Ganapati or GanApathy?

Every festival is a reminder of togetherness, fun, food, celebration and at least one environmental problem! It’s funny that we become conscious about the growing water scarcity only during Holi, and noise/air pollution only during Diwali. These days, of course, Shadu Mati Ganpati tops the chart!

Well, to be honest, I too am guilty as charged! Though, in my defense, activism is my second name – and I do not need a festival to kindle that side of me. (No, that’s not the only reason why I have such less friends.)

Earlier we used to live frugally, and hence festivals were an expression of celebration and life, and thus, so lavish! Now, we read a couple of listicles on Buzzfeed, get inspired and spend every moment like it’s the last moment of our life – of course, till our resources last and then we fall back on the ground, and how! We spend every day like there is no tomorrow – which is exactly what they said, figuratively! But we Humans are an expert in making everything into as convenient as it can get!

Last week I stumbled upon a video that compared the popularity of an urgent and important environmental issue with that of Taylor Swift’s legs! Nope, that is not a typo! As bizarre as it sounds, the video made more sense than any walking-talking-breathing creature next to you right now! What it rightly sums up is that we are tired of being told how to live, what to do, how to celebrate – we are all trying to be our best anyway day after day, and this sort of creates a lot of pressure! Wait, what?

But the truth is even if we stop human activities from putting any more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere tomorrow, we’re still going to have a rough ride. We’re not even surprised anymore when there’s flooding somewhere at a time of the year when they’ve never got floods before. Unpredictable is the new predictable. Umm, I am not sure if that made sense, but why, me making sense is also tad-bit unpredictable.

do-nothingGoing green isn’t just a gimmick. With mountains of evidence behind our planet’s climate change, the green movement has exploded over the last decade, but saving the planet isn’t the only reason go green. I mean if we don’t save the planet Earth and give it all the love and affection it needs right now, even Taylor Swift’s legs are endangered! Think about it. The problem is graver than it looks at the face of it!

As easy as it can be to believe, we do NOT live in our own world. We share this one. I am saying all of this at the cost of sounding too preachy but we only have one chance to get it right. We all share responsibility for the planet. (Please don’t stop hanging out with me, my dear leftover friends!)

PS: Ganeshji toh maati ke hone chahiye, POP ka toh culture bhi hai!

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Port-a-loo

Till about a few years back, Swachch Bharat was but a far-fetched dream. But the last couple of years, there is a rise in awareness about sanitation and a whole new wave of optimism around this topic has engulfed India!

More than half of 1.2 billion people in India live without toilets. They squat on roadsides, in agriculture fields or at railway tracks and defecate in the open. This, despite the Indian government spending close to Rs.1,250 billion on water and sanitation projects in the last 20 years.

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Illnesses that are a direct result of bad sanitation affect the quality of life
of millions of people around the world, especially children. A safe and clean toilet can be a stepping stone to a healthy life, greater human dignity, freedom, equality between women, men, girls and boys, and finally, a catalyst to the development of communities and countries.

INTENT:

To design a low-cost, light-weight, user-friendly, sustainable and
do-it-yourself toilet for quick installation to solve this urgent issue.

Basically, frombag

to

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LAYERS OF CONSTRUCTION:

use

This port-a-loo could be installed using any method of toilet construction – twin-pit, ecosans, ventilated improved pit toilets, etc.

FLEXIBILITY:
Depending on one’s budget and requirements, the material could be decided. Ranging from bamboo to cement sheets, any material could be fitted in these frames. Apart from villages and rural areas, these can also be used as mobile toilets for various camps and large gatherings. e.g.- Kumbh Mela, urgent dUntitledisaster-relief construction, etc.

Compost toilets are very cheap, sustainable and hygienic. They are the way ahead. This port-a-loo has been designed to help solve the urgent and ever-lasting sanitation issue in our country.

After all, we all have got to take care of our own shit!

Impact Of Our Act.

This is an article from http://www.exposingtruth.com/20-images-that-show-the-human-impact-on-the-planet/

We could not do a better job of pressing on the urgency of our actions to change this scenario. One step at a time, and in no time we will make a huge impact.

Let us do ourselves a favour, and lead a sustainable life, and help others with theirs as well. We urge you to invest your CSR wisely, and make a difference to our surrounding.

20 images that show the human impact on the planet

The human impact on this planet has been huge in a relatively short period of time. These pictures are not about data, but about better picturing this impact through visual examples. While viewing these, keep in mind that our current extinction rate is 1000x the background level and that wild animal populations have shrunk an average of 52% in 40 years.

1. A surfer riding through debris

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Plastic has permeated our oceans, with over 270 million metric tons of in the ocean there is potentially more plastic than fish in the oceans right now. This becomes even more believable when we consider that up to 85% of fisheries are being overexploited.

2. Deforestation in British Columbia, Canada

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Deforestation is a major problem, and we now have only half as many forests as we did in 1950. We are simultaneously putting out vastly more carbon into the atmosphere while depleting the planet’s capacity to absorb it.

3. Animal agriculture

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Animal agriculture, as a whole, requires tremendous amounts of resources and is a leader in environmental degradation, responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions (more than all transportation combined). Clearing land for animal agriculture, and the food it requires, accounts for 91% of amazon deforestation.

