E-Governance for Conservation

Add your comments please!

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 07, 2008

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This forum seems to be the right platform to share some of the comments made by ICSSR(Indian Council of Social Science Research) on my report "E-governance for conservation"   This report formed a part of my thesis submitted  to ICSSR titled’Growth of entrepreneurship in the Country with the growth of Information Systems’.

The report is available online and can be read at the following link.

http://www.indianwildlifeclub.com/ResearchPapers/Governance-For-Conservation.aspx

Comments and Review by ICSSR

"The proposed model for e-Governance for the Ministry of Environment and Forest is one of the major dimensions of the thesis, which merits commendation and makes the thesis a qualitative work.  Cost-Benefit analysis for the suggested model will further enhance the quality of the thesis.

A public project analysis considers the worthiness of shifting resources from the private sector to the public sector and the extent to which a public project should be pursued when its benefits exceed the cost.  Many other factors besides a benefit/cost analysis influence the final decision about funding public projects.

The model recommended to generate entrepreneurship in the rural area can also be evaluated by cost-effective analysis.  The measure of effectiveness which is non-monetary in character can be judged taking into account the reduction in rural unemployment, increase in the wildlife, decline in deforestation and criminal activities and improvement in the environment-Jaan, Jal, Janwar, Jungle, Jameen.

Further , it has been proposed that the model can be worked out by public private paertnership.  The model on application needs a good amount of investment.  Basically it is an economic decision, which is usually subject to an environment of uncontrollable influences.  The longer the planning horizon, the greater the exposure to chance events.  Inputs and outputs for short-term investment alternatives are usually subject to less variability than the long- term investment proposals.  Risk anlysis is a mechanism, which can be used fruitfully when significant outcome variations are likely for different future states and meanigful probabilities can be assigned to these states. The time to consider risk is before one makes a commitment to a course of action.  Perhaps a portion of the potential profit should be traded for partial immunity to risk.  The rural people and the people of the nearby villages of jungle are to be ducated to develop individual skills and temperaments and the only way they can behave impetuously when exposed to the demands of such situations.  The properties of materials vary over time.  environmental factors are never constant and economic conditions change irregularly.

Natural resources are threatened by the demand placed on them by the poor.  Despite several efforts aimed at addressing the problem, environmental degradation continues. Hence, the goal is to achieve poverty reduction through wise, sustainable and economic use of natural resources and the environment.  Strategies include strengthening the legal and institutional framework to encourage local communities to control and sustainaby manage natural resources, develop alternative livelihood strategies and create environmental awareness."

I request the esteemed members of this community to respond and add your comments to finally arrive at a workable model for E-governance for conservation.

Engineers and Environment

Intelligent Electricity

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 07, 2008

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Intelligent Electricity

Have you ever wanted to view your electricity consumption at a click of a button and understand your total cost involved in consuming electricity? Have you ever wanted to manage your peak load efficiently and be responsive to utility’s Time of Day tariff programs? Have you ever wondered if you can somehow turn on / off your electrical appliances remotely?

connectgaia.com leverages advanced metering, sensor, proven IP communication technologies and a robust IT backbone to bring intelligence into electricity consumption. The solution integrates the power and internet highways. Ably supported by intelligent meters and a host of wireless sensors, connectgaia.com will empower electricity users to efficiently manage their power consumption over the web.

connectgaia units – gaiaeco (mother) and gaiacell (child) – with Demand Response capabilities, arm consumers with information on their electricity usage that in turn allows them to realign consumption patterns. By curbing their power use during peak periods, they not only save money but also help to ease the demands on power plants and distribution lines.

These connectgaia units though not energy efficiency devices in themselves, enable power users to set up informed energy efficiency and conservation measures by using state-of-art technology and sensor networks. connectgaia.com is the platform that will make possible an era of energy efficiency where better energy management is institutionalized and sustained among electricity customers.

source:http://www.connectgaia.com/wps/portal


 

community reserves

Herbs from forests

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 06, 2008

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Herbs from Forests

Converting traditional medicinal knowledge into fortunes—this is what a group of women in a remote village in Chhattisgarh are doing. In the sleepy village of Donga-nala in Korba district, about 160 km from the state capital, Raipur, these women run a unit for making medicines from herbs from surrounding forests.

In just a year, they have earned Rs 15 lakh. From being impoverished agricultural labourers, they have become prosperous entrepreneurs.

