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Water Kills ! – Drought & Food Crises are effect of Climate Change


 

I begin this article with another excerpt from the WRI blog – The unsustainable use of water and the risks it creates is on the minds of many of the thousands of water experts from the corporate, NGO, and government worlds who convened in Stockholm last week for World Water Week. Teams from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), World Resources Institute (WRI), and Water Footprint Network (WFN) convened a seminar called “Towards Sustainability: Harmonising Water Tools for Better Water Governance”.

My thoughts turn towards Cities. A lot has been written about Sustainable cities and how almost all great cities of the World  have originated around the banks of rivers. Mumbai too grew around rivers, and continued to do so till the turn of the Century when we finally turned the Mithi River into a stinking clogged drain and in 2005, she in protest inundated Mumbai. The famous Mumbai floods of 26/7/2005 would forever haunt those who suffered its wrath.

And seven years after the incident, India has learnt nothing. In fact we still alternate between drought and flood every year in some city or other.

The erratic monsoon has led to pest attacks and fungal infestation on as much as 50% of the cotton, soya and paddy crop, aggravating Vidarbha’s agrarian crisis. A fallout of this is a rise in farmer suicides, including five in the last 72 hours, taking the toll to 50 deaths in August alone and 526 in 2012 so far. Report by Yogesh Pawar DNA Newapaper

To those who wonder how the draught in Vidarbha region effects Mumbai, the megalopolis the connection is simple.You see, as a Green Building consultant by profession,I do not have any idea of how to grow grain, pulses or vegetables. Which is laid on the dining table of millions like me. Professionals who only have the power of purchase, but not the skill to survive a single day, should the Farmers perish!  The story is not about a single region but all of rural India which alternates between drought and flood with regular monotony, every year for the past 60 years of Independence ! Water & Food are closely interrelated. And presently it a danger looming large on the face of the civilized World.

Both Drought & Flood are adverse situations, with the potentially destructive power to Kill. The former can suck out the last drop of the precious liquid from any life form by its absence and its over presence can drown and wash away the very existence of civilization.

Global Warming & Climate Change is just about that – the revenge of Water on Civilization. A Civilization which is so callously hurtling itself towards self invited doom, by setting the Global temperature rise by 3.5°C. created by the high-carbon life-style of the Peoples. And it is well understood by the Government of India, which has a detailed study on linking climate change & drought.

It is therefore important for Cities around the Globe to adapt and if still possible mitigate the apocalypse. And among many measures, some of the best are those which the C40 Cities program present ( Mumbai & Delhi are signatories ). Each city in the C40 is unique in its infrastructure and progress in addressing climate change. To the uninitiated; C40 works to empower cities to connect with each other and share technical expertise on best practices. C40 is a network of the world’s mega-cities taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With a unique set of assets, the C40 works with participating cities to address climate risks and impacts locally and globally.

We all are aware of the Mumbai Floods of 26th July 2005. There were severe drought in parts of India between the period 2002-2005. Large tracts of India are prone to droughts. 68 percent of India’s land mass is drought-prone to varying degrees, of which about 50 percent is chronically drought-prone. As per Government of India’s estimate, there are one or two years of droughts every five years in semi-arid and arid regions of India.

If one reads the report on Mumbai water requirement, it would be adequately clear that as the City expands the fresh-water requirement of the city is going to be woe-fully short. While I have commented on water in my earlier article Green Business Ideas – Sell water at the price of petrol – and reap the ‘fringe’ benefits.The idea there was to increase the conservation of water in Rural India.  Now, as the Nation grows, the existing Cities would be under tremendous strain to expand and accommodate, while the second tier cities and towns would be looked at by policy makers to develop as alternate destination to over saturated Megalopolis.  And when we speak of development, in terms of Cities we are talking of expanding the foot-print of the Urban Concrete Jungle. To understand the situation below is a report.

A World Bank report says –  Temperatures have soared in India this summer. The scanty monsoon rains have been unable to replenish reservoirs or recharge diminishing groundwater. Much of the country is reeling under acute water shortages. In water-starved cities like Delhi, those who can afford it pay large sums to private suppliers to fill up household tanks. India’s burgeoning cities, already bursting at the seams, are struggling to provide their residents with basic services. No Indian city receives piped water 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Raw sewage often overflows into open drains, polluting ponds, rivers, and groundwater. Although cities like Delhi receive with 220 liters of water per person per day – much more than Paris, for instance – some 40-70% of this water is lost due to physical and financial leakages.  Consumers bear the brunt of these inefficiencies……There is a clear need to revamp the system. No time can be lost, as India is in the throes of an unprecedented urbanization, the second in the world after China, with a further 10 million people expected to move into the urban areas each year. …… There is a growing realization that creating infrastructure alone will not solve the problem; the management of urban water supply services will also need to be addressed to arrive at a sustainable solution.

