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BETWEEN YOU AND ME A friend wrote in recently when I mailed him in a moment of despondence. It was a terse mail. He consoled me gently with recall of Anicius Boethius, the Roman thinker of about Buddha’s times. Boethius wrote of how nothing is permanent, fortune included, barring the essence of thought. He said, only inspiration shall remain.

“So why only some few individuals in the minority would, be as deeply concerned about these dire threats and want to do something about it?” There was simply no feedback. No one wrote back. The odd friend would occasionally say something encouraging, and I translated it to be simple politeness.

Over 27   years   of   plodding   through   market   offerings   that   are   ahead   of   their   times,   we   have   often   been   asked   if   it   makes   sense  at  all  to  continue  to  defy  the  basic  MBA  course’s  tenet  of  offering  only  “what  the  market  wants”.  And  we  have   only  offered  a  weak  smile,  not  knowing  how  to  explain  why  we  do  what  we  do  at  BCIL.   Crossover  is  none  such  endeavor  from  the  Zed  stable,  as  the  group  is  now  known  in  the  marketplace.     It  is  a  publication  that  has  sought  to  capture  the  very  best  of  such  distilled  concerns  of  the  planet,  of  the  environment.     It  is  easy  to  be  drowned  by  the  many  voices  of  skepticism,  and  of  unhealthy  dissent.   A   young   architect   recently   chatted   as   up,   “So   why   would   only   some   few   individuals   in   the   minority,   be   as   deeply   concerned  about  these  dire  threats  and  want  to  do  something  about  it?”   We  asked  her  to  reflect  on  it.  She  said,  “Well,  is  it  the  rumble  in  your  own  hungry  guts?”  Yes,  it  is.  You  do  it  because  you   know  it  is  an  imperative.  Even  if,  to  those  who  don’t  even  know  what  education  is,  many  of  these  little  and  big  concerns   simply  don’t  make  any  sense  at  all.   So  who  is  Crossover  meant  for?  Well,  if  you’re  reading  this  now,  there  is  some  deep  chord  that  it  is  touching  in  you.  So   it’s  for  anyone  who  resonates  with  our  larger  concerns  on  the  environment  and  public  good.   It  is  most  often  an  impulse.  You  are  not  expected  to  do  anything  about  it.  Worse,  you  often  don’t  know  what  you  can  do   about  it,  and  with  a  helpless  shrug,  even  if  it  is  disagreeable,  you  accept  it  and  get  on  with  life.  So  you  settle  for  less.   Some  don’t.  They  do  something  about  it.  They  seek  the  joy  of  responsible  buying.  Or  like  Sekhar  who’s  featured  in  this   edition,  they  do  more.   Crossover   as   a   publication   in   print   (seems   quaint   today   in   a   world   that   is   so   e-­‐infused!)   went   out   to   about   10,000   readers.  That  was  in  2002.  With  no  editorial  help,  and  with  only  our  persistence  for  resource,  we  ran  it  for  over  7  years   as  a  monthly  publication-­‐writing  the  features,  editing  them,  formatting  the  magazine,  working  out  the  slugs,  the  straps,   the  blurbs,  the  caption-­‐stories,  captions  and  the  headlines.  There  was  hardly  anyone  to  help.   There  was  simply  no  feedback.  No  one  wrote  back.  The  odd  friend  would  occasionally  say  something  encouraging.  His   eyes   betrayed   usually,   simple   politeness.   Until   one   day   last   year,   five   years   after   I   had   put   the   magazine   to   a   decent   death,   Sharukh   Mistry,   the   legendary   Indian   architect,   caught   up   with   me   for   some   friendly   banter   at   a   friend’s   place   on   Nepean  Sea  Road  in  Bombay.  He  said,  “Wonder  what  happened  to  Crossover?  I  don’t  get  it  these  days.”  So  I  told  him   what  had  happened.  He  looked  surprised,  and  pained.     “Do  you  know?  Some  of  those  editions  that  I  got  then  continue  to  make  for  bedside  reading  for  me.”   I  couldn’t  believe  my  ears.  I  realized  at  once  the  burden  of  all  good  artists.   They   are   rarely   told   of   people’s   appreciation   of  their  work.  It’s  not  that  people  don’t  value  it;  it  is  just  that  they  don’t  bring  themselves  to  make  the  effort  to  speak,   write  and  say  it.   So  Crossover  is  back.  Resurrected  from  the  dead.  Well,  for  those  who  have  the  education  for  it.  From  those  of  us  here   who  have  the  conviction  that  these  stories  need  to  be  told.   As   in   those   years   of   the   last   decade,   crossover   will   continue   to   explore   not   the   grim   side   of   all   that   is   bad   for   the   environment,  but  the  positive  side  of  what  the  world  can  do  about  it.  Of  what  you  and  I  can  do  about  it.   Festive  greetings  and  happy  reading.      


Disaster on the Ganga: Is anybody listening?   When the blasting for the tunnels were going on, many hundreds of villagers had petitioned the District Magistrate on how through many nights their house.  

          All  along  the  Alakananda  there  are  protests  against  the  kind  of  relief  works  that  are  being  dished  out.  The  govt  has  given,   says   another   sanghatan   worker   today,   there’s   16,000   cr   given   so   far   for   relief   workers.   There's   a   scramble   among   middlemen  to  see  what  money  can  me  made.     Here's   another   report   from   Chamoli   district.   Past   Gopeshwar,   along   the   way   to   Guptkashi   more   such   sad   reports   are   emerging.     Villages,  houses  and  lands  in  the  entire  Uttarakhand  region  have  sunk  after  the  June  disaster.  But  it  has  left  all  the  major   development   companies   unmoved.   It   is   business   as   usual   for   them.   The   state   and   central   governments   and   the   construction   companies   are   getting   on,   regardless,   with   the   Vishnugad-­‐Peepalkoti   dam   project   for   400MW   to   be   harnessed  on  the  Alaknanda  river.  The  construction  of  the  tunnel  to  the  power  house  of  the  dam  has  affected  Harsari,  a   village  in  the  dam-­‐site  area.  There  are  cracks  in  the  houses,  water  sources  have  dried  up.  Crop  failure  has  been  reported   for  the  first  time  ever.   People’s   protests   against   putting   up   the   dam   fall   on   deaf   ears.   This   has   gone   on   for   ten   years.   The   construction   companies  and  the  government  have  been  conniving  to  ‘trap’  the  vocal  opponents  in  the  villages  in  fake  cases.   At  Gopeshwar,  outside  of  the  District  Magistrate  office  affected  people  have  sat  on  Dharna  in  the  last  month  after  the   disaster.   A   local   politician   and   minister   in   the   state   government   listened   to   them,   and   ordered   the   District   Magistrate   and  Superintendent  of  Police  to  withdraw  the  false  cases.  The  cases  continue  to  be  active.   Says  one  of  the  activists  in  Pipalkoti,  “We  have  regularly  informed  the  District  Magistrate  of  Chamoli  of  our  problems,   but,  no  one  pays  attention.  World  Bank  officials  from  Delhi  regularly  have  visited  us.  Their  story  was  the  same:  that  we   have  to  accept  the  dam  if  we  need  any  of  our  problems  to  be  addressed.  The  dam  is  the  problem,  is  not  something  they   want   to   understand.”   Another   affected   villager   says,   “We   have   decided   that   there   is   no   point   in   fighting   these   people   in   the   government   or   at   the   World   Bank.   We   are   now   only   asking   that   our   compensations   be   paid   at   least.   And   that   a   guarantee  is  offered  in  writing  to  all  the  villages  that  any  damage  coming  out  of  the  dams  will  be  borne  by  them  for  a   lifetime.”   Taking   advantage   of   people   moving   away   from   their   villages   with   persistent   crops   failutre.   The   construction   company   which  is  also  a  government-­‐owned  corporation,  has  quietly,  and  illegally,  changed  the  alignment  of  the  tunnel  to  have  it   pass  beneath  the  lands.  After  getting  it  done,  they  got  an  order  from  the  District  Judge  for  constructing  a  ‘new  tunnel’!   When  the  blasting  for  the  tunnels  were  going  on,  many  hundreds  of  villagers  had  petitioned  the  District  Magistrate  on   how  through  many  nights  their  houses  shook  and  trembled  under  the  impact  of  the  blasting.  Again  to  no  avail.   “We   kept   on   waiting   for   help   from   the   DM.   We   have   informed   the   officers   by   phone   that   there   are   continuous   explosions  from  11pm  to  2am  during  the  night.  We  have  not  slept  many  nights  out  of  fear,”  wails  another  lady  from  the   village.   With   persistent   rains,   landslides   are   a   regular   occurrence.   Houses   have   collapsed.   The   Revenue   Department   and   the   Dam  company  THDC  take  months  to  ‘investigate’.  The  compensation  doled  out  is  so  small  that  we  have  had  to  borrow  to   build.  Should  we  wait  for  other  houses  to  collapse?   [Tags  :  Health,  City  Scape,  Urban  Ecology,  Agriculture]  