After sussing out demand, the group started preparing 30 products, of which medicines for cold, diabetes, joint pains and indigestion, and herbal products such as tea, facepacks, toothpaste, honey and chyawanprash are much in demand. “The compositions are certified by a registered ayurvedic practitioner and approved by a government lab,” says Patel. The group’s yagna products are also in demand—selling up to 1,100 kg a month, fetching about Rs 75,000. “We are self-sufficient now,” says Uma Yadav, secretary of the Self Help Group.


Read the full story at
http://www.downtoearth.org.in/cover_nl.asp?mode=6

Wildlife

Endangered Ghariyals

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 05, 2008

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Endangered Ghariyals

The past two months have seen the unprecedented and shocking death of the Gharials on the Chambal River, while other animals such as marsh (mugger) crocodiles and turtles appear unaffected. The National Chambal Sanctuary is spread across Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh and protects a 425 km stretch of the Chambal River. The mortalities have been confined to a 70 km stretch of the Lower Chambal from Etawah to Gwalior. The epicenter of this disaster is near Etawah (Uttar Pradesh), at the confluence of the Yamuna and Chambal rivers.

 The Min of Environment & Forests, Govt of India set up a 14-member Gharial Crisis Management Group (CMG) consisting of U.P, M.P and Rajasthan forest departments, along with representatives from IVRI (Indian Veterinary Research Institute), ITRC-Lucknow, WII (Wildlife Institute of India) and NGOs like GCA, WWF and Wildlife S.O.S. The CMG had also decided in meetings that regular patrolling of the river shall be done to identify affected animals and if needed live animals would be rescued / captured and treated / observed and samples collected and analysed in the interest of saving the species.

The team of international crocodile experts includes Dr. Fritz Huchzermeyer (Vice-Chairman of the IUCN-Croc Specialist Group’s Veterinary advisory group), Dr. Paolo Martelli (Ocean Parks, Hong Kong), Dr. Brian Stacy (a pathologist from the University of Florida) and Dr. Samuel Martin (Director of La Ferme Aux Crocodiles, France).

"Not only do we hope to get to the bottom of the Gharial deaths, we are also creating a database on the Indian Gharial which will be crucial for the long term conservation of the species in its natural habitat,’’ said Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder, Wildlife S.O.S.

 Source: www.wildlifesos.org

 

Eco-tour

virus from human tourists harm gorillas and chimpanzees

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 04, 2008

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Ecotourism- Impact on wildlife

The latest environmental issue attributed to eco-tourists is a massive threat to an already endangered species. It appears that the tourists may be passing potentially deadly diseases to the great apes they spend so much money to view in the wild.

Every year the economies of African nations receive a boost from wealthy tourists willing to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars for the chance to get up close and personal with majestic gorillas and chimpanzees. But new evidence has come to light suggesting that humans are infecting the apes with deadly respiratory viruses.

The first direct evidence linking human contact to disease deaths of great apes was found in the Ivory Coast. Chimpanzees at the West African nation’s Tai chimpanzee research station were killed by human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) and human metapneumovirus (HMPV).

This throws a wrench into the eco-tourism equation. Tourist money has undoubtedly had a positive impact on both the economies of desperately poor African nations and the situation of endangered great apes. Eco-tourism helps fund conservation projects and has reduced poaching by making the animals more valuable alive and in their natural habitat than they would be dead. However, an outbreak of a virus carried by an unwitting eco-tourist could potentially wipe out an entire community of apes, which could drive the endangered species toward extinction.

Scientists have proposed that all humans in close contact with the animals be forced to wear a mask. The mask rule would have to apply to all eco-tourists, as most people would be completely unaware that they were carrying a deadly virus. The viruses generally have no symptoms in humans. Conservationists also want to increase the distance that must be kept between human and ape. Currently, tourists must stand at least seven metres from the animals, but there are calls to increase that to 10 metres.

Source: Guardian Unlimited
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/feb/03/conservation.endangeredspecies?gusrc=rss&feed=environment

E-Governance for Conservation

web 2.0 technologies

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 04, 2008

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Web 2.0 technologies

Web 2.0 technologies are creating a revolution in specialised groups of activists, NGOs and social changemakers.

The utility will be more in specialised and thematic groups as it is much easier to handle information overload in such communities.

Online interactive quiz programs, chat programs and games can add stickiness to the website and also promote discussion and debate on issues usually marginalised or ignored.

Climate change and Global Warming

A holistic view of climate change

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 04, 2008

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A holistic view on climate change

There has been much debate about climate change perhaps because we cannot see carbon dioxide when we exhale, or when we burn oil and coal to heat our homes, or use petrol to power our cars or fly planes. We do, however, have scientific instruments that can accurately measure what we humans produce and the increasing amount of carbon that we are adding to our environment.

