Go Green!


Everyone remembers the time when Adam and Eve were banished out of the Garden of Eden for their sins and compelled to toil for their living by using the resources provided to them on earth. Guess who wholeheartedly took advantage of that predicament and is now eventually causing destruction of mass proportions on the very same earth? Take a long, good look in the mirror, people. There have been articles, news reports, protests, summits, world leaders uniting under one roof, mobs rioting on the streets, and natural disasters amongst other things, that have screamed the words ‘Global Warming’, ‘Wildlife’, ‘Protection’ and ‘Conservation’ on our faces. Some of us have made an effort to heed, the rest of us have simply managed to continue our existence in perpetual denial. Some of us have made a distinct mark in restoring a portion of our ecological balance back on track, and some of us have managed to wipe out an entire species from the face of the planet. In the face of nature, mankind has prevailed while humanity has perished.

While it may seem like we have already walked past the crossroads that may have led us to a path of redemption, not all hope is lost. We bring you the guide to the simplest things that we, as citizens of the world, can work towards and incorporate in our lives, that may just preserve our planet for generations to come. They say it is never too late and we firmly believe that you can always flip the switch. Literally. You’ve read about and dreamed of becoming the superheroes that you’ve always adored. Well, here’s your chance to don your green capes and lead the beacon of hope that makes Mother Earth the most resourceful and habitable planet in the universe. Until we find extra terrestrial life that may as well applaud us for our valiant efforts to keep from destroying ourselves purely out of greed.

This anniversary issue, we pledge to do our own bit to save the environment and give you several ways in which you can cut down on your carbon footprint and make a sincere effort to adopt everyday habits that will not only enable you to cut down on your finances, individually, but make way for a sustainable future. Take a page out of your superhero’s life and ask yourself this important question: do you have what it takes to save this planet?

species of plants and animals as Critically Endangered from India

approximately 60% of total plastic waste) and 6,137 tonnes remain uncollected and littered

million hectares (ha), about 23.81% only of the country’s forest area

population of India (as of July 2014)

animal sanctuaries

agricultural land

most environmentally unsafe country

of sewage in India is untreated and flows directly into the nation’s rivers, polluting the main sources of drinking water, a study by an environment watchdog

recycling units (as of 2014)

Get out, green is inn

Whether we choose to accept it or not, vacations have ended. College and work is on full swing. Tired of mindlessly sitting through lectures, dreaming about the summer? Bored of the all-too-familiar routine starting again? Need a short break? Meera Jakkli digs up the perfect weekend getaways that practice eco-friendly ways (while not compromising on comfort)

Kuflon Basics, Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand
Situated just above the Assi Ganga River, it is a rest-stop for a lot of Himalayan trekkers. Nestled amongst the mountains, this is the perfect destination for people looking for a quiet place away from the city noise. Fishing, small treks to the nearby waterfall, homely food are just some of the attractions offered.

Karuna Farm, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu
Electricity at Karuna is not sourced from the national grid but from solar and hydroelectric power. Organic farming for various fruits is carried out here. Surrounded by a lively forest, there are a variety of accommodation options to choose from depending on what kind of an experience you are looking for.

Hideout, Vikramgad, Maharashtra
Eco tents, mud houses, eco-cottages, brick houses or under the stars, this place is ideal for campers! It is located about two hours away from Mumbai. Minimal electricity is used and is sourced from solar panels during the day-time. Organic waste produced is immediately either reused or turned into fertilizer. Try your hand at organic farming, visit the local market or just catch up on some reading!

The Dune, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu
Located on 35 acres of the beach, The Dune is outside the city area but still only a short drive away from Auroville and Pondicherry. The spa offers special ayurvedic treatments, yoga, as well as several other alternative therapies. It is also the base for AIR (Artists in Residence) which is a programme that provides work studios for artists from all over the world.

Kipling Camp, Kanha, Madhya Pradesh
This particular area was converted from a bare land into a forest by the owners. The camp is known to live peacefully and in harmony with the local tribal community. Wildlife sighting and birding: check. Exploring vibrant local villages: check. Adorable resident elephant, Tara: check!

The Corbett Foundation
This organization works towards a harmonious co-existence between humans and wildlife across various wildlife habitats across India. They have taken up multiple special initiatives for sustainable development like using energy-efficient stoves, seaweed farming and community-based conservation. Although, they aren’t particularly into tourism, they do provide basic accommodation for volunteers and interns who take part in their conservation work.

The Fern Hotel
With a promise to be environmentally conscious and yet provide the best of luxurious comforts, The Fern Hotels and Resorts across India are your perfect stay options, wherever you go. Their initiatives include a Green Button in rooms, which reduces overall energy consumption while you’re in the room; solar energy panels; rainwater harvesting; garbage segregation; community programs and more.

Pledge to travel green!

As a tourist (and an ambassador of your own country), you share as much responsibility as local citizens to maintain the environment. Dhnasha Bhatt comes up with ideas to travel eco-responsibly

We travel to be happy, we travel to feel free, we travel to enjoy ourselves, but what happens when there is no place left to travel? What happens when the world is just an empty ocean, containing crumbs of landscape, all gone because we ransacked it, recklessly? There are simple ways to ensure we reduce our carbon footprint as we explore the world.

Pack only the necessary things
Packing light will help you travel faster and cheaper, and reduces the load on airplanes (because the more the load, the more the fuel that’s used). Lesser bags equal smaller means of transport, too. To travel light, divide items into what you have to take along, what you might need, and what you can do without, and pack only the first category. Dump those extra snacks; yes, we are Indians and home cooked food is important, but when you’re on a holiday, open up your taste buds to local flavours.

Choose nonstop flights
They save you time and save fuel. Tonnes of fuel are used during takeoff, more than the time they are actually flying. Nonstop flights marginally cost less than the regular connected flights. Also, get e-tickets over printed ones.

Choose trains over planes
Unless you need to get to another part of the world, use trains or road transport as much as possible. Trains give you great views for short distance and national travel and also save you money.

Work out a little, outside
You’re not going to need to work out at the hotel gym if you cycle or walk around the sight-seeing points. Walking also connects your mind to the surroundings and helps you to grasp the positivity around. Boating is clinically said to be the most rejuvenating and environment friendly way to travel in areas with water bodies.

Say yes to hybrid cars
They’re eco-friendly, specially designed to emit less carbon dioxide, available at all tourist destinations. If not, ask for CNG cars, which are a lesser load on your wallet.

Get off your phone!
Your vacation updates can wait till you’re back in the city. Leave your phone back in the hotel room and connect to nature, using it only for urgent calls. This way you reduce radiation levels wherever you’re at and the use of electricity by charging it less.

Also remember, wherever you go, never litter. We may not take it seriously here, but abroad, it’s actually against the law.

Veganism: to be or not be?

There’s a way to look fit and also help the environment. Dhnasha Bhatt explores how it’s green to go vegan

Most of our parents would be against us quitting milk, because mothers firmly believe that a glass of milk a day is a must, be it when you’re six or 60. However, going vegan is the most compassionate, natural and healthy way of nourishment. Your body will love you for it.
Every day, we make choices that can be beneficial or detrimental to life and nature. The choice to adopt a vegan lifestyle is a tough one, especially when there are many myths about nutritional needs that are propagated by the food and beverage industry. Your journey to optimal health will go through a tornado of thoughts and you might want to give up, but for these three compelling reasons, which have got people all over the world to follow this diet:
• You’re saving your environment: The easiest way to nurse your environment would be by helping to reduce the carbon content, which is most effectively done by cutting down your consumption of meat.
• Health: We always want to be at the pink of our health. Multiple reports suggest that plant-based diets help in preventing cancer, diabetes, heart diseases and obesity.
• Compassion is key: Did you know that slaughterhouse workers have the highest rate of illness and injury in the manufacture industry worldwide? Many of us prefer to remain in a state of denial rather than face the cruelty animals endure throughout their lives. But maybe now it’s time to rethink and face the music.

