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.
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 “So why would only it’s for anyone who resonates with our larger concerns on the environment and some few individuals in public good. It is most often an impulse. You are not the minority, be as expected to do anything about it. Worse, you often don’t know what you deeply concerned about can do about it, and with a helpless shrug, even if it is disagreeable, you these dire threats and accept it and get on with life. So you settle for less. want to do something Some don’t. They do something about it. They seek the joy of responsible buying. about it?” 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 There was simply no readers. That was in 2002. With no editorial help, and with only our feedback. No one wrote persistence for resource, we ran it for over 7 years as a monthly publication-‐ writing the features, editing them, back. The odd friend formatting the magazine, working out the slugs, the straps, the blurbs, the would occasionally say caption-‐stories, captions and the headlines. There was hardly anyone to something encouraging, help. There was simply no feedback. No one and I translated it to be wrote back. The odd friend would simple politeness. 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 Napean 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.
INDIA ALIVE [COVER STORY]
WORKING ON IT FOR A LIFETIME [story title] Karan Grover is one of the best known architects in India today. His work spans architectural visions executed by him in the Emirates, in India, and in the Far East. He has built homes for some of the best known business & political leaders and in the bargain has not just interpreted client vision, but raised the bar on what clients seek from an architect.
The m an had written that he could now die in peace. The letter urged Karan to keep his prom ise of working on it for a lifetim e.
Well, this story is not about Karan, the architect, as you will discover. Karan started as a national aquatic champion in his early years. He wanted to go for further training to Australia, but his father couldn’t afford it. About that time, a young Karan was doing his rounds of some of the ancient monuments close to Baroda which was home. He met an old man. Intense in demeanour and gentle in his ways, the old man asked Karan whether he could help him with the work he was doing for preservation of that monument. As a young man at twenty one, Karan didn’t realize the gravity of the commitment the old conservator was asking him to make.
The frail old man persisted, made Karan sit down and said that he would give him what he needed as learning if he only gave him his word that he would work on it for a lifetime. Karan agreed, without realizing what he was saying. The next morning he was to meet the same old man at ten in the morning at his house, to gather whatever information he could regarding the monument. When he arrived, he found a crowd gathered at the house. And as he wove through the people, he realized that the old man had passed away. An hour later, the grieving wife handed Karan a note and said the old man had written this letter specifically for Karan. The letter was terse, direct. It was long-‐handed to Karan. He could now die in peace, he wrote. The letter urged Karan to keep his promise of working on it for a lifetime. Thirty years later Karan got the monument certified as a UNESCO heritage site. He worked with the Prime Minister at the time, and also managed to represent India as an Ambassador for making representations for declaring it a protected monument.
Karan has worked with the finest of people across the world. Karan built the first platinum rated LEED building in India, the IGBC headquarters in Hyderabad. His presentations have drawn people by the drove–for the unique 3 screen platforms, but more significantly, for the fact that every time he speaks he shows deep conviction and passion, drawing riveted attention from his audience and leaving them enrapt.
[Tags : Technology, Greenovation, housing, City Scape]
BUYING BOTTLED WATER? DON’T!
A blanket ban on creation of such borewells is not, of course, a solution. Thousands of farmers across lands suffer incalculable harm.
Supplying clean drinking water can be done well without the bottled water industry.