The data is irrefutable - carbon dioxide concentrations have been steadily
increasing in our atmosphere as a result of human activity since the earliest
measurements began. We know that on the order of 4.1 billion tons of carbon are being added to and staying in our atmosphere each year. We know that burning fossil fuels and deforestation are the principal contributors to the increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in our atmosphere. We know that increasing CO2 concentrations has the same effect as the glass walls and roof of a greenhouse. It lets the energy from the sun easily penetrate but limits its escape, hence the term greenhouse gas.

Observational and modeling studies have confirmed the association of increasing CO2 concentrations with the change in average global temperatures over the last 120 years. Between 1906 and 2005 the average global temperature has increased 0.74 degrees C. This may not seem like very much, but it can have profound effects on the strength of storms and the survival of species including coral reefs.

Eleven of the last 12 years rank among the warmest years since 1850. While no one knows for certain the consequences of this continuing unchecked warming, some have argued it could result in catastrophic changes, such as the disruption of the Gulf Steam which keeps the UK out of the ice age or even the possibility of the Greenland ice sheet sliding into the Atlantic Ocean. Whether or not these devastating changes occur, we are conducting a dangerous experiment with our planet. One we need to stop.

The developed world including the United States, England and Europe contribute disproportionately to the environmental carbon, but the developing world is rapidly catching up. As the world population increases from 6.5 billion people to 9 billion over the next 45 years and countries like India and China continue to industrialise, some estimates indicate that we will be adding over 20 billion tons of carbon a year to the atmosphere. Continued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes to the global climate that could be more extreme than those observed to date. This means we can expect more climate change, more ice cap melts, rising sea levels, warmer oceans and therefore greater storms, as well as more droughts and floods, all which compromise food and fresh water production.

The increase in population coupled with climate change will tax every aspect of our lives. In a world already struggling to keep up with demand, will we be able to provide the basics of food, clean water, shelter and fuel to these new
citizens of Earth? And will governments be able to cope with new emerging
infections, storms, wildfires, and global conflicts?

So is there any way of avoiding these apocalyptic visions of the future coming
true? Many have argued that we simply need to conserve, to alter and regress our standard of living and block the industrialisation of developing countries. In
my view this is extremely naive thinking. Furthermore, even the most optimistic models on climate change show a dramatically altered planet Earth going forward even if we embrace all alternative options such as wind and solar energy, and electric cars. Our entire world economy and the ability of modern society to provide life’s basics, depend on the very industrialisation that contributes to our possible demise.

Yet, sadly, very little thinking, planning or projections about how to cope
with the carbon problem and climate change have taken into account the
capabilities of modern science to produce what we have long needed to help solve these global threats.

It is clear to me that we need more approaches and creative solutions. We need new disruptive ideas and technologies to solve these critical global issues.  This is where, I believe, biology and genomics, come in.

Source: Excerpts from  the annual Richard Dimbleby Lecture on BBC on (Tuesday 4 December 2007) by Dr J Craig Venter

Tribal Bill-How it will affect our forests

USA Experence

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 02, 2008

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The Trust for Public Land (USA) published a story which is very similar to our own Tribal Rights Debate.

 A land under dispute for over 130 years( 208, 000 acres of forest land) was recently released for native American Indians. Read the full story at

http://www.tpl.org/tier3_cd.cfm?content_item_id=21966&folder_id=3409

 

Bio-Diversity

Gene tweaked but is this brinjal safe to eat?

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 01, 2008

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Gene tweaked but is this brinjal safe to eat?

Reuse and Recycle

Using flyash

Posted by Susan Sharma on February 01, 2008

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Using flyash

Fly ash is a by-product of coal combustion in thermal plants. Presently majority of the coal ash generated is being handled in wet form and disposed off in ash ponds which is harmful for the environment and moreover ash remains unutilized for gainful applications. India has sufficient coal reserves. In India almost 65-70% of electricity production isdependent on coal which produces a huge quantity of Fly Ash as residue which is allegedly a waste product in Thermal Power Stations.

Fly Ash has a vast potential for use in High Volume fly ash concrete especially due to its physic-chemical properties.  Using fly ash in construction activity is environment friendly, reduce energy demand and restrict carbon emissions.  
Transco Delhi and DMRC have been using flyash in construction activities.

When mixed with lime and water the flyash forms a cementitious compound with properties very similar to that ofPortland cement. Because of this similarity, fly ash can be used to replace aportion of cement in the concrete, providing some distinct quality advantages.The concrete is denser resulting in a tighter, smoother surface with lessbleeding.

A good amount of research has already been done inIndia and abroad on its strength and other requisite parameters.




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