Thursday, December 13Delhi Greens Blog: Greening the World, One Post at a Time!

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Featured articles and essays on global environmental issues.

The Day After Tomorrow?

The Day After Tomorrow?

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Historically megacities with the spread and population matching that of Delhi or Mumbai has been a very 20th Century phenomenon, mainly built by migrants. Until then the most stable human settlements have been agrarian villages, which were primary producers of agricultural products that took care of food, clothing, and locally produced tools and crafts. House or road contractions were community activities. Local trade in surplus or value added products were supported by trading centres that allowed for some exchange of goods and services. These were self sufficient administrative centres that served the neighbourhood villages. It is now predicted that by 2020, 60% of the world's population will be living in cities. In a situation like this ever thought if something like the ‘The Day
Water Footprint

Water Footprint

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We are all starving for attention and it is very encouraging to know that you are there reading and thinking about what you read. Your feedbacks are very encouraging and valuable and I greatly appreciate them. This has prompted a new idea…. By way of background here is how it all began. Together with six global partners including the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and UNESCO, the University of Twente (UT) in The Netherlands found the Water Footprint Network on October 16, 2008. The ‘water footprint’, developed by UT Professor Arjen Hoekstra, gives a detailed insight into the water consumption of individuals, companies and countries. The ‘water footprint’ measures the amount of water that a country, company or individual uses each year. This includes the water needed to produce good
Benefits of Commonwealth Games

Benefits of Commonwealth Games

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Last time we looked at the incredible paced up infrastructure development taking place in Delhi over the recent past in lieu of the Commonwealth Games. We have a new drinking water supply system--Sonia Vihar-- providing water to the eastern part of city. We have new sewage system put in place across the city by the authorities. We have an entirely new network of roads and flyovers connecting the city with Domestic and International Terminals. Gurgaon and Jaipur have come closer. We have the Delhi Metro Railway System in place connecting and criss-crossing the Delhi NCR region. We have renewed focus on solid waste management by local authorities though the Bhagidari scheme. We have put in place over the last few years, airport beautification and expansion, both for domestic and inter...
Sustainable Development: An Oxymoron??

Sustainable Development: An Oxymoron??

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ox•y•mo•ron n. A rhetorical figure in which incongruous or contradictory terms are combined. For example: deafening silence, mournful optimist, blank copy. Some “experts” would want to add the phrase sustainable development to the above list of examples. Such critics of the concept of sustainable development also suggest that it should instead be termed as “sustainable de-growth”, since they believe that environment and development (or growth) are antithetical to each other; that is, environment degradation is the price that needs to be paid if development is to be achieved. Deteriorating environment is often linked with increasing economic activity, requiring deforestation, energy consumption etc. “Development” is usually held responsible for environmental damage, while environmentali
Lodhi Gardens

Lodhi Gardens

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Delhi city is a home for 15 million people and yet it only provided adequate housing for less than 20% of this figure. The rest live in slums and in jhuggi-jhomparis. The clean drinking water demand of the city is 3,324 MGD but it gets only 2,034 MGD of water. Even when 80% of the total water consumed goes out as sewage, the city has a treatment capacity of only 512.4 MGD.  Delhi gets an average of 240 litres per capita per day of safe drinking water. Wells are drying up and you have to dig deeper to access them. The city produces 4000 tons of solid waste (garbage) that is currently managed by MCD centrally collected and disposed off in sanitary land fill sites. Of these , 32% is compost matter. Thus the story of Delhi is that of unclean streets, untreated water and accumulating garbage. 
Localized Carbon Emission Control

Localized Carbon Emission Control

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The 80’s was the decade of the ‘Bits and Bytes’ and 90’s was the decade of ‘Bugs and Plants’. 2000 can be seen as the decade of ‘Climate Change.’ While Climate Change is ‘authentic’ but the fear of climate change is ‘in-authentic’-which is stopping us from taking action. We do have limited actions. For example in India, we do have, HSBC working with small Machine Engineering industries promoting small scale industry to improve fuel efficiency through new investments. We do have some prominent NGOs like IRADE promoting awareness, TERI promoting environmental friendly technology initiatives through awards, and Development Alternatives and Centre for Science and Technology promoting environmental causes, located in Delhi but these are not enough. Right now Solar power is the best bet, but th
Inauthentic Fear of Climate Change

Inauthentic Fear of Climate Change

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Climate change is ‘authentic’ but the fear of climate change is ‘in-authentic’ and we seem to be stuck in this ‘fear’. Climate change is happening and it will have impacts. The fear and uncertainty about the impacts of climate change is causing resistance to actions on ground, to translate this reality, into doing something about it. Climate change is not a problem, resisting climate change is. Being in denial of this reality and the impact it has on people and communities in our life, is a problem because it stops specific actions that need to be taken quickly and urgently, from happening. We are all sitting twiddling our thumbs about this problem by resisting it. Out resistance to the reality of climate change as a Global community is manifest in intellectual conferences, where we a
Why Vultures Matter? Part II

Why Vultures Matter? Part II

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I talked about IPCC's contribution in converting the fear of failure of cities as a ‘some day not now’ phenomenon into a right here right now reality. What does this reality look like for our city of Delhi, no doubt a mega city. Delhi NCR region generates solid waste to the tune of 45,393 tonnes per year. Air pollution levels while are within limits now, are still high. Especially in winters due to inversion, the fog that we have experienced over the new year week, is partly Smog due to vehicular pollution, inspite of actions taken for clean fuel use through CNG. Yamuna river waters that enter the NCR region, consumed at 150 liters per capita per day, leaves it polluted, as only a small part with only 1153 million litters per day are treated. What will happen to the city over tim
48°C – My Close CALL With PEOPLE

48°C – My Close CALL With PEOPLE

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"To 100 different people a small little thing appears different. Well that’s diversity of human perception." Being free in winter vacations, I thought of volunteering for 48°C – ‘Delhi’s First Public Art Ecology Festival’ (of which Delhi Greens was a partner) and had varied experiences which I penned down to share it here on the blog.   So to begin with I would like to talk of the orientation session I attended at the Rose Garden of DU's Vice-Chancellor's Office opposite the Kamla Nehru Ridge in North Campus. As volunteer manager, Ms. Vasudha Mehta started explaining about the festival till all the volunteers gathered, followed by the distribution of pamphlets - a passing by old man interrupted, “Ye calender dena bachon”. Well, that was his perception and my first on record reactio
Why Vultures Matter? Part I

Why Vultures Matter? Part I

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Delhi's Last Two Vultures at the National Museum of Natural History Wish you all a Happy 'Green and Blue' New Year. Why focus on an environment friendly new year or specifically, what are we dealing with when we talk of climate change? At a very basic level it is ‘Fear of Death’. It is a primal fear that we all have, because we are human beings and like all living things are designed to fear death. Various ways in which one could die, due to accidents, due to disease, due to age etc. While the fear of dieing alone is very genuine, we can always die believing that we continue to live after our death in some one else’s memory, gene pool or we are reborn….what ever you believe in. Genocide is a higher order fear of death and the highest order is annihilation of the species. (Hence we ar
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