Gujarat pushes through a N Plant

          People  of  Mithi  Virdi  didn't  even  know  that  a  plant  was  coming  up,  until  activists  told  them.     In   2007,   Gujarat   signed   a   deal   for   setting   up   a   6000   MW   Nuclear   Power   plant   in   Mithi   Virdi,   a   densely   vegetated   and   beautiful   part   of   Bhavnagar   district.   The   Nuclear   Power   Corporation   of   India   was   the   partner.   It   a   Westinghouse   technology  from  the  US  that  NPC  is  planning  to  go  for.  The  plant  site  is  a  few  km  away  from  the  Alang  Shipbreaking  Yard.     There   are   5   villages—Jaspara,   Mithi   Virdi,   Mandva,   Khadarpar   and   Sosiya—that   are   affected   by   the   plant.   These   villages   stand  to  lose  nearly  800  hectares  or  2,000  acres  of  fertile  lands.     The   Westinghouse   AP1000   is   an   untested   reactor   technology.   USNRC   had   raised   several   technical   doubts   about   the   reactors,  which  were  given  a  nod  to  by  only  the  non-­‐technical  committee  members  of  the  NRC  in  that  country.     Of   the   cluster   of   5   villages   that   are   blessed   with   fertile   lands,   three—Mithi   Virdi,   Jaspara   and   Sosiya   are   along   the   coastline.  Most  of  the  land  proposed  to  be  acquired  falls  under  Jaspara.  There  are  in  all  152  villages  in  a  30-­‐km  radius  of   the  nuclear  power  plant,  if  it  is  put  up.   The   rich   alluvial   soil   here   supports   crops   like   Groundnut,   wheat,   bajra,   cotton,     and   fruits   like   mangoes   (Sosiya   mangoes   are  famous  across  India  and  are  also  exported),  chickoos,  coconut,  and  other  such  lucrative  crops  that  have  ensured  high   income   levels   for   the   entire   region.   This   area   also   grows   and   supplies   vegetables—onion,   brinjal,   gourd,   tomatoes,   drumsticks.  The  agriculture  department  has  found  the  climate  and  soil  suitable  for  cashew  nuts,  too.   People   of   the   area   were   blissfully   unaware   of   the   proposed   nuclear   project   when     Paryavaran   Suraksha   Samiti   (a   voluntary   organisation)   activists   visited   Mithi   Virdi   area   the   first   time   in   2008.   They   had   no   idea   of   the   impending   threat   to   their   land,   livelihood   and   the   environmental   and   health   hazards   of   nuclear   energy.   No   agency   of   the   government   had   even  communicated  to  the  villagers  for  all  of  five  years!   Since  2007  the  Bhavnagar  Jilla  Gram  Bachao  Samiti,  Anu  Urja  Abhyas  Juth,  Gujarat  Anu-­‐ urja   Mukti   Andolan   and   Paryavaran   Suraksha   Samiti   have   conducted   awareness   programmes.   As   a   result,   the   villagers   with   the   support   of   number   of   organisations   in   Gujarat   and   across   India   started   agitation   against   the   proposed   6000   MW   Mithi   Virdi   Nuclear  Power  Plant.   On  Manmohan  Singh’s  agenda  on  his  US  visit  in  the  last  week  of  September  this  year,  was   a   meeting   between   Westinghouse   and   NPC   to   finalise   the   deal   for   the   Mithi   Virdi   Nuclear     Power  Plant.  Not  a  report  has  appeared  on  this.  The  sign-­‐up  must  have  happened  beyond   the  glare  of  media  lights.   People  of  these  five  villages  organized  a  massive  40  km  rally  from  Mithi  Virdi  to  Bhavnagar  with  thousands  gathering  at   Bhavnagar  to  register  their  protest.  No  reports  appeared  of  this  rally.   To  have  some  idea  of  the  ongoing  struggle  on  the  Mithi  Virdi  Nuclear  Power  Plant  check  out     FACEBOOK  PAGE     -­‐   EPH  VIDEO       -­‐   VILLAGE  VIDEO       -­‐  

[Tags  :  Agriculture,  Energy,  Equity]  


N Power is just 10 pc in the world!  

Women pose during a protest against nuclear power at Jaspara-Mithi Virdi village, some 260 km from Ahmedabad, opposing a proposed 6,000 MW nuclear power plant. The plant would have a devastating impact on the people and environment of the region, according to a joint statement by Indian American organizations South Asians for Justice-Los Angeles, Alliance for South Asians Taking Action and Friends of South Asia. (Getty Images)

              …  and  nearly  70  pc  of  all  the  world’s  N  Power  plants  are  in  just  3  nations—India,  China  and  Russia!     Two  years  after  the  Fukushima  disaster,  its  impact  on  the  global  nuclear  industry  has  become  increasingly  visible.  Global   electricity  generation  from  nuclear  plants  dropped  by  a  historic  7  per  cent  in  2012,  adding  to  the  record  drop  of  4  per   cent  in  2011.  This  is  according  to  World  Nuclear  Industry  Status  Report  2013  (WNISR)  which  provides  a  global  overview   of  the  history,  the  current  status  and  the  trends  of  nuclear  power  programs  worldwide.   This  report  looks  at  nuclear  reactor  units  in  operation  and  under  construction  and  provides  40  pages  of  detailed  country-­‐ by-­‐country  information.  The  2013  edition  also  includes  an  update  on  nuclear  economics  as  well  as  an  overview  of  the   status,  on-­‐site  and  off-­‐site,  of  the  challenges  triggered  by  the  Fukushima  disaster.     However,  this  report’s  emphasis  on  recent  post-­‐Fukushima  developments  should  not  obscure  an  important  fact.  The   world  nuclear  industry  already  had  faced  daunting  challenges  long  before  Fukushima,  just  as  the  U.S.  nuclear  power   industry  had  largely  collapsed  after  the  1979  Three  Mile  Island  accident.  The  nuclear  promoters’  invention  that  a  global   nuclear  renaissance  was  flourishing  until  the  Japan  disaster  is  equally  false.  Fukushima  only  added  to  the  already  grave   problems,  starting  with  poor  economics  of  such  power  generation.     Let  us  look  at  what  the  report  has  to  say  about  operations.  There  are  31  countries  operating  nuclear  power  plants  in  the   world.  A  total  of  427  reactors  have  a  combined  installed  capacity  of  364,000  MW.  These  figures  assume  the  final   shutdown  of  the  ten  reactors  at  Fukushima-­‐Daiichi  and  -­‐Daini.  In  Japan,  as  of  June  2013,  only  two  of  the  44  remaining   Japanese  reactors  are  operating  and  their  future  is  highly  uncertain.  In  fact,  many  observers  believe  that  a  large  share  of   the  suspended  Japanese  units  will  likely  never  restart.     Nuclear  power  share  in  world  power  generation  has  declined  steadily  from  a  historic  peak  of  17  per  cent  in  1993  to   about  10  per  cent  in  2012.  Nuclear  power’s  share  of  global  commercial  primary  energy  production  plunged  to  4.5   percent,  a  level  last  seen  in  1984.     The  report  also  points  out  that  two-­‐thirds  (44)  of  the  units  under  construction  are  located  in  three  countries:  China,   India  and  Russia.   The  Government  of  India  is  aggressively  pursuing  its  nuclear  programmes  in  spite  of  people  from  Koodankulam  (Tamil   Nadu),  Jaitapur  (Maharashtra),  Mithi  Virdi  (Gujarat),  Kovvada  (Andhra  Pradesh),  Gorakhpur  (Haryana),  Chutka  (Madhya   Pradesh)  and  Haripur  (West  Bengal)  waging  relentless  war  against  these  unsafe  nuclear  power  projects  promoted  by  the   Nuclear  Power  Corporation.     Peaceful  people  protests  in  each  of  these  areas  have  mostly  been  met  with  callousness  and  brutal  repression  by   governments.    

Communities near  existing  nuclear  facilities  in  Tarapur,  Rawatbhata,  Kalpakkam,  Kaiga,  Kakrapar  and  Hyderabad  have   also  been  raising  voices  against  radiation  leaks  and  their  harmful  effects.  Often  these  are  hushed  up  by  the  authorities.   Existing  and  proposed  new  uranium  mines  in  Jharkhand,  Andhra  Pradesh  and  Meghalaya  have  also  met  with  massive   protests.   [Tags  :  Energy,  Technology,  Health]  


A Bhangi? You can’t stay in my mohalla! The  Sanitation  bill  was  passed  in  September.  Nothing  changes  across  the  fabric  of  India.  Here  is  the  gruesome  story  of   one  old  man.     He   was   a   retired   school   teacher   at   64.   He   lived   on   1   kidney   and   a   dialysis   that   had   to   be   done   twice   every   week.   He   was   a  Bhangi.  Tulsibhai  Jadhav  Berdiya  lived  in  a  small  town,  Tal  Palitana  in  Bhavnagar  district.  He  was  brutally  attacked  with   an   attempt   to   murder   by   his   neighbours.   Five   of   them   took   on   the   frail   old   man.   All   of   them   were   ‘upper   caste’   Rajputs.   What  was  the  provocation?  That  his  was  the  only  family  of  Bhangis  staying  in  the  location.   It  happened  in  early  August  this  year  at  around  10.30  a.m.  Tulsibhai  was  alone  at  home  with  his  wife  who  is  62.    Mr.   Ajitsinh,  a  Rajput  living  in  a  home  across  the  road,  had  asked  Tulsibhai  to  move  away  from  the  area  as  they  did  not  want   a   Bhangi   community   person   living   next   door.   Provocations   started   with   Ajitsingh’s   family   using   bad   words,   addressing   them   by   their   caste   status.   They   got   their   domestic   dog’s   excreta   and   household   garbage   to   be   heaped   in   front   of   Tulsibhai’s  house.   Whenever  Tulsibhai  pleaded  with  them  to  stop  these  acts,  Ajitsinh  threatened  of  dire  consequences.  Tulsibhai’s  three   sons  live  in  Bhavnagar  and  Ahmedabad,  pursuing  careers.  )  On  the  fatal  morning,.  Tulsibhai  was  at  home  with  his  wife.   He  stepped  out  of  the  house,  and  across  the  street  stood  Ajitsinh.  So  he  requested  him  again  not  to  cast  any  slurs  on  his   being  a  Bhangi,  and  to  clear  the  waste  heap  in  front  of  Tulsibhai’s  door.   Ajitsingh  was  enraged.  He  and  all  his  family  members  stormed  into  Tulsibhai’s  house  and  started  beating  the  old  man   and  his  wife  with  a  hockey  stick,  and  some  rod.  It  was  brutal.  They  entered  the  house,  closed  the  door  from  inside  and   beat  him  with  an  attempt  to  kill.  They  vandalised  the  entire  house.      Ajitsinh  called  Tulsibhai’s  son  Shrikant  at  Bhavnagar,   about  2  hours  away  from  Palitana,  and  informed  him  that  he  and  others  are  beating  his  father  and  will  kill  him,  if  the  son   did  not  have  the  courage  to  come  down  right  away.  Shrikant  reached  1.30  the  afternoon.  He  dialed  for  an  ambulance   and   took   his   father   to   hospital.     After   MLC   report   was   given   by   the   hospital,   the   police   reached   the   hospital   ward.   A   fractured   left   leg   and   grave   injuries   to   the   body,   did   not   move   the   police   to   act.   Tulsibhai   was   shunted   out   to   the   Bhavnagar   Civil   Hospital,   where   again   another   MLC   report   was   prepared.   Again,   around   1.00   a.m.   Rabari,   a   PSI   of   the   area,  came  to  the  Bhavnagar  Civil  Hospital  for  writing  the  Panchnama.  But,  the  FIR  was  not  filed.   It  took  more  persuasion  the  following  day  before  the  FIR  was  filed  with  the  Palitana  Town  Police  station.  Two  more  days   later,  Ajitsinh  and  his  family  members  were  summoned  to  the  Police  station,  but  were  immediately  relieved.     Tulsibhai  doesn’t  have  the  energy  or  the  resources  to  fight  this  anymore.  He  has  now  shifted  to  Bhavnagar  to  live  with   his  son  Shrikant.  He  is  mortally  afraid  of  going  back  to  his  own  house  at  Palitana.  The  authorities  couldn’t  care  less.   If   anyone   wants   to   speak   to   Tulsibhai,   and   lend   any   support,   you   can   write   to   him   at   Mr.   Shrikant   Berdiya,   G-­‐8,   Vardhaman  Complex,  Bhadevani  Sheri,  Pirchhila  Road,Bhavnagar,  Gujarat.        