The C40 City program, water sustainability has been in the agenda, with some great ideas on containing waste, the case study of Emfuleni, South Africa is a interesting read.

In this article, we shall explore some unusual ways to save the most precious and limited resource – Water. Especially in the Urban setting of Mumbai. My suggestion would be to look at Water a little more closely and with a different perspective. I hope the idea would also be able to attract some thought for the future cities the world is building to house the incoming horde of 9 Million humans by 2050.

Every mega-city which is built has a net-work of services, and among the various services, is the storm water drain. Ideally the town-planners design the drain to discharge the water into the sea, or river.

Ideally there should not have been any human induced Climate Change and Water Crises!

Now that we have established the situation to be dire, how about channelling the storm water back into the under-ground reservoirs?

Aug 9, 2010, DNA Newspaper report –

Geologists expressed serious concern over the unregulated withdrawal of groundwater.

“Indiscriminate and unplanned extraction of groundwater could lead to wells yielding saline water for some time and then drying up,” V Subramanyan, a former geology professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), said. “Even the surface streams may lose their water.” It was imperative, said Subramanyan, for a coastal city like Mumbai to retain the state of already existing equilibrium between freshwater and saline water. “Excessive pumping of wells or heavy withdrawal of water through several wells located near each other can disturb this balance,” Subramanyan said. “In either case, the underlying saline water encroaches upon the fresh water column and contaminates it.” SK Gupta, former deputy director of groundwater survey and development agency (GSDA), Konkan Region, said it was important to improve the groundwater levels through rainwater harvesting. Gupta said that preference should be given to ring wells instead of borewells to improve the quality of groundwater. Subramanyan said that recharge ponds should be built to tackle the crisis……

Imagine building a new City where  a network of pipes would be laid, in such a fashion that the surface run-off  ( as in Rainwater Harvesting )  or the excess water which falls on to the streets, pavements and other public places, get collected through a net work of drainage system which instead of discharging the fresh water right back into the sea or river gets collected at the city fringe into artificial lakes  or holding ponds, which then percolates deep into the water table below. The world over fracking is being done in search of gas, for once we can use the technology to replenish ground water and re-charge dried out water table. And this fracking along with holding ponds perhaps can be created around and in the low lying areas of some of the existing cities too, to a certain extent, to stem off emergency situations.

Let’s take the case of Mumbai, the pace in which unplanned Urban development is happening; thanks to a few corrupt builder- politician-bureaucrat nexus. If disaster strikes, either natural or man-made most of Mumbai is not geared in any  manner to bear a long haul situation. What would happen if  we have an earth-quake and the water-pipelines which are feeding Mumbai with water, rupture extensively and compounded with massive sedimentation of the feeder lakes, which may render the waters temporarily harmful for consumption?  In such a situation Mumbai would face unprecedented water crisis.

And the beauty of official apathy and ignorance of the Political class can’t be better summed up than the following report  on the same subject on Aug 12, 2010 DNA News report

….. The water table in south Mumbai is shallow. A rainfall above 500mm is sufficient to fill it to capacity,” Gupta said. The area has already seen rainfall in excess of 2,200mm. “The additional water received in the form of rain is being rejected by the ground. This is causing the run-off,” Gupta added…. The hydraulic department, meanwhile, has begun planning ways to stem the surface run-off. “We will have to ensure that the ground water table declines,” a senior engineer said. One of the measures being discussed is digging an open well near Metro Cinema. “This will help extract 50,000 litres of groundwater daily. As the water table decreases, the aquifer will begin accepting rainwater again,” the engineer said…..

That there was ground-water reject also inversely means that, when there is scant rain-fall the water table gets dry. Therefore as Climate change would be bringing in more drought than rain-fall, the posh South Mumbai, would need to depend on the water being pumped from the lakes 100KM away from Mumbai. Therefore we must think of ideas to recharge and also divert the excess, from the South to the North of the City where water crisis is an everyday struggle. And also create holding ponds, which not only would beautify the city but perhaps assuage  Mumbai by feeding water from within the city limits. And in one brilliant stroke give the villages around the six lakes the first right of use of the water. (Six lakes in and around Mumbai supply water to the city.) Which is dined to them to quench the insatiable needs of Mumbai.