T Begur, just past Nelamangala, to the north of Bangalore, enjoys the thickest aquifer on the Bangalore plateau at a soil depth of a massive 130 feet. At one time it used to be the largest vegetable grower for the city. That was until Pepsi Cola arrived with a bottling water unit about ten years ago. At one point of time this aquifer was at 70 feet and over 50 farmer-‐families used to benefit from growing of vegetables in the area. Today, water tables in the region are at anywhere from 600 feet to 1200 feet – that is, a 10-‐ to 20-‐times drop in the groundwater depth. Marginal farmers have fled their lands, there is no water for farming, and vegetable production has come down to next to nothing. Pepsi had plunged 80 borewells in the area for it Aquafina bottling plant, of which about 34 borewells work at present. There are 15 of them that are at depths ranging from 1100 to 1200 feet. By their own official declaration to the official Board of the Government, the bottling plant draws up to 6 million litres. After reverse osmosis [RO] treatment of about 6.5 million litres per day of water that farmers and all local people any way have found safe to be drinking just the way the land offers it, the bottling water plant discharges a staggering 3.4 million litres of water every day. RO discharge has twice the salts that sea water contains. Its TDS content can be as much as 1500 mg/litre to a high of 4000 mg/litre, when the norm for potable water or water for plants is up to 500-‐700 mg/litre. Salinity in such discharge water can be absorbed by lands only when they percolate down to about half a kilometre with natural groundwater absorption of minerals restoring normalcy. But as with most things to do with the Earth, this process takes far more time than the speed at which such discharge happens in project contexts. The protein content in such ‘discharge water’ is also a major threat to all living beings, man included. Drinking
such RO discharge water, even if it looks like plain clear water, can lead to unconsciousness, seizures, and brain damage. Just two glasses of such water drunk direct can have your kidney pack up, and cause death in less than a week. Can you imagine what it is doing to plants, millions of earth worms, other floral and faunal species in areas where there is such massive RO water discharge? Is there a public interest litigation that can bring a complete halt to the indiscriminate and excessive withdrawal of ground water in T Begur or in many other such places across India? Shouldn’t there be a complete blanket ban on every such Cola Company or bottled water company to ensure that they do not wreak such havoc with the borewells they plunge? What can farmers do apart from accepting it with a shrug and moving on? I recall those years of the early 1980s when the government was at a loss on how they could help farmers secure cultivation water particularly in the dry districts that lay between Honnavara and Hubli in the rain shadow areas past the Western Ghats. In 1983 when Ramakrishna Hegde became the Chief Minister, Abdul Nazeer Saab was part of the cabinet. He came up with what was then considered a revolutionary idea, of the government funding money to plunge borewells across districts and across many farm lands. In his time Nazeer Saab won accolades and praise for having brought water to many thousand farmers. Those were the innocent years when the Government, activists and lay people did not still see or understand the grim impact of such indiscriminate drawing of water from deep aquifers. The population in India has risen from about 70 crores then to 120 crore people today. India’s thirst for water has grown more than twice. Water availability per capita has fallen to alarming levels, and shows no signs of improving. Bangalore alone has about 14,000 borewells in the BBMP limits and beyond. Karnataka state has as many as five lakh borewells. Nearly all of them have been plunged in the last 30 years from about 1980. Intense extraction of water by industries of various types, and farming, is compounded by very intense drawing of water that a bottling water plant demands. And so we return to our story of the bottling plant at T Begur. A blanket ban on creation of such borewells by such companies is of course, not a solution, because thousands of farmers across lands will suffer incalculable harm. Should we then seek a regulation to ensure that excessive groundwater withdrawal is not permitted, especially from industry of various kinds. How does one define ‘excessive’ then? If you want to address the bottling water industry’s predicament on where they will get water for them to treat and sell in the marketplace, well, then you have to look at a specific regulation for bottled water industry to ensure that they are allowed to draw from groundwater resources only up to what the rainfall population of that land is. For example, for every hundred acres in areas where there is about 900 mm rainfall, or about three million litres per acre, withdrawal of groundwater by any person or company must be defined to be within this quantum of annual rainfall. This will mean 300 million litres for every slab of 100 acres that a company or a unit possesses in such areas. This is one option if such bottled water companies want proximity to their marketplace. The more ideal solution for the bottled water industry that the government can legislate would be that such plants are asked to confine all water-‐harnessing activity to land pockets which receive over 3000 mm rainfall, and that such capturing of water even in such high rainfall zones is confined by law to surface water harvesting, with a complete ban on borewells for such companies. For example, Agumbe and the rich water catchments of the western ghats could be one such zone where bottled water companies can secure a reasonable large tract of land, build a lake, line it, clean the water, filter and sell. They will therefore only be harnessing rainfall water, by and large, in such high rainfall zones and will not be actually drawing groundwater. Even in Palghat district over 15 years ago, Coca Cola could have avoided the Plachimada scandal and avoided the ire of the local community, if only the company had chosen to set up their water source closer to the coast near Kozhikode, which receives as much as 3500 mm rainfall. Palghat is one of the least rainfall areas by Kerala’s rainfall patterns. At T.Begur, Pepsi Cola has 15 borewells that draw from depths of over 1100 to 1200 feet. This accounts for something like 50 times the rainfall capacity of the land. This is not acceptable. Indeed in the T.Begur area there are other farmers who, in their greed to make a little bit of money, are selling water to Pepsi with borewells they have plunged in their own lands. So technically, Pepsi Cola can disclaim any responsibility for excessive ground water withdrawal thanks to such farmers who sell it to the bottling water plant. If the challenge is one of ensuring supply of clean drinking water, which is the claim of most segments of the bottled water industry, this can be done without private initiatives such as these. All they do is take groundwater, do a one-‐is-‐to-‐one RO filter, bottle it and
sell. If at your home you chose to have a small RO unit, you will be making that same water at less than 20 paisa per litre! You pay Rs. 15 per litre for such bottled water. The market need has risen thanks to consumers like us who will buy bottled water for our travel needs or because we are afraid of drinking local water in hotels and other public places. In the next chat, we will explore other unsettling challenges of such bottled water treatment. [Tags : Water, Health]
Send your questions to email@example.com We’ll do our best to find you answers.
