artisanal ingredients, talks of how her country once had 7,000 types of rice in purple, pink, black and white, all nurtured by indigenous wisdom-based agriculture. Discussing how she brought up her baby on food from her garden, she states, “You don’t need to be rich to bring your baby up on a healthy diet; you just need to be informed.” Then adds, “This is not just poetry… We need to go directly to the communities.  Build alliances and organic organisations. Demonstrate that sustainable agriculture on a small scale has a future. It’s the only way to ensure that everybody has access to food that is good and healthy.”

It’s worthwhile to remember that most farmers don’t eat what they grow for the market, because they know how pesticide-laden crops theirs are, choosing instead to keep a separate organic garden for their families’ food.

A Japanese farmer at the conference talks of how he realised the chemicals were making him sick, and then switched to organic farming, committing to protect and preserve native seeds. Seed-banks like these are an insurance against a future of flat flavours. Which brings us back to the children. Benedict Reade suggests it’s time to focus on educating them. And expanding their palates. “Teach them what a good carrot is. When you taste a carrot from the ground it can be an epiphany. I can tell when it was picked and where it was grown.” Introducing children to a wide spectrum of flavours will change their perception of food. “It will change what they like eating,” says Reade, adding, “And what future generations will eat. It will change what’s available in stores. If we have good taste we have a healthy ecology… Because the markets will respond as they always do.”

The new jungle drums

 

CGNetSwara Calling. Photo: Purushottam Thakur

A unique cell phone-based networking system in Chhattisgarh helps Adivasi Gonds share local news and air grievances.

The phone call that Bunkar made is part of a unique cell phone-based social media networking system called CGNetSwara, which operates inside sensitive territory termed ‘Maoist areas’. Set up by former BBC journalist Shubhranshu Choudhary, CGNetSwara gives the Adivasi Gonds of central India a voice that reflects their interests, their local news and events.

CGNetSwara’s Bangalore-based server was set up by Bill Thies, a researcher in Microsoft and a self-confessed IT geek whose interest in user-generated technology aligned with Choudhary’s ideas. Using open-source code and a simple desktop computer with a modem, Thies built a piece of software with 10 voice lines that automatically call the caller back and record his or her message. “It’s going to sound very strange for a computer nerd to tell you, however, that technology is not the secret ingredient here,” says Thies. “The secret ingredients are Choudhary’s social contacts and the community itself.”

CGNetSwara now gets up to 400 calls daily. The callers talk about local happenings, a lot of it related to their interaction with government schemes. Bunkar is very happy with CGNetSwara’s sphere of influence. He says that earlier efforts like dharnas in front of the Assembly in Raipur, agitating for land rights for Adivasis, had not worked,

“There is no need for a newsroom”, says Choudhary. “Geography is now history.”

In another instance of the government taking notice of CGNetSwara, Thies talks of CGNetSwara’s recorded reports of malaria cases in the villages. “CGNetSwara had more malaria incidents in a single year than what the government reported in a decade; we even had reports of government health workers dying of malaria”. The Swara reports made the government machinery pay attention to the malaria cases, and the reported figures rose more realistically thereafter.

But CGNetSwara appears to have taken root in tribal Chhattisgarh. Choudhary calls it citizen journalism of a different kind. In an area neglected by mainstream media (unless the news concerns Maoism), there is now a system to get across local Adivasi news to others in the community. CGNetSwara has spread, purely by word of mouth, to Adivasis in the central Gondwana belt in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha, Jharkhand, and Andhra Pradesh — an expanse that Choudhary calls the ‘media dark zone’. “We are trying to create another paradigm in the term ‘development,” he says. “This communication system could well become the ‘Google of the poor’.”   The area’s ‘Maoists’ have taken note, issuing threats to Choudhary, but he feels they are threatened by the concept of self-empowerment that CGNetSwara brings to its users. Bunkar, though, thinks the system works better in areas that are ‘Naxal free’, away from Chhattisgarh’s borders with AP and Jharkhand. He says, “Naxals gather strength from cross-border infiltration.”

Any wonder, then, that CGNetSwara is fast becoming India’s new ‘jungle drums’?