Law says no more manual scavengers. A  Bill  seeking  to  prohibit  employment  of  individuals  as  manual  scavengers  by  prescribing  stringent  punishment,  including   imprisonment  up  to  five  years,  was  passed  by  Parliament  early  Sept.  It  has  provisions  for  rehabilitation  of  manual   scavengers  and  their  family  members  as  well.   The  Bill  has  a  wider  scope  for  higher  penalties  than  what  was  provided  under  the  1993  Act.  Offences  under  the  Bill  are   cognizable  and  non-­‐bail  able,  and  may  be  tried  summarily.  The  Bill  seeks  to  wipe  out  the  ‘social  stigma’  by  arranging  for   alternative  jobs  and  offering  other  provisions  to  those  in  such  work  and  their  families.  

The Minister  for  Social  Justice  Kumari  Selja  said  the  earlier  Act  did  not  prove  very  effective.  Under  the  new  law,  each   occupier  of  an  insanitary  latrine  is  responsible  for  converting  or  demolishing  it  at  his  own  cost.  If  he  fails  to  do  so,  the   local  authority  will  convert  the  latrine  and  recover  the  cost  from  him.  Each  local  authority,  cantonment  board  and   railway  authority  are  responsible  for  surveying  insanitary  latrines  within  their  jurisdiction.  “Such  latrines,  where  manual   scavenging  happens,  will  have  to  be  demolished;  otherwise  somebody  will  be  engaged  to  do  it,”  Ms.  Selja  said.  The   government  would  chip  in  with  financial  help,  she  said.  “Despite  prohibition  of  manual  scavenging,  the  practice  is  still   prevalent...  This  dehumanising  practice  is  inconsistent  with  the  right  to  live  with  dignity,”  she  remarked.    

[Tags :  Equity]


A Filthy History: When New Yorkers Lived KneeDeep in Trash

An early image of the sanitation department collecting trash, circa late 1890s. Photo courtesy DSNY.


A street sweeper, or “San Man,” in Midtown Manhattan in 1964. Via National Geographic.

It’s   tempting   to   think   of   sacred   tombs   and   ancient   monuments   as   our   best   window   into   other   cultures.   But   archaeologists   have   long   known   that   if   you   really   want   to   understand   a   civilization,   to   know   its   people’s   passions,   weaknesses,  and  daily  rituals,  look  no  further  than  their  garbage.   Robin   Nagle   has   spent   much   of   her   life   fascinated   by   trash,   and   its   oft-­‐unseen   impacts   on   our   society,   our   environment,   and  our  health.  Nagle’s  recent  book,  “Picking  Up,”  chronicles  a  decade  working  with  the  New  York  City  Department  of   Sanitation,  years  spent  in  their  offices,  transfer  stations,  locker  rooms,  and  of  course,  their  garbage  trucks.  Interspersed   with   Nagle’s   personal   experiences   are   enlightening   tidbits   from   the   city’s   long   and   difficult   history   of   trash   collection.   As   Nagle  points  out,  we  live  in  cities  literally  built  on  trash,  yet  the  management  of  household  waste  remains  one  of  the   most  invisible  aspects  of  modern  existence.   In   the   U.S.,   the   most   wasteful   country   per   capita,   each   citizen   throws   away   an   average   of   7.1   pounds   per   day,   according   to  garbage  guru  Edward  Humes.  So  what  place  could  be  better  to  study  the  impact  of  this  onslaught  than  New  York  City,   which  generates  nearly  22  million  pounds  of  household  waste  every  day?  

In 2002,  Nagle  was  first  granted  access  to  the  department’s  archives,  and  in  2003,  she  initiated  the  process  of  actually   becoming   a   sanitation   worker.   After   working   closely   with   the   department   for   years—riding   routes,   visiting   garages,   attending   social   events,   and   interviewing   employees—Nagle   was   named   the   department’s   only   Anthropologist   in   Residence   in   2006.   “It’s   the   perfect   title,”   says   Nagle,   “the   perfect   framing   of   my   relationship   with   them.   It   lets   me   propose  weird  things,  and  they  just  shake  their  heads  and  say,  ‘It  must  be  because  she’s  an  anthropologist.’”   Nagle’s   research   covers   all   the   complexities   of   our   sanitation   situation,   from   landfill   archaeology   to   the   integration   of   women  in  a  male-­‐dominated  profession.  One  of  Nagle’s  most  disturbing  revelations  is  that  a  career  in  sanitation  is  more   dangerous  than  working  for  the  fire  or  police  department,  despite  a  clear  absence  of  public  appreciation  for  our  garbage   men  and  women.   Now  that  the  book  is  finished,  Nagle  is  working  to  document  the  field’s  oral  history  and  develop  a  Museum  of  Sanitation.   Part   of   Nagle’s   motivation   is   to   restore   the   dignity   of   the   profession   and   remind   urban   dwellers   that   they   couldn’t   function  without  a  sanitation  department.   We  recently  spoke  with  Nagle  about  the  hidden  life  of  trash  and  the  complicated  business  of  managing  it.   When  was  the  sanitation  department  established  in  New  York?   Nagle:  It  was  created  as  the  Department  of  Street  Cleaning  in  1881,  and  renamed  the  Department  of  Sanitation  in  1929.   But   it   was   actually   made   effective   for   the   first   time   in   1895,   in   that   the   people   who   worked   for   the   department   actually   collected  garbage  and  swept  the  streets.   In  its  early  days,  the  department  didn’t  really  function  at  all.  There  are  some  photographs  taken  for  Harper’s  Weekly,   before   and   after   photos   of   street   corners   in   New   York   in   1893   and   then   in   1895.   And   the   before   pictures   are   pretty   astonishing,  people  were  literally  shin-­‐high  or  knee-­‐high  in  this  muck  that  was  a  combination  of  street  gunk,  horse  urine   and  manure,  dead  animals,  food  waste,  and  furniture  crap.   Put  yourself  back  in  the  late  19th  century  and  think  about  the  material  world  that  would  have  surrounded  you  in  your   home.  When  you  threw  something  out,  it  wouldn’t  go  anywhere.  It  would  be  thrown  in  the  street.   This  was  mostly  because  of  corruption  in  the  city  government.  It  was  a  very  easy  source  of  plunder.  The  people  in  charge   of   street   cleaning   were   in   the   pockets   of   people   like   Boss   Tweed   and   Tammany   Hall   [a   corrupt   political   group   that   controlled   New   York   City’s   Democratic   party].   Other   cities   all   over   the   world   had   figured   out   how   to   solve   this   waste   problem  decade  earlier,  but  New  York  persisted  in  being  infamously,  disgustingly  dirty.    

The June 22, 1895, edition of Harper’s Weekly compared photos of the same street corners two years earlier to show what an incredible transformation street cleaning had affected. Via the New York Public Library.


When Waring’s “White Wings” first began cleaning up New York streets in the 1890s, they needed police protection from disgruntled residents. Photo courtesy DSNY.

When  did  the  situation  change?   Nagle:  There  was  a  police  corruption  scandal  in  the  early  1890s  that  was  so  spectacular  the  Tammany  political  machine   could   not   control   the   reaction.   So   they   were   kicked   out   of   office   in   the   mayoral   elections   of   1894.   A   guy   named   William   Strong  took  over  as  mayor,  and  he  swore  to  appoint  people  of  integrity  as  his  commissioners.  For  street  cleaning,  he  first   reached  out  to  Teddy  Roosevelt,  who  basically  said,  ‘What,  are  you  nuts?  Nobody  should  do  that.  That’s  an  impossible   job.  I’m  not  going  to  do  that.’  So  Roosevelt  took  over  the  police  department,  which  was  also  in  dire  need  of  reform.  

