Corporates and Environment

The Dawn of Solar –Part II

The Dawn of Solar –Part II
-Kevin Lehr (

Due to the ability to decentralize solar energy production, there are numerous alternative models to the utility scale solar farms for distribution of solar energy, particularly for off-grid communities. Innovative businesses in the USA, Sub-Saharan Africa and India have already discovered how to provide the power of solar energy to consumers in a more cost effective way than current alternatives. These solutions include a variety of approaches based on the context of the specific customer segment. In the USA companies like Sun Power provide residential solar panel installations that allow consumers to save on their monthly energy bills, cash in on tax credits & rebates, and increase the value of their homes. In addition solar installations can allow for payback periods as low as 5 years and savings of up to $30,000 over the 25 year life of a system. Companies like Solar City are using a different approach by leasing solar energy. This approach allows customers to power their homes with clean solar energy without the upfront costs of solar panel purchase and installation. The Solar City model still provides the ability to sell additional capacity back to the grid creating additional savings on monthly electricity bills. A company called Simpa Networks is using a similar pay as you go concept through its metering & payment system in off-grid communities in India in order to provide for the radical affordability of this technology in rural areas. After installation of a household solar energy system customers are able to prepay for solar energy through their mobile phone in small user-defined increments. In this way the payment mechanism seeks to replace current purchasing habits of more polluting & dangerous kerosene or diesel. Furthermore each payment goes towards the overall purchase of the system allowing for customers to eventually unlock the system providing free energy for the remaining life of the unit. Another company called d.light designs is selling solar powered lamps across the developing world providing a higher quality & cleaner source of light to millions of people worldwide without access to reliable electricity. In these cases, beyond just access to electricity, solar energy is providing the economic benefits of connectivity and increased productivity for these rural households.

The applications of decentralized solar energy across the developing world have enormous potential. In India the costs of extending the existing grid to rural & mountainous areas are prohibitively high in many places and the current methods of using kerosene and diesel for light & power are more polluting, have negative health effects, and can be more costly when compared with solar power despite widespread government subsidies of fuel for the poor. There is a huge opportunity to provide clean, decentralized electricity to these communities through micro-grids & household systems and solar energy could be a great way to produce the electricity to power these systems. On a recent visit to Hosur, an industrial hub outside of Bangalore, I witnessed a community of small manufacturing businesses running their manufacturing processes on diesel generators as the electricity supply was intermittent at best. For these businesses, diesel costs can make up a significant portion of their operational expenses and the need for these systems causes the local environment to be polluted with the fumes, noise & smell of diesel generators. There are thousands of small industrial sites like this throughout India and countless more around the world that could all benefit from small scale solutions providing more cost effective & cleaner solar energy.

Over the coming decades installed capacity and usage of solar energy will continue to increase worldwide as costs continue to decline with improvements to technology related to capture, conversion, storage & transmission and as policy & regulatory environments are adapted to help facilitate access to these beneficial technologies. As new models & applications are created the distribution of solar energy can become widespread throughout the developing world leading the charge of electrifying the 1.3 billion people worldwide without reliable access to electricity. Furthermore as solar energy helps to facilitate decentralized & local energy production, countries & individuals will become more energy independent reducing the risk of international conflict over finite energy resources that are vital to economic growth. Innovative designs incorporating solar energy could revolutionize everything from transportation to clean water systems. As the dawn of the solar age fades, the future of solar energy looks bright.


Text by Kevin Lehr

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Save Wild Tigers-Action Abroad


Tiger Mascot Schools Unite To Save Wild Tigers

-Takako Sato Phone: (239)206-4408 Email:


The Clemson University student group Tigers for Tigers unleashed their  passion to save wild tigers when they united with students from 12 other tiger mascot schools to create a new “National Tigers for Tigers Coalition.” This is the first time a school’s mascot has been used by students to kick-off a national campaign for an endangered species. The Coalition held their  first Summit at Clemson University in South Carolina, from April 19-21, where 37 students from  around the country gathered with their hearts and minds united.

