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Green Business Idea : Using Manpower & Ox-power to generate rural electricity


Green Business Ideas needn’t be about multimillion dollars of earnings. Although that kind of money does impact lives and can bring in sea-change in thoughts and actions much faster; simple things which look towards the rural landscape should also matter where the earning may be more if the latent advantages are explored. It is also important to indigenise them to the local needs. We would discuss  ideas which belong to different countries but each can work in various Nations. Perhaps it would be the best BASIC country collaboration ever towards sustainable living.

Beginning by mentioning the superlative program hosted by CNN on sustainable living especially the Eco-Solutions  program where it was shown that, water hyacinth a bane for Africa ( & Asia) could be exploited to created products one would usually associate with bamboo or jute. Although weaving with water hyacinth would be natural in the South American countries, attempting to find its commercial use in Africa is indeed wonderful. While the botanists and environmentalist may not agree, citing the commercialization as a bane to their effort to eliminate the evasive weed; one while agreeing to their line of thought could differ in the approach.

English: Water hyacinth

Water hyacinth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The reason water hyacinth does not grow uncontrolled in the South American continent is because it has natural enemies which keeps it in check. Without such natural control available in the Asian & African continent the water hyacinth has wrecked havoc to the water-bodies. But now the biggest “natural” enemy to everything natural in this planet the honourable homo sapien; once they taste the commercial possibilities of any living or non-living material on Earth, one can bet their last dime that ‘extinction’ is not far away. Therefore one should not worry too much in supporting the poor African women in their attempt to commercialize the water hyacinth. Given the right incentive within a span of 10 years it would become less of a menace; not requiring grants from the UN to keep it under control and more of an opportunity to uplift the poor. If we attempt to think out of the box, sustainable solutions would be easier to come by. And the much needed grants could then go into attempt to rectify wrongs for which easier answer are yet to be found. It is therefore encouraging to see the USA come up with a process to produce Ethanol form water hyacinth at Lake Victoria in East Africa ( vindicating my article –The USA has given some of the top inventions to abate Climate Change.)

It is known to very few that Water Hyacinth can be used to produce Bio-fuel, which can then run a generator to produce electricity. Research on this has been happening across Nations including India, yet not enough media focus and awareness is created to bring it to the grass root level, where it would start to make a difference.

Recently, Oxfam has claimed that the lifestyle of the Maasai tribe in Africa should be embraced as a response to climate change because of their ability to farm in deserts and scrublands.Many Maasai tribes throughout Tanzania and Kenya welcome visits to their village to experience their culture, traditions, and lifestyle. In these tribe cattle plays a very important role too.

There is a great debate in the west about GHG emission form cattle, which is mostly reared for production of beef. With many becoming vegetarians and vegans the debate on consumption and rearing of cattle is still on with respect to their contribution to Global Warming. Those who may not know, in India  practising Hindus consider cattle as sacred. The word “Panjerpol” means an old home for cattle. While the word “Gaushala” denotes a dairy farm. Panjerpol is where devout Hindu’s like to see the cows to go, when their useful life as a milch cow or an Oxen ends, so that they can spend the remainder years in comfort. The charitable trust which I visited is run by some of the most successful businessmen in Pune, Maharashtra,India whose vision is exemplary. Considering every cow as Kamdhenu and all bulls as Nandi the teachings of sustainable living is practised even now.

In the day and age of increased awareness of the benefits of natural fertilizers,using  Cow Manure Fertilizer For
Growing Vegetables, – supply the best bulk form of organic matter to the garden. The fantastic soil conditioning ability of cow manure due to the amount of quality organic matter, that no processed fertilizer can match, is reason enough to use cow manure fertilizer whenever possible to the garden. The soil amending properties of this really great natural fertilizer has to be used to be properly appreciated. In another article Cow Urine Can Cure Many Diseases, the author an Ayurvedic Physician, from Gujrat goes on to say – …The analysis of cow urine has shown that it contains nitrogen, sulphur, phosphate, sodium, manganese, carbolic acid, iron, silicon, chlorine, magnesium, melci, citric, titric, succenic, calcium salts, vitamin a, b, c, d, e, minerals, lactose, enzymes, creatinine, hormones and gold acids.Cow urine treatment and research centre, in Indore (Madhyapradesh, India) has conducted a lot of research in the past few years and reached at the conclusion that it is capable of curing diabetes, blood pressure, asthma, psoriasis, eczema, heart attack, blockage in arteries, fits, cancer, aids, piles, prostrate, arthritis, migraine, thyroid, ulcer, acidity, constipation, gynecological problems, ear and nose problems, abortion and several other diseases. Cow is a mobile dispensary. It is the treasure of medicines. The cow urine therapy is capable of curing several curable and incurable diseases. The holy texts, like atharva veda, charak samhita, rajni ghuntu, vridhabhagabhatt, amritasagar, bhavprakash, sushrut samhita contain beautiful description about these things. It must be noted the late Prime Minister of India Shri Morarji Desai advocated Ayurvedic treatment similar to the one mentioned.