Why go vegan?
I recently bumped into an old school friend, who looked different now; she seemed more toned, fresh, positive and happy. When I asked what her secret to looking so fresh and happy was, she explained how she was a choosy foodie back then. “Even though I was given the food of my dreams I felt empty at the end of the day, so empty that even a tub full of chicken fingers wouldn’t do it.” She said, “I went vegan last summer and I feel different. It was tough at first, but I feel complete and happy now.”
Most people I meet who have converted to veganism say that they’re main aim when they ditched meat and dairy was to grow thin. It’s all right if you choose to start off with the concept of you losing weight; at least you’re trying something to benefit you. All vegans tell us that shifting to this plant-based diet has improved their lives. They feel more positive energy around them and they now have stamina to be athletic.
Vegans have often said that before they switched to such a diet, they were always tired, or fatigued. But within days of being vegan, a lot of their fatigue vanished, as they slept more soundly, and as the weeks progressed, they noticed they had more energy during the day.

Advantage of this diet
About 230 million tonnes of meat is used consumed by humans which makes it up to 500 million tonnes of animals being slaughtered and only 50% of them are found with meat that is consumable.  All of these need large amounts of water and emit methane during the slaughter and package process. You get to save money and the environment together; you get to be a hero the easy way! That should give us enough reason to try out this new fad, don’t you think?



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 degrees C). In a large bowl stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Pour in the water, vegetable oil and vanilla, mix until blended. Spread evenly in the baking tray. Bake for 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven until the top is no longer shiny. Let cool for 10 minutes and cut it into squares. There’s your vegan brownie!

Jennifer Lopez
Tobey Macguire
Lea Michele
Jared Leto
Natalie Portman

16 Simple Ways  to Go Green

Everyone always complains about pollution and wastage, but the bigger problem is no one wants to step up and actually make a change. Like in all other things, start with the basics because that is the only way anyone gets to the bigger picture. The small things you start today will be the reason for the big things that change tomorrow, for you and all the generations to come. Ruhi Gandhi urges you to drop the indifference and find simple ways you can incorporate saving the environment into your daily lives

Make your own  bug spray
Commercial bug sprays contain specific chemicals called organophosphates which are proven to be one of the causes of poisoning in humans. You could alternatively mix soap and water which would remove trails and have a similar effect as bug sprays to prevent a colony from following.

Drive slow
Speeding every once in a while is alright, but in the long term it can cost you some serious bucks! Did you know driving 10mph above 60 causes you to spend extra since it begins guzzling?

Keep your refrigerator occupied
While the refrigerator may look clean and hygienic when it is empty, here is a fact you probably didn’t know, it takes longer to cool empty space than if it had been full. So don’t feel guilty about stocking up, for goodness sake! We live in a tropical state.

Time your shower
We all love showers. However, reducing a couple of minutes every day consciously can greatly contribute to reducing water wastage.

Plant around your house
Start from home. Even the smallest house plants give significant amounts of oxygen and it is close enough for you to take care of and nurture.

Inflate your tyres
Make it a habit to get your tyres checked. Besides that fact that you could get stranded somewhere with flat tyres, you could also save a lot of mileage by simply making sure your tyres are inflated.

Don’t heat plastic

Heating food in plastic containers may be convenient but they cause certain chemicals to be released into the food which may contain hormone disrupting compounds. Hormones are always problematic, why instigate them even more?

Burning to “just hot”
Overheating your water heater causes corrosion and mineral build up to occur at a faster rate. 120 degrees is just about ideal. Not to mention, it is also pretty unhealthy for your skin, especially your scalp.

Use and reuse
You can use your coffee grounds as a border around plants to ward off ants and slugs. It may be repulsive for these creatures, but it will provide a lovely fragrance for you.

Buy rechargeable batteries
You charge your phone and so many other electronics! Why not buy rechargeable batteries to reduce the constant replacement of worn out ones which cause problems to the environment after disposal?

Have a yard sale
It can never harm you to give away things you intend to throw out, especially if it may come in handy to someone else. Plus, you can make a couple quick bucks on things you don’t need, while saving the environment indirectly. This cannot possibly go wrong for anyone!

E-books and online news
In all seriousness it may be traditional to read the actual paper, but maybe you can give online news a try and for readers who breeze through books like it’s the air you breathe. Try using e-books more often than not, save some paper, you are still reading the same words. Think of buying books as a guilty pleasure that is only acceptable once in a while.

Ditch the Disposables
Personalise your own coffee mug, carry it with you. Disposables may be convenient but the amount of harm they cause to the environment is mind boggling.

Avoid Non-stick Pans
use cast iron instead. Non-stick pans release chemicals which tend to break down and may get into your food. These chemicals have been linked to heart diseases.

Pop traditionally
Get smart with popping your popcorn. Microwave popcorn releases an acid (PFOA) which studies have linked to cancer and infertility. Take out your pan and pop the seeds traditionally.

Try some D.I.Y’s
Do it yourself videos for clothes, accessories, and make up are spreading on the youth scale like a rapid fire! Most importantly, by using your old items to make new ones you are contributing largely to the environment as production can be reduced.

biodegradable pulp pots (CC)
Designing a greener planet

By making subtle changes to product designs, they can be transformed into environment saving tools, as Nihal Jain explores

Square Pots
Square containers are great for small fruits, bare root roses and field-dug plants. These pots are moulded from fibre, meaning that they are made of recycled material, and are biodegradable. Their durable and breathable design lets air and moisture seep through to the soil and plant roots, while the various available sizes in the market are great for a number of applications. They also give a forest-like look to your garden.

CUT eco-friendly chair
The CUT Chair is a sleek and stylish chair that you can enjoy at home as your elegant furniture and environment-conscious décor in one. The CUT chair is also an eco-friendly one, as it is made of cork material that is discarded from various factories and industries, eliminating the wood factor. It has an elegant cut and bright cork finishing that not only makes it an environment saviour but also an ornament to your furniture.

Float: the green lamp
With the aim to help protect the environment from harm and help each household to have a creative lighting solution simultaneously, designer Benjamin Hubert had created the Float. Designed and released for 100% Design 2009, the Float is made from a collection of cork block recovered from a wine cork manufacturer. You can install it in your ceiling in any room and surely get an elegant ambiance and feel relived at the same time, as you are sure enough that you have helped save the Earth.

Dry-Erase Board
Dry-Erase Boards save the use in paper or huge marker-boards. It’s made from real bamboo that comes from FSC certified forests (well-managed forests).  With an attractive dry-erase surface on the front and black fabric on the back, the board is an ideal part of a stylish home, office or kitchen that will help keep you organized and save the environment at the same time. The warm honey colour of the bamboo looks great wherever you need to write a quick note.