When you are grateful, you are happy

mindfulness…………gratitude

Zen Flash

“If you truly get in touch with a piece of carrot, you get in touch with the soil, the rain, the sunshine. You get in touch with Mother Earth and eating in such a way, you feel in touch with true life, your roots, and that is meditation. If we chew every morsel of our food in that way we become grateful and when you are grateful, you are happy.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

Spiritual Ecology

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50 Ways to Help the Planet

50 Ways to Help the Planet.

 

01PLANT A NOTION
“Going green” doesn’t have to be a daunting task that means sweeping life changes. Simple things can make a difference.

The contents of this list might not be new, but they bear repeating. Sometimes it takes a few reminders for things take root.

 

011. CHANGE YOUR LIGHT
If every household in the United State replaced one regular lightbulb with one of those new compact fluorescent bulbs, the pollution reduction would be equivalent to removing one million cars from the road.

Don’t like the color of light? Use these bulbs for closets, laundry rooms and other places where it won’t irk you as much.

Moon2. TURN OFF COMPUTERS AT NIGHT
By turning off your computer instead of leaving it in sleep mode, you can save 40 watt-hours per day. That adds up to 4 cents a day, or $14 per year. If you don’t want to wait for your computer to start up, set it to turn on automatically a few minutes before you get to work, or boot up while you’re pouring your morning cup ‘o joe.

 

 

023. DON’T RINSE
Skip rinsing dishes before using your dishwasher and save up to 20 gallons of water each load. Plus, you’re saving time and the energy used to heat the additional water.

024. DO NOT PRE-HEAT THE OVEN
Unless you are making bread or pastries of some sort, don’t pre-heat the oven. Just turn it on when you put the dish in. Also, when checking on your food, look through the oven window instead of opening the door.

025. RECYCLE GLASS
Recycled glass reduces related air pollution by 20 percent and related water pollution by 50 percent. If it isn’t recycled it can take a million years to decompose.

diaper pin6. DIAPER WITH A CONSCIENCE
By the time a child is toilet trained, a parent will change between 5,000 and 8,000 diapers, adding up to approximately 3.5 million tons of waste in U.S. landfills each year. Whether you choose cloth or a more environmentally-friendly disposable, you’re making a choice that has a much gentler impact on our planet.

clothespin7. HANG DRY
Get a clothesline or rack to dry your clothes by the air. Your wardrobe will maintain color and fit, and you’ll save money.

Your favorite t-shirt will last longer too.

Star!8. GO VEGETARIAN ONCE A WEEK
One less meat-based meal a week helps the planet and your diet. For example: It requires 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef. You will also also save some trees. For each hamburger that originated from animals raised on rainforest land, approximately 55 square feet of forest have been destroyed.

Fork and knife9. WASH IN COLD OR WARM
If all the households in the U.S. switched from hot-hot cycle to warm-cold, we could save the energy comparable to 100,000 barrels of oil a day.

Only launder when you have a full load.

Napkin10. USE ONE LESS PAPER NAPKIN
During an average year, an American uses approximately 2,200 napkins—around six each day. If everyone in the U.S. used one less napkin a day, more than a billion pounds of napkins could be saved from landfills each year.

Paper11. USE BOTH SIDES OF PAPER
American businesses throw away 21 million tons of paper every year, equal to 175 pounds per office worker. For a quick and easy way to halve this, set your printer’s default option to print double-sided (duplex printing). And when you’re finished with your documents, don’t forget to take them to the recycling bin.

Newspaper12. RECYCLE NEWSPAPER
There are 63 million newspapers printed each day in the U.S. Of these, 44 million, or about 69%, of them will be thrown away. Recycling just the Sunday papers would save more than half a million trees every week.

Gift13. WRAP CREATIVELY
You can reuse gift bags, bows and event paper, but you can also make something unique by using old maps, cloth or even newspaper. Flip a paper grocery bag inside out and give your child stamps or markers to create their own wrapping paper that’s environmentally friendly and extra special for the recipient.

More ideas: HGTV, Martha, DIY Network

Water14. RETHINK BOTTLED WATER
Nearly 90% of plastic water bottles are not recycled, instead taking thousands of years to decompose. Buy a reusable container and fill it with tap water, a great choice for the environment, your wallet, and possibly your health. The EPA’s standards for tap water are more stringent than the FDA’s standards for bottled water.

Shower!15. BAN BATHTIME!
Have a no-bath week, and take showers instead. Baths require almost twice as much water. Not only will you reduce water consumption, but the energy costs associated with heating the water.

brush16. BRUSH WITHOUT RUNNING
You’ve heard this one before, but maybe you still do it. You’ll conserve up to five gallons per day if you stop. Daily savings in the U.S. alone could add up to 1.5 billion gallons–more water than folks use in the Big Apple.