The above sets the stage across two continents on the importance of cattle and hyacinth as two factors which can play an important role in sustainable living in rural areas and thus advocates one of the agendas of the UNFCCC charter.

OX-Driven Electric Generator

The same amount of difference it would make, should the poor and marginalised farmer in India use his oxen to produce electricity. This is yet another aspect I understood on my visit to the Panjerpol near Pune. The article Ox-driven generators set to solve power crisis- BIT Mesra’s non-conventional energy gadget promises to steal show at Udyog Mela reads – An oxen-driven generator set, developed by BIT Mesra’s mechanical engineering department, is set to draw crowds to the forthcoming Jharkhand Udyog Mela 2008 at Morabadi grounds.BIT Mesra has booked a stall in the 11-day fair slated to start from November 15. The fair promises to be a good platform to inform the rural masses, NGOs and, most importantly, agencies working in the field of non-conventional energy about the importance of pollution-free power generating machines. A single unit of such a machine would be able to provide power to at least eight households.

This actually complements an article in another blog Engineering for Change which has devised the same idea by using bicycles –This innovation is one of our Promising Prototypes of IEEE’s Global Humanitarian Technology Conference in Seattle. Bike-powered electricity generators are a practical solution for Indian households. Surveying the country’s energy landscape, with its tight living spaces, expensive land, and far too many people for the power the country produces, bike generators make sense. Venkat Natarajan and his team at Intel Technology India in Bangalore came to that conclusion and they are testing their own low-cost designs.

ISCKON ideas

Developing Green Business Ideas which actually impact the lives of the Undeveloped or the Least Developed Nations must be given priority and WRI, CAN-International, Greenpeace and the likes  should try to make this as an agenda to be showcased at the next UNFCCC meet in Europe. As I have advocated always, it is not important whether we are aware of the possibilities, it is important that the poor and the needy are given the opportunity to exploit so. Water hyacinth covers the serene Vembanad Lake,is as recent a news as October 2012 whereas Biotech Students to Produce Alternate Source of Energy in Surat, published in June 1, 2011 pre-dates the problem taken up by the Times of India news. While BIT Mesra’s Ox-power electricity was showcased in 2008. Actually if one researches further this concept was already in place way back in 1985 and finds mention in Prabhupada News. Had it been encouraged and popularised by the Union and State governments in India, THE GREAT INDIAN BLACKOUT OF 2012 might have been averted. But sensible thinking and foresight is not an Indian thing. We are conditioned for lethargic and knee-jerk administrative reactions.

It is important for the UN to seriously consider taking up a dedicated media space to beam down relevant news and information, as mentioned above on a  24x7x365 basis around the world much like the popular Discovery or National Geographic TV programs. This would at least enable a ground-swell which may see some change for the better in the Developing and Under-developed countries where administrative apathy is rife.

How difficult is it for the media moguls to partner with the UN to launch such ground breaking idea? Something that would benefit the world and encourage people to people contact, thus bringing unto fore new ideas which could perhaps have commercial value? In many of the You Tube links attached to this article one can see so many home-grown ideas which can not get much traction due to want of audience. Some die out simply because the immediate society has no need of it, while it could have been a game changer a continent across; it may perhaps save lives. It can happen even now, in fact it must.

Most of India’s 20 nuclear reactors are on the list of the most unreliable 50 in the world, and villagers near the Tarapur plant have been bearing the brunt of after-effects of radiation. In spite of their complaints, all they’ve got from the govt is assurance of reduced exposure, which is no less risky, finds Dilnaz Boga. Poonam Hambire, a resident of Ghivali village, 12km from Boisar in Thane district, is at the forefront of the anti-nuclear agitation against the Tarapur Atomic Power Station (TAPS). “Women have to come forward as false cases are slapped against the male protesters in Tarapur,” she alleges. Her village lies within the 1.6km radius around one the country’s oldest nuclear reactors built by General Electric in the 1960s. It’s the same model as Japan’s Fukushima reactor. The effects of radiation are obvious in every home not only in Ghivali but also in the neighbouring villages.At Hambire’s home, her eight-year-old nephew’s garlanded photo adorns the wall. “He died of lung cancer, but we couldn’t get his medical reports from the government heath centre. It’s hard to talk about it as his father who is employed at the plant will lose his job. None of the sick villagers get their medical papers,” she claims.

The very argument that India needs to develop and maintain costly Nuclear plants, pales in comparison to the fact that using simple tools, the country under its NEREGA mission can utilize only a fraction of the allocated Nuclear development money and yet bring about enormous social benefit. The most telling; India has unemployed youth in villages who could if given a chance, pedal for 24 hours a day in shifts to continuously produce electricity. Which not only could then be stored and then evacuated into the grid for transmission and distribution but the labour could be paid for by the power companies.