Reclaimed Wood Metal Side Table
An original, pared-down design is elevated to two tiers with contrasting textures and a weathered finish that adds warmth to the contemporary livelihood. The reclaimed wood carries the original saw marks for a beautiful, rough-hewn appearance, giving a natural and dazzling look to your living room. Smaller living spaces benefit from the storage shelf below, perfect for books and magazines alike. The table is crafted of reclaimed wood which may result in hue-variations or other antique-like characteristics.

Aditi Chaddha
Green to the Tea

The recipient of the Young Green Art Director award at the fifth edition of The Olive Crown Awards, 26-year-old Aditi Chaddha, came up with a simple solution for tea bag manufacturers, which involved flipping alternate tea bags to save up on space and reduce the package size by more than 13%. “An extremely simple idea, nothing out of the box, but resulting in multiple consequences,” as she says. A Senior Art Director with design firm Umbrella Design in Mumbai, this idea also won her a scholarship by Unilever, wherein she gets to attend the Young Lions Academy at Cannes Lions Festival. We catch up with her to ask her about the importance of innovative design to save the environment

Tell us about the idea that won you the award.
We all can see that the shape of a tea bag is narrow from the top and wider at the bottom. When several of these tea bags are lined up in a box, their wider bases touch each other, but not the tops, leaving empty space on top. How can we use up this empty space that is currently getting wasted? Simple. Flip every alternate tea bag by 180 degrees.

What inspired this idea?
Once, while dipping my green tea sachet in water, I happened to observe the shape of the tea bag. The idea randomly struck me. I knew that’s the same logic applied while packaging shoes. So I rushed to the store, purchased a box of tea bags and tried it out – it worked! The results were better than what I had expected. It was entered in the Young Green Art Director category where they were accepting unpublished entries as well.

How would the changes affect the overall eco-footprint?
The same number of tea bags will now occupy lesser space, allowing you to reduce the size of  the box, thus saving paper, increasing storage space, allowing a greater number of boxes to be transported at the same time – thereby saving fuel, and reducing pollution. I had chosen Lipton Green Tea as my product to carry this experiment out. So I titled the idea as ‘Truly Green Tea Packaging’.

Do you think there are any other such products that can be turned environment friendly?
So, in my idea I did not make any alteration to the product – just placed the same thing given to me in a different way and obtained the results. If all tea bag manufacturers adopt the idea, it will make a big difference to the environment. Several companies are already striving to make changes in their products to have a positive impact on the environment – by changing some of the ingredients, or developing new packaging techniques. I’m sure there are several products out there that can be altered and made eco-friendly. We just have to figure out how – the sooner the better!

TIGER Keven Law - Flickr CC 2.0Wikimedia Commons
Wild Things

How has our ecological footprint affected our silently suffering neighbours? Meera Jakkli takes a look at some examples of wildlife mutation and dangers that have occurred in the past few years because of pollution

When you think pollution, you think humans. Wildlife is always sidelined when it comes to the impact that the environment has on them. Although effects of pollution can be clearly seen in the habitats of animals and birds, the effect that it has on their genetics is largely ignored. It is when these internal changes start showing up physically over just a few generations, that it becomes a problem. And if it’s not mutation, then they’re almost facing extinction. Is there no way out? The awareness that such an ugly and scary problem exists might help each of us get out of our little bubble and think of ways to protect them. We dug up a little, barely scratching the surface, and found some disturbing facts.

The Mutant Genes
Two-headed Trout
A two-headed trout, born of wild fish, was found in the excessively polluted Idaho stream in the US. An excessive amount of selenium from a major corporation’s mining site is believed to be the cause of this strange mutation. The corporation, however, continues to argue that these abysmal levels of selenium are below tolerance-level.

Peppered Moths
Peppered Moths were found in two colours: light and dark, majority of which used to be light in colour. During the Industrial Revolution, sulphur dioxide that was released in large quantities resulted in the killing of light-coloured lichens off the trees, leaving behind the dark bark. The light-coloured moths could be clearly distinguished and were hence, predated on, eventually making the dark colour a dominant character. Similarly, the dark-coloured moths increased in number due to better camouflage.

Extra-limbed Frogs
Observations have been made of these normally four-legged creatures growing extra legs or none at all! This has been traced to the crop pesticides that are used which reach the wildlife, directly or indirectly, and weaken their immune system. Due to this, they become susceptible to flatworm infections. These have been spotted in 43 states of the United States and Canada.

Silvereye and the Great Tit
Birds are just as affected by the environment change and these two are just some of the many that have learnt to adapt to the urban lifestyle. Noise pollution is a constant in most cities and these birds have modified their song to a higher frequency to be heard over the deafening city hum-drum.

Table Corals
Corals are very sensitive to the temperature changes in the ocean and get bleached in higher temperatures. They spew out the colourful algae that reside within them. Since the algae and the corals share a symbiotic relationship with each other, bleaching could signify death for both the organisms.

Atlanta Zoo Panda by Rob Flickr CC 2.0Wikimedia Commons
Almost Extinct

The Blue Whale
The largest creatures living on the planet are also the loudest animals on earth and communicate through low-frequency sound, heard over hundreds of miles in the ocean. Since they form the top of the food chain in the ocean, their existence is very important when it comes to the marine ecosystem. Due to holes in the ozone layer, the resulting radiation is said to affect the blue whale’s major preys. Toxins in the water are also a rising problem.

Polar Bear
This carnivorous bear that resides in the Arctic Circle has been the subject of a lot of campaigns in favour of it but its status is still categorized as endangered by the WWF (World Wildlife Fund). Climate change is the main reason for this; the melting of ice caps has left them without an appropriate habitat.

Giant Panda
The Giant Panda is the rarest among the other members of the bear family. They facilitate growth of vegetation in their habitat as well as generate a good amount of economic benefits through Eco-Tourism. Poaching for fur is a major concern. It has also become the symbol of conservation due to its appearance in the symbol of the World Wildlife Fund since its foundation.

Perhaps the most popular example of dwindling numbers in animals is the Tiger. With just above 3000 over the world, they are facing problems of illegal poaching for various parts which are sold worldwide for purposes as trivial as social status and traditional medicines. Humans have taken over 93% of their previous range for our own purposes.

Giant Ibis
The Giant Ibis is the national bird of Cambodia and their population has dropped drastically; they are now only 200 in number, worldwide. Droughts, hunting for meat, deforestation have all contributed to its current status as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List.

This beautiful cluster of 19 volcanic islands is found in the Pacific Ocean and forms a part of Ecuador. Located at the convergence of three ocean currents, volcanic activity and extreme isolation of the islands has all led to the formation of unique marine or wildlife species that aren’t found anywhere else in the world. It is one of the best examples of conservation in natural habitats. Charles Darwin visited this island and his observations and inferences inspired the inception of the Theory of Natural Selection.

Eco friendly is expensive Pixabay
Why is Being Eco-friendly Expensive?