Shower17. SHOWER WITH YOUR PARTNER
Sneak in a shower with your loved one to start the day with some zest that doesn’t come in a bar. Not only have you made a wise choice for the environment, but you may notice some other added…um…benefits.

Shorten18. TAKE A SHORTER SHOWER
Every two minutes you save on your shower can conserve more than ten gallons of water. If everyone in the country saved just one gallon from their daily shower, over the course of the year it would equal twice the amount of freshwater withdrawn from the Great Lakes every day.

Tree19. PLANT A TREE
It’s good for the air, the land, can shade your house and save on cooling (plant on the west side of your home), and they can also improve the value of your property.

Make it meaningful for the whole family and plant a tree every year for each member.

Vvvvrrrooooom20. USE YOUR CRUISE CONTROL
You paid for those extra buttons in your car, so put them to work! When using cruise control your vehicle could get up to 15% better mileage. Considering today’s gasoline prices, this is a boon not only for the environment but your budget as well.

Weee21. SECOND-HAND DOESN’T MEAN SECOND-BEST
Consider buying items from a second-hand store. Toys, bicycles, roller blades, and other age and size-specific items are quickly outgrown. Second hand stores often sell these items in excellent condition since they are used for such a short period of time, and will generally buy them back when you no longer need them.

Globey22. BUY LOCAL
Consider the amount of pollution created to get your food from the farm to your table. Whenever possible, buy from local farmers or farmers’ markets, supporting your local economy and reducing the amount of greenhouse gas created when products are flown or trucked in.

This is a thermometer23. ADJUST YOUR THERMOSTAT
Adjust your thermostat one degree higher in the summer and one degree cooler in the winter. Each degree celsius less will save about 10% on your energy use! In addition, invest in a programmable thermostat which allows you to regulate temperature based on the times you are at home or away.

MMmmmmm, coffee24. INVEST IN YOUR OWN COFFEE CUP
If you start every morning with a steamy cup, a quick tabulation can show you that the waste is piling up. Invest in a reusable cup, which not only cuts down on waste, but keeps your beverage hot for a much longer time. Most coffee shops will happily fill your own cup, and many even offer you a discount in exchange!

Thre and back25. BATCH ERRANDS
Feel like you spend your whole week trying to catch up with the errands? Take a few moments once a week to make a list of all the errands that need to get done, and see if you can batch them into one trip. Not only will you be saving gasoline, but you might find yourself with much better time-management skills.

switch26. TURN OFF LIGHTS
Always turn off incandescent bulbs when you leave a room. Fluorescent bulbs are more affected by the number of times it is switched on and off, so turn them off when you leave a room for 15 minutes or more. You’ll save energy on the bulb itself, but also on cooling costs, as lights contribute heat to a room.

Mow27. GREENER LAWN CARE
If you must water your lawn, do it early in the morning before any moisture is lost to evaporation. Have a few weeds? Spot treat them with vinegar. Not sure if you should rake? Normal clippings act as a natural fertilizer, let them be. If you’ve waited too long, rake by hand — it’s excellent exercise.

Basket28. PICNIC WITH A MARKER
Some time in between the artichoke dip and the coleslaw, you lost track of your cup, and now there are a sea of matching cups on the table, one of which might be yours. The next time you picnic, set out permanent marker next to disposable dinnerware so guests can mark their cup and everyone will only use one.

Celly29. RECYCLE OLD CELL PHONES
The average cell phone lasts around 18 months, which means 130 million phones will be retired each year. If they go into landfills, the phones and their batteries introduce toxic substances into our environment. There are plenty of reputable programs where you can recycle your phone, many which benefit noble causes.

Wrenching30. MAINTAIN YOUR VEHICLE
Not only are you extending the life of your vehicle, but you are creating less pollution and saving gas. A properly maintained vehicle, clean air filters, and inflated tires can greatly improve your vehicle’s performance. And it might not hurt to clean out the trunk—all that extra weight could be costing you at the pump.

No Mommy!31. RECYCLE UNWANTED WIRE HANGERS
Wire hangers are generally made of steel, which is often not accepted by some recycling programs. So what do you do with them? Most dry cleaners will accept them back to reuse or recycle. (Cue Joan Crawford.)

Chug32. RECYCLE ALUMINUM AND GLASS
Twenty recycled aluminium cans can be made with the energy it takes to manufacture one brand new one.