Mayor Strong  reached  out  to  a  Civil  War  officer,  a  veteran  and  a  self-­‐titled  “sanitary  engineer”  and  a  bit  of  a  showman,   named   George   Waring.   He   asked   Waring   to   take   over   street   cleaning,   and   they   had   a   conversation   that   Waring   later   recounted  to  the  press  in  which  he  said,  “I’ll  do  it  under  one  condition  –  you  leave  me  alone.  If  you  want  to  fire  me,  of   course,  that’s  your  right.  But  I  will  appoint  and  hire  the  people  I  feel  are  best  for  the  job,  not  because  they’re  people  you   want  to  do  favor  for.”   The   mayor   agreed   and   Waring   immediately   gave   the   department   a   hierarchical,   military-­‐type   structure   that   is   still   in   place   today.   This   made   people   immediately   responsible   for   very   clearly   defined   tasks,   like   someone   was   assigned   to   sweep   from   this   corner   to   that   corner   10   blocks   down,   and   they   were   going   to   do   it   inside   these   eight   hours,   and   this   cart   was   going   to   follow   and   the   driver   of   the   cart   had   these   set   hours.   If   there   were   any   problems,   the   officer   immediately   in   charge   of   that   crew  would  have  to  answer  for  them,  and  then  the  officer  above  had  to  answer  for  the   larger  regional  work.   So   Waring   set   that   in   place,   and   then   he   went   after   the   filthiest   corners   of   the   whole   city,  which  were  the  poorest  neighborhoods,  because  wealthier  districts  had  been  hiring   their  own  private  cleaning  companies  for  years.  In  the  really  poor  corners  of  the  city,  like   Five  Points,  to  see  anyone  from  the  local  government  come  into  the  neighborhood  was   not  good  news  for  local  residents.  They  threw  bricks  at  the  street  cleaners  and  came  out   to   fight   them   with   sticks.   Waring   said   to   his   men,   “You   keep   going   back.   You   show   them   what   we’re   going   to   do   and   you   see   if   you   don’t   change   their   hearts.”   By   the   end   of   two   weeks,  he  had  tenements  full  of  ardent  fans  because  he  cleaned  their  neighborhoods.   Then  he  spread  out  from  there,  and  he  wasn’t  afraid  to  fire  people  if  they  didn’t  do  their   work.   He   said   to   everyone   in   the   department,   “You   start   with   a   clean   slate   with   me.   You   work  to  keep  your  job.”  He  did  truly  creative  things,  like  founding  the  Juvenile  Leagues,   so  that  children  in  public  schools  were  taught  to  be  eyes  on  the  street  for  sanitation  and   law  enforcement.  Often  these  were  kids  whose  parents  spoke  no  English,  so  they  were  helping  to  inculturate  an  older   generation   with   these   new   practices,   teaching   them   that   you   don’t   litter   or   throw   your   garbage   on   the   street.   There   were  more  than  a  thousand  of  those  groups  over  time.     The dapper Civil War veteran George Waring described himself as a “sanitation engineer.” Photo courtesy DSNY.

Waring   also   dressed   the   workers   in   white,   and   even   his   wife   said,   ‘What,   are   you   crazy?’   But   he   wanted   them   to   be   associated   with   notions   of   hygiene.   Of   course,   those   in   the   medical   profession   wore   white,   and   he   understood,   quite   rightly,  that  it  was  an  issue  of  public  health  and  hygiene  to  keep  the  street  clean.  He  also  put  them  in  the  helmets  that   the  police  wore  to  signify  authority,  and  they  quickly  were  nicknamed  the  White  Wings.     These  men  became  heroes  because,  for  the  first  time  in  anyone’s  memory,  they  actually  cleaned  the  city.  It  was  a  very   bright  day  in  the  history  of  the  department.  Waring  was  only  in  office  for  three  years,  but  after  he  left,  nobody  could  use   the   old   excuses   that   Tammany   had   used   to   dodge   the   issue   of   waste   management.   They   had   always   said   it   was   too   crowded,   with   too   many   diverse   kinds   of   people,   and   never   mind   that   London   and   Paris   and   Philadelphia   and   Boston   cleaned   their   streets.   New   York   was   different   and   it   just   couldn’t   be   done.   Waring   proved   them   wrong.   Rates   of   preventable  disease  went  down.  Mortality  rates  went  down.  It  also  had  a  ripple  effect  across  all  different  areas  of  the   city.         How have the department’s goals shifted over the last century?

Fresh Kills is the Staten Island dump you’re referring to?

New York’s Sanitation Department even produced its own quarterly magazine in the 1960s, called simply “Sweep.” Image courtesy DSNY.


        A view of Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island, circa 1950. The dump ground closed in 2001.

A rendering of the Fresh Kills Park project, currently underway on the site of New York City’s former Staten Island landfill.

Nagle:  The  mission  today,  in  a  sense,  is  exactly  the  same  as  it’s  always  been—sweeps  the  streets;  collect  the  garbage,   figure  out  how  to  pick  it  up  and  where  to  put  it  down.  In  a  nutshell,  that’s  the  job,  plus  plowing  the  snow,  which  has   always   been   part   of   the   department’s   mandate.   But   it’s   changed   from   a   hundred   years   ago,   in   that   now   we   have   nowhere  within  the  boundaries  of  New  York  to  put  down  our  trash.  It  has  to  go  outside  the  city,  which  means  we  pay   hundreds  of  millions  of  dollars  to  private  companies  to  take  our  trash  to  other  places.   These  other  places  include  most  of  the  states  on  the  Eastern  Seaboard  and  several  in  the  Midwest.  And  that’s  just  New   York   City   trash;   that’s   not   the   rest   of   the   state.   Every   day,   we   generate   11,000   tons   of   garbage   and   2,000   tons   of   recyclables,  and  that’s  just  household  waste,  which  is  roughly  a  third  of  the  total  trash  output  of  the  city  on  any  given   day.  The  other  two  categories  are  commercial,  which  is  businesses  and  restaurants  and  whatnot,  and  then  what’s  called   “C  &  D,”  or  construction  and  demolition  debris.  The  New  York  City  Department  of  Sanitation  is  responsible  only  for  the   household  component  of  that.   Sanitation  is  also  supposed  to  be  responsible  for  waste  reduction  overall,  which  is  a  little  puzzling  to  me.  To  me,  that’s  a   little  bit  like  telling  an  undertaker  he’s  supposed  to  help  lower  disease  and  death  rates.  We’re  responsible  for  the  end   product;  we  have  nothing  to  do  with  the  manufacturers  and  distributors  and  marketers  nor  are  we  holding  the  hands  of   the  consumers  who  buy  this  stuff.  But  still,  part  of  sanitation’s  mandate  is  waste  reduction.  The  entire  effort  of  recycling   is  also  an  increasingly  important  part  of  what  sanitation  does.   The  politics  of  sanitation  have  become  far  more  complex,  partly  because  of  important  movements  like  environmental   justice,  which  argues  that  communities  of  color  or  communities  that  are  economically  disadvantaged  should  not  have  to   bear   an   unfair   burden   when   waste   management   facilities   are   sited.   Whether   it’s   a   recycling   materials   drop-­‐off   or   a   waste   transfer   station   or   a   sanitation   garage   or   a   compost   facility,   they   shouldn’t   be   concentrated   in   any   one   neighborhood.   Staten   Island,   which   is   the   only   reliably   Republican   borough   of   New   York’s   five   boroughs,   was   host   to   the   city’s   only   dump   for   many   years.   It’s   largely   white,   and   it’s   largely   middle   class,   but   the   residents   claimed   to   be   victims   of   environmental  injustice.  And  they  were  right.  It’s  bigger  than  just  class  and  race.  The  NIMBY,  or  “Not  In  My  Back  Yard”   concept  is  huge  now,  all  over  the  world.     Fresh  Kills  is  the  Staten  Island  dump  you’re  referring  to?   Nagle:  Yes,  but  it’s  now  a  remarkable  park.  Fresh  Kills  was  one  of  many  New  York  City  landfills  when  it  opened  on  April   19,  1948.  There  was  also  a  network  of  incinerators  in  the  city,  but  every  landfill  and  incinerator  was  closed  over  time,  so   that  by  the  early  1990s,  Fresh  Kills  was  the  only  option  left.   All  of  Manhattan’s  trash  was  going  out  of  the  city  by  the  time  Fresh  Kills  closed  in  March  of  2001.  It  was  briefly  reopened   for  September  11th  material,  and  that  effort  was  finished  in  August  of  2002.  And  from  that  point  forward,  they’ve  been  