One major problem of ‘Going Green’ is that eco-friendly products tend to cost more than their conventional counterparts. With a limited budget, affording these products can be a bit difficult. But ever wondered why eco-friendly products are expensive? Bernadette Braganza explores

Why the cost?
A major reason of the high price of eco-friendly products is due to the fact that eco-friendly products are made with a lot of sustainable resources as raw materials which are expensive. Also, the time taken for production is more and labour intensive. While on one hand, mass production is not possible in cases like agricultural produce, on the other hand due to reasons like less demand, it becomes economically unviable to produce a large number of products which leads to a large production cost, transport cost, among others, and which in turn results in making the consumer pay higher prices. Like mentioned previously, there exists a lot of expensive resources as well as a  time consuming process in the making of an eco-friendly product. This can be shown through the distinction of paper making processes:

Process of making conventional paper:
– Wood is cut from trees, the bark is removed out and the wood is cut into smaller pieces.
– The wood is made into pulp, washed, screened and bleached.
– This is made into a mixture of pulp and water and is then squirted on a moving wire mesh. (The wooden pulp is diluted with water 100 times its weight)
– The water is removed on this wire section and the pulp starts to spread and form a thin mat; the remaining water content is lessened and the paper is dried.
– A coating is applied on the paper which contains pigments, binding agents and other additives to improve its printing properties.
– The paper is put through a machine which gives it, its smooth and glossy properties and then wound into a reel or cut into a sheet.

Pixabay solar panels
Process of making Ecofriendly paper:

– Collection of raw materials (Cotton, banana fibres, grass, jute waste, etc). – The fibre is extracted from the above materials and the materials are soaked. – This is made into pulp which is then bio-bleached. (The fibre is bleached using a microbial treatment for 3-5 days)
– The fibre is washed to remove unwanted materials and microbial stains and is converted to pulp.
– Binding materials like starch, polysaccharide resins, etc are added to the pulp to increase its strength.
– The pulp is put into a cylinder mould or manual vat to form the paper and a cloth is put over the wet paper to squeeze out the water
– The paper is made to dry for about six hours under room temperature and it is pressed using an iron box to smoothen it out and it is then cut to the required size and shape.

Is cost recovery possible?
Eco-friendly products may be expensive. However due to their durability and good quality they are able to recover some of that extra cost which we would have saved if we had brought their cheaper and more toxic counter-parts.

Price in Rs (Approx) Eco-friendly
Price in Rs
Recovery of Cost Through
15 CFL/ LED Bulb 80-100 A 60 watt Incandescent bulb uses the same amount of wattage of electricity, while a 60 watt LED bulb uses 6-8 watts of electricity; reducing your electricity bill.
800-2500 Solar Cooker 400010,000 Solar cookers use solar energy for cooking which reduces the price paid for cooking fuel (like gas) which a pressure cooker needs in order to cook food.
Cotton Clothes N/A Organic Cotton Clothes N/A Conventional cotton clothes are less durable as they undergo processing which weakens the fabric; saves you the time and money buying those excess clothes.

The future of renewable energy
India is a tropical country with a climate that is hot throughout the year. It is estimated that about 5000 trillion kWh of solar energy radiation falls over India in a year. However it is only able to harvest 3744 MW (as of March 2015) of this available solar energy radiation. Solar energy can be utilized by installing solar panels on roof tops in India. This can help reduce India’s imports of energy resources and also solve the problem of millions of people in rural areas who do not have access to electricity. Mr. Hemant Thakker, Partner, Econ Pollution Control Consultants says, “If you look at new buildings you’ll notice that all new buildings are supposed to have solar panels for hot water supply as well as for common linear lighting.” Now that you know both sides of the coin, make a choice. Whose side are you on?

Vertical garden Pixabay
Built to Last

Buildings contribute to about 40% of the world’s primary energy consumption and 20% of the global CO2 emission. In the 21st century, where construction is inevitable, incorporating environmentally friendly ways into building is slowly changing from just being responsible to being essential. Meera Jakkli highlights recent innovations in the field

Green Building is the art and science of creating structures that are environment-friendly, resource efficient and ensure the well-being of its occupants. This encompasses all the aspects of the life-cycle of a building from siting, design, construction, operations, maintenance, and more. Simply put, a green building uses less water, less electricity, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier spaces. When it comes to innovations in Green Building, there has been a surge in ideas that have been put into practical use in the past decade, with rising awareness about the need for sustainable living and development taking precedence in developed countries.
Last year, in a report from the US Green Building Council, India held the third position in a list of countries that were up-and-coming in energy and environmental design, with Canada and China leading above India. With this serving as a boost in our effort to ensure Green Building in implemented in India, here’s a look at the components of eco-friendly buildings:

Geothermal Insulation
There’s a great untapped resource right below our feet, in the form of geothermal insulation. It may rain and get cold or scorching hot depending on the season up here, but about six feet underground, the temperature is generally constant (heated) throughout the year. Scientists have figured out that tapping into this heat, through a system of buried pipes (an earth loop) and an indoor handling unit, can provide us with round-theclock energy.

Vertical Gardens
Vertical Gardens are walls or roofs partially or completely covered with vegetation that has a growing medium, which are an excellent option in cramped cities. Not only is it visually appealing, but also keeps the interior of the building cool. Recycled water can be used to water them, while kitchen waste can be used as compost.

LEDs and Organic LEDs
LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are extremely small in size, which give it great design freedom for appliances. In addition to the fact that they last considerably longer than most of the regular light sources, they use no substance that is harmful to the environment. They come in various colours and its total cost can sometimes even be less than conventional lamps.

LED Pixabay
Waste-Heat Recovery

Waste-heat recovery is an excellent example of making the most out of waste. Heat expelled by cooling devices is harnessed by waste-heat recovery units (WHRUs) and then utilized for other purposes like the production of bio-fuel, generation of electricity, domestic water heating. This is especially useful for the Indian climate where coolers and air-conditioners are an integral part of everyday life.

Rain-water Harvesting
This is probably one of the oldest techniques. Traditionally, rain-water harvesting was done by installing large tanks on the rooftops of houses or letting it percolate into the ground by a specially made pit. Not only is it used to recharge ground water but this water can be piped from the reservoirs to be used for gardening and domestic use.

Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV)
Photovoltaics are the conversion of solar radiation into electrical energy. Essentially, BIPV incorporates photovoltaics as an integral part of the building’s envelope, rather than a component that is applied to it, such as roofing tiles or photovoltaic walls and windows.

Eco-friendly Construction Materials

Wood products are a great choice for green projects. Wood is sustainable as well as recyclable. Research has also shown it to increase productivity and performance. However, the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) discourages use of virgin wood, although FSC certified wood is still useable. Fly-ash concrete, on the other hand, is one of the by-products of coal combustion. It improves workability, reduces water demand and increases strength.

Though there are currently over 69,000 LEED-certified buildings around the world, it is only just the beginning of this branch of engineering and it has a huge part to play in the near future.

The combination of modern construction and it’s effect on the environment tells a grim story. With declining fossil fuels and the constant threat of global climate change, we cannot afford for building green to be a choice anymore!

Eco-friendly business practices

This planet is not inherited but borrowed from the future, and it’s time to commit to becoming the future of the earth through our work. Sneha Agarwal talks about major corporations that take this cause seriously

Businesses have a massive amount of power and impact on the economy, and this power is linked to massive responsibilities. Piled under Corporate Social Responsibility, one of these is towards the environment. Organisations today are actively taking part in environment sustainability programs by rooting small initiatives in the DNA of their business practises.

Procter & Gamble
For P&G, conservation of resources means reduction of the amount of energy and materials that go into the production and use of their products. They established global sustainability vision four years ago which has a set of goals, among which a few were to reduce use of water in manufacturing facilities by 20% per unit production especially in the water stressed regions and providing people water-efficient products; using recycled resin in plastic packaging and ensuring that 90% of product packaging is recyclable; and aiming to replace petroleum-derived raw materials with renewable materials by 2020. They collaborated with World Wildlife Fund’s Global and Trade Network to reach its goal of using virgin wood fibre in its tissue/towel products, certified by Forest Stewardship Council. They promoted cold water washing through the detergents they manufacture, such as Ariel. It carries a 30˚ C icon to indicate that it provides the best performance in cold washing, reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Also, in innovative breakthroughs, Gillette packaging is made from bamboo and the Pantene bottles are made from sugarcanes.