In cities like Bangalore, numerous multistoreyed buildings exist. How does one go about converting them into ‘green buildings’? There are ‘retrofit’ solutions that one can look at. Keep in focus the three key elements – energy, water and waste. If it is a residential 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 litres per minute. Look at installing rainwater harvest systems. Get the community to invest in a water treatment plan and to reloop the treated water for gardens, car wash and even for floor 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 be a game-‐changer in terms of 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 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 instead. You will recover the additional capital cost in less than two to four years, and until the equipment runs the course of its life-‐ cycle, 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 in into compost that can be sold, in the case that you’re not using it for your own gardens. Grow vegetables on 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!
[Tags : Energy, Water, City Scape]
CITY SMART GROWING YOUR OWN WATER People have often asked what we do about growing our own water. It seems intriguing as to how you could ‘manufacture’ a liquid that is natural? Well, that’s a phrase that actually captures a whole range of things that we do which are essentially inspired by traditional systems, the timeless architecture of water in India, and by our experience in the practice of watershed development in districts across India.
Typically most parts of India get about 1000 mm of annual rainfall.
Essentially a watershed has a natural catchment, a field catchment, and a settlement catchment. The question is how you essentially look at these areas and work toward enhancing water retention-‐ to meet your need for water while the natural resource is in itself protected. Take an apartment. When you have about three acres of land you first ask yourself how many houses you want to put into this place. You do some mental math on the number of litres of water that can populate as rainwater in this land. Typically in most parts of India at about 1000 mm of annual rainfall, this comes to about 3 million litre an acre. So you are talking of about 9 to 10 million litres of water that can fall as rain water on this land. Then you figure out what you need to do for building in this space, which takes away, of course, the land that is open for rainwater to fall on. In the process you also come to some math on the density of the settlement. If you have, say, 40 houses to one acre in terms of apartments, you will find that you have 120 houses. If you had, say, 60 houses as density to an acre of such a housing plan, it will then be 180 houses. If you were to assume that there is about 800 litres that a family demands a day, you know the need is 1.5 lac litres a day. The Zed plans bring this down to 50,000 litres a day-‐ this, without compromising on the convenience, even luxury, of the home-‐dweller. [Tags : Water, Housing]
LIFE IN A SLOW LANE
MAKING THE WORLD’S LONGEST FOOTPATH
Benton MacKaye. ‘Urban workers in the thousands would come and engage in healthful toil in a selfless spirit, and refresh themselves on nature’.
If you have to discover America, you must do the Appalachian Trail, the long-distance hiking path that has become part of American character. It’s the ‘longest footpath’ in the world at over 2000 miles, and is home to some of the most breath-taking mountain wilderness.