Every ton of glass recycled saves the equivalent of nine gallons of fuel oil needed to make glass from virgin materials.

Homeward bound33. TELECOMMUTE
See if you can work out an arrangement with your employer that you work from home for some portion of the week. Not only will you save money and gasoline, and you get to work in your pajamas!

Eternal flame34. KEEP YOUR FIREPLACE DAMPER CLOSED
Keeping the damper open (when you’re not using your fireplace) is like keeping a 48-inch window wide open during the winter; it allows warm air to go right up the chimney. This can add up to hundreds of dollars each winter in energy loss.

junk35. CUT DOWN ON JUNK MAIL
Feel like you need to lose a few pounds? It might be your junk mail that’s weighing you down. The average American receives 40 pounds of junk mail each year, destroying 100 millions trees. There are many services that can help reduce the clutter in your mailbox, saving trees and the precious space on your countertops.

Light a candle light a match step down step down watch your heel crush crush36. CHOOSE MATCHES OVER LIGHTERS
Most lighters are made out of plastic and filled with butane fuel, both petroleum products. Since most lighters are considered “disposable,” over 1.5 billion end up in landfills each year. When choosing matches, pick cardboard over wood. Wood matches come from trees, whereas most cardboard matches are made from recycled paper.

Yellow pages37. LET YOUR FINGERS DO THE WALKING—ONLINE
Consider if you really need a paper phone book. If not, call to stop phone book delivery and use an online directory instead. Some estimate that telephone books make up almost ten percent of waste at dump sites. And if you still receive the book, don’t forget to recycle your old volumes.

give38. GIVE IT AWAY
Before you throw something away, think about if someone else might need it. Either donate to a charitable organization or post it on a web site designed to connect people and things, such as Freecycle.org.

Wash39. GO TO A CAR WASH
Professional car washes are often more efficient with water consumption. If everyone in the U.S. who washes their car themselves took just one visit to the car wash we could save nearly 8.7 billion gallons of water.

0240. PLASTIC BAGS SUCK
Each year the U.S. uses 84 billion plastic bags, a significant portion of the 500 billion used worldwide. They are not biodegradable, and are making their way into our oceans, and subsequently, the food chain. Stronger, reusable bags are an inexpensive and readily available option.

Fly41. FLY WITH AN E-TICKET
The cost of processing a paper ticket is approximately $10, while processing an e-ticket costs only $1. In the near future, e-tickets will be the only option, saving the airline industry $3 billion a year. In addition to financial savings, the sheer amount of paper eliminated by this process is commendable.

Click42. DOWNLOAD YOUR SOFTWARE
Most software comes on a compact disc, and more than thirty billion compact discs of all types are sold annually. That’s a huge amount of waste, not to mention the associated packaging. Another bonus to downloading your software is that it’s often available for download at a later date when you upgrade to a new computer or are attempting to recover from a crash.
Who uses answering machines?43. STOP YOUR ANSWERING MACHINE
Answering machines use energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And when they break, they’re just one more thing that goes into the landfill. If all answering machines in U.S. homes were eventually replaced by voice mail services, the annual energy savings would total nearly two billion kilowatt-hours.

I like my sugar with coffee and cream44. SKIP THE COFFEE STIRRER
Each year, Americans throw away 138 billion straws and stirrers. But skipping the stirrer doesn’t mean drinking your coffee black. Simply put your sugar and cream in first, and then pour in the coffee, and it should be well mixed.

Determined to stir? Break off a piece of pasta from the cupboard. You can nibble after using it, compost, or throw away with less guilt.

Woof45. FIND A BETTER WAY TO BREAK THE ICE
When a big winter storm heads our way, most of us use some sort of ice melter to treat steps and sidewalks. While this makes the sidewalks safer for people, it may pose a hazard for pets who might ingest these products. Rock salt and salt-based ice-melting products can cause health problems as well as contaminate wells and drinking water. Look for a pet-safe deicer, readily available in many stores.
Swab46. USE COTTON SWABS WITH A PAPERBOARD SPINDLE
Some brands of cotton swabs have a paperboard spindle while others are made of plastic. If 10% of U.S. households switched to a paperboard spindle, the petroleum energy saved per year would be equivalent to over 150,000 gallons of gasoline.
Compute47. PAY BILLS ONLINE
By some estimates, if all households in the U.S. paid their bills online and received electronic statements instead of paper, we’d save 18.5 million trees every year, 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and 1.7 billion pounds of solid waste.
Stop me oh oh oh stop me48. STOP PAPER BANK STATEMENTS
Some banks will pay you a dollar or donate money on your behalf when you cancel the monthly paper statements you get in the mail. If every household took advantage of online bank statements, the money saved could send more than seventeen thousand recent high school graduates to a public university for a year.