turning it  into  a  park,  very  thoughtfully,  I  might  add.  You  can  take  your  little  kid  there  and  not  worry  that  he’s  going  to   be  eating  garbage.   It’s  not  open  to  the  public  yet,  but  they  do  tours.  It’s  breathtaking.  You’re  standing  on  some  of  the  highest  points  within   the  city,  and  you’re  surrounded  by  green.  You  see  the  city  like  a  penciled  sketch  on  the  horizon,  the  oil  refinery  tanks   across  the  water  in  New  Jersey,  and  the  suburbia  of  Staten  Island.  But  while  you’re  actually  in  the  park,  you  also  see   deer  and  hawks  and  all  kinds  of  fascinating  water  creatures.  It’s  bucolic.  And  there’s  no  smell,  unless  you  count   wildflowers  and  sometimes  that  lovely,  mucky  smell  at  low  tide  that’s  normal  on  any  estuary.     What  makes  sanitation  work  so  unsafe?   Nagle:  There  are  two  primary  sources  of  danger.  One  is  that  the  stuff  you  toss  in  the  back  of  the  truck  has  a  tendency  to   come  shooting  back  out  at  you.  If  you  get  hit  by  that,  you  could  be  in  trouble,  because  as  you  know,  people  throw  out   everything,  even  stuff  that  is  supposed  to  be  discarded  in  a  more  controlled  context.  So  the  trash  itself  is  dangerous.   Then  there’s  traffic.  When  you’re  working  in  and  out  of  traffic  all  day,  and  you’re  working  with  a  piece  of  equipment  that   people  only  acknowledge  because  they  want  to  get  around  it.  They  don’t  say  to  themselves,  “Oh,  there  are  human   beings  connected  to  that  vehicle,  therefore  I  will  be  more  careful  now.”  A  garbage  truck  inspires  something  more  like,   “Oh,  it’s  a  garbage  truck.  I  got  to  get  away  from  it  as  fast  as  possible.”   For  instance,  a  school  bus  has  its  blinking  lights  and  stop  sign,  and  if  you  go  around  a  school  bus  that  has  its  lights  going,   you  will  get  slapped  with  a  very  fat  ticket.  But  there  are  no  hardwired  protections  built  into  our  traffic  system  for   garbage  trucks.     Why  don’t  people  know  where  their  trash  goes?   Nagle:  Well,  are  they  aware  of  where  their  water  comes  from?  Or  where  their  electricity  starts?  Or  where  their   computer  components  were  made?  We  are  profoundly  connected  across  the  globe  to  people  we  will  never  know,  and   we’re  profoundly  connected  regionally  by  the  path  of  our  discards  and  the  material  flow  of  bringing  those  things  into   our  life.  But  I  think  we’ve  been  taught  to  ignore  those  kinds  of  things.  I  don’t  mean  that  we  learned  it  in  school,  but  as  a   cultural  assumption  that  underlies  contemporary  life,  those  are  not  our  concerns.   Do  you  think  this  invisibility  has  an  impact  on  how  wasteful  we  are?   Nagle:  Sure.  When  I  throw  an  object  out,  it  still  has  a  life,  and  it  now  activates  this  complex  network  of  protocols  and   systems  and  controversies.  But  because  we  don’t  have  an  awareness  of  this,  it’s  much  easier  to  just  let  it  go.   In  the  case  of,  say,  water  bottles,  what  if  a  company  that  markets  water  in  these  plastic  bottles  was  responsible  for  the   end  use  of  those  bottles,  after  the  water  is  gone.  People  are  throwing  them  out  their  car  windows,  or  letting  them  fall  on   the  street,  or  putting  them  in  our  rivers  and  lakes.  But  the  company  would  have  to  go  and  get  all  that  stuff,  and  it  would   be  a  strong  incentive  to  come  up  with  an  alternative,  something  that  maybe  isn’t  a  plastic  water  bottle.   As  long  as  we  don’t  look  at  the  larger  system,  and  let  different  industries  foist  off  the  long-­‐term  consequences  of  their   manufacturing  processes,  as  long  as  we  let  all  of  that  be  externalized,  we  are  screwed,  not  to  put  too  fine  a  spin  on  it.   But  we  are  also  unaware,  we  meaning  just  the  general  public,  the  people  at  large.  This  is  quite  a  heartbreak:  People   want  to  do  the  right  thing.  So  do  you  tell  them,  recycle  your  water  bottle  and  you  will  save  the  planet?  No.  If  you  recycle   your  water  bottle,  you  have  taken  a  very  important  first  step,  but  that’s  all  it  is.  Then  the  question  is,  what  are  the  next   steps?  How  do  we  prevent  this  bottle  from  coming  into  being  in  the  first  place?   How  could  people  be  made  more  aware  of  their  own  waste?   Nagle:  You  know  how  there  are  nutrition  labels  on  food?  It  would  be  fascinating  if  there  were  labels  on  every  product   we  buy  that  told  you  exactly  where  each  component  in  that  product  came  from,  what  the  energy  cost  to  transport  it   was,  what  other  wastes  were  created.  It  would  be  an  interesting  challenge  to  put  that  kind  of  info  graphic  on  the  back  of   a  shampoo  bottle  or  something.  At  least  that  would  let  people  make  different  kinds  of  choices,  and  begin  to  understand   the  life-­‐cycle  analysis  of  the  consumer  choices  they  make.   Although,  our  individual  consumer  choices  are  still  a  tiny,  tiny  piece  of  the  big  picture.  Municipal  household  waste   accounts  for  three  percent  of  the  nation’s  waste  drain.  We  need  to  increase  awareness  of  that  statistic,  and  then  shine  a   bright  light  on  all  of  these  other  categories  and  the  alternatives  that  could  be  proposed  to  prevent  those  streams.   What  else  can  we  do  to  bring  positive  attention  to  the  importance  of  this  job?   Nagle:  Just  say,  “Thank  you.”  When  I  started  doing  that  on  my  own  as  my  little  private  campaign  several  years  ago,  I  was   amazed  at  the  reaction.  The  guys  were  astonished  that  anybody  was  bothering  to  say  thank  you.  It’s  one  small  gesture   that  an  individual  can  make  that  honors  them  in  a  small,  but  real  way.  

In terms  of  the  bigger  public  issue,  when  cities  talk  about  larger  themes  of  city  life  like  education  and  policing  and   environmental  well-­‐being,  they  need  make  sure  whoever  is  in  charge  of  the  garbage  is  mentioned,  and  standing  next  to   the  mayor  along  with  the  police  commissioner  and  in  the  headshot  of  the  officials  and  woven  into  casual  conversation   from  elected  officials  about  important  city  infrastructure  issues.  Those  are  small  things,  but  they  make  a  big  difference.   Write  letters  to  the  editor,  “Hey,  I  saw  my  sanitation  guys  today  doing  a  fantastic  job,  just  wanted  to  give  them  a  shout-­‐ out.”  They  certainly  get  the  letters  when  they  aren’t  doing  a  good  job.      


Since the late 19th century, snow removal has always been part of the sanitation department’s mission and is one of the job’s most visible duties. Photo courtesy DSNY.

        Nagle believes a better connection to our garbage’s afterlife might help curb our monstrous waste. Above, barges transport waste to Fresh Kills in 1973.

Since the late 19th century, snow removal has always been part of the sanitation department’s mission and is one of the job’s most visible duties. Photo courtesy DSNY.

[Tags  :  Waste,  Health,  City  Scape]



Fishers in a Tamil Nadu village save cost and improve catch with solar panel-fitted boats.  

Little Flower, first fishing boat in Thoothoor, Tamil Nadu, to use solar power (Photo: S Jayaraj, BOBP-IGO)

Little  Flower  doesn’t  look  different  when  viewed  from  outside.  Even  the  interior  of  this  fishing  boat  is  not  different  from   others,  anchored  nearby.  It  has  a  diesel  engine,  a  wheelhouse,  a  cabin  for  storing  fish,  fishing  tools,  modern  gadgets  like   GPS,  sonar  fish  finder,  wireless  set,  and  of  course,  a  television,  a  grinder  and  a  dozen  of  CFL  bulbs.  “Please  have  a  look   there,”  insists  M  Sahayaraj,  proud  owner  of  the  boat,  pointing  at  the  rooftop  of  the  wheelhouse.  The  rooftop  is  fitted   with  four  solar  panels.  “These  panels  help  me  save  a  good  amount  on  diesel  and  get  a  good  catch,”  Sahayaraj  says  with  a   wide  smile  on  his  tanned  face.   Sahayaraj   lives   in   Thoothoor,   a   small   fishing   village   along   the   western   coast   of   Tamil   Nadu’s   Kanyakumari   district.   Thoothoor   fishers   are   traditional   shark   hunters.   “They   are   adventurous   and   enterprising,”   says   J   Vincent   Jain,   chief   executive   officer   of   the   Association   of   Deep   Sea   Going   Artisanal   Fishermen,   a   non-­‐profit   in   Thoothoor.   “More   than   that,   they  are  innovative,”  Jain  says.  Praise  the  Lord  is  another  boat  in  the  village  that  runs  its  gadgets  on  solar  power.  Jain   says  Thoothoor’s  fishers  are  probably  the  first  ones  in  the  country  to  use  solar  energy  in  commercial  fishing  boats.   Losses,  the  mother  of  innovation   Over   the   past   few   decades,   artisanal   fishers   of   Thoothoor   have   shifted   to   boats   fitted   with   diesel   engines   and   other   modern   equipment,   leaving   behind   their   traditional   rowing   boats   and   rafts.   Now   there   are   about   500   diesel-­‐powered   fishing   boats   in   the   village.   These   boats   are   capable   of   venturing   up   to   400   nautical   miles   into   the   sea   and   have   enabled   Thoothoor’s  fishers  to  fish  across  the  country’s  two  million  square  kilometers  of  territorial  waters,  called  the  Exclusive   Economic  Zone.   “We   stay   in   the   deep   sea   for   30   to   40   days   if   we   find   out   a   good   fishing   ground,”   says   Sahayaraj.   “Each   boat   employs   10   to  15  people.  So  we  have  to  carry  everything  along  with  us—food,  water,  diesel  and  ice  blocks—to  last  for  more  than  a   month.”   “We   carry   about   10,000   litres   of   water,   7,000   litres   of   diesel   and   800   blocks   (one   block   weighs   about   40   kg)   of   ice   along   with   us,”   says   A   Sil   Verian,   another   fisher   from   Thoothoor.   “A   month-­‐long  fishing  trip  costs  us  about  Rs  5  lakh.  Diesel   accounts  for  a  major  part  of  the  expense,  say  about  70  per  cent.”   One   of   the   reasons   for   such   high   fuel   consumption   is   that   most   boat   owners   buy   used   truck   engines   to   save   money.   Besides,  though  engines  can  be  turned  off  while  fishing,  fishers  run  it  continuously  to  avoid  restarting  troubles  and  to   recharge  batteries  that  are  the  main  source  of  power  for  lighting  the  boat  and  operating  navigational  and  other  safety   equipment.  “The  cost  of  fishing  has  increased  in  tandem  with  diesel  prices  but  the  catch  remains  the  same,”  points  out  V   Romanse,  secretary  of  the  association.  As  a  result,  many  fishers  in  Thoothoor  are  now  facing  losses  and  are  in  the  grip  of   moneylenders.     Solar  offers  solace    