Walt Disney World Resort entrance Jrobertiko Denis Adriana Macias Wikimedia Commons
Hindustan Unilever Limited

HUL’s initiative to reduce its environmental impact is categorised into broadly four missions, which are reducing greenhouse gases, water conservation through establishment of Hindustan Unilever Foundation, waste management, and packaging and sustainable sourcing. The CO2 emissions per tonne of production reduced by 37% as compared to previous years. This success has been attributed to using of alternative forms of energy like biogenic fuels and solar photovoltaic energy. Necessary steps were taken in consultation with OEMs for upgrading biomass boilers and hot air generators at various sites across India. Modification of a boiler in the Orai factory enabled 100% on-site utilization of process residue in the boiler that reduced furnace oil consumption. Freezer cabinets that use hydrocarbon refrigerants have been rolled out to make them environment friendly. Apart from these HUL also made other small initiatives to promote a sustainable development culture. HUL collaborated with the Maharashtra Government, guaranteeing buy-back of tomato produce of farmers registered under the project. Execution of these practises ensures the nullification of negative impact on the environment.

Starbucks believes that the planet is the most important business partner. Aiming to be the industry leader in green building for more than a decade with its Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design certification, it opened its 500th LEED certified store in 2014, more than any retailer in the world. It also has a goal of reduction in water consumption in company operated stores. They have also associated with municipalities in water stressed areas around the world to find additional ways to reduce water consumption.
Starbucks has also installed Energy Management Systems in approximately 4000 stores to regulate heating or cooling. They have also developed comprehensive recycling solutions by breaking down barriers to recycling across various stores in Canada and US. To help the progress of their waste reduction strategies Starbucks has been raising awareness about reusable cups, they offer discounts to customers who bring in personal tumblers and launched $1 reusable cups.

Disney’s commitment to nature was made by Walt Disney himself more than 60 years ago. They not only conserve nature by using resources wisely and reducing business impact but also connect kids and families to nature to help them develop conservation values through the establishment of Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF).
The DWCF, since 1995, has worked to protect the planet by studying threatened species and critical ecosystems, and development of education programs across the globe. They provide grants for community service programs and have awarded $27 million to projects in 114 countries till date. Disney connects children with nature and conservation through the  immersive experiences at Disney’s parks,  like Savanna tours on Kilimanjaro Safaris,  one-on-one interaction with marine  life, live stingrays viewing, and through films specially designed and screened by Disneynature.The DWCF in association with Disney Friends For Change teamed up with the popular app ‘Where’s my Water?’ to protect freshwater around
the world and made a contribution of $50,000 as a part of the campaign. In the game, players were encouraged to collect ducks to raise awareness on conservation of vital resources. Those who played the free versions of the game got freshwater facts and tips.

Green Campuses

Environmentally conscious individuals are not the only ones who are putting in a hand to help preserve the planet. Large educational institutions all over the globe are making breakthroughs in the areas of energy, water, and nature conservation. Antara Agarwal lists universities that have found interesting and innovative ways of helping conserve the environment

University of Connecticut
Energy: commissioning and re-lamping with energy efficient bulbs, fixtures and occupancy sensors have resulted in a 17% carbon footprint decrease in UConn buildings, and a saving of $2.2 million in energy costs. 40% of UConn’s energy is renewable, 1.8% of which is supplied by its own 400 kW fuel cell.
Transportation: UConn is slowly turning the composition of its transportation fleet around, with 16 hybrid vehicles and 11 plug-in electronic vehicles, as of 2014.
Water: Low flow fixtures; such as showerheads and toilets, an intensive leak detection system and controls on water supply equipment have reduced UConn’s water consumption by 26% since 2005. Some of these structures are very easy to adopt in our own homes too!

University of Nottingham
Energy: The University of Nottingham has plans for three wind turbines to be constructed, in order to reduce its carbon footprint. The innovative design of these turbines would ensure that the structures directly supply green electricity to the campus, and would meet one-third of the campus’ energy requirements. This would reduce the campus’ carbon emissions by 7000 tons per year.
Transportation: Students on campus have been encouraged to use the University’s inter-campus “hopper” buses with modern lower-emission diesel engines.

University of Plymouth
Energy: The university has fascinatingly converted the open space on its roofs into an energy conservation centre. Their roofs are covered in photovoltaic cells and green vegetation. The  vegetation not only serves as a natural insulator for the building, but also simultaneously creates a small wildlife habitat and also reduces the urban air temperatures. The photovoltaic cells generate electricity for the buildings.
Nature: The University has extensive garden spaces where it grown it’s own food including vegetables and edible flowers that contribute to the universities kitchens. In addition, the university has been planting rare and endangered species of trees on its campus in an effort to increase on-campus biodiversity and help preserve the environment.
Education: The University’s effort to increase environmental awareness is present within its curriculum as well, with over 40% of its programs integrating environmental conservation as a part of the course.

University of Indonesia
Nature: The University of Indonesia has the unique advantage of being surrounded by a lush tropical forest area, which provides the university with a distinct opportunity to help conserve its environment. The university has six lakes on campus, with total water coverage of 30 hectares. The University of Indonesia also manages the City Forest, which has an additional area of 100 hectares.

Manipal University
Waste: Manipal University takes waste disposal back to the basics by ensuring thorough waste segregation at the source before disposal, by the use of color-coded bins. Biodegradable waste is composted, while bio-medical waste and hazardous chemical and e-waste is collected and sent to appropriate waste handlers. This method of waste segregation is extremely simple and can easily be adopted in homes and offices, which would go a long way in making our waste disposal habits greener for our planet.

Studying about the environment

Do your bit to save the environment by getting an academic background on it. Ruhi Gandhi lists the top most popular universities in India for the environmentally conscious students

Most Universities are beginning to understand the importance of developing the world in sustainable manners. The generation of today will shape the world for the generation of tomorrow, and the greatest ideas will come from fresh, young minds. By providing aid, courses, and support these Universities are making a change to our country’s future. Agreed, many students hardly know about  such courses, and others don’t see it as career worthy, but it is up to each individual to raise the awareness and support those who wish to specialise and devote themselves to helping our environment.

Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
The school was established in 1974, and has since been constantly checked and updated to fit the changes of the world and students. It offers MSc, PhD, and MPhil programmes and focuses on atmospheric, biological, and earthly aspects while studying the linkages between Social and Ecological processes. Over 100 students have successfully completed their PhD degrees in various aspects of Environmental Sciences, a few of which include environmental monitoring and management, physical sciences, and even environmental biology.

Nalanda University
Established in 2010, Nalanda University offers MPhil and PhD in Ecology and Enviornmental Studies alongside a multitude of other subjects. They combine natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences to achieve a holistic manner of education. Their main focus lies within Hydrology/Hydro Ecology, Disaster Management, Human Ecology, Agriculture, Energy  Studies and Climate Change. For those of you inspiring to go big, Nalanda also has connections  with School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (Yale University, US), and the Department of Agriculture and Biological Engineering (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in US).