As per the survey conducted by Labour Bureau of the Government of India, 40 Million are unemployed with an Unemployment Rate of 9.4%. The survey was conducted in 28 States/UTs spread across the country in which about 99 per cent of the country’s population reside. It estimates that the population of the country is 1182 million with 63.5% in the working age of 15 – 59 years, however, not everyone who is in the working age is interested in joining the work force, so the worker population ratio is much lower. There are an estimated 238 million households, of which 172 million are rural and 66 million are urban. Out of the total population of the States/UTs covered, 872 million persons (73.8 per cent) live in rural areas and 310 million persons (26.2 per cent) live in urban areas.As per The-Pedal-A-Watt-Bicycle-Generator an average rider will produce between 125 and 300 watts. So even if we consider one-third of 872 million people, the mathematics works out to be a decent amount of power generation + employment scheme wrapped into one. Will the Governments listen ?

 

 

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Green Business Ideas – Less known inventions may have answers to CDM


Once in a lifetime, the World sees a sea-change and the Civilization as we know it takes a quantum leap. Historians mark it later as an ‘age’. We are familiar of the Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, the Industrial Age, the Atomic Age and presently

The Climate Change & Economic Meltdown Age.

Both can be averted, should the Pundits of KP2 understand what should be considered as a true clean development project and allow for financial support.There has been amazing inventions which cut across all sectors – Housing, Transport, Food, Clothing, Energy Efficiency.

We must herald in the Renewable Energy Age.

While most of them can be found under the search term “future”; what is most important is that there were some which once could have been termed as future but now been relegated to the failed past. Now that they have failed during their launch does not necessarily make the invention a failure. It was more of an marketing and economic failure than the failure of the invention itself.

Segway

It 2009 Segway the inventor of the battery operated 2 wheel transport system came up with the P.U.M.A. along with GM and it was supposed to be launched in 2012. With hardly a fortnight left in the year, it is obvious that success did not kiss the feet of this invention. Just as the Segway is more of a tourist attraction than a serious alternate Urban transport even in India and other Asian countries where if popularised (By adding a bicycle seat and more ergonomics. Once past the novelty factor, one seriously looks for a little comfort)  and given a  rebate in price many would definitely opt for, albeit with a little nudge from the Government as mandatory, at least in the seriously congested Burroughs of our Mega Cities. We could begin especially in the High-street market areas, where parking becomes a serious problem and can be avoided to a great extent, yet help commuters negotiate the distances which they otherwise would want a transport too.

Piezo Electric tiles

The next which allures me is the Piezoelectric tiles. Till date we have only six locations where it has been effectively used. Where as the potential of this is so huge. Especially again in India and Asia as a whole where density of population is immense. In my article Green Business Ideas :Bombay can produce 2MW / day of Electricity by just adding Piezoelectric tiles on railway stations.would indeed be a great CDM idea, and I’m sure Indian scientist could definitely indigenize what the UK, US, Hong Kong and Japan are using at their walk ways and metro rail stations.

Combining this with the piezoelectric parking lot, which the west is seriously looking into we in India could solve a great extent of our electricity problems. As in the megalopolis of India, the density of population which is a bane for most Urban development project would become a boon. In my limited understanding, the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) would greatly benefit should we allow the piezoelectricity to be harnessed in the same manner as in JNNSM. A public-private partnership where the energy generated by the populace is given back to them for common good. It would also help reduce the enormous load the existing power plant have in its effort to supply to the City at the cost of a village. As an egalitarian society we must not just strive for  equality but also seen to be doing so,

Moreover, it makes perfect business sense and CIICESD, which is in the front-line for sustainability in business must make it their case and make aware the opportunities in piezoelectricity to the enterprises under its membership.

Moving onwards we have extremely superb potential in Felix-Solar panels. While it is true that a wide application is happening with it, what I don’t see as an Energy Efficient Building designer the application of it in India’s swank and energy guzzling glass buildings.

The most innovative Green Business idea for it was to build a curtain with it. Which MIT did. But if we want efficiency we need to design it as we would do with a standard SPV installation, giving it the same inclination while facing south. To be exact louvred blinds and place it inside the glass wall. It would not only act as a shading device but also capture the sunlight and convert it into energy much more efficiently than the concepts presently available. In fact almost all the prime business districts of Nehru place in New Delhi, Nariman Point in Mumbai and the new centres of Gurgoan and Bandra-Kurla complex in these cities can avail the advantage. And it is most suited for south facing windows. And in-fact in some cases it is the only solution because the roof area is usually taken up by host of plant and machinery required for a modern building. Those with large East-West facing glass buildings need not despair as solution for them too are available, which by far would be the most innovative if implemented.

This concept would also be most useful for Hospital and Hospitality which have many windows which can be put on good use. Imagine the south wall of major hospital having solar louvres ? It is already being done in the west. The power generated can directly of-set the cost of cooking food for the in-patients. Which also consumes CNG. While one can always argue the RoI of piped gas to that of Solar, but we are talking of Climate change mitigation not a business proposition. And for business proposition we already have the RESCO’s offering Solar PV solution in OPEX format.

 

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Insurance Agencies will be the best Advocates for Climate Change Abatement in near Future.


 

Kyoto Protocol participation map 2010.Green in...