Heavy losses   prompted   the   community   to   pool   ideas   on   how   to   reduce   diesel   consumption.   “Cutting   down   fuel   was   necessary   to   earn   profits   from   fishing   while   curbing   greenhouse   gas   emissions   from   burning   of   diesel   as   the   gases   affect   fish   stocks,”   says   Jain.   The   association   organised   workshops   to   create   awareness   among   the   community   about   clean,   renewable  sources  of  energy.  Many  fishers  preferred  solar  energy  as  an  alternative.   The   association   received   financial   and   moral   support   from   the   Ministry   of   New   and   Renewable   Energy   and   FAO’S   Bay   of   Bengal   Programme-­‐Inter-­‐governmental   Organisation   (BOBP-­‐IGO).   It   contacted   several   companies   working   in   the   solar   energy   sector   for   making   solar-­‐powered   fishing   boats.   “Most   companies   quoted   high   prices   for   the   work.   Finally,   two   companies,  Jagath  Jothi  Solar  Energy  in  Chennai  and  Sirius  Controls  in  Bengaluru,  offered  a  helping  hand,”  Jain  recalls.   “It   was   a   challenge   for   us,”   says   Kichu   Krishnan,   managing   director   of   Sirius   Controls.   “We   had   never   worked   for   the   fishing  sector.”   The  problem  is,  says  N  Ravisunthar,  managing  director  of  Jagath  Jothi,  not  enough  research  has  been  done  on  using  solar   energy   in   commercial   fishing   boats.   To   begin   with,   Jagath   Jothi   fitted   solar   panels   on   a   small   boat.   It   worked.   Solar   energy   could   propel   the   engine   of   the   one-­‐metre-­‐long   boat.   But   replicating   this   in   big   boats   was   not   easy.   The   companies,  however,  accepted  the  challenge.   Jagath   Jothi   worked   on   Praise   the   Lord   and   Sirius   Controls   on   Little   Flower.   It   took   months   before   the   boats   could   be   fitted  with  solar  panels.  Four  panels  each  with  a  capacity  of  250  Watts  were  fitted  on  the  rooftop  of  the  wheelhouse.   Together   the   panels   generate   about   1   kilowatt,   sufficient   to   light   the   boat   and   run   the   gadgets.   “But   the   power   generated  is  too  less  to  propel  the  engines  of  commercial  fishing  boats,”  points  out  Ravisunthar.  The  cost  of  fitting  solar   panels,  control  board  and  wiring  on  Little  Flower,  which  is  a  bigger  boat,  was  Rs  3.75  lakh.  Sirus  Controls  did  it  for  free.   For  Praise  the  Lord,  the  cost  was  Rs  1.80  lakh.  “Jagath  Jothi  offered  us  a  discount  of  Rs  60,000,”  says  Jain.   Fishers’  profit  rises   Powered   with   solar   panels,   Praise   the   Lord   was   the   first   boat   to   venture   into   the   sea   in   November   last   year.   Its   experimental   voyage   lasted   for   five   days.   “Our   boat   was   fully   lighted.   Fishers   in   other   boats   gave   us   a   strange   look   because  of  this  unusual  brightness,”  says  S  Theoclose,  owner  of  Praise  the  Lord.  “Usually,  fishers  use  dim  light  to  avoid   frequent   recharging   of   batteries.   But   with   solar   panels,   we   could   use   tube   lights   and   LED   lights   and   keep   them   on   throughout  the  night.  The  panels  helped  us  save  about  150  litres  of  diesel,  worth  Rs  7,650,”  says  Theoclose.   Little  Flower  made  the  second  experimental  voyage,  which  lasted  for  nine  days.  “We  use  lights  to  attract  the  catch  while   fishing  during  nights,”  says  Sahayaraj.  “We  caught  more  fish  than  other  fishers  because  our  lights  were  brighter.”   Workers   say   they   used   to   cut   their   fingers   while   removing   fish   from   the   hooks   because   of   dim   lights.   Now   removing   fish   has  become  safer  and  easier.  Solar  panels  power  all  equipment  in  Little  Flower,  which  include  11  CFL  lights,  five  tube   lights,  four  focus  lights,  a  GPS,  a  sonar  fish  finder  and  two  wireless  sets.  Sahayaraj  says  the  panels  work  even  on  cloudy   days.     Hurdles  ahead    

Profits earned   by   Sahayaraj   and   Theoclose   have   prompted   other   fishers   in   Thoothoor   to   install   solar   panels   on   their   boats.  But  the  association  is  short  of  funds.  “NABARD  (National  Bank  for  Agriculture  and  Rural  Development)  has  agreed   to   provide   us   Rs   7.88   lakh   for   the   work,”   says   Jain.   But   just   installing   solar   panels   to   light   the   boat   and   run   other   equipment  is  not  enough.  Jain  says  the  next  step  is  to  make  engines  run  on  solar  energy.  This  requires  more  solar  panels.   This  is  not  only  expensive,  using  so  many  solar  panels  on  a  boat  may  offset  its  balance.   “A  lot  of  research  is  required  for  developing  new  designs  for  boats  as  well  as  the  right  kind  of  panels  and  the  way  they   are  fitted  on  the  roof,”  says  Krishnan.  But  neither  the  Centre  nor  the  state  government  has  schemes  to  address  these   concerns.   [Tags  :  Technology,  Greenovation]  





  In  many  ZED  Campuses,  you  will  find  a  gentle  mound  in  ferroconcrete  which  hides  a  storage  tank  of  70,000  liters  on  your   left.  This  little  structural  marvel  has  saved  two  tons  of  carbon  compared  to  a  regular  wall-­‐based  structure.  It’s  curved;  

somewhat tubular   form   offers   structural   strength   while   sharply   reducing   the   use   of   RCC   and   steel.   This   is   a   rainwater   harvest  [RWH]  tank  that  feeds  about  2.5  million  liters  a  year  of  clean,  soft  water  harvested  through  a  network  of  pop-­‐up   filters   and   pipes.   Such   RWH   tanks   were   originally   envisaged   in   2006   [only   in   2010   did   the   State   government   make   it   legislation!].  The  original  design  was  revised,  inspired  as  we  were  by  the  work  of  Prof  C  H  Shah,  a  remarkable  engineer   who   we   commissioned   for   this   challenge.   The   intent   is   to   ensure   100   per   cent   uninterrupted   water   security   for   the   residents.       Remember   ZED   Campus   are   among   the   very   few   today   in   India,   which   do   not   rely   on   external   water   supply   or   any   deep   bore  well  for  its  water.  The  taps  and  showerheads  of  these  homes  have  low-­‐flow  components  that  help  you  save  over   35000  liters  of  water  every  year  on  this  one  set  of  devices  alone.  Any  ZED  home  saves  as  much  as  1,  05,000  liters  a  year!     [Tags  :  Water,  Urban  Ecology]    


Send your questions to - We’ll do our best to find you answer.


  In   cities   there   are   multistory   buildings.   How   to   go   about   converting  them  'green'?  Asked  by:  Sudarsanam     There  are  'retrofit'  solutions  that  one  can  look  at.  Keep  in   focus  the  3  key  elements  -­‐-­‐  energy,  water  and  waste.  If  it  is   a   residential   to   building,   get   the   occupants/owners   to   replace   all   water   fixtures   [taps,   showers,   Water   closets]   with   new   systems   that   run   at   less   than   7   to   11   liters   per   minute   against  the  old  versions  that  exceed  12  to  20  LPM.  Look  at  installing  rainwater  harvest  systems.  Get  the  community  to   invest   in   a   tertiary   water   treatment   plan   and   to   reloop   the   treated   water   for   gardens,   car   wash   and   even   for   floors   swabbing.   Create   an   additional   network   of   water   distribution   pipes   that   enables   the   occupants   to   have   a   tap   that   is   exclusively   for   these   purposes.   This   will   game-­‐change   the   quantum   of   fresh   water   that   you   demand   from   the   grid   outside  or  from  deep  borewells.  You  will  increase  water  security  for  the  campus;  and  you  will  also  reduce  on  energy  bills   for   pumps   at   the   campus   maintenance   levels.   Similarly   on   energy,   get   the   building   to   dump   all   old   energy-­‐inefficient   pumps.  Install  5-­‐star  rated  pumps.  You  will  recover  the  additional  capital  cost  in  less  than  2  to  4  years,  and  for  the  rest  of   the   life   of   the   equipment,   you   will   continue   to   save   energy.   On   Waste   management,   ensure   that   no   wet   waste   is   exported  out  of  the  apartment  or  the  office  block.  Treat  such  waste  and  convert  them  to  compost  that  can  be  sold,  if   you   are   not   using   it   for   your   own   gardens.   Grow   vegetables   in   the   terrace   and   other   balcony   patches   in   your   homes.   That   will   make   for   effective   use   of   the   compost   that   you   generate.   You   could   do   many   more   such   things.   Like   with   politics  in  this  country,  you  need  a  community  mindset  shift!  That's  all  you  need.  And  the  help  of  a  few  experts.  Google   for  more  info  on  such  green  service  providers.  You  will  find  many  in  your  own  city  and  neighborhood!      

Sir, in   India   when   someone   builds   a   house   he   thinks   of   durability   and   security   more   than   anything   else.   As   far   as   the   latter  is  concerned,  do  you  think  green  homes  can  provide  adequate  security  from  burglars?  Asked  by:  S.Mukhopadhyay   Let  me  first  state  that  when  we  build  a  'green  home'  you  are   not   building   anything   that   is   different   from   a   regular   house.   You  are  addressing  issues  of  energy,  water  and  waste.  You  are   coming  from  a  conscious  understanding  of  the  transportation   energy   for   the   building   materials   that   you   ship   to   the   place   where  you  build  the  house.  You  are  also  building  to  specs  that   you   think   are   necessary   for   making   the   home   burglar-­‐proof,   water-­‐proof,   and   all   the   rest   of   the   parameters   of   performance   that   you   have   outlined.   I   may   add   that   it   is   not   any   more   as   cost   entailment   goes.   Well,   you   don't   have   to   compromise  on  comfort,  convenience,  or  even  luxury.     [Tags  :  Greenovation,  Energy,  Housing]  





One can find freedom from power cuts, mounting water bills; besides eliminate the need for clumsy sewage connections, if only he or she has the green will. The added bonus will a lesser feeling of guilt over contributing to carbon footprints.

Green  satisfaction     Srinivasan  Sekar,  50,  has  done  just  that.  His  eco  commitment  has  been  such  that  he  does  not  mind  the  extra  burden  that   the   environment-­‐friendly   home   that   he   built   puts   on   his   personal   finances.   For,   he   believes   that   investing   in   Earth’s   cause  can  pay  rich  dividends  in  the  long  run.  