The thought is there, the process are known. It is the implementation that matters. As an old proverb goes – ” A stitch in time saves nine”; so would action taken on ground in an immediate basis would perhaps save many a City from civil commotion in the absence of  Water in the future.

Because, water is saviour when respected but extracts a terrible vengeance if mocked.

Courtesy: http://vidarbha.webs.com/ , http://www.c40cities.org/about, http://www.worldbank.org, http://www.dnaindia.com

 

 

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Solar Power: the Messiah for the Indian Oil Companies and the Finance Ministry


Solar Resource Map

Solar Resource Map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Distributed Generation” – my long-lost in touch friend and teacher, heading one of India‘s largest state power transmission, told me when I finally traced him. ” You are spot on when you say Solar P.V is the solution, but for the prohibitive cost.” “And if you say you have the solution, bring it on I am sure the State Government of India as well as investor world-wide would like to understand it.” said he.

“I don’t have the numbers, but the idea is good I am sure of that much”, said I.

“Speak your idea. There are enough intelligent people in this world who can figure out the maths much better than you can ever imagine” – he said.

Well, as of today the Indian Rupee is in free fall.While it could have been good news for the export industry, it is not so because of policy paralysis and international investors lack confidence in the Governance system of India. With the Euro-zone in trouble, US$ gaining traction and rampant corruption, which the once efficient Indian Government can no longer control; having given leeway for so long to the  perpetrators of this systemic rot due to political compulsions that it has become a normal life-style for all and sundry.

Corruption in India has become so endemic that with the inflationary pressure and International monetary crisis, compounded with Climate change which brings its own bouquet of trouble that the Country which remained more or less insular in 2008, is gasping for breath. Its leaders, those which are truly concerned about the Country and Governance need all the help it can to save the Country from a “Greek” tragedy.

One of those solution is staring them at their face. Made by them but its implementation still weak. The beautiful NAPCC. A fantastic tool to at once infuse life to business while at the same time stay true to the abatement of Global Warming & Climate Change.

National Solar Mission for increasing share of...

National Solar Mission for increasing share of solar energy in India’s energy portfolio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While each of the Eight National Action Plan on Climate Change are super ideas, combining the three – 1. The National Solar Mission; 2. The National Action Plan for Enhanced Energy Efficiency; 3. The National Action Plan for Green India, in my opinion would cover almost another 3 programs Buildings, Agriculture and the Water mission.

The Green Solution I propose is to go Solar. Today, India provides a huge rebate in Kerosene which gnaws away the innards of any fiscal policy. Stuck between the commitment to its poor and at the same time wanting to make its presence felt as a Global power, India needs to carry out which it already knows as a sure-fire way to stability.

Once we are able to offer through a program Solar Power for rural electrification we would be immediately save Kerosene subsidy which is huge, with Solar Water Pumps, Diesel which is also subsidized can be brought into rational level of costing. The positive effect on the exchequer would be huge even if we give the REC (renewable energy certificate) to the RESCO’s (Renewable Energy Service Company).

In my earlier article I had already mentioned about a model of OPEX Solar solution, it would really take-off in a Giga Watt scale should the Government, and by that I mean the Parliament makes a National commitment.

It is a win-win situation for the People – Parliament – Planet.

Money can also be pooled from the various housing missions for rural poor, Solar Photo Voltaic (SPV) modules come in standard fitting of metal sheet & glass. It has and can be created as a roofing material. Imagine, if with combining the program of Rural electrification; Rural roofing by eliminating asbestos sheet, and Empowering Women & Saving forest,* by giving them CFL bulbs under the “Bachat Lamp Yojna” and using the forestry fund to provide with a twin hob induction stove the sea change it would bring to the climate and the National exchequer. How connecting induction stove to solar is far better than using LPG is given in my earlier article provided with the *link.

What is more, World over there are programs conducted to control pests from destroying thatch/ wooden roof. The process itself gets eliminated, saving money and the environment in the process. Solar Pumps are not new, but a sustained policy is required, to be carried out by corporates in a super transparent manner to modify the diesel power gensets and pumps to work with solar. The SPV modules can also be made portable which can be towed by tractor, to various small plot owners, who can rent the same instead of having to install it, which they could not have due to lack of ample space.

Climate Change Top Election Search Topic

Climate Change Top Election Search Topic (Photo credit: neeravbhatt)

Renewable Energy is a singular Business Idea which can be the messiah for many malaise hobbling the Countries growth, its time think tanks like the CAN, WRI, TERI make their presence felt and make it popular via advertisement.

The power of the media is immense. The Pen shall always remain mightier than the Sword. This must be utilized and the faster the better. Because once public perception changes, laws get made and most importantly get implemented.