During the Summit, the students heard from a variety of experts on the threats facing tigers today,  especially on areas where student activism can help. The students decided on a structure for the National Coalition, and selected their first tiger campaigns. Their main interests are in ensuring tha ttigers in the US are only held by institutions that can provide for their safety and welfare, and that tigers in the wild are well protected from poaching and other threats.

Sean Carnell, president of Tigers for Tigers at Clemson said, "If we can develop a way for students  across the country to collaborate in support of tiger conservation, we can truly make a difference. As students, we have access to a plethora of resources that can amplify our efforts. We wish to provide opportunities for students of all majors to get involved in tiger conservation by gaining real-world  experience and becoming inspired to save our beloved mascot.”

The 13 Universities and Colleges (and state) involved in thecoalition are: Auburn University (AL), Brenau University (GA) , ClemsonUniversity (SC), Colorado College (CO), Doane College (NE), Hampden-SydneyCollege(VA), Louisiana State University (LA), University of Missouri (MO), PrincetonUniversity (NJ), Rochester Institute of Technology (NY), SUNY-Cobleskill (NY),Towson University (MD), and Trinity University (TX). In total 57 schools were invited to join the coalition so  more support is anticipated in the coming months.

The keynote speakers at the Summit were Ms. Anjana Gosain,Honorary Secretary of Tiger Trust India, who spoke about the conservation challenges in her country, and Dr. Ron Tilson of the Minnesota Zoo Foundation,who described the lessons he has learned from a career studying tigers  in the wild. Other invited experts came from the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Big Cat Rescue, and National Wildlife Refuge Association(NWRA). They spoke about the status of captive tigers in the US, and anti-poaching efforts abroad and showed how students could help with both. Takako Sato, the founding Alumna of Clemson’s Tigers for Tigers, came all the way from Japan to talk about her work for Tiger Trust  India,and opportunities for alumni involvement.

 The students were welcomed to the Summit by Sean Carnell,President of the Clemson T4T club, who described the vision for this new Coalition. Dr. David Tonkyn, founding faculty advisor to T4T,  also welcomed the students, pointing out that when their children ask what they did in college, they  can proudly answer that they founded a National Coalition to save tigers!

In her keynote speech, Ms. Gosain described the 25 years of work by Tiger Trust India, and addressed the many challenges that wild tigers face there – habitat destruction, poaching and increasingly revenge killing of tigers by farmers who have lost livestock to them. She also showed a film “The Truth About Tigers” by Shekar Dattatri which motivates it’s viewers to become a voice for the animals who have no voice of their own. She also introduced the internationally famous wild  Tigress of Ranthambhore National Park, Machli to make the stark comparison between wild tigers to captive tigers. Machli had 9 surviving cubs who themselves have produced 11 more, showing the power of saving just one tiger. Throughout the conference, Mrs. Gosain encouraged the students to  make the most of their youthful energy as she has been waging this battle for so many years and it’s  so encouraging to see them so engaged on the subject.

The USA has more captive tigers then there are wild tigers in the entire world. There is no clear number on how big the population of big cats is in the US, but it’s estimated to be nearly 10,000 privately owned Tigers. In the wild, there are estimates of only 4,000 cats scattered in different Asian countries. Other speakers at the conference focused more on issues in America, such as the lack of laws controlling private ownership and breeding while in captivity. Tracy Coppola and Cynthia Carson from IFAW described the lack of policies controlling big cat ownership. They highlighted the USDA’s lack of enforcement when trying to register owners and the movement of the cats across  state lines. Carol Baskin of Tampa’s Big Cat Rescue and representative of the Captive Wild Animal  Protection Coalition emphasized the need to change federal laws to prevent inappropriate private ownership of big cats. She discussed the use of commercial tiger cub-petting and “swimming with tigers”where people could easily be harmed and how the tigers are forced into stressful situations.

These situations can easily escalate as the young tigers could get agitated and aggressive towards  the public. Throughout Mrs. Baskin’s history of taking in unwanted or abused animals, she realized  that it was the basic lack of laws and enforcement of laws that made her rescue center a necessity.