The idea for the trail came about in April 1921 from a man called Benton MacKaye. It was published in something called the Whitaker’s Journal of the American Institute of Architects. That was in October that year. Benton MacKaye was a mild, kindly, infinitely well-‐meaning visionary. His plan for a hiking trail was one of the very few things that he actually got right. At the time he wrote the proposal in 1921, his life was not going well at all. In the previous decade he had been let go from jobs at Harvard and the National Forest Service and eventually for want of a better place to stick him, he was given a desk at the US Labour Department with a vague assignment to come up with ideas to improve efficiency and morale. He dutifully produced ambitious, unworkable proposals that were read with amused tolerance and promptly trashed. In April 1921, his wife, a well-‐known pacifist and suffragette named Jessie Hardy, flung herself off a bridge over the East River in New York and drowned. It was ten weeks after this incident that MacKaye offered this idea for an Appalachian Trial. It was only part of MacKaye’s grand vision. He saw the trail as a thread connecting a network of mountaintop work camps where urban workers in the thousands would come and engage in ‘healthful toil in a selfless spirit, and refresh themselves on nature’. He saw hostels and inns and seasonal study centers and woodland villages, where self-‐owning communities would support themselves with cooperative ‘non-‐industrial’ activity that would be based on forestry, farming and crops. He saw it as a ‘retreat from profit’. If MacKaye envisioned the trail, ten years later, well into the 1930s, there came along another man who is even less heard of, or honoured. A keen hiker by the name of Myron Avery. Look out for more about such remarkable people in the next Crossover edition.
[Tags : Urban Ecology, Agriculture]
‘GREEN’S NOT JUST A NICE-TO-HAVE FOCUS!’ This series tells the story of other innovators in the green world. We start with Srinivasan Sekhar who, happily, is a ZED resident—one who found his life transforming after he chose to make home at TZED some years ago. Excerpts from a chat. He bought a house to live in, back in the mid-‐2000s. That latent bug in him to ‘buy responsible’ urged him to look for a place that echoed his own deep-‐seated sensibility. He found a powerful echo in what TZed Homes was offering. He and wife Latha bore silently, and with dignity, man challenges that the initial years of living with a powerful set of innovations at TZed offered. After nearly seven years Sekhar discovered, with gratitude, that TZed had changed his life. It opened up a new world of concerns of the ecology and environment. He gave up a forgettable job that paid reasonably well, to become an eco-‐tech entrepreneur with a company he promoted, Ecoserve Solutions. He devised on his own a system for treating ‘dirty water’ into clean, drinking water. He offered the idea to the TZed community. They listened to him. They trusted him and shared the common cost of creating such a system. Today, TZed Homes residents drink water that is treated to a level of hygiene that it is cleaner than the normal drinking water that you will get off taps! It is the first time in any such gated community in the world. TZed already has many firsts in the world to its credit. As a resident, he fulfilled a far deeper objective-‐ that of a consumer being the creator. Shekhar acknowledges graciously that his intent and his ideas that are now transforming into more solutions for energy, water and waste management systems grew on the fertile bed of ideas that Zed had offered with the wide array of game-‐changing (at that point of time in 2005) solutions that the apartment and single-‐family home campus offered. Excerpts from a conversation. What is the importance of TZed for you? Personally, TZed is where eco-‐friendly living shifted from being just a sense of awareness to active consciousness, which then provoked the mind to think of eco-‐friendly ways for everything we do. The community here is also a very cohesive community with lots of champions for ‘green living’ causes, starting from reducing waste to recycling, and adopting eco-‐friendly solutions within the campus.
‘We’re looking at sun and wind solutions that are viable alternatives to grid energy’.
Tell us something about your unique water innovation. The only innovation was to apply what is public knowledge to a problem that we all had – water scarcity in the summer months. Water consciousness already existed in the community, and the use of RO water for everything made it even more imperative that we save and use minimal water. All these initiatives had already been going on in the general body and the council when I further pushed the envelope in creating a ‘closed loop’ water system. In this system, water from the RO plant comes to homes, goes through drains into the STP plant, gets purified to PCB norms, and then goes through a further series of filters and purification methods, and gets back to the RO. (Thus, no water is wasted, either by draining into recharge wells or storm water drains). What, according to you, is the future of business for sustainability? Sustainability is going to be essential and not just a nice-‐to-‐have focus going forward. Energy, water and urban waste management are all becoming problems around the world (and all three are definitely issues in Bangalore). So, while the Earth has 66% water on its surface, potable water is much less, and we need to have sustainable mechanisms to use water as the population keeps increasing along with which the demand for potable water keeps increasing as well. Same goes for energy and on how we create local in-‐house solutions to manage waste. So, according to me, there are plenty of opportunities in the form of inexpensive and renewable solutions to manage all three issues. What are the focus areas of business for you? Ecoserv Solutions Private Limited is in the business of providing high quality, sustainable and eco-‐friendly solutions for energy, water and waste management. As far as energy is concerned, solar and wind energy solutions are being formulated where these are viable alternatives to grid energy (which is predominantly based on coal, with hydel, nuclear and oil supplementing in small ways). For water, we provide design and EPC solutions for rainwater harvesting, waste water management and water harvesting to communities, to reduce their dependence on bore wells and water tankers (Cauvery is being over-‐harnessed by everyone as a panacea for water, which it is not). Finally, in relation to waste management, we are working on solutions to manage plastic, waste tyres, municipal urban waste and such, to convert them in a pollution-‐free manner into useful products. What is your single motivational driver in your green endeavor? Our Prime Minister declared 2010-‐2020 as ‘The Decade of Innovation’. Several new companies are being formed to encash on the consumer economy in a variety of ways. Yet, very few innovations are being made to contain and reduce urban challenges which are more fundamental than credit-‐based consuming, shopping malls on the internet, etc. Energy, water and waste management are fundamental for improving quality of life for billions of people on the planet, and yet our innovations are focused on everything but these. This is what motivated me to give up a career in the IT world and to move to much more basic innovations for eco-‐friendly living, which will make a big difference to a large number of people, by improving their quality of life inexpensively.