PSG College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore
PSG College was established in 1947 as an aided institution of the Government of Tamil Nadu. They offer BSc and MSc Degrees in microbiology, botany and zoology. Each course is provided with a well planned curriculum to bring the best out of students and the greatest to the world. They not only have undergraduate, but postgraduate courses as well.

LD College of engineering, Ahmedabad
After its establishment in 1948, LD College of Engineering has only seen substantial growth. It has a great advantage since it is surrounded by top organizations like PRL, ATIRA, ISRO, IIM and CEPT. It offers B.E. in Environmental engineering, along with amazing placements in big companie like Ford, Mahindra EPC, KiwiTech, GNFC, and so many more. Also, it is affiliated with Gujarat Technological University & administrated by states Department of Technical Education.

Don’t just recycle, upcycle!

Recycling a product is not only an easy way to conserve the environment, but also helps your pocket. Recycling isn’t just a boring thing taught to us in school, no! It’s a creative activity that helps bring out the inner artist in us. Dhnasha Bhatt writes up a simple list of goods to redo into better products you could never imagane

What do you do with a jam jar?
Turning your used jam jars into beautiful jewellery holders. Take your glass jam jar and wash it with hot water. Once the covering is off, all you have to do is add a ribbon to the lid and you have a lovely box ready to put in your jewellery. You also have your jewellery easily assorted if you have enough leftover jars.

I have an old t-shirt that doesn’t wear out.
We all have that one t-shirt that doesn’t tear. What do you do with that? You can turn it into a grocery bag! It’s easy and stylish. All you need are scissors and you’re good to go. Take a scissor and cut the sleeves and neckline. Turn the t-shirt inside out and cut a fringe at the end, the fringe should be up to 4 inches. Tie the fringe into firm knots and turn your bag out. You have a ready to go tote!

My tea set broke, but it’s too pretty to throw.
All you have to do is attach the broken pieces together and let it dry. Once it’s firm again, set it on your garden walls or in a fancy tray and leave it at a risen area. Pour water into the teacup and let the birdies have their tea party.

Have an old ladder lying around the house?
All you need to do is paint it and stick it on the wall and it manages to be a firm shelf. If you want it another way, hang it off the ceiling and it’s a hanger.

No need to allow your phone to hang if you have a short charger.
The issue of a short charger is solved. Use old powder or shampoo bottles as charging unit, all you need is glue, some paint and a knife. Choose a fancy bottle, cut it into half. Once done, use some glue and stick it to the wall right under the plug point and you’re good to go.

Wrapping up the green way.
Don’t throw away (or destroy) those beautiful wrapping papers after you unwrap your birthday gifts. The number of upcycle options are endless: you can line your drawers with them, wrap books, make pretty envelopes and bows, make new place mats, beautify a clipboard, or use them as decorative streamers.

Which Endangered Animal Are You?

1. My idea of a perfect Sunday is…
a. To chill all day alone
b. To party with my BFF’s
c. To map out the next week’s plans

2. When are you the most active?
a. Morning
b. All the time!
c. Night

3. During an argument, how do you react?
a. End up being violent
b. Scream
c. Keep calm for a while and wait for the right time to react

4. Your dream destination
a. Oceans with frozen lands
b. High range mountains
c. Riverside surrounded by wildlife

5.  You can’t live without eating
a. Fish and only fish
b. Everything fresh and natural
c. Who needs salad, just give me chicken

If  you’ve  got…

Maximum  A’s   
You are a Polar Bear. An excellent swimmer and a little aggressive, you prefer being solitary but enjoy a little fun time with your besties.
Fact: Inhabitant of Artic circle, Polar Bears are being considered as vulnerable species following a noted decline in their population. Climate change (global warming) and pollution is considered the biggest threat to their existence.

Maximu m B’s
You are a Mountain Gorilla. You are gentle, but you get angry if things don’t go your way. You’re a social monkey too, preferring to hang around with friends rather than holing up at home.
Fact: Mountain gorillas can be found in central Africa and Uganda. The population of Mountain Gorilla remains threatened due to poaching, habitat loss, and transfer of diseases. Due to the constant decline in the population of Mountain Gorillas, International Gorilla Conservation Program was undertaken in 1991 as joint effort of multiple international NGOs involved with wildlife conservation.

Maximum C’s
You are a Bengal Tiger. You’re calm, patient and focused towards your work. You work alone, as it gives you all the time to figure out your plans.
Fact: Owing to Habitat loss and illicit trade in poached skins and body parts between India and its bordering countries (as their bones along with other body parts are used in Traditional Asian medicine to cure rheumatism and body pain), existence of Bengal Tigers is being constantly threatened. Initiatives like Project Tiger (1973) and Wildlife Protection Act (1972) aims at conservation of Bengal tigers.

Flickr_macinate_(CC BY 2.0)
Paint The Town Green

An eco-friendly party can be one of the fun ways to save the planet, as Najooka Xavier explores

Conjoining the delight of partying and salvaging the environment, it’s time we start working towards a greener tomorrow to make this world a better place to live in. This way you can go green with your celebrations and also play an active role in saving the planet. It’s on us to decide whether to care for the planet and walk towards a better tomorrow, or worsen the situation and walk towards destruction.

Go earthy and quirky with your party invites by using a pebble or dry leaf engraved with your message. You could also use handmade paper or small rolled up pieces of cloth with the invite stitched on it. Don’t forget to inform your guests about your initiative to go green, and encourage them to travel by public transport if possible. Hiring a mini-bus is also efficient, fun, and useful for a ride back home.

Earthy Décor
Bored of the same old pop posters and fairy lighting in every house party? Think of these earthy ideas to turn your next party ‘wild’:
• Dried flowers make up for excellent décor and also leave a light scent behind.
• Use essential oils or floral scented sticks for fragrance.
• Reuse old wine bottles as centre pieces, fairy light holders and candle stands.
• Use candles or hanging paper lanterns to light up the room.
• Use decorous drapes for windows and doors and glass wind chimes.
• Cut down on the use of fan and AC as far as possible and enjoy the windy evenings with subtle breeze and light showers.

The Munchies
For the food, make sure you save cooking gas as far as possible. It’s not only healthy to eat fruits and vegetables, but it’s a great time and fuel saver. Serving raw food also gives people the liberty to eat only what they wish to eat.
• Toss up some fresh vegetables and make salad.
• Make variety of dips for your guests and serve it with dry snacks.
• Serve cut veggies and sauces separately and let people make their own tacos.
• Go old school by using plates and bowls made from dried leaves.
• Buy glass bottles that are reusable.
• Buy aluminium tins as it easy to decompose.
• Find brands that produce organic wines and beer.
• Ask your guests to label their plates and glasses to avoid mix ups.

After the Party Give the left-over food to organizations who supply food to the less fortunate. Remember to store all the reusable material to use the next time, and dispose of waste efficiently.

Turning Waste Into Wealth

What do you do with all the waste lying around at home? Throwing them in the trash can is obvious, but there’s more you can do with things like newspapers, plastic bottles, toothpicks and even vegetable waste. Bernadette Braganza gives you a few tips

Jewellery Set (Bracelets, Necklace and Earrings)
What you need: Magazine paper, scissors, toothpick, glue, string, pin, earring hooks
• Cut the paper into triangles, such that the base of the triangle is the size of the bead you want.
• Starting from the base, roll the triangular paper around the toothpick, while applying glue.
• When you have the required number of beads, treadle them into a string. The string can be the size of your wrist, or in case of a necklace, long enough to slip it above your head.
• For earrings, make a hole on the top of the bead with a pin. Attach the earring hooks.
• Tie a small knot and cut off the excess string.