Battery49. USE RECHARGABLE BATTERIES
Each year 15 billion batteries produced and sold and most of them are disposable alkaline batteries. Only a fraction of those are recycled. Buy a charger and a few sets of rechargeable batteries. Although it requires an upfront investment, it is one that should pay off in no time. And on Christmas morning when all the stores are closed? You’ll be fully stocked.
Shout it out50. SHARE!
Take what you’ve learned, and pass the knowledge on to others. If every person you know could take one small step toward being greener, the collective effort could be phenomenal.

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A submerged idol of Lord Shiva stands in the flooded River Ganges in Rishikesh. File photo

A submerged idol of Lord Shiva stands in the flooded River Ganges in Rishikesh. File photo

It was like Shiva dancing in rage: Shobha Karandlaje – The Hindu. EXCERPT

Former Karnataka Minister Shobha Karandlaje, who returned to Bangalore after remaining stranded for four days at Rudraprayag in flood-ravaged Uttarakhand, on Friday said it was a harrowing experience as her group of 1,000 pilgrims had to spend sleepless nights sandwiched between high mountains and flooded Ganga river.

“………. I also felt that Lord Shiva was dancing in rage, probably angered due to degradation of ecology taking place in Rudraprayag area,” she said

“We were sandwiched between high mountains and flooded Ganga river downwards. On top of the hill landslides were taking place. For one night I could not even get out of my car,” she added.She said after travelling a while she was stranded in her car at Kandiakhand and had to reach Budla by climbing a hill. .

“We were stranded at Budla for four days,” she said. Ms. Karandlaje said the pilgrims in her group were from West Bengal, Maharashtra and Rajasthan and majority were old women and children. They had minimal food supply and children fell sick and there was no doctor to attend to them. “We could not sleep either due to the rising river water or the possibility of more landslides,” she said.

Causes

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/nature-avenges-its-exploitation/article4834480.ece  

     The catastrophe in the Himalaya is the result of deforestation, unchecked construction of dwellings and large-scale building of big dams

A week is a long time in the Himalaya. In the late 1980s, I visited Arunachal Pradesh as a young researcher, with a keen interest in photography. I walked into the middle of the Dibang river, hop skipping over boulders, until my local tribal guide ordered me to return immediately. He smiled and said, “Sir, these mountain rivers are like daughters, you never know how quickly they grow up.” I was humbled by his knowledge and haven’t forgotten the lesson.

Deforestation

On the television, news of the devastation in Uttarkashi had started pouring in. It was painful to see the buildings, photographed only the previous day, being washed away like toys by the Bhagirathi.

There is little doubt that the present Himalayan disaster has been triggered by natural events, but the catastrophe is man-made.

Let us address the various man-induced drivers. One, there is ample scientific evidence that the Himalayan watersheds have witnessed unprecedented deforestation over a long period. Deforestation as a commercial activity began during the British Raj and has continued unabated after independence. While official estimates say forest cover has increased in the Himalaya, a number of credible independent studies have found significant discrepancies in this claim. The fact is that forests have been diverted for a host of land use activities such as agriculture, human settlements and urbanisation. Massive infrastructure development such as hydropower construction and road building has taken place. Scientific studies indicate that at the current rates of deforestation, the total forest cover in the Indian Himalaya will be reduced from 84.9 per cent (of the value in 1970) in 2000 to no more than 52.8 per cent in 2100. Dense forest areas, on which many forest taxa (groups of species) critically depend, would decline from 75.4 per cent of the total forest area in 2000 to just 34 per cent in 2100, which is estimated to result in the extinction of 23.6 per cent of taxa restricted to the dense Himalayan forests.

FLOODS AND INDIFFERENCE: Massive intervention in the Himalayan ecosystems through manipulation of rivers and their hydrology, is linked to what we are witnessing today.

FLOODS AND INDIFFERENCE: Massive intervention in the Himalayan ecosystems through manipulation of rivers and their hydrology, is linked to what we are witnessing today.