Kyoto Protocol participation map 2010.Green indicates countries that have ratified the treaty; Dark green are Annex I and II countries that have ratified the treaty; Grey is not yet decided; Brown is no intention of ratifying. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The effect of Climate Risk on Business would perhaps be an important agenda for  discussions by Nations at the UNFCCC’s Rio+20 summit. As more and more damage to property, once predicted becomes reality the seriousness of addressing the issue would perhaps be more stronger in this CoP 17. But we all know of Nations which are still reluctant to be a part of the KP2 ( Kyoto Protocol ) or any other sensible treaty. Under this scenario, although it might sound a little unconventional, I think the champions for sustainable living would be the Insurance companies. For they have the most to lose when disaster strikes.

And for insurance companies in India, it would be worse. Let us understand this in perspective.

Location of Fukushima Tokyo=Metropolis

Location of Fukushima Tokyo=Metropolis (Wikipedia)

In Japan post Fukushima people are learning to become Sustainable as reported in this article from WRI. The “Fujisawa Sustainable Smart Town (Fujisawa SST)” is a smart choice, which I hope will be followed by others around the World. That a disaster of this magnitude was needed for Japan to think differently is sad. Natural calamity no one can predict with absolute accuracy, but one can always learn from the collateral damages and not repeat the same mistakes. Japan, the only country which  has experienced the horrors of Nuclear Bomb, to have chosen Nuclear Energy   which nearly brought back the potential of a similar scale of disaster;  reminds me of a Quote which was under the entry arch of my School, which said in  old English  –

He who knows, that he knows not; is a Child – Teach him

He who knows not, that he knows; is asleep – Awake him

He who knows not, that he knows not; is a fool – Shun him

He who knows that, he knows; is wise – Follow him

I will put Japan under  my quote above – He who knows not, that he knows; is asleep – Awake him. And I thank the Japanese people from all sane Humankind for having woken up from its slumber. (hopefully TEPCO too).

But today my story is not about Japan, neither about Germany which post Fukushima has closed down their Nuclear plants to be part of my quote above which says – He who knows that, he knows; is wise – Follow him.

This article is purely focused on India and its brethren who fall under the quote – He who knows, that he knows not; is a child -Teach him.

Before I carry this forward – I would make it very clear that I am proud to be an Indian. But not proud of its present political class. Under which general administration and ordinary living has suffered to such an extent that corruption has become norm. Corruption does not have to be financial all the time. Not adhering to simple traffic rules is also corruption. Having political arrogance where saner and cautious advise are not heeded to is also corruption. Every-time I see the video on Fukushima disaster, I watch with wonder the fantastic discipline the Japanese people had, even at the face of the disaster. That speaks volumes for the quality of administrative discipline and strength of character.

I live in Mumbai and within the second high risk zone of 75 KM. If one looks at this map  from Green Peace, which points to each Nuclear Plant on this planet, zooming in on India and clicking on the yellow dot will make ones mouth go dry.  Should disaster strike, we do not even have an exit route from Mumbai. Just one bridge connects the island of Mumbai close to the suburb of Chembur, called the Vashi bridge. No hovercraft, no steamers – no ferry service. God forbid if disaster strikes the isle of Mumbai, the mass exodus which would be more of a mob, will kill more than the disaster itself in the first 24 hours. And we have many more Nuclear plant sites. And unplanned growth all around.

I am not against Nuclear Power, I am against the possibility of facing the havoc of Nuclear disaster, should climate change creates situations where storms and tsunami become more and more prevalent. It is one thing to have death and destruction of a generation due to natural calamities, while it is completely different to suffer for generations from Nuclear fallout, which may happen due to damaged caused to a Nuclear facility in an earthquake / tsunami.

While I have pointed out the possible danger of a Nuclear accident, this article is about all the calamities and its resultant effect India shall face, due to effects of Climate change. While it is true, that India has come up with some super positive steps like NAPCC. We have much to accomplish, along with the whole World, while the time is running out. The Stern Review predicts that unless the World changes into low-carbon development from the high-carbon economic model we all currently follow, climate related disasters would increase and its mitigation could cost 20% of the World GDP, year on year post 2020. For densely populated India, which is also a growing economy, many new insurance instruments hereto not applicable are becoming norm. From simple insurance of remembering your important numbers to more complex health, property and corporate ones. Climate induced calamities would bring in untold economic loss.

This naturally brings into fore the insurance companies which need to compensate for losses which would occur. The year 2011 disasters, which occurred  world over,  is covered in this video and it gives one an idea of the scale of economic loss and the compensation which needed to be doled out. If such occurrence happen again and again as is the forecast, it would leave may Insurers penniless, which they would naturally not let happen. Therefore they would do what some have already done – CDP signatories are the banks, pension funds, asset managers, insurance companies and foundations. With USD 78 trillion, it has and will have lot of influence as time progresses to steer Nations into more sensible Sustainable life style. In time regional groups and sub-groups would be formed amongst local insurance players, all with the agenda of abating climate change and this would reach to the very grass-roots of society.

In my opinion, once again Ecology would be rescued by Economy, which ironically has been one of the principal cause for the human induced disasters we face today.

 

 

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Green Business Ideas : Virtual World Design can save the real world losses.