Paper Bag
What you need: Newspaper, glue, scissor, punch machine, hole guards, strings
• Stick two sheets of newspaper, one over the other.
• Fold the top part of the paper by about 2 cm.
• Fold the paper in half and stick the ends together.
• Press the bottom part of the bag such that it forms the shape of a trapezium on both sides. Stick them together.
• Punch two holes on either side on the top part of the bag.
• Put the hole guards over these holes.
• Treadle the string through these holes to make the handles.

Composting Diego Grez Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

What you need: A bin, vegetable and fruit peels, egg shells, dry leaves, fresh leaves, shredded paper, a little soil
• Collect all the waste in a bin and keep it for some time.
• Keep turning it regularly.
• Keep sprinkling water regularly.
• When it becomes dry, brown and crumbly then it is ready.
• Apply to the soil to grow healthy plants.

Vase with artificial flowers
What you need: Two plastic bottles, scissors, stones, decorations, glue, marker, paint, paper of any other colour, green/brown coloured paper, stick, tape For the vase:
• Cut the bottle in half.
• Take the bottom half and cut slits of about 2 cm on its top part.
• Bend the plastic that is between the slits backwards so that it forms a sort of fan around the top part of the vase.
• Put a few stones in the vase to give it some weight.
• Decorate it as you please.

For the flower
• Draw the shape of petals with a marker on the top half of the bottle.
• Cut this out and bend the petals backwards.
• Paint the petals.
• Wrap a stick with green/brown paper to make the stem.
• Cut the coloured paper into strips and glue it to the top of the stick to form the flower’s pistil.
• Attach the stick to the mouth of the bottle so that the pistil is in the middle of the flower and stick it with tape.
• Add leaves to the stem of the flower.

sid pic
Siddharth Nakai: Lights Camera Eco-Action

Siddharth Nakai, who’s a self-made ‘carbon neutral citizen’, is the founder of Green Advertising Media Entertainment (GAME), one of India’s first carbon neutral communication agency. GAME offers practical guidance to film production houses can cut down on their carbon emissions and be eco-friendly. “By the sheer size of its operations, the motion picture industry is a significant contributor to air pollution and energy consumption,” he says. “My goal is simply to make the film industry more aware of its responsibility and at the same time provide them few alternatives to produce content with a green heart.” He visits movie and TV sets to audit their carbon footprint and gives solutions on how to make it eco-friendly. He also audited and made eco-friendly the Kyoorius conference in Goa, where 1500 international delegates were visiting. He talks to us about his  1500 international delegates were visiting. He talks to us about his eco-conservation initiatives

When did you get interested in environmental conservation?
While I was completing my graduation school, I had enrolled in for a film production class. Our professor back then had narrated an incident, where he was shooting in a forest few years earlier, and the director instructed the assistant to subtly cut a branch that was in the way of a shot. I wondered how someone could be so insensitive, which made me want to study the environmental impact multiple productions collectively had on our environment and how could we better it.

What inspired G.A.M.E?
Every industry has environmental responsibilities and film industry is no exception. I came across this fascinating research study undertaken by UCLA titled ‘Sustainability of the motion picture industry’, where, amongst other things, I learnt to compare the carbon emissions from motion picture industry vis-à-vis other industries. It encouraged me to undertake a similar study in India, but on a smaller scale, by measuring carbon emissions per day of shoot using carbon calculators designed specifically for productions.

What has been your biggest challenge?
Acceptance. Being a filmmaker myself and having seen the ground reality of how productions operate, it is very difficult to blame them as well. The atmosphere in a conventional set is governed by strict time constraints. To think about making the production green would be the last thing on their mind. Increasing the budget of a production to be green is further a considerable challenge.

Hari Chakyar 2

Hari Chakyar: Project 35 Trees

A writer, paper artist, tree-planter and a resident of Mumbai, Hari Chakyar started planting trees in 2009. “I realized that this is the only long-lasting and effective way of fighting global warming,” he says. “I feel the most important thing to do right now is to go offline and get to know nature. All this extra connectivity is disconnecting us from the environment.” He talks to us about Project 35 Trees, the mission to plant trees in all the states of the country

What is Project 35 Trees and how did the inspiration come about?
I have been planting trees for over five years now. I wanted to talk to a lot more people about the advantages of planting trees. That’s when I hit upon a way to reach more people – how about planting trees all over India? That would mean travelling to all 35 states and union territories of India and planting trees. Hence it came to be called as Project 35 Trees. Anthony Karbhari, a friend from college joined me on the trip to document the entire journey.

How did you fund your journey?
Crowdfunding. A lot of friends, colleagues, relatives, Facebook friends and their friends helped by contributing in small amounts. The crowdfunding platform Wishberry also helped a lot.

Any memorable moments?
In Agra, when we couldn’t find a place to plant saplings, after being refused by an orphanage, a junior college and a church, the rickshaw driver who was plying us everywhere said, “Aapko kya chahiye? Yahi na ki aap pedh lagao aur koi usko sambhale? Aap ek kaam karo, mere yahaan  lagao, main usko sambhaloonga !” So he drove us to his place, deep inside Agra. It was a rural house with two cows and a buffalo! That was our craziest planting experience. His name is Mukesh, we often talk over the phone.

How did you manage to connect and communicate with all the people you met during your journey?
We got close to three months to plan out the entire trip. In this time we had to find hosts in all the states and UTs, schools and colleges. We spoke to friends, their friends and families to arrange all this. We also had to figure out travel plans for each of these places. All of this feels so dream-like right now. Anthony and I would Voice Chat about this late into the night planning the itinerary.

What do you believe is India’s biggest challenge in the area of environmental conservation?
Environmental education in India hardly exists. Everyone learns about pollutants but no one receives any practical experience of what one must do to curb pollution. Students must be encouraged to take up environmental projects as part of their EVS lessons. More practical methods must be employed for a better understanding of environmental problems around us and their solutions.


Kuldeep Dantewadia: Reap Benefit

Reap Benefit takes the adage “catch them young” to a whole new positive level. Founded by Kuldeep Dantewadia and Gautam Prakash in Bengaluru, their objective is to get school students to understand environmental issues and jointly come up with realistic solutions that can be implemented by the students themselves. “By integrating youngsters into this process, we wish to shape the next generation of problem solvers and leaders,” says Kuldeep, as he tells us about his initiative

Tell us about Reap Benefit. What does it aim to do?
Our aim is to solve pressing environmental problems by developing the next generation leaders through behaviour change and hands-on innovations. We research on areas that are at an intersection of environment, education and civic problems to derive key insights from onground data. We also develop low-cost innovations to address environmental and civic problems, leading to tangible impact and influencing behavior, and build the next generation of problem solvers by involving students in implementing solutions for environmental and civic problems.

gautam prakash
How do you get students to engage and be interested in saving the environment?

Through hands-on activities and a rewards based curriculum, we make the largely overwhelming concept of sustainability, challenging yet fun-filled for youngsters. We engage three key mediums of learning – the head (knowledge), hand (action) and heart (empathy) – with youngsters, and equip them with skills to solve the most pressing problems.

How do you fund your organization?
We are a hybrid organisation, 80% through revenues and 20% support and grants.