4.  Kowloon City in Hong Kong

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Hong Kong is still one of the most densely populated cities on Earth with 6,650 people per square kilometer. When Kowloon City still stood, it housed 33,000 people in a single city block.

5. Mexico City, urban sprawl

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Mexico City is also one of the most populated cities in the world, and its expansion has wiped out natural ecosystems for many kilometers. Together, this has led to very bad air quality, a continuing concern for Mexican health authorities.

6.  Port au Prince, Haiti

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7. Crop “desert” in China, no room for nature

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Huge swaths of China, and indeed many developed and developing countries, is covered in fields containing only one kind of plant. Where fields and forests once stood, now stands neat rows of single species, far more sensitive to environmental fluctuations than a diverse ecosystem.

8. Deforestation in Brazil

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9. Plastic moves up the food chain

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In both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems: plastic moves up. The tiny and not so tiny pieces are eaten by animals which are themselves then eaten: it moves up the food chain. With all themicroplastics in our oceans and water: do we really think this isn’t reaching us?

10. Cheap fossil energy won’t last forever, and it certainly wasn’t free

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11. The Yangtze River turning red

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Whether due to microorganisms or industrial pollution: this is certainly a bad sign for the ecosystem. There is reason to believe that when enough small ecosystems collapse, the global biosphere will become destabilized and mass extinction will intensify.

12. Alberta Tar Sands, where there was once a boreal forest

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The tar sands are one of the most dirty sources of oil, and the extraction of this oil has polluted both the water and the land locally in Alberta. The fact that this project was OK’d by any environmental regulator is shocking, but this becomes less shocking when you realize that Alberta literally sold their regulator posts to the oil industry.

13. The Deepwater Horizon crisis

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Approximately 5 million barrels of oil (almost a million cubic meters) spilled into the ocean. In response to this disaster, BP sprayed Corexit (which is so poisonous that the US government demanded they stop) onto the oil to get it to disappear from sight. Millions of barrels of oilstill lay on the bottom of the Gulf, rendering hundreds to thousands of square miles devoid of life. Meanwhile, BP got off with a slap on the wrist and a connected high-ranking Halliburton manager who destroyed evidence was fined only $1,000.

14.  What was once a forest in Oregon is now a wasteland

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See previous points about deforestation, also keep in mind that the prices demanded for exploitation of Federal/public lands is pennies on the dollar for the ecological costs and profit the companies make. They demand so little that the Navajo were able to sue them for exploiting their lands and not returning even close to market price.

15. Oil filters in Seattle, 2003

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16. Junkyard full of metal scraps

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17. Mountain of phone chargers

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18. Sea of cellphones

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Our lust and desire for smartphones, and next-generation technologies of all kinds, are fueling conflict and loss of life the Congo.

19. Clearcutting in Finland

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20. Fish die-off at Redondo Beach, California

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With our population already at 7 billion people and overconsumption rising at a terrifying rate, this is something serious that many people have a hard time picturing. The truth is shocking, and when I look at these photos I can only imagine all the heart-wrenching images of environmental destruction that go unseen by most humans, the scenes which lay unvisited in the mountains or in the hearts of what were once forests.

Where are we heading?

Newspapers are all talking about the government announcing construction of a new adventure park, to boost the tourism of the town. The radio is blaring of the sprawling new apartment schemes, with all the facilities one can fancy under the moon. The construction of a huge mall and multiplex on my way to office is the zillionth reminder of “development” in my town, even before I begin my day at work.

But is it really development?

If we still relate to that poem about open farms and chirping birds, if our children look at the stars in the sky and wonder if we are in a planetarium, if we share pictures and videos about the “simple” life before technology over WhatsApp, email or any platform, if all the running our kids do is while playing temple run, then we are certainly doing something wrong. Really wrong.

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Picture Courtesy – The Logical Indian

While forming various communities online and sharing a little too much of our space, we are fast forgetting to share the community spaces. With our cities growing at lightning speed, we are overlooking the planning and execution of spaces where cultural and social interaction and exchange is bought upon.

In fact, the residences in earlier times were, in themselves, a beautiful interface of private and community space. Be it the verandah houses of our gaothans, the central courtyard of our chawls, there was a hierarchy of private, semi-private, semi-public, and public spaces. Now we are confined to our little box, the doors of which open to the sight of another closed door, beyond which we travel from way underground to way up in the sky. This reflects in our towns, with the diminishing green covers, and lack of public places.

It is time we understand that public spaces are very important for a healthy community. India is developing very quickly. Having said that a very large part of the country is still waiting to be developed. It isn’t too late for us to take matters in our hands, and plan for more social spaces, and create better public facilities.

As a country, we need to stop relying on and wait for the government to do something, while we sit and blame them for our current predicament. We at U+ Collective think that that is very old school, and now we as residents of this country have equal responsibility of our neighbourhood, of conserving our mother earth, of taking care of our resources, and doing all of this ourselves.

How, some may ask? Well, the new CSR laws, for one, are actually a great opportunity to give back to the society what we have earned from it. If each of us take this one chance and make a worthwhile insert in our urban/rural scape, a lot can be achieved in less than 5 years, that hasn’t really been in the last few decades.