Monthly Archives: January 2012

Mother Earth is a living being.

Here is a moving Declaration that was adopted by the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, in Bolivia. The Bolivian government has asked the United Nations to adopt this for all the rest of the world.

We the peoples and nations of Earth: considering that we are all part of Mother Earth, an indivisible, living community of interrelated and interdependent beings with a common destiny; gratefully acknowledging that Mother Earth is the source of life, nourishment and learning and provides everything we need to live well; recognizing that the capitalist system and all forms of depredation, exploitation, abuse and contamination have caused great destruction, degradation and disruption of Mother Earth, putting life as we know it today at risk through phenomena such as climate change: convinced that in an interdependent living community it is not possible to recognize the rights of only human beings without causing an imbalance within Mother Earth: affirming that to guarantee human rights it is necessary to recognize and defend the rights of Mother Earth and all beings in her and that there are existing cultures, practices and laws that do so; conscious of the urgency of taking decisive, collective action to transform structures and systems that cause climate change and other threats to Mother Earth; proclaim this Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and call on the United Nations to adopt it, as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations of the world, and to the end that every individual and institution takes responsibility for promoting through teaching, education, and consciousness raising, respect for the rights recognized in this Declaration and ensure through prompt and progressive measures and mechanisms, national and international, their universal and effective recognition and observance among all peoples and States in the world.

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We’d be better off not planting trees-III: The reasons for resistance

English: An emerging Tamarind tree seedling. T...

Image via Wikipedia

I think it is a combination of resistance from managers and a lack of certainty on what it can mean if a manager lower down the hierarchy took that decision to make the change at one hotel, when the company’s HQ is based elsewhere in India or the world. Now who would want to incur the wrath of senior management at the corporate headquarters with a decision taken locally? Continue reading

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We’d be better off not planting trees-II: There’s more to it…

English: The Woodside Hotel and the big tree

Image via Wikipedia

I took a factor of 2.5 to cover centralized air-conditioning, the pumps, and the array of cooking and other appliances that help a 5-star hotel serve its customers. That totted up to about 4.5 million units a year. Not much as money goes… about Rs 30 lacs a month, or Rs 3.6 crore a year. I may be wrong on my hazard of these estimates, for I have gone on a certain premise of use of power in the hotel without having had the opportunity to do what one calls a ‘load analysis’. Continue reading

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We’d be better off not planting trees… Part I

[Tree in a rural area] (LOC)

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

In a three-part series titled ‘We’d be better off not planting trees’, Chandrashekar Hariharan helps readers understand that there is a vital connect between the physical planting of trees and a more subtle connect between energy-saving and how this signifies the protection of as many trees, in terms of easing the load on carbon absorption.

The writer is the Chairman of BCIL-ZED, the Bangalore-based global pioneer in green building.

 

It was ironic. It was a five-star hotel, one of the older ones in Bangalore. They had organized a green initiative this week; intending to do something toward making a better Bangalore on World Environment Day. Continue reading

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Power & water crisis-IV: Get your home in order, will you?

English: Water fountain found in a small Swiss...

Image via Wikipedia

Two startling facts

Bangaloreans in particular will be shocked to know two very startling facts. One is that we get no more than 250 million liters a day in the city from all four phases of the Cauvery Water Supply plan. There is no more water that Cauvery can give us since it is a finite source. The rest of the water need in the city is today being met with over 5 lakh borewells that have increased the total demand load for power by as much as 1.2 million MW in the last 20 years alone! In every large and small city, this is the reality: 75 per cent is drawn from groundwater reserves of the earth. Continue reading

Power & water crisis-III: Get your home in order, will you?

Litre LightPaintingThe cost of power

There is also the cost the government incurs to generate energy. It is way beyond what we pay. In Pondicherry, people pay a paltry Re.1.50 per unit consumed while it costs about Rs.18 per unit for the government to produce/procure the power. Who bears the deficit? In Bangalore we pay Rs.4 per unit on an average. In Gujarat, Kerala and AP, people pay a little over Rs.8 a unit used. In Tamil Nadu the tariff for homes is about Rs.5. These deficits in cost recovered will guarantee that this route of power generation and distribution with massive subsidies will not sustain for too many years. Continue reading

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Power & water crisis-II: Get your home in order, will you?

English: Sameura dam, Kochi Prefecture, Japan ...

Image via Wikipedia

Pause and think for a while

Most of us can say, “How can what I use at my house make such a big difference to the government or whoever supplies me power and water?” Another legitimate response could be, “I pay my taxes anyway – income tax, property tax, development cess, and other such levies. I should be entitled to these things from the government.” Continue reading

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Power & water crisis-I: Get your home in order, will you?

Wind turbines (Vendsyssel, Denmark, 2004)

Image via Wikipedia

This is a four-part series titled ‘Get your home in order, will you?’ If we stopped fretting over what the government has not done on energy and water, and sort some things at home, more than half the solution will spring before us.

Part 1

The power scene at home

Have you looked at your energy bill recently? What is the amount you pay every month for power? For water? Have you asked yourself what the break up of power used in your house is? Do you realize how much of the power bill is coming out of use of your geysers? How much is consumed by fans, your lighting, your TV set, the grinder and mixer in the kitchen, or worse that electric oven that your mother gifted you on your last birthday? How much of the power is used in your kitchen by the refrigerator, the heating plate, and such other appliances that didn’t even exist 30 years ago? Continue reading

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Save water, at home and outside

Water ripples

When in hotels, ensure that you use the same towel over your two- or three-day stay. That will help the hotel save water.

Each day, hotel guests use more than double the water they use at home. Why do we behave differently when outside and use much more water than when at home?

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Car, car, car…

Volvo V50, 2 litres, diesel car at the sea-side

Image via Wikipedia

A car burns an average of 1900 litres of fuel a year, while a light van burns 3500 litres a year.

About 4500 kilograms of CO2 are emitted on an average by every single petrol-powered car each year.

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