In today’s News paper I read that a project conceived in 2003 in Mumbai has not been able to take off till date. The funding from World Bank has been suspended. The reasons are several, design issues, red-tape, encroachment etcetera. Going through the archives, I found several similar problems over diverse types of projects. I also recollected that there has been a few projects which we were supposed to do but the developer got cold feet due to lack of credible data, as to whether the project would be a success and what would work in the era post A.D 2008.

Could there be a hidden Green Business Idea in this ? Can one’s problem, be another’s opportunity? Rather could the opportunity of the other solve the problem of the former ? Its time our capitalistic opportunism mentality move towards, what I said in my previous article – Benefit Corporation. Presenting a very radical idea; which if polished to its potential would definitely create a green revolution, warming the hearts of UNFCCC honchos.

Large infrastructural projects, in India typically face problems. From conception to implementation, the variable being so many, the scope for “information asymmetry ” or ” leakage” ( plain speak – scope for corruption and wasteful expenditure ) is very high. To arrest these problems and prevent the situation from arising in the first place, a few diverse tools already existing could perhaps be combined.

Virtual world is nothing new to gamers and professionals using computer simulation as design tool.  And “Second Life”; “SIM City” are iconic. But it is the IT-industry which enabled its creation. What if they all were to combined ? What would be the benefits, lets discuss in brief-

Say for example in SIM city there is a game simulation called;  – Rio de Janeiro, 2047 – Coastal flooding resulted from global warming rages through the city. The mayor must control the problem and rebuild. …  With Climate change a reality, if this becomes the basic tool on which the Builders have to submit their plans for permissions to build; they along with the architects would have a near first hand experience of what  should not be attempted.   Thereby should lets hypothetically say – “Bangkok  floods”  again, the combined economic and human loss will be negligible.

Although, no person in her/his right senses would like to invite any disaster, be it the Tsunami that hit coastal India or Japan…that it will happen again because we are on the path to 3.5° C  global temperature rise, is almost certain; if you go by what the experts say.  Therefore the faster we bring all the ‘stake-holder’ into the  ‘game’ the better it would be for the World at large.

Using AI ( artificial intelligence ) based on data collected on the demography of a place, behaviour of the populace over time on Urban planning can be mapped. While having a 100% accuracy would take time, even with a 40% predictability of how the  populace of certain culture / social background would behave over say a 5 year period, could help immensely both Public and Private entities to take measures. Such measures can reduce the impact to the economy and create better infrastructure which is more able to meet up to the challenges of the future, which could not have been predicted otherwise.

Sure there are many institution and think tanks doing exactly the same. But if we still are facing the problems which they are predicting, what good does that do? By bringing the tool to the desktop of common persons – architects, developers and local administration. Taking their inputs form the data they create, a more inclusive people to people development program can be mooted which over time would be successful.

Now having understood through simulation of what should not be done, to conform with the overall Sustainable Town-planning, the Developer and his architect would face the question on ‘ what would work ‘.  Architects are by class – service providers. And more often than not, they need to depend on the commission they would get from investors – ie; home owners, builders or industrialist who have the money to have something built for them. Therefore it is much easier for them to design what their client want rather than impose her / his ideas. And with huge sums of money riding on the project, investors don’t really like to take chances. Therefore good designs most of the time gets sacrificed to popular perception. This overtime leads to wrong Urban planning.

This can be arrested by applying the “second life” concept. Say the architect creates a design and does a 3-D rendering. Then gives it to some company like Second Life, which has mapped the exact town / location  in virtual reality before-hand and allows it to be ‘built’ there ? The builder /developer pays for it off-course. Then he could pay to the advertisers both electronic and print to ask prospective customers to visit the ‘town and live in the residential building, built there’. A virtual assistant could walk along with the “avatar” of the client within the virtual world and explain all the features. Once the client likes a particular property, booking can be made and legal terms set. And once the real building comes up, everything is exactly like it was experienced in the Virtual World.

Changes to the design, remodelling a particular flat post finishing to suit the taste of a discerning client, who wants something different, all could be done within the walls of virtual reality, at nominal cost and without waste of precious materials in the process. Moreover the developer/ architect can ‘exhibit’ any modern thought,  different from the mundane and check for real response with minimal risk.

Authorities too can maintain a vigil by visiting many a ‘site’ to see if the designs are adhering to norms and guidelines. Imagine the building inspectors – civil, fire and safety, structural and the municipal architect together sitting in municipal  office  which is equipped with simulators. There they all sit in front of a console with wrap-around 3-D simulator glasses and then join up with ‘avatar’ clients or other experts to inspect a ‘site’. The details are loaded up into the computer by the developer who carries them on a portable hard-drive. Every detail from the PHE / MEP to the design norms can be discussed and recorded. Changes suggested and a revisit organised to see that the building has come as per the sanctioned norms.

All this without a single ‘make & break’ routine the building industry routinely follows. Sometime due to changes in market dynamics which necessitates changes to the built space mid-way or due to misinterpretation of certain by-laws enshrined in the building code of the state. One must remember that 40% of GHG is building related and 60% of waste too comes from building related activities. So when almost all parameters of the building is completely understood before hand, chances of error could be minimized to a great extent. Thus creating an Environment which truly aims to be zero-emission.