 

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Green Business Ideas:The Next in Future RE – Lease to Own.


Renewable Energy as one understands has a very broad spectrum. From Wave technology, Geo-Thermal Energy, Micro-Hydro Energy, Wind Energy and Solar Energy.The developments of the first three are still at a nascent stage and there are lots of barriers to make it available to all. Mostly because they are tied down to certain geographical requirements. However when one looks at Wind and Solar technology, this barrier is minimized to a large extent.

In the Wind Energy Outlook 2011 Union Minister MNRE, Dr. Farooq Abdullah says – Wind energy is the fastest growing renewable energy sector in the country. With a cumulative deployment of over 13,000 MW capacities, it accounts for nearly 70% of the installed capacity in the renewable energy sector in the country. The sector is growing rapidly and we are likely to achieve, for the first time in the country, a capacity addition of 2000 MW in a year, this year.

Energy demand has continuously outstripped production, and a peak energy shortage of around 12.7% prevailed in the year 2009-10. To meet this shortfall as well as the National Electricity policy target of ‘Electricity for All by 2012’, the cleanest options available to India are Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs). Although it would be difficult for the government to meet its promise of electricity for all by 2012, renewable energy options including wind power & solar will have to play a crucial role in India’s emerging energy mix if this shortfall needs to be arrested in the near future. Not only are they environmentally sound but also their project gestation periods are much shorter than those for thermal or nuclear power plant.

For India to meet its Energy Challenges and meet its goal by 2020, along with capacity building it must encourage through policy adjustments level playing field for all innovation and ingenuity that can be brought into the field of RET. Already there is a company which is trying to provide electricity through gas in an OPEX format in Mumbai, India. The model offers power to the client at a lower tariff by certain percent than the grid and over the contractual period increases year on year the tariff per unit thus recovers its money. Though the IRR is not very good, the company is keeping its vision long term, as it knows that conventional energy would become more and dearer both in terms of supply and cost.

Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy (Photo credit: SEDACMaps)

The same idea can be applied for Renewable Energy, especially in Micro-Wind and Roof-top Solar. Indian investors have the money and the ingenuity to come-up with solutions. The Government of India has been trying to encourage the Micro-grid especially for rural areas. However, much of Urban tire-II & III cities facing power shortage during peak demand, in Indian summer. Companies which can model its finance intelligently from the various subsidies in offer and factor in the increase in cost of generation of conventional power should be able to come out with a viable instrument.

Once OPEX RET becomes a viable alternative in small captive power model, towns and villages in India would make it their main frame power source. This is because there is abundance of sunlight available throughout the Country and in certain pockets it can be combined with a hybrid wind + solar model to make the RoI better. By offloading the cost of only the inverters to the user, it can become a win-win situation for both.

In bigger Metro too there is abundant scope, especially if one ties this to LEED / GRIHA norms where RE power is an inbuilt criteria to attempt higher credit rating.  It also opens up possibilities for building retrofit to become more energy efficient.

Energy efficient products in lighting, HVAC and other product too stand to gain if their parent company can also through association or otherwise bring in the RE – OPEX model to their end customers.

Wind & Solar both have a bright future; the idea is to look at roof-tops rather than creating only large power plants. This way it would be able to overcome the limitations it faces in transmission and distribution and also increase its share in the energy pie.

 

 

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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: Algae can help fishermen earn during lean catch periods.


Over fishing is a sad story repeated along the sea-coast everywhere. Documentaries showing the haggard faces of fishermen staring at an uncertain future, as the catch dwindles each year have won acclaim and awards. But barring a few who genuinely want the fishing communities to survive; the World at large is still oblivious to the problems. According to a 2008 UN report, the world’s fishing fleets are losing $50 billion USD each year through depleted stocks and poor fisheries management.

Unlike Currency you can not print fish when you want. The Economy unfortunately has to bow down to Ecology. But while the world grapples at what would be the model for ” Sustainable Capitalism” as opposed to ” Crony Capitalism“, a man has to earn his bread and put the meal on the table.

So, what does a fishing community do when there is no fish to catch?  All they need to do is harvest some algae for producing Bio-fuel. Marine Algae  is  used as food, medicine & fertilizer. Bio-fuel already is a nascent  industry which is well recognized though not reached its full potential but in the coming years as the World moves away from fossil fuel, it would gain prominence as another alternate to various other clean tech energy source. Moreover algae is a proven “carbon sink” and this alone would attract Carbon funding and thus help in poverty alleviation.