Global warming 

Vegetative cover slows the speed of falling rain and prevents soil erosion and gully formation — the precursors to landslides and floods. Dense vegetation, by evapotranspiration, also stops nearly 30-40 per cent of rainwater from falling to the ground, thereby significantly reducing run-off. Besides holding the soil together, forests and soil soak water from the rain, release it slowly and prevent water flowing as run-off. So, deforestation brings about slope destabilisation, landslides and floods. Given that the Himalayan range is geologically young and still rising, it makes the area vulnerable to erosion and instability. Therefore, it is all the more necessary to take land use change more seriously.

Two, there is mounting evidence that global warming is fast catching up with the Himalaya. In a recent study, we reported that Himalayan ecosystems have experienced faster rates of warming in the last 100 years and more than the European Alps or other mountain ranges of the world. In such a scenario, we expect faster melting of glaciers causing higher water discharges in the Himalayan rivers.

Expanding settlements

Three, expanding human settlements and urbanisation which, besides bringing about land use changes offer themselves as easy targets to the fury of natural forces. While it is important to appreciate the aspirations of the local people and their economic activities, there cannot be a lack of enforcement of land use control laws on the part of local governments and officials. Huge building construction, cheap hotels and individual dwellings at Uttarkashi, on the banks of the Assi and Bhagirathi rivers have been allowed. There is little buffer between the river and the human settlements.

Four, large-scale dam building in recent years has caused massive land use changes with ensuing problems in the Himalayan watersheds. Hydropower and allied construction activities are potential sources of slope weakening and destabilisation. Massive intervention in the Himalayan ecosystems through manipulation of rivers and their hydrology, is linked to what we are witnessing today. Most downstream damage in otherwise flood-free areas is caused by dams and barrages, which release large volumes of water to safeguard engineering structures. Dam operators often release more water during rains than the carrying capacity of downstream areas, causing floods.

Pilgrims

Five, neo-religious movements, linked to changing socio-political developments in India, are responsible for significant human movement into the Himalaya beyond the region’s carrying capacity, whether it is Amarnath in Jammu & Kashmir, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Hemkund in Uttarakhand.

The heavy pilgrim population has also resulted in the mushrooming of shanty towns, cheap accommodation and numerous ramshackle buildings along river banks.

What is the road ahead? There needs to be an integrated policy on the Himalayan environment and development. Enough information is available in the public domain, which only needs to be put together and looked at in a cohesive manner. Himalayan State governments need to consider imposing high environmental tax on visitors, particularly during summer and monsoon months. Heavily sizing down pilgrim numbers in fragile areas must begin. All vulnerable buildings need to be either secured or relocated away from rivers. Governments must impose penalties on building structures within 200 metres of river banks. Hydropower policy must consider building fewer dams and prioritise those that have the least environmental and social costs. Independent and serious monitoring of the catchment area treatment plans proposed by Forest Departments with funds from hydropower companies needs to be carried out and reported to the Green Tribunal.

Related articles

Top 10 green pilgrims of India

IndiaGetGreen blog

[1] Golden Temple of Sripuram is a spiritual park situated at the foothills of Malaikodi, a village within the city of Vellore in Tamil Nadu, India. Sripuram received “Exnora Green Temple Award” and “Exnora Best Eco-friendly Campus of India Award”

Green-o-Meter : The eco-friendly features include Solid Waste Management (SWM), Liquid Waste Management (LWM), rainwater harvesting, bio-gas generation, organic farming, herbal gardens, paddy fields and tree plantations, hill and campus afforestation and harnessing of solar energy. Manure and water for cultivation are generated internally.

[2] The Tirumala temple, in the south Indian city of Tirupathi, is one of Hinduism’s holiest shrines. Over 5,000 pilgrims a day visit this city of seven hills, filling Tirumala’s coffers with donations and making it India’s richest temple. But since 2002, Tirumala has also been generating revenue from a less likely source: carbon credits. For decades, the temple’s community kitchen has fed nearly 15,000…

View original post 775 more words

A collection of recycled articles at Jamien Rao's studio Photo: Nagara Gopal         A mirror framed with leftover wood at Jamien Rao's studio Photo: Nagara GopalAll that junk | The Hindu. Excerpt :

At Jamien Rao’s office/studio in Sainikpuri, it’s understandable if you feel like a kid inside a candy store. Except that one wouldn’t be staring at candies but beautiful utilitarian artefacts made of recycled materials. “Recycled doesn’t mean shabby and cheap,” insists Jamien, whose firm has designed the interiors of hospitals, corporates and plush villas. In addition, if one is willing, he will minimise wastage and also turn leftovers in construction material into usable articles. Jamien is the face of the studio that has on board a psychologist and a host of creative minds that specialise in arts and crafts.