David Houghton (NWRA) asked the students to support the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Wildlife Without Borders” Program. Projects like the US Postal Service’s “Save Vanishing Species” series with  tiger stamps has helped raise over $7 million dollars. His main emphasis was getting the students to be empowered with information so they can write and visit their congressional representatives by “going to the Hill!” Another speaker, John Fitzgerald (SCB) also encouraged the students to speak  out about the basic laws protecting tigers. He shared some of the origins of the conservation  movement in America and this information armed the students with the know-how to be able to speak with lawmakers and representatives confidently.

Takako Sato, who now lives in Japan, was one of the founding members of the Tigers for Tigers movement at Clemson University in 1997. She described how the group started small but years later,  that same spirit is being carried on by other students and Universities. Her experience with a Bengal tiger in the wild inspired her to take action for the tigers, and that commitment carries on 7 years later. She is still active in conservation efforts by working as a consultant for Tiger Trust as a grant writer and speaker about Tigers in Japan. 

Carmony Adler, Vice President of Clemson T4T concluded the Summit with a personal perspective on how the commitment to saving tigers has changed her career goals. She said that the energy and enthusiasm by all the students only made her more committed to this cause.

Tiger Trust feels compelled to create awareness to leave Tigers in the wild, rather than being confined in a cage or abused for entertainment. It holds the stance that taking tigers as pets is a self-centered and egotistical way for the owner to feel powerful to have such animals under their control.

Actually, it is way more powerful for people to have appreciation of all wild animals in their natural ecosystem, and this is the long term goal that Tiger Trust is working diligently towards.

The next step for the coalition is to be able to secure funding so they can hire a national coordinator in order to grow, and organize national campaigns to continue to rally the students behind their cause. Most urgently, the students are in support of the “Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act” bill number is HR 1998. Introduced in the House of Representatives in May 2013, the bill aims to protect the safety of the public from mismanaged privately owned Big Cats.  

Anyone can get involved with conservation, so empower yourself with knowledge and take action!  For more information about Tiger conservation efforts in India, please visit the Tiger Trust Website & join our network of schools learning about Tigers :

Help us promote the National Tigers for Tigers Coalition website:

And “Like” our facebook page and help us grow by networking with other Tiger Students!


Educate Yourself andTake Action!

Big Cat and Public Safety Protection Act information

Cub-petting issue (8 Facts about how Tigers are abused inthe US)

Support the US Fish and Wildlife Service by letting yourrepresentative know that funding

International Anti-Poaching Programs is an important for thefuture of wildlife all over the world!

Help us promote the “Vanishing Species Stamp” sold by theUSPS which raises money for wildlife conservation projects around the world 


Save Wild Tigers-Action in India

Tiger Conservation Programme
Sensitizing Media Students on Tiger Conservation

Date: Feb 25-27, 2011
Venue: PSG Auditorium and Topslip, Anamalai Tiger Reserve
Organisers: Arulagam, PSG College of Arts and Science, Wildlife Conservation Society and Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS).
Target Group: Media Students from 16 Colleges and Universities of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.
Purpose: Sensitizing about the role of media in Tiger Conservation.
Medium: Presentation, Field trips, Group Discussions, Screening Films, interaction with wildlife scientist, photographers and film makers.
Funding / Collaboration: CWS

Inaugural session:

Wildlife Conservation Society – India Program sponsored workshop on “Sensitizing the media on conserving tigers and their habitat in Tamil Nadu” was inaugurated at PSG COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCE, Coimbatore on the 25th of February, 2011.

Dr.K.M. Chinnadorai, Principal in charge, PSG College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore welcomed the audience.

Dr.Raja Jayapal, Conservation Scientist, WCS - India program made a brief report on Wildlife Conservation Society-India Program project in Tamil Nadu.

Poster release on TIGER CONSERVATION followed through and was released by Mr.G.Rangaswamy, Managing Trustee, PSG Institutions and Dr.Ravi Chellam, Country Director, Wildlife Conservation Society-India program.