Before I end, one may ask why I mentioned the IT industry in the beginning of the article.That  is because, all the tools mentioned are already existing but not all common persons / builders can afford or operate such hi-tech solutions.The Indian IT is the best place for out-sourcing. Cheaper and more efficient than most, our boys would never be out of jobs, which ever way the market plays. All that is needed is to adapt and adopt Sustainable living.

 

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The Gen Next will demand a Green Building


Awareness on Climate change is profound in Urban Indian schools. This I found when, invited by the district Rotary president of the area I live in Mumbai, I gave a lecture on Green Buildings in a school & a law college. During the short question and answer session, I was amazed at the grasp and depth of understanding many possessed about ” Global warming”. It was encouraging.

In my earlier article I had shown that by simply recycling steel jotter pens one can Reduce the impact of mining for iron-ore. ( Green Business Ideas –  CDM methods for Steel Production ) What if we can inculcate the idea of Reduce – Recycle – Reuse to the school children across all schools. Especially in the Urban  areas ? According to the UNICEF data the total number of school children in India were 113.8 million in 2000-01; Which in the last ten years has increased. Say if we just take into account 50% of these schools which would be imparting basic knowledge of Global Warming, we have a huge youth population which by the year 2025 be the next “consumer” of all product and produce the market has to offer.

The World business better gear up for all things green. It is the only alternative they would have especially in the Urban centers of India. Further India along with China are predicted to grow phenomenally, and growth by default means high carbon growth. Actually if you read an article by atradersrant – It is not the CO2, it is the waste heat that goes with every kiloWatt of electricity produced, which is the real cause of global warming. This actually helps rest the climate skeptic arguments that CO2, being a natural gas can not harm Earth, but at the same time proves that because we have not yet perfected the art of energy manufacturing and consumption, the waste heat is in fact coming from inefficient burning of fossil fuel – thus carbon.

Global Warming 1/2

Global Warming 1/2 (Photo credit: lamazone)

An article stated – “Asia has been responsible for over two-thirds of the growth in global energy demand over the past two decades. As, above all, China and India race towards prosperity, they will burn coal in huge volumes. The resulting emissions of carbon dioxide will be among the biggest hurdles in the way of a global agreement on limiting climate change …Where China leads, India lumbers behind, also burning an awful lot of coal, and hungry for more electric power. Some 70% of its electricity comes from coal. The national grid has expanded hugely in recent years. But it still leaves about 300m people without a connection. In projections of increased energy demand over the next 25 years, India is second only to China…Like China, it is ploughing resources into nuclear power, oil-and-gas exploration and imports, and renewable energy. Like China, too, however, India finds coal the obvious option. It is something it has plenty of—already the world’s third-largest producer, it has the world’s fifth-biggest coal reserves. But it cannot exploit them fast enough to meet demand. In fact, output has not increased for two years. Coal India, the state monopoly, blames the difficulty of securing mining permits. So India may soon become the world’s biggest coal importer.On current trends, as estimated by McKinsey, India’s carbon emissions will increase by about two-and-a-half times by 2030, by which time its power industry alone will account for about one-tenth of the total rise in global emissions. Like China’s government, India’s points out that, per head, its people will still be producing far less carbon dioxide than Americans or Australians (though China is rapidly catching up with some European countries in pollution per person). And, in India’s case, total emissions (at 5 billion–6.5 billion tonnes) will remain well below China’s. “

Well below China does not mean that we shall be having a pollution free Country. With health -care still out of reach of millions and cultural propensity of not adhering to any civic sense, the massive pollution would only spell disaster for the country if not arrested. Alternative energy sources and energy efficiency  for continued development is the need of the hour. If we do what the article predicts the intense global pressure the UNFCCC members would be bearing upon us, would make trade difficult. And it is the youth of today who would face the hardships of trade embargo, which is sure to follow as man-made related Climate change problems rise.

Yes, while everyone knows that it is the Developed Nations which have created this mess,it does not give sanction to any other Nation to follow the foolish path of high carbon development model.

So coming back to the point, India must follow the full course it has set out under NAPCC and not get derailed by “smart economics” enshrined in crony capitalism. It is a superb Green Business Idea and the coming generation of young Indians will want India to follow this path as it would surely make our Nation First among equals. And it is logical, because the youths are more aware of the problems they would be facing – In 2010, climate-related extreme events and disasters affected some 300 million people, most often in countries which have little capacity to cope.