Sekar has  built  his  two-­‐storey  house,  that  is  pleasing  in  its  architectural  simplicity,  on  a  4,000-­‐sqft  plot  at  Sompura  near   Sarjapur.  It  optimally  harnesses  green  energy  technologies.  He  recently  moved  into  the  new  house  and  is  not  dependent   on  the  Bescom  line  or  BWSSB’s  water  or  sewage  connections.   Sekar,  who  quit  his  career  in  the  IT  industry,  has  installed  12  solar  panels  on  his  rooftop  and  they  more  than  takes  care   of  the  energy  needs  of  the  appliances  in  his  house.  Reuse  and  recirculation  of  water  are  his  mantra  so  that  use  of  the   precious  commodity  is  optimised.   He   began   construction   of   the   building   in   April   2012.   In   August   2012,   he   started   researching   and   conceptualising   the   green   ideas.   Sekar   has   adopted   the   slow   sand   filter   technology,   approved   by   World   Health   Organisation,   for   clean   drinking  water.   The  drinking  water  is  reused  twice  -­‐  the  first  time  to  flush  toilets  and  second  to  water  the  gardens  and  trees.  The  initial   source   of   water   is   a   rainwater   harvesting   system   that   yields   20,000   litres   after   a   good   three-­‐hour   rain.   The   rainwater   then   goes   through   sand   and   activated   carbon   filters   for   general   purpose   use,   including   drinking.   Water   from   showers   and   wash   basins   are   collected   and   filtered   through   a   slow   sand   filter   and   is   chlorinated,   for   use   in   toilets   and   for   gardening  (after  chlorine  is  depleted  through  activated  carbon).       3-­‐stage  sedimentation     Waste   water   from   the   toilet   is   then   collected   in   a   septic   tank,   where   water   is   treated   in   three-­‐stage   sedimentation   stages  and  passed  through  a  reed  bed  filter,  before  being  used  for  irrigating  trees.   Says  Sekar:  “The  solar  panels  last  for  25  years  and  I  got  them  installed  at  over  Rs  four  lakh.  On  any  given  day,  including   rainy   days,   it   can   generate   12-­‐15   units   which   is   sufficient   for   most   four-­‐people   households.   Sun   is   more   certain   to   come   up  each  day  than  availability  of  grid  power  which  is  coal-­‐based,  nuclear  and  hydel.  Last  week  when  it  rained,  the  water   tank  collected  upto  30,000  litres.  Till  now,  I  used  only  1,000  litres  for  the  entire  week.”   Very   soon,   Sekar’s   family   will   relocate   to   the   new   house.   Next   on   his   agenda   is   adopting   turbines   to   harness   wind   energy,  but  he  says  that  procuring  the  machines  is  a  tad  difficult  as  very  few  companies  in  India  sell  them.     “If  every  household  harvests  rainwater,  the  City  will  be  fully  self-­‐sufficient,  with  no  need  to  divert  water  from  faraway   rivers,”   said   Sekar,   who   is   now   designing   waste   water   management   and   solar   solutions   for   residential   complexes   and   individual  homes.   [Tags  :  Water,  Energy,  Housing,  Technology,  Greenovation]      




These days  you  hear  about  green  buildings  and  energy-­‐efficient  buildings.  People  tell  you  that  these  buildings  are  water-­‐ efficient  apart  from  being  energy-­‐efficient.  How  does  this  happen?  What  is  actually  done  in  a  building  in  order  to  make  it   water-­‐efficient?   Let’s   start   with   the   density   of   a   settlement.   If   I   have   reduced   in   an   apartment   the   number   of   families   or   apartment   homes  to  let  us  say  40biomes  an  acre,  then  I  have  brought  a  dramatic  drop  of  about  40  per  cent  from  the  norm  of  about   70-­‐90  flats  an  acre  of  housing  development  that  you  have  across  the  building  industry.     But   then   that   is   not   always   the   solution   because   market   demands   and   dictates   will   suggest   that   they   have   greater   density   and   smaller   houses   because   markets   and   prices   are   not   something   that   we   can   govern   at   levels   of   sensitive   urban  planning.   The   other   is   that   if   you   are   therefore   left   with   something   like   70   flats   to   an   acre   and   with   a   total   gross   freshwater   demand   of   about   125,000   litres,   you   will   have   to   figure   out   how   you   will   address   three   aspects   of   supply-­‐side   management.  One,  to  see  that  you  have  designed  to  instal  faucets  and  showers  that  drop  the  flow  of  water  to  as  little   as   5  litres  per  minute  (lpm)  from  the  norm  of  about  12  lpm  that  continues  to  be  sadly  the  norm.     The   new-­‐generation   Zed-­‐engineered   faucets   and   sanitary   fittings   are   enabling   a   sharp   drop   with   installations   called   aerators  or  flow  restrictors.  They  don’t  cost  too  much  more  either.     Now,  with  such  aerators    the  flow  of  water,  to  you  as  a  lay  person,  is  much  the  same  as  it  is  with  regular  faucets.  But   from  the  context  of  demand-­‐side  management  you  will  see  that  there  is  a  drop  of  very  nearly  70  pc  in  the  demand  for   fresh  water.   The   other   is   that   you   need   to   see   the   water   that   flows   off   your   kitchens,   showers   and   wash   basins   are   all   directly   plugged  out  of  the  building;  this  is  called  grey  water.     Typically  in  the  building  industry  this  grey  water  is  combined  with  black  water  that  comes  off  water  closets.  We  have   been  advocating  and  practicing  the  separation  of  grey  water  and  black  water  from  a  building  and  treating  them  in  a  way   that   the   black   water   is   used   for   gardens   and   the   grey   water   is   recycled   on   a   loop   for   your   flush   tanks.   There   are   systems   that  treat  the  waters  together  and  provide  treated,  clean  drinking  water.     The   other   aspect   of   such   demand-­‐side   management   is   harvesting   rainwater.   For   every   100   square   meters   or   1000   square  feet  of  a  terrace  you  can  harvest  nearly  250,000  litres  in  a  year.     So  you  can  imagine  what  you  can  do  in  an  apartment  block  if  you  used  all  the  water  that  falls  on  your  terraces  as  well  as   on  all  the  hard  surfaces  that  flank  the  buildings.  This  means  essentially  that  for  about  three  acres  you  will  have  about  2.5   million   liters   or   25   lakh   liters   of   rainfall   that   can   be   captured   and   utilized   with   some   basic   treatment   for   purposes   of   freshwater  itself  in  your  apartment  campus!   Now,  between  the  three  strategies,  the  demand  for  freshwater  reduced  is  dramatic.  As  much  as  70  pc.     So  you  have  a  story  where  120,000  liters  of  regular  demand  in  an  apartment,  drops  down  by  80,000  liters,  essentially   because  you  have  done  effective,  strong  demand-­‐side  management  of  these  three  practices  of  rainwater  harvesting,  of   flow  restrictors  and  aerators  at  every  faucet  and  shower,  and  of  treating  all  your  grey  and  black  water  and  reusing  it  in  a   mode  that  is  not  so  much  about  recycling  as  much  as  it  is  about  upcycling.   There  is  however  one  other  aspect,  apart  from  the  three,  when  it  comes  to  demand  side  planning.  That  has  to  do  with   efficient  landscaping  architecture.     As   a   matter   of   fact   whether   it’s   the   Green   Business   Council   or   other   professional   bodies,   they   understand   how   indigenous  plants  don’t  claim  as  much  water  as  exotic  species.  What  does  this  mean?  At  the  time,  you  plan  your  planting   and  vegetation  in  the  apartment  or  the  residential  or  commercial  project;  you  look  for  hardy,  water-­‐efficient  species.     Please  ensure  you  have  had  some  good  professional  who  knows  how  to  pick  endemic,  water-­‐efficient  species,  as  well  as   water-­‐efficient   irrigation   systems.   That’s   a   subject   that   needs   some   delving   in   greater   detail.   How   you   manage   the   supply  of  this  efficiently  designed  system  as  far  as  water  needs  go  and  how  you  introduce  them  in,  is  another  story.     More  the  next  time  …     [Tags  :  Water,  Energy]    

Video  of  the  day    

In the  beginning  of  2012  two  young  men  set  off  on  a  motorcycle,  on  a  journey  that  took  them  from  Bangalore   through  the  tribal  homelands  of  Orissa  and  Jharkhand  ravaged  by  indiscriminate  mining.  The  Curse  of  Karna  is   a  film  about  what  they  discovered  on  the  road  –  a  land  of  lawlessness,  an  industry  without  governance  and   uncountable  stories  of  communities  struggling  against  immense  odds…   [Link  (]  


Zediquette Green-­‐rated  refrigerators  use  40  per  cent  less  energy  than  conventional  models.   If  you  are  stuck  with  an  older  model  for  a  little  longer,  congratulate  yourself  on  not  contributing  to  waste  by   dumping  it!   There  are  a  few  simple  things  you  can  do  to  reduce  your  running  cost  and  make  your  old  fridge  more  efficient.   Keep  the  thermostat  at  an  appropriate  level  to  prevent  wasting  energy  on  freezing  temperatures.  If  the  fridge   is  near  a  window,  draw  the  curtains  to  keep  the  sun  out,  clean  the  condenser  coil  (usually  at  the  back  of  the   machine)   and   make   sure   the   seals   on   the   doors   are   maintained.   When   you   go   on   a   vacation,   empty   the   refrigerator  and  turn  it  off  leaving  the  door  slightly  ajar.  It  will  be  fresh  when  you  come  back  home.    

You’ve Got  It  Coming   The  'black  and  grey'  of  water   Closing  the  water  loop   What  you  see  in  this  patch  of  garden  is  also  a  wastewater  treatment  system  that  purifies  80,000  litres  of  water   every  day.  This  unique  system  has  two  streams  of  water  that  is  treated  separately—sullage  [or  grey  water]  and   sewage  [or  black  water].  Grey  water  from  wash  basins  and  showers  is  treated  separately  to  a  level  of  purity   that  you  can  even  drink!  But  we  use  it  for  flush  tanks  only.   Such   treatment   reduces   fresh   water   demand   by   7000   litres   a   day   or   nearly   2.5   million   litres   a   year.   At   the   treatment   plant,   you   will   see   a   set   of   water   and   energy   metres   that   monitor   flow   of   water   and   energy   efficiency.   For  example,  at  ZED  Collective,  the  treated  grey  water  is  directed  to  all  flush  tanks  in  all  136  washrooms  by  a   network  of  overhead  tanks  on  the  terrace.  The  quantum  of  water  needed  for  flush  tanks  for  all  72  homes  is   about  7500  litres  a  day  at  full  occupancy—the  same  as  what  is  generated  as  treated  grey  water  daily.   So  we  grow  the  loop  and  avoid  fresh  water  for  these  needs.  