Mr.G.Rangaswamy addressed the audience on the need for conservation and the civil and political support conservation initiatives required.

Dr.Ravi Chellam delivered the keynote address and centered his talk on Human-wildlife relationship and conflict. The reason for conflict and mitigating measures were also discussed. He also emphasized on the lack of information based conflict management measures.

The inauguration came to a close with the vote of thanks by  C.R.Jayaprakash, Assistant Professor, Dept., of Communication, PSG College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore. He was also the project coordinator of the workshop.


The first session of the workshop commenced with a presentation of "Wildlife photography versus Conservation Photography" by Dr. R.Tolstoy, Associate Professor, PSG Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Coimbatore - 641 004. Dr.Tolstoy spoke of how photography could effectively help conservation and have minimal  impact on the environment it works on. He also spoke of Tribal welfare and the impact of a happy tribal population on the environment. Environmentally sensitive behavior and scientifically informed conservation photography was emphasized.

The session came to a close with a talk by Mr. Mohammad Ali, Member of The Nature Trust, Mettupalayam, on ‘Myths, Media and Wildlife reporting’. Responsible journalism and well researched reporting on wildlife issues were discussed in detail. The need to understand ones own environment, its structure and function was encouraged.  Ali’s talk set a preamble to the workshop were in participants were encouraged to discern the information gathered during the workshop and come up with a unbiased perception of wildlife and conservation.

Workshop continued at Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR)

The workshop at Anamalai Tiger Reserve began with the screening of “The Truth about Tigers” by Shekar Dattatri, Wildlife Filmmaker and Conservationist, to an audience of 30, all were participants selected from 16 Colleges and Universities of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. The movie covered some significant aspects of Tiger conservation, the need to conserve Tigers and the issue of conservation at large.

The documentary followed with a discussion. Dr Ravi Chellam and Shekar Dattatri spear headed the discussion by bringing forth a number of conservation issues and media’s perception and projection of such issues. Responsible and informed journalism was announced to be the need of the hour.

A number of ways by which media could bring forth a well researched piece of information on marauding conservation issues were discussed. The participants raised a number of questions on issues ranging from the types of forests found in India, tiger-favored ecosystem, radio-collaring of tigers, tiger census, human-tiger conflict and human perception of conservation and tigers.

Dr.V. Manoharan, Forest Veterinary Officer, Coimbatore and Thangaraj Panneerselvam, Forest Range Officer, Ullandy, Analmalai Tiger Reserve met with the participants. Mr.Thangaraj Panneerselvam made a short presentation on Anamalai Tiger Reserve while Dr Manoharan spoke of wild-animal disease control and treatment.

Day 2: On 26th February, 2011 the participant’s begun the workshop with a trek to Karian Shola, in Anamalai Tiger Reserve. The participants spotted a few endemic birds and noted a number of bird sounds. One of the groups spotted the endemic Great Indian Hornbill and the Racket tailed drongo. Malabar giant squirrel, Indian Gaur, and Nilgiri langurs were the few mammals sighted.

A talk by Mr. Shekar Dattatri followed. Mr. Dattatri elaborated on the role of Forest department as essential guardians of forest and their inevitability in the conservation system. Human- animal conflict, conflict control, mitigation measures, and human perception of conservation were amongst the important topics discussed. The role of media in reporting such conflicts, unbiased reporting and conservation issue discussion by the media were discussed using contemporary illustrations and examples.

Dr. Chellam delivered the second lecture followed by a discussion. He argued upon the serious lack in conservation training for forest officials and for the lower grade forest watchers and anti-poaching guards. Resource provision in terms of monetary benefits and other concessions as beneficial encouragements for the lower grade forest watchers and anti-poaching guards was also emphasized. Dr Chellam spoke briefly about the WCS Initiative and its research interest.

The participants then took a tour around Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, Kerala, which lies adjacent to ATR. This was to give the participants a general idea of the topography of the reserve and of the mythical “jungle” itself. The participants witnessed the reality of managed forests and the human influence it had to cope with. The tour included a visit to the famous Kannimara teak: the Virgin tree with its own history and folk perceptions.

