Massive beehive built in 8 minutes: A gift on World Environment Day?

IMG_20131026_072702The buzz started at around 2 pm yesterday with a just few bees. In the next couple of minutes, the swarm grew bigger and bigger and the bees started piling up on each other. Eight minutes of manic activity, this massive beehive took the shape of black icicles and then, everything went silent. Continue reading

Sobha Althea-Azalea: Mandur crisis affects us, but just a little

Giving back to where it belongs: All the kitchen waste and garden waste is turned into rich organic manure and given back to where it belongs.

Giving back to where it belongs: All the kitchen waste and garden waste is turned into rich organic manure and given back to where it belongs.

Going by the media reports, the Karnataka government certainly doesn’t have a solution in sight for the Mandur landfill crisis. No government wants to drag a reluctant multitude towards a safe future by roiling up the system and suffer the drubbing during elections. Better safe than sorry, right?

Amidst such a sordid state of affairs, I feel immensely proud to congratulate the residents of Sobha Althea-Azalea, Yelahanka, for achieving multiple milestones in just two years. Continue reading

Mandur landfill crisis revisits: Luxury of peacetime over, let’s stop being deliberately callous

The reality in Mandur. (Pic: The Hindu)

The reality in Mandur. (Pic: The Hindu)

Recently, I made an early-morning trip to some nurseries around Lalbagh with a friend to buy plants for our apartment garden. By forenoon, we had done most of our work but couldn’t resist the desire to step into yet another large nursery studded with beautiful succulents. As we went around enjoying the fragrance of those green little beauties, especially gardenias, the nursery staff got busy loading the green ‘waste’ into a BBMP vehicle. Some 4-5 workers went on feeding the truck for at least an hour.

When we asked, they said it was headed to Mandur landfill. Continue reading

Illac Diaz: Lighting up lives, literally

There is no dearth of human brilliance. But looks like it takes something more to invent something as amazing as this one.

While we were busy losing our sense of judgment over many brands of smart phones, someone somewhere was racking his brain over how to dispel darkness that invaded shacks in Manila slums not only at nights, but during daytime too.

Illac Diaz (meaning, God of Light!), a social entrepreneur, came up with this ingenious, highly sustainable idea that works like a 60-Watt bulb.

If compassion leads to inventions, this is it. Continue reading

Your mother could be your own homespun eco-champion!

When my mother, 67, sat down to hem in the frayed ends of a handloom blanket, it took almost two hours for her arthritic fingers to cut off the extra threads gently and hem the ends in with near-perfect stitches. As she folded the blanket and placed it back in the cupboard, she said: “Handloom blankets are more comfortable than those useless (synthetic) ones. Why do you waste thousand of rupees for those you can’t even wash and reuse for long?”

This is a woman, much like those of her and older generations, who grew up without using a single chemical (barring soaps) in her entire home. While baking soda and gram flour erased tough oily stains with ease, ash and rice husk washed dishes. She poured out soap water used for soaking clothes to wash courtyards and bathrooms. She took out her cloth bags whenever she went out shopping. She did not use fridge or water heaters. The only few plastic bags that she carefully preserved were meant to serve one precious purpose: waterproofing cloth bags during rains. Such has been the sanctity of her everyday routine that the waste her household generated hardly needed segregation. She recycled paper, utensils; found ingenious ways to reuse clothes by turning them into quilts, blankets and unknowingly let the local quilt-makers’ families survive on such local economy. Continue reading

Vegetarian? Call yourself “eco-warrior”!

Despite my eco-sensibilities, I am not sure if my carbon footprint is so low that I can brag about it. Until I opt for public transport regularly, stop using the geyser for heating water, and grow my own food, I will remain a major source of carbon emission on the face of this earth. That’s for sure.

However, Continue reading

Can Bangalore afford private penthouse swimming pools?

For the last few days, I have been seeing some real estate ads in newspapers with lavish display of a massive swimming pool inside the club house, with a promise of private swimming pools for penthouses!

It’s not about criticising the idea of luxury. All of us want to succeed in life and live luxuriously.

But where is water for all this? Any idea how many Continue reading

The tale of two Bangalore lakes

I can spot two water bodies from my living balcony. The first picture shows a lake on the right side. Although it is named after a village, I hardly see people visiting it. There are no benches, no stone bund, nothing else to attract visitors.

The second picture shows a puddle on the left. I have been tracking its evolution for almost six months now. It swells up a little during rains and sparkles beautifully in sunlight. Although there is human habitation a little away from it, this puddle is blissfully tucked away in a safe spot in North Bangalore with only a few buffaloes meandering around the edges.

A quick thought on World Habitat Day with “Cities and Climate Change” being the theme of the year: is it the best way to preserve lakes – just keep them off human beings? Can we Bangaloreans think of saving its few surviving lakes, our lifeline?

(Pics: SH)

Saving every drop of rainwater

All of us know that an ocean has an infinite number of drops. But few of us see an ocean in a drop of water.

Chikmagalur-based Farmland Rainwater Harvesting Systems (FLRWHS) is one such organisation out to save the precious rainwater to tackle acute water shortage in various states.  Through its innovative RWH technology, it has helped rural and urban areas with improved yield levels of bore wells which were either dry, or low-yielding.

Safe drops for children at Allampura Government School, Karnataka.

A rainwater harvesting model on the move.

Hundreds of government schools have benefitted through assured drinking water supply and quality water for cooking midday meals. The children have access to fluoride- and iron-free water for four months in a year. So far, the organisation has recharged over 3,000 bore wells and installed more than 10,000 rooftop rainwater harvesting filters.

Contact Vijay Raj at vijay.shisodya@gmail.com; +91 9448130524.