What have been your biggest achievements so far?
So far, 200 tons of waste were diverted from landfills, 15,00,000 litres of water and 63,000 kWh of energy were saved per annum, and five low-scale innovations have been implemented. We have miles to go but engaging the youth to problem solvers, we have a couple of awards, including the Edupreneur Award, TiE, as well as being featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 and an Ashoka Fellow.

What’s  India’s biggest challenge?
Human behaviour and their apathy of the eco system.

A message to India’s  youth?
Be a part of the solution; intellectualize and rationalise. We encourage youngsters to consciously and gradually change their behaviour towards the environment, from being unconsciously wrong to being unconsciously right.

John Abraham wwwbollywoodhungamacom Wikimedia Commons
The Green Knights

In celebration of our unique warriors for the environment, we bring to you three individuals from across the age spectrum who proved that they would push all their boundaries to bring about change for our environment

John Abraham
While most of us would know John Abraham as one of Bollywood’s most famous actors, few people are aware of his immense philanthropic move towards the environment. John Abraham is credited for having created Maharashtra’s first elephant village. Elephants in India are being mistreated by being removed from their wild habitats and are used for commercial entertainment. Additionally, the arms of urbanization have stretched so far as to begin snatching areas of wilderness that make p the homes of these majestic creatures. In an effort to return the homes of these elephants, John Abraham did extensive work with grassroots workers and local officials in Maharashtra to create Maharashtra’s first elephant village, which allows elephants to return to their own habitat, for which Abraham won the EcoWarrior award in 2008.

Chewang Norphel, the Ice Man of India
Chewang Norphel is an Indian civil engineer based in Ladakh, who was born in 1935. He started working in the rural development department of Jammu and Kashmir in 1960, and joined a non-governmental organization in the area for a watershed project in 1966. On one of his outings, he realized that a stream was frozen and moving in two different places along its path, due to the fact that in some places, the water was moving too fast to freeze. He economized on this phenomenon and decided to build several checks along various streams in order to slow the speed of water, thereby creating artificial glaciers. He designed these glaciers in order to recharge the ground water better, and to melt earlier, thereby prolonging the farming season. His extensive and revolutionary work in the field of water conservation has earned him various accolades, and the famous title of the “Ice Man of India”.

Param Jaggi
Param Jaggi is the founder and CEO of EcoViate, a company founded by him that builds eco-friendly technology. An American inventor of Indian origin, Jaggi was always interested in environmental and world problems as a child, and his parents encouraged him to pursue work in the field of science to promote his curiosity. He started working with green technology when he was 13, and at the age of 14, he created the invention he is most well known for: the Algae Mobile, which is a device that helps convert the carbon dioxide released from car exhausts into oxygen, effectively reversing the green house effect. Currently studying at Vanderbilt University, Jaggi is working on developing more devices along the same line.

Technology on Mission Earth
We need mother nature more than we believe she needs us because this one planet encompasses seven billion dreams, so we need to consume it with care. Sneha Agarwal tells how this ignorance can be replaced with care through man’s actions

Samsung Ecobubble

washing machine
Technology improves over time to add to the comfort of man by squeezing the resources from nature. With the invention of washing machines, doing laundry was made easier by drawing optimum energy but Samsung electronics has given us a machine that conserves energy. It is an eco-friendly washing machine that is exceptionally quick, quiet and economic to run. Economic washing machine saves money and energy, as its 15°C ecobubble wash reduces energy use by 70% compared to a normal 40°C wash, ecobubble technology cleans 40 times faster than normal wash.

Nest by Nest
Learning Thermostat
Energy conservation made simpler with the “next generation thermostat” that goes green at  home with the Internet of Things by automatically adjusting home heat while away. The thermostat takes over the surrounding, builds a personalized heating schedule as it adjusts to the perfect temperature, which the company says will let you save up to 20 percent on your monthly bill. The world’s first learning thermostat learns a homeowner’s preferences, programs itself to save energy when occupants are away, while adjusting to changing schedules. After all, energy saved is energy available for tomorrow.

Hue lights by Philips
These LED bulbs use 80% less power than normal light bulbs and have the option to control not only their intensity, but their hue as well from the Smartphone. It allows control over hue and dimming for each individual bulb. They also work like regular bulbs and they still use less energy. The app has presets for the bulbs to create different light settings like a sunrise or specific hues for different moods. The light can be recreated even by using an uploaded picture. Features like setting of timers and alarms that allows the lights to be in sync with an alarm or to suggest that it’s time to go to sleep are available. These are truly bulbs that will light up the nature if used effectively.

bracketron phone charger
Phone Charger
by Bracketron

A palm sized device on a mission to conserve the energy, Mushroom GreenZero is a charger claimed to be the most eco-friendly way to charge a phone. When chargers are left plugged in, they still pull power even when they aren’t charging a device but this charger by Bracketon eliminates the unused power thereby preventing wastage of electricity and decreasing the size of the bills.

Keyboard by Logitech
Living in one of the tropical countries one of our best resources is the solar power, making the best use of this resource Logitech gives us a keyboard which neither needs a plug nor batteries to work, even indoors. This piece of tech comes with the Logitech Solar App which can be downloaded on mobiles to keep track of the battery power. The design of the keyboard leaves one mesmerized and desks uncluttered.

Water Clock
A clock that powers itself using the electrochemical process used in Galvanic cells. The machine does not require electricity or batteries, it runs on water. The science behind its working is that the ions in the water interact with the electrodes installed in the clock which generates electric current that fuels the clock to display time. There are no chemicals used in the construction of the clock, no batteries wasted in the operation, and no electrical power emitting carbon dioxide. The working of this device has led to rediscovery of time.

USB Batteries
USBCell Rechargeable Batteries

Batteries are small powerhouse units that have managed to power almost every essential component in our lives, therefore imagine how huge is the number of batteries that is dumped each year. USBCell gives a solution to this by offering AA batteries that operate and look like normal AA alkaline batteries but with the end opening to reveal a USB plug for charging purpose so that they can be used over and over.

Solar Windows
The solar windows are ordinary looking windows with the ability to generate energy, which is the very definition of a superhero. Coated with a transparent dye it absorbs infrared light and lets visible light pass through along the surface to photo voltaic cells in the window frame. Inexpensive, these cover the electricity needs of the entire household.

Smart power strips
Electronics are power hungry devices than consume electricity when they are plugged into the switch board even when not being used. These switch boards suck in the electricity even when you don’t need it. When you turn off your computer, you can see the LED light on your monitor still on. There are many electronic appliances that work on standby mode which makes it convenient to use but drains out a lot of energy and hence increases your carbon output into the environment. Smart power strips handles this problem by switching off all the components with the appliance. Users are also given an advance feature to remotely connect to their home appliances through mobile devices using a smart phone app so that they can turn it on or off through it.

INature iPhone case

by Med Computer SRL
Phone cases have almost become a compulsion just as much as the need to protect the ecosystem. INature came up with this amazing iPhone cover that is manufactured in soft 100% biodegradable plastic so that phone covers being added to the list of wastes generated should be the least of our concerns. Produced in Italy, the product has an unlimited shelf life, but once discarded properly, it biodegrades in less than 6 months.

Paper karma app
We are always being bombarded by junk mail and don’t have the time or inclination to deal with it, this app installed on electronic devices stops paper waste by just snapping a photo. Just by taking a picture of the catalogs, magazines, coupon books, fliers, credit card offers or white and yellow pages that are sent Paper Karma will unsubscribe user’s behalf. If you can save the earth by installing an app then you should so it.


Volume 5 Issue 1


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