The day ended with the screening of Shekar Dattatri’s documentary ‘Save our Sholas’. The discussion that followed saw participants come up with some exciting and intriguing questions on shola forests and its importance in sustaining both the wild and the human world. Before the film, C.R.Jayaprakash, Project Coordinator of the workshop presented images of faulty management of forest resources and strain on forest resources which are illegally promoted in the name of Eco Tourism.

Day 3:

The day began with a field tour into the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve. A number of birds including the Orange and black flycatcher, Male Paradise flycatcher and Malabar Pied hornbills were sighted. Mammals such as the Giant Malabar Squirrel and Indian Gaur, Spotted Deer, Sambar Deer were also sighted.

K. Vijayananthan IFS, Wildlife Warden, Parambikulam Tiger Reserve, and H.Basavaraju, IFS, Field Director, Anamalai Tiger Reserve briefed the audience on the history of Parambikulam and Anamalai Tiger Reserve. Conservation issues such as poaching, poacher-forest watcher clashes, wildlife traffic, sale nexus and wildlife laws were also discussed. The participants interacted with the officials and raised a number conservation issues including the building of check dams and its implications on the environment and the ecosystem.

Dr. Raja Jayapal, Conservation Scientist, WCS delivered the concluding talk. Research as an aspect of conservation issue reporting and the consequences of negligence of research was discussed. Unbiased issue discussion and a follow up of the issue were encouraged as an effective tool that could aid in conservation. Tiger as an efficient flag ship species for conservation and thus the need to sensitize media on the conservation of Tigers was emphasized.

The workshop ended with a feedback session headed by Dr. Ravi Chellam. The participants candidly spoke of the few aspects of the workshop that needed rethinking and readjustments while lauding many others they appreciated, such as the availability and approachability of conservation connoisseurs like Dr Chellam and Mr. Dattatri.

C.R. Jayaprakash gave away the vote of thanks thus calling the workshop to a close. He announced special prizes to the participants who take the message gathered from the workshop to the Media. Any news items in mainline dailies, Short films/Documentaries or even Posters on Tiger Conservation made by the participants would be awarded with prizes worth Rs.5,000. The cut off date for submission was announced as May 31, 2011.

Educate Yourself about the Tiger!

Members Speak

RWH on a war footing by the Serai Group in Bandipur, India

RWH on a war footing by the Serai Group in Bandipur, India

Marianne de Nazareth


Walking out of my room, slinging my camera over my shoulder, my eyes were greeted with a riot of flaming magenta and red bougainvillea, flowering just outside the front door of my cottage, in The Serai, Bandipur.


It was a dry fresh 7a.m. filled with liquid birdsong, as I walked along a path with Manjunath BS the Maintenance Engineer and Imran Ali Khan, naturalist of The Serai Bandipur resort. Fresh water is a precious commodity here as it is in the scrub region of the jungle. Jungle Babblers and Bulbuls in their hundreds, made their noisy presence felt, and as I brushed past the bamboo leaves drops of dew wet my arms and blouse.


“Look at the deep trench that we have dug along the path,” said Manjunath.“We have to conserve every drop of rainwater that falls here as the hills beyond, prevent the clouds from bringing us liberal quantities of rain. These trenches carry the rain water to ponds and percolation pits which are 10 feet by 20 feet and which are used to recharge our 18 bore-wells.”


The base of the pit if filled with a layer of sand and jelly through which the rain water percolates and then goes down to recharge the bore-wells. “We spend 10 to 15 thousand on each pit but we can conserve over 40 thousand litres of water with recharging the pits. Above the sand and jelly we put a layer of leaves and small branches just to prevent the water from getting evaporated,” he says.


“Without rain water harvesting most of our bore-wells went dry,” said Imran ,“that is because we are 902 metres above sea level and so our bore-wells go dry even at depths of a 1000 metres. RWH helps to recharge these bore-wells and the channels and trenches