An acrylic sheet mounted over a layer of bamboo makes up the roof. The walls are cemented on the outer side while the bricks are bare but for the painting on the interiors. A piece of plumbing pipe has been remodelled to serve as a table lamp. Several pieces of measuring tape, discarded at construction sites, have been put together on a metal surface mounted on a granite stone to make a unique lamp shade.

The tables and chairs in his office and the garden and the wrought iron pot holders are all made of discarded materials. Old LP records and floppy discs have been turned into wall clocks, wine bottles have been filled with Christmas lights to become decorative lamps, leftover wooden pieces frame a mirror, water bottles have been turned into pots and a dish antenna doubles up as a canopy in the garden area.

Step by step, he proved himself and got clients to trust him. “There are times even people around you might ridicule you. One needs to be strong and determined,” he says.

Jamien knows it’s impossible to avoid scrap but his team minimises wastage. How does a psychologist fit into his team? “I found a lot of difference between what we communicate and what is perceived by clients. A psychologist can help bridge this void, especially in choosing the right colours and textures and making the interiors an extension of the client’s personality,” he explains.

As he takes us on a tour around his studio, he talks about peculiar problems that crop up: “Hyderabadis are Vastu conscious and don’t want old stuff coming into a new house. But many change their minds seeing how we remake stuff,” he says. One problem he still grapples with is his age. “When people read about our work online, they come expecting to meet an elderly gentleman. Very often I get asked ‘who is your boss?’ I tell them this is my firm and it takes them a while to get to trust me.”

Excerpts from  http://laughingsquid.com/paolo-soleri-italian-born-architect-known-for-his-arcological-principles-1919-2013/     and  http://www.arcosanti.org/

What is arcology ? ‘ –a combination of ‘architecture’ and ‘ecology’– Soleri’s most visible arcological project is Arcosanti, an experimental dwelling in the Arizona desert.

Arcosanti is an urban laboratory focused on innovative design, community, and environmental accountability

Cosanti, The Gallery, Studio & Residence of Italian Architect Paolo Soleri

In nature, as an organism evolves it increases in complexity and it also becomes a more compact or miniaturized system. Similarly a city should function as a living system. Arcology, architecture and ecology as one integral process, is capable of demonstrating positive response to the many problems of urban civilization, population, pollution, energy and natural resource depletion, food scarcity and quality of life. Arcology recognizes the necessity of the radical reorganization of the sprawling urban landscape into dense, integrated, three-dimensional cities in order to support the complex activities that sustain human culture. The city is the necessary instrument for the evolution of humankind.”                          —Paolo Soleri

Roadtrip 2002

We put solar panels on a single family home but can’t change the impact of inefficient construction or the consumption inherent to moving around the suburbs. We buy hybrid cars but must drive in the gridlocks of daily commutes. We buy “green washed” products but continue the same hyper consumption that sprawl mandates. These improvements produce a “better kind of wrongness.”

Soleri suggests instead of reformation, we need reformulation of the way that we think about living and design for habitats that get to the root of the problem. Do we have enough land and other resources to sustain the current types of development? Does green consumerism get to the root of the problem?

Arcology seeks to embody a “Lean Alternative” to hyper consumption and wastefulness through more frugal, efficient, smart, yet elegant city designs. Leanness is inherently obtainable via the miniaturization intrinsic to the Urban Effect.

 

Sustainable design

Pergola designs http://www.energyproductsanddesign.com/blog/tag/pergola/

Outdoor Great Room - Pergola

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-propertyplus/design-differently/article4563151.ece

A group of visionary civil engineers at the Indian Institute of Engineers, Bangalore, initiated ASTRA, abbreviation for Application of Science and Technology for Rural Areas. This simple motto led to pioneering research on mud walls, arch roofs, vaults and domes, besides relooking at vernacular designs for modern applications with their work still continuing under the name Gram Vidya.

The unique settlement at Auroville, though started with the spiritual blessings of The Mother, turned out be a world laboratory on alternative designs and constructions. A heaven for students and learners, people keen on exploring cost-effective, eco-friendly and energy-efficient models even today flock to Auroville. The Energy and Resource Institute or TERI has commissioned, collated and contributed a wealth of information towards sustainable buildings.