Young India is aware of this and  the disaster of Fukushima brought home by the TV has left an impression even on the minds of Rural India. Moreover the youth today are connected by social media and many have seen the video which shows how disaster has struck USA in the past year, while this video  was suggested by a young student to me, it is a bit dramatic but overall it has captured some of the worst disasters, which people around the World have faced in 2011. These events coupled with the increased awareness of Climate change, has been shifting the dynamics of thinking. Climate Resilient cities which the UN proposes becomes more and more acceptable idea, then it would have been 25 years ago. And to those youths on whose shoulders the future of this Nation would eventually rest, and are still skeptic about the effect of Humans activities on Climate , below  is a thought to ponder upon –

While it is very common, World over for young people to say ” I can’t live without my – car; dog; cell phone, shoe or fancy clothes etcetera. An Oxfam report suggested that by 2030, climate change could push food prices up by 50-90 percent more than they would otherwise be expected to rise. And then many would just seriously not be able to live. Because if there is one thing Human’s can’t live without – its food & water. It is the way all living things are, all need sustenance. So its time the “intelligent living beings” we like to call ourselves – learn about Sustainable living. And what could be better than “the smarter generation” which youths like to call themselves leading the way!


 

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India to connect all its Rivers


The DNA New Paper today had a fantastic news about how all the rivers of India can be connected to provide water in areas required by diverting the flood waters of one into the other. A fantastic read, given below but raises a few questions which I would like the world community to help answer, because just like air, water to is connected but finally at the Ocean. But if one looks closely at the estuaries, they have marine life unique to the confluence of the river that meets with the sea.  How will by connecting the rivers, the aquatic life and the surrounding fauna & flora of the downstream get affected? We all understand that the Indian sub-continent has various soil types, each with its unique chemical composition. While having canals taking water to great distances for irrigation may not have had any long-term negative effect. If we link two rivers which may have different aquatic life, whether the intermixing would be positive or otherwise need to be studied and if studied reported about.

Abridged text from the DNA paper-

“The perennial problems of drought and flood which ravage the country will be a thing of the past if all major rivers are inter-linked. By inter-linking the rivers, what we do is to transfer the surplus flood waters from Brahmaputra Mahanadi, Ganga and Godavari to water deficient rivers in south India through a network of canals. This will help us in boosting our agricultural production, increase the forest cover and bring down pollution,” Prabhu told DNA. S Kalyanaraman, former director of Asian Development Bank, who undertook 20 years research on ILR said the project would help in generating 40,000 MW clean and green energy. “We can bring in nine crore acres of additional wetland into farming and this will benefit 45 cr people,” said Kalyanaraman.

The normal annual Indian surface water resources are about 68,969 Thousand Million Cubic feet (TMC). Out of this we use only 8,814 TMC, that is 13%. The remaining 87 per cent, (that is about 60,155 TMC), is wasted into the sea every year, say Natarajan and Kallolikar. “The value of one TMC of flood water let into sea in terms of paddy and pulses is about Rs32.5 crore. The total irrigation potential that can be created by utilizing the entire floodwater let into sea is 241 million ha, the production of foodgrain is 1,477 million tones (1,326 million tones of paddy plus 151 million tones of pulse) and the value of total flood water in terms of paddy and pulses is about Rs20 lakh crore (value of paddy is Rs 13 lakh crore and the value of pulse is Rs7 lakh crore) per annum. The value of food grains wasted in the last 61 years in the independent India is Rs1, 220 lakh crore,” Natarajan and Kallolikar said in the paper they submitted to the Planning Commission emphasizing the need to inter link the rivers. Natarajan said if the flood waters of Godavari in Andhra Pradesh is diverted to Mettur Dam in Tamil Nadu, the dam would get filled in ten hours. “Tamil Nadu’s entire irrigation requirements could be met with this water,” he said.

The Indian Space Research Organisation has drawn a blue print for implementing the project with the help of images.

Resonating my thoughts,on 5th March Mr. Subratha Sihna editor in the DNA News paper, wrote in the analysis this piece, which I think almost all who work with water must look at with a degree of seriousness.