In India we are blessed with a long coastline. Along this coast line live some very poor fishing communities live who can benefit from alga-culture . Also in India we have the brackish water lakes like – Kaliveli Lake, Tamil NaduKerala Backwaters, Series of lagoons and lakes in KeralaPulicat Lake, north of Chennai; The Rann of Kutch, Gujarat.

In the famous Aurovile, Pondicherry; India. How Spirulina farming can benefit the community can be seen. That such a beautiful “Sustainable Capitalism” will be found in Aurovile – 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 – was not a surprise. The Government of India along with the help of the States can set up training institutes where the marginalized fishermen  learn to “corral” the algae just like salmon farming. As there is a demand for marine algae in medicine; Spirulina is the most known. It has food and medicinal value which is well documented. The income generated by such activities, be it production of food or fuel; could help the people to cope with the pressures of living in the modern world.

But what is more important than helping the fishermen is Educating the consumers. Massive information campaign, especially by the famous restaurants around the World about why one should not order for “that fish” during certain season. And the menus should display – “this particular fish is from the cold storage & not a fresh catch. For fresh fish wait for the harvesting season.” Its time to live & let live.

In the Hindu Culture, during the season called “Shraavana” ( pronounced -shra -van ); no non-veterinarian eating community eats fish, meat, poultry or eggs. This season coincides with the monsoon season. It is a time for replenishment for all. A culture of sustainable living was part of the Ethos. Even plants and trees were venerated, each has a name and direct association with a Hindu God. One had to justify why a tree needed to be felled, and a collective decision was taken by the village council in fair and transparent manner, should even one person object.  However, in our race towards modernity we have lost the touch of reality. I am sure that there would have been similar laws in the ancient Europe and Americas. Laws bulldozed over by the mighty corporations and inventors of the bottom trawling net, which scrapes out every living thing right up-to the bottom of the sea floor.

We many presume that we have become more advanced and developed than our ancestors; however Nature is proving it wrong in every turn ! The result is for all to see.

 

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GRIHA: the Indian answer to Climate change.


India has in its Parliament declared that 25% of GHG will be reduced by the efforts of the Government by year 2020. The Government of India under the under the Leadership vision of the PM set about its task of formulating Eight action plans to combat Climate change. The National Missions are to be institutionalized by the respective Ministries and will be organized through inter-sectoral groups. The National Action Plan for Climate Change  ( NAPCC )are;

National Solar Mission,
National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency,
National Mission on Sustainable Habitat,
National Water Mission,
National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Eco-system,
National Mission for a Green India,
National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture and
National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change.

On this page we shall discuss the National Mission on Sustainable Habitat.

The Government of India, entrusted the formulation of a  National rating system to The Energy and Resources Institute {TERI} a research and policy organization, which does original work and provides professional support in areas of energy, environment, forestry, biotechnology and the conservation of natural resources to government departments, institutions and corporate organisations world wide.

Under the able leadership of TERI’s Director General,the brilliant and famous PADMA BHUSAN  Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri; who, having immense experience in various field like Economics, Agriculture, Renewable Energy and currently Chairman of IPCC ( Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was established by the World Meteorological Organisation and the United Nations Environment Programme in 1988 ) and supported by a stupendous dedicated team at its’ Sustainable Habitat Division, head by divisional Director Ms.Milli Mazumdar studied all the rating systems in the world currently in practice and then decided to establish a rating system so brilliant that even a simple citizen of Rural or Tier -III town can have his building rated and certified, built on the experience of local Masons.

This simplicity and grass root upward approach  of  Sustainable Building Certification was aptly named – GRIHA ( Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment ). Today GRIHA is promoted by  Association for Development and Research for Sustainable Habitats ( ADaRSH ) under the secretariat of MNRE.  GRIHA is in compliance with Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC), Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), National building Code (NBC), Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) guidelines and thus compliments the National Action Plan perfectly.

The Government of India to is promoting GRIHA by making it mandatory for all Central Government & Public Sector Unit projects to follow GRIHA and achieve 3- star rating minimum. In the 12th JNNURM Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission,  a massive city modernisation scheme launched by Government of India; it would be mandatory to achieve GRIHA rating. The Reserve Bank of India ( RBI ) through its wholly owned subsidiary the National Housing Bank  ( NHB ), is contemplating an instrument by which 0.25% of interest subsidy would be given by all Banks, to loan taken for projects undergoing GRIHA compliance. The State Bank of India  in already providing this rebate. The Ministry of Environment and Forest ( MoEF ) has announced that it would come out with a ruling whereby EIA will not be mandatory for projects under GRIHA rating.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy ( MNRE )  too has its own bouquet of sops for project going for GRIHA rating.


 

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