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-propertyplus/building-with-a-view/article4565880.ece

When he discovered Auroville in 1992, he settled down and began his studio. Here, he converges contemporary living with vernacular principles of design, mainly the climatic, cultural and socio-economic characters of architecture.

Rooted in tradition:The ‘Auromodele’ aims at building for ‘community living’ and breaks the conventional mould of ‘four walls and a roof’

Jadeja also believes that Indian design supports minimalism in many ways, “I see minimalism in architecture as being minimal use of energy, minimal impact on environment, minimal intrusion on the social, aesthetical and cultural identity of the place.

To understand the deeper meaning of minimalism in architecture, architects need to create space for crafts, culture and identity and arrive at a more contemporary language for traditions. “There are positive signs in textile design, films, fashion, and furniture in different parts of the world. In India, I am still waiting for a big movement in architecture,” says Jadeja.

http://www.permaculture.org/nm/index.php/site/index/ –   Permaculture is an ecological design system for sustainability in all aspects of human endeavor. It teaches us how build natural homes, grow our own food, restore diminished landscapes and ecosystems, catch rainwater, build communities and much more.

Paper products made out of elephant and rhinoceros excreta

http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sundaymagazine/saving-the-planet-with-poo/article4493446.ece  –  ……………..“It was our intention to make this a completely eco-friendly product. The paper is made by mixing the dung with other waste products like hosiery rags. The paper is organic and acid-free. It further helps in the conservation of two endangered species — the Greater One Horned Rhino and the Asian Elephant. It is also wood-free, so it helps save trees. The paper is recyclable and biodegradable, and no chemicals harmful to the environment are used in making the paper. Finally, no toxic waste is generated.”

http://frenchbydesign.blogspot.in/2013/03/oh-la-la-jaime.html

AUROVILLE


http://www.auroville.org/education/avis/avis.htm

http://www.aurovilleguestservice.org/opportunities/farm-work/

http://www.aurovilleguestservice.org/opportunities/green-work/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_One-Straw_Revolution

http://alexvsworld.posterous.com/my-auroville-experience-with-photos-and-video

http://nahidsharmin.blogspot.com/2009/11/my-first-month-at-auroville.html

Biodiversity …..

  • There is still no bar on trying the corporate perpetrators of the Bhopal tragedy, including Warren Anderson.

When it comes to the U.S., international law is the vanishing point of punitive jurisprudence

Crime statistics almost wholly ignore corporate or business crime-  http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/article484527.ece

To generate awareness about genetic resources conservation, each year May 22 is observed as the International Day for Biological Diversity. The U.N. has designated 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity. Leaders from 170 countries will gather at a U.N. Biodiversity Summit in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010 to adopt a roadmap to stop biodiversity loss.

A tribal village in the Kolli Hills in Tamil Nadu. These villages are leading the way in revitalising the conservation traditions of tribal families, without compromising on their economic well-being.

These villages are leading the way in revitalising the conservation traditions of tribal families, without compromising on their economic well-being.

Biodiversity loss is predominantly related to habitat destruction largely for commercial exploitation, and for alternative uses such as road-building. Invasive alien species and unsustainable development cause genetic erosion. How can we reverse the paradigm and enlist development as an effective instrument to conserve biodiversity?

During the tsunami, mangroves served as speed-breakers and saved people from the waves. He said everyone in the village now understood the symbiotic relationship between mangroves and coastal communities. The mangroves here are now in safe hands.

……………… adding value to primary products and finding niche markets for traditional foodgrains.  Commercialisation thus became the trigger for conservation.

In Biovillages, the conservation and enhancement of natural resources become priority tasks. At the same time, the Biovillage community aims to increase the productivity and profitability of small farms and create livelihood opportunities in the non-farm sector. Habitat conservation is vital to prevent genetic erosion. In a Biovalley, local communities try to link biodiversity, biotechnology and business in a mutually reinforcing manner. A Herbal Biovalley under development in Koraput aims to conserve medicinal plants and local foods and convert them into value-added products based on assured and remunerative market linkages. Such sustainable and equitable use of biodiversity leads to an era of biohappiness. Tribal families in Koraput have formed a “Biohappiness Society.”

REAP THE BENEFITS Pay attention to your  thoughts PHOTO: AP
REAP THE BENEFITS Pay attention to your thoughts PHOTO: AP