[Tags : Equity, Technology, Greenovation, Housing, Energy]
AN AC AT THE ENERGY COST OF A FAN?!
Air conditioners can’t be environmental friendly, right? Wrong. Not with this exciting new range of Zed ACs that is set to debunk the myth… The ZED Group offers three different kinds of Air Conditioners. Each tailored to offer you variety, and to suit your personal needs. So if it’s not just the environment but aesthetics as well, that you’re worried about, have no fear. Zed ACs offer you the joy of responsible buying of some of the finest systems that can work for you at home or office. The Zed Portable These are designed to provide you with the best of cooling at a third of the energy bill that a regular AC demands. You can move away from those inefficient, energy-‐guzzling water coolers, and have ACs that you can move to where it suits you most. ZED Portables use as little power as any water cooler would use. Conventional water coolers use a 0.5 horse power or a 1HP motor. These ACs work at 0.7 tons which is almost the same power rating to run as the water cooler. If that isn’t stunning enough, ZED Portables also feature an ionizer that freshens the air, makes it pollen-‐free, and is great for asthmatics. The remote control also offers a game-‐changing ‘Fresh Air’ toggle that helps you switch to fresh air when the external ambient is cool enough for you to not want air-‐conditioning, but need to improve air circulation in the room. And what’s more, it doesn’t need the monstrous ‘box’ called the ‘air handling unit’ that spews hot air at 7 deg C delta as your room is cooled inside, to be fitted outside. Do you want to carry the guilt of warming the outside of your home while you get the luxury of cooling? The Zed Portable has a unique heat-‐plate exchanger that cools to infinity the hot air that is exchanged with the cooling of the room. As the model suggests, the Zed Portable can be moved around so you can have just one unit and move it according to your convenience. Or buy one-‐half your requirement for your office, and plan the use of the AC depending on occupancy of the cabins or office rooms. Can you see the immense advantages for a set of hotel rooms? It reduces your capital cost, and brings energy bill dramatically, month on month. Well, the Zed Portable is not just about cooling. These ACs also have a wide-‐band heater built-‐in, so in the winter months when it gets freezing cold, it can work as a heater and air-‐conditioner simultaneously.
ZED Portables also feature an ionizer that freshens the air, makes it pollen-‐free, and is great for asthmatics.