Think about  it  .  .  .  (to  be  put  in  a  box  as  an  inset  in  the  text)   1.1  billion  people  do  not  have  access  to  safe  drinking  water.  2.3  billion  people  are  projected  to  live  in  countries   affected  by  chronic  or  recurring  shortages  of  fresh  water    

Gandhigiri What   was   the   DNA   of   Gandhi’s   thinking?   Does   he   have   any   relevance   for   the   future   that's   before   us?   Gandhigiri   presents   a   column   every   edition   that   revisits   his   thoughts…     Gandhi.   The   creation   of   wealth   is   important,   and   not   the   making   of   money   for   oneself.   A   capitalist   has   to   regard   himself   as   a   trustee   for   those   on   who   he   depends   for   the   making,   the   retention   and   the   increase   of   his   capital.   No   worker   should   wait   for   its   conversion.   If   capital   is   power,   so   is   work.   Both   powers   can   be   used   destructively,   or   creatively.   Each   is   dependent   on   the   other.   If   a   capitalist   aims   at   becoming   the   sole   owner,   he   will   most   likely   be   killing   the   hen   that   lays   the   golden   eggs.   Of   course,   inequalities   in   intelligence   and   even   opportunity   will   last   till   the   end   of   time,   but   that   does   not   mean   we   exploit.   This  he  called  the  spirit  of  aparigraha,  or  non-­‐possession.  You  hold  whatever  assets  you  possess  in  trust  for  the   good   of   society,   and   of   those   who   create   the   wealth.   Owners   and   managers   should   not   take   more   than   is   needed  for  a  comfortable,  but  not  extravagant,  life.  Provision  has  to  be  made  without  exception  for  healthy   working  and  living  conditions  and  general  welfare.    

Daadima says   Our   grandma’s   were   the   ones   to   reveal   the   fascinating   world   of   home   remedies   to   us.   They   knew   nearly   everything.  Daadima  Says  brings  to  you  a  compilation  of  cures  for  those  little  illnesses.  Read  on  to  give  those   pills  a  break.   The  Cure-­‐All  Tuber   Onion  paste  mixed  with  pure  honey  can  be  used  for  insect  bites,  tumors,  inflammation,  boils  containing  pus,   ulcers  and  nasal  bleeding.   Eaten   raw,   onion   works   against   tuberculosis,   typhoid,   diabetes,   cough,   chest   and   lung   problems,   influenza,   skin  disease,  kidney  and  gall  stones,  liver  problems,  intermittent  fever,  nausea  and  constipation.    

Eco-­‐moment Forests:  Nature  at  Your  Service   1.5  acres  of  rainforests  is  lost  every  second  to  land  development  and  deforestation,  with  tremendous  losses  to   habitat  and  biodiversity.  That’s  over  2,000  acres  a  day.  

Yesterday, June   05,   it   was   nice   to   see   as   much   media   attention   for   the   World   Environment   Day   this   year,   across  India  and  the  world.  Many  did  not  realize  the  theme  this  year  revolved  around  how  Forests  and  Nature   are  at  our  service;  we  can’t  be  taking  that  for  granted.     Forests,   the   'lungs   of   the   Earth',   support   80%   of   the   world's   terrestrial   biodiversity,   and   continues   to   be   home   to  300  million  people,  or  about  5  per  cent  of  the  world’s  current  population.  It  is  sobering  to  know  that  they   were  one-­‐third  of  the  world’s  people  only  150  years  ago.   These   forests   are   vital   for   sustenance   of   life   on   Earth,   providing   food,   shelter   and   livelihood,   to   control   soil   erosion,   conserve   water,   and   keep   the   fragile   balance   of   Earth.   Tropical   forests   produce   about   30%   of   the   worlds  freshwater.  The  world’s  fresh  water  is  only  0.7%  of  all  water  on  the  planet.  Let’s  remember  that  the   rest  99.3%  is  not  water  we  can  drink!   How  do  we  protect  what  we  have  as  forests?  Whether  it  is  power  you  need  for  running  your  computers  or   manufacturing  steel  and  aluminum,  you  need  the  resources  that  lie  underneath  our  forest  beds.  Remember   this:   •                    1,000  KWh  of  power  generated  requires  700  kg  of  coal   •                    Each  tonne  of  coal  requires  4.5  tonne  of  forest  wood   We  are  part  of  the  challenge.  Governments  can  do  nothing,  if  we  can’t  change.  Each  unit  of  energy  saved  is   ten  units  of  energy  not  generated.   Have  a  nice  day,  while  you  reflect  on  this?    

Your day  to  celebrate   February  brings  along  a  very  special  day  to  celebrate.  And  no,  I’m  not  talking  about  Valentine’s  Day.  National   Science   Day  is   celebrated   in  India  on   28   February   each   year   to   mark   the   discovery   of   the  Raman   Effect  by   Indian  physicist  Sir  Chandrasekhara  Venkata  Raman  on  28  February  1928.     For  his  discovery,  Raman  was  awarded  the  Nobel  Prize  in  Physics  in  1930.   Sir   C.   V.   Raman   worked   at  Indian   Association   for   the   Cultivation   of   Science,  Kolkata,  West   Bengal,   India   during   1907   to   1933   on   various   topics   of   Physics   making   discovery   of   the   celebrated   effect   on   scattering   of   light  in  1928,  which  bears  his  name  and  that  brought  many  accolades  including  the  Nobel  Prize  in  1930.  The   American  Chemical  Society  designated  the  'Raman  Effect'  as  an  International  Historic  Chemical  Landmark  in   2013.    

Deep Eco   Deep  Eco  is  a  space  dedicated  to  those  people  or  communities  which  are  much  beyond  the  commercial  and   materialistic   realms   of   life   and   represent   the   true   spirit   of   humanity   and   deep   understanding   of   ourselves   and   the  world  around  us.   A  City  Of  Humanity  

Auroville is  a  planned  city  for  up  to  50,000  people  from  around  the  world  under  development  in  south-­‐east   India,  located  close  to  the  Coromandel  Coast  some  10  kms  north  of  Puducherry  and  150  kms  south  of  Chennai.     Aspects   of   Auroville   can   be   found   in   other   communities   and   projects   around   the   world,   but   Auroville   is   the   world's  first  and  only  internationally-­‐recognised  centre  for  research  in  human  unity,  which  is  also  concerned   with   –   and   practically   researching   into   –   humanity’s   future   cultural,   environmental,   social   and   spiritual   needs.   Its   global   importance   is   emphasised   by   the   fact   that   it   has   been   endorsed   by   UNESCO,   and   enjoys   the   full   support  and  encouragement  of  the  Government  of  India,  its  host  nation,  which  has  approved  its  Master  Plan.     History     The  concept  of  an  international-­‐universal  city  devoted  to  an  experiment  in  human  unity  originally  sprang  from   the   writings   of   India's   great   philosopher-­‐yogi   Sri   Aurobindo.   However,   it   was   his   French-­‐born   spiritual   collaborator   and   co-­‐worker   Mirra   Alfassa,   known   as   The   Mother,   who   first   gave   it   more   concrete   form,   by   naming  it  'Auroville'  and  stating:     "Auroville  wants  to  be  a  universal  town  where  men  and  women  of  all  countries  are  able  to  live  in  peace  and   progressive  harmony,  above  all  creeds,  all  politics  and  all  nationalities.  The  purpose  of  Auroville  is  to  realise   human  unity."    

The  site  chosen  for  Auroville  was  a  severely  eroded  plateau  extending  eastwards  to  the  sea.  An  early  priority   for  the  project  was  the  environmental  regeneration  and  reafforestation  of  the  area,  which  in  the  late  1960s   had  been  officially  described  in  a  Government  report  as  being  in  "an  advanced  state  of  desertification."  Tens   of  thousands  of  trees  and  shrubs  were  planted  (to  date  over  2  million)  and  erosion  control  begun,  with  the   result  that  the  area  now  has  a  green  and  widely  forested  landscape.  Alongside  this  work,  emphasis  has  always   been   placed   on   development   of   the   city   using   non-­‐polluting   appropriate   technology   and   sustainable   energy   generating  systems.     Auroville's  significance  and  outreach     Auroville   has   already   gained   national   and   international   acclaim   for   its   environmental   work.   Many   hundreds   of   acres  of  forest  cover  have  been  created;  indigenous  flora  and  fauna  have  been  re-­‐introduced  or  have  returned   naturally;   tree   seedling   nurseries   have   been   established;   and   comprehensive   soil   and   water   conservation   practices   have   been   introduced.   The   development   of   ecologically-­‐sound   agriculture   without   the   use   of   pesticides   and   detrimental   chemicals,   plus   application   of   up-­‐to-­‐date   agro-­‐forestry   techniques,   is   also   being   actively  pursued.    

Auroville has   a   well-­‐organised   waste   recycling   system,   and   is   actively   trying   to   raise   awareness   of   the   need   to   reduce  and  recycle  waste  throughout  the  whole  Auroville  area.     Alongside  all  this,  Auroville’s  coordination  of  a  major  project  to  desilt  and  renovate  the  complex  of  artificial   lakes  (known  locally  as  tanks)  associated  with  the  villages  in  the  area,  with  the  aim  of  improving  their  water   holding   capacity   and   helping   to   stabilise   water   tables,   won   a   National   Groundwater   Augmentation   Award.   Auroville  is  also  involved  in  raising  awareness  of  the  dangers  of  salt  intrusion  in  the  immediate  coastal  zone   caused  by  over-­‐pumping  of  ground  water;  is  working  with  farmers’  associations  to  identify  and  introduce  less   water-­‐dependent   agricultural   practices;   and   is   advising   on   and   promoting   the   use   of   effective   micro-­‐organism   (EM)  technology.     (Source:  


Crossover October 2013  

ZED Life E-Magazine

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