Based on a Public Interest Litigation, a Supreme Court division bench in the early 2000s had directed the Centre to implement the controversial river linking proposal involving more than Rs500,000 crore (approximately $110 billion) without bypassing any of the essential procedures in the process by 2016. There was an unprecedented outcry against the proposal from civil society — including a representation to the prime minister by 50 citizens of national eminence. The proposal was put on hold. The present bench of the Supreme Court, in fact, has revived the ‘the instrumentalist vision’ to complete the process; with the caveat of setting up a high-powered committee to ‘implement’ the project.
In unsuitable, arid or semi-arid, agro-climatic regions, excessive water transfer and usage have caused irreversible land degradation. About three-fourth of prime agricultural was lost by water logging, salinity and erosion by 1980. These irreversibly degraded tracts include the command areas of Tapi, Mahi, Chambal, Tawa, and Narmada in western UP and Rajasthan, providing a frightening preview of river linking, whose major thrust is on transferring water into inappropriate terrain. Basically, the concept of surplus or deficit is alien to river basins. Each drop has its use in preserving the river regime and environmental health of the basin.
Fundamental objections to river linking:
1. Linking of rivers violates the natural laws governing the life support system, and natural dynamics; and discounts the bounties provided by river systems.
2. The loss of flood plains and spill basins by human interference has caused devastating floods. River linking shall enhance this situation.
3. Man-made dams, reservoirs, and artificial lakes that are to be project ingredients would rob the rivers of their energy potential.
4. In fact, stupendous energy would be needed for the rivers to jump over the natural water divides and topo-barriers.
5.Rainfall and water availability is regulated by the monsoons, resulting in a highly bimodal annual river flow and moisture regime with consequential seasonal lows (droughts) and highs (floods). River linking shall certainly aggravate both droughts and floods by superimposition of the situation in each of the linked rivers.
6. Such linkages could possibly be thought of in more temperate latitudes with a more homogeneous annual moisture/flow regime. However, the Soviet experience of river diversion has even then been catastrophic, resulting on the devastation of the Aral Sea.
7. A river is not a mere flow channel, but a holistic system encompassing the whole basin — water divide, catchment, valley and outflow point. Any alteration shall affect the whole system and even induce microclimatic changes.
8. Inestimable loss of natural biodiversity, wild cultivars and plant gene banks shall inevitably follow river linking to disrupting the regional food chain operation.
9. Monsoonal rainfall on the degraded catchments shall cause excessive siltation-related problems in the linking systems.
10. Careful scrutiny of the state of environmental health of various rivers should have been first made before clean rivers are linked very filthy rivers.
11.River linking shall inevitably lead to an alteration of the seasonal water availability pattern; and the possibility of upsetting the evapo-transpiration balance.
12. An inevitable change in the cropping pattern from excessively irrigated lands after river-linking shall cause a major increase in methane and other gases that contribute to global warming.
13. Land degradation shall also be inescapably aggravated.
14. The colossal estimated cost will surely jeopardise the national economy for decades and force diversion of funds from the more essential needs of the vast majority of rural poor.
15. The inter-state and international ramifications of shared riparian systems would certainly open the floodgates for a civil war situation and serious discord with India’s neighbours.

Not only is any such proposal for inter-basin transfers totally repugnant to all natural and economic logic, but shall alter the subcontinent’s geographical configuration. In the ultimate analysis, the proposal shall signal the death knell of our river systems that provide the principal source of sustenance; and encompass social, cultural and religious traditions.

The Beneficiaries of River Linking:
The politically important consideration for drawing up the river linking plan was the emergence of major national and transnational industries and rapid urbanization in many of the ‘low water availability’ natural regions of the west and south. It was purported also to help the commercial farming lobby for sugarcane. A case of ‘mortgaging the nation’s future for a miniscule affluent population.

 

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Green Business Ideas :Bombay can produce 2MW / day of Electricity by just adding Piezoelectric tiles on railway stations.


While better building designs are happening all over the world, what puts India & China apart from the other BASIC countries is the sheer population. A lot of predictions are happening that the per capita emission from India & China would be more in the coming years than its polluting friends the EU, USA, Canada, Japan and the rest.

It requires a serious leap of faith as how would India, which although called an Emerging Nation could ever have a per-capita emission of 20 ton CO2e when most of rural India still burns a kerosene lamp and that  amount to around about 2 watts of light, and that  too only for 4 hours as the fuel even though heavily subsidized, is still costly for them. One has to however, agree that the megalopolis of India namely Mumbai (Bombay) & Delhi followed by Bangalore, Hyderabad,  Chennai, Kolkata and other class I & II cities are catching up to the consumerist character, without moderation in its run up to be known as advanced and “happening” Cities. And here there could be a danger of the citizens catching up to their EU / US  counterparts in matching the CO2e emission, in the nearest future.

So, what does the Indian cities have which the American / European cities don’t? Which is usually a bane but in this instance can be turned into a boon? Simple – mind-boggling population. If we only tap the Urban population traveling in suburban trains we can do wonders in reducing CO2e. Let me take a little more time to explain how.

The Mumbai Suburban Railway is the oldest in Asia, it was founded in 1867. It is owned by Indian Railways and is operated by Western Railways and Central Railways. With a length of 303 km, It has highest passenger density in the world, 6.3 million people daily travel by the Suburban railways, within Mumbai & its suburbs. I bet this population would be more than many countries.

Now imagine if we can place Piezoelectric tiles in all the suburban station? Just at the entry point?  Lets do some simple calculation.

Let say an average person, weighing 60 kg, will generate only 0.1 watt in the single second required to take two steps across the tile of size 2 feet x 2 feet. So if we multiply population by the watt produced;  6000000 x 0.1 = 600,000 watts.

This would be around 600 KW of electricity generated per day.

We would off-course need more than just one tile, this is just to explain the logic. And a minimum of 2 MW per day could be generated from the suburban stations alone. All that would be required is to understand the cost factor and incentives from the Government, to initially popularize it.

Now if we increase the scope of the tile and use it in malls, hospitals, sub-way entrances the City would start to generate a decent amount of energy, which can then be used to power the street lights and common lights. As it would become more and more popular, India would perhaps start manufacturing this locally and soon having piezoelectric door mats at the entrance of lobbies in housing societies around the City. Or perhaps China, with its superb business acumen start manufacturing and selling them in India and other South East Asian countries.

The most beautiful thing about this invention is its portability. Once adapted to Indian conditions,  various State Governments could create a program along with reputed NGO’s to  carry out them in remote village schools. The power generated by Human feet can really empower and revolutionize India and even African, South East Asia and Latin American Nations.

 

 

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