• • •
Runs on 5 amps not 15 Runs at 350W not 900W Saves up to 70% on running cost
The Zed-‐Tower AC This product from the Zed stable stands apart, quite literally. It is an air-‐conditioner that is floor mounted, and has a 1 hertz inverter built into the system. It has an ionizer, a dehumidifier, and a carbon nanofilter. As with the Zed Portable, this product not only cools the air, but thanks to the nanofilter, cleans the air as well. The ZED Tower AC uses 37 per cent less power than any comparable product in the market. Like with all Zed ACs, the Zed Tower also uses 410a as refrigerant—it is clean and green, and meets the world’s environment standards. It cools instantly on an eco-‐power mode, saves you substantially on your power bills and offers cleaner, ‘greener’ air. You not only get cooler air within your rooms, but also gives you the joy of being environmentally responsible over the
lifetime of the AC, which is over 10 years. They come with service guarantees, and a professional network of service technicians. Sounds too good to be true? Only seeing is believing, as they say. It is best that you check out the ACs at the Zed ForestFree store. The Zed-‐Split AC Did you know that most air-‐conditioning units in India consume over 900 to 1200 watts an hour of use? Worse, that all the time that the split AC on the wall and plugged onto the mains, it is using about 400 watts of power, even if you are not using the AC! Most of these regular ACs in India run on ‘eco-‐hostile’ refrigerants, that raise carbon levels in your city vastly—28 times of what a petrol-‐engine does. There is more bad news with such ACs that need additional ancillary items to get them installed and running. While the ZED-‐Split AC uses 5amp sockets as primary power input, it has a series of electromagnetic and electric filters that are built in. And it doesn’t need a stabiliser. That’s the promise of convenience right there. The inverter handles the power and 410a refrigerant gas, which is three times ‘cleaner’ (in terms of carbon emission levels) than the regular R22. Well, the message we are getting across with every Zed product is essentially this: being eco-‐friendly doesn’t require a compromise in your lifestyle, or in the comfort and convenience you seek. It only needs you to be smart.
[Tags : Energy, Technology, Greenovation]
Video of the day It will be not soon that we will run out of energy sources and the human race will be left to peril. India, with its fast growing population, is going to be left in despair if we, the people don’t take a step now. Things are not so easy, but the road less trodden will help us to rediscover new and sustainable ways of living. [Link(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWfdQgE_M3E&list=UUDoi_dq7-‐4O0ThdEYt5WKJQ&index=1)]
REGULARS Zediquette Clear the air We all see our homes as a refuge from the pollution and smog of the city. Have you noticed how often you turn on your car’s AC not for cooling the air as much as to shut out smog and noise? The air within homes can be more polluted than the air outdoors in a conventional home which is not treated for air quality. Synthetic building materials, finishes and furnishings release pollutants that can harm your living areas. That sofa you sit on might be more detrimental to your health than running along the city’s largest street in rush-‐hour traffic! So, do some homework on the materials you plan to use in your home and those present in furnishings such as your old carpet or that old couch or cabinet.
You’ve Got It Coming A return to old skills The compound wall that greets you at the entrance and flanks the sides of the apartment has been made using local quarried stone. This, when compared to regular carbonemitting conventional ones, has saved 22 tons of carbon and yet, is aesthetically pleasing. As you enter, you see to your right an innocuous but pleasant garden for children. But this small patch of green serves a set of vital functions on water management for ZED Communities. Here's an open well which will absorb rainwater falling on the hard surfaces of the roads and other open areas at the ground level. The surface water is directed to this percolation tank to strengthen groundwater recharge of the land. This tank will take in about 300,000 litres of water over seven rain months every year. The open well is a reflection of traditional knowledge on recharging land with the depth of the well, being no more than 10-‐12 metres.
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 Here is another one of your Daadima’s cure from the kitchen. Butter tree (Janglimoha). The decoction of the bark is used as a dewormer. The milky latex of the tree is used to externally relieve rheumatic pains. The decoction of the flower helps in curing heart diseases. A dose every morning can keep you from fretting over the dreaded stroke. Flowers fried in ghee act against plies.
Eco-‐moment You are among the lucky few… 1,200 million people do not get clean drinking water. 2,400 million live without sanitation. Ten years ago, the UN said it aims at halving these figures by 2015. They called it the Millennium Development Goals, or the MDG. This is now impossible, we know in 2011. It requires more than 100,000 people to be connected every day to clean water supplies. Five million people will die this year from water-‐related diseases—2.2 million of them will be children under the age of five. Half the people in developing countries are suffering from diseases caused either directly or indirectly by contaminated water. Take a sip of the water on your table, savour it. You are among the rare few lucky ones to have access to clean, safe water. Have a nice day.
Your day to celebrate In India, Republic Day honours the date on which the Constitution of India came into force on 26 January 1950 replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India. The Constitution was passed by the Constituent Assembly of India on 26 November 1949 but was adopted on 26 January 1950 with a democratic government system, completing the country's transition toward becoming an independent republic. 26 January was selected for this purpose because it was this day in 1930 when the Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj) was proclaimed by the Indian National Congress. It is one of three national holidays in India, other two being Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanti.
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: http://www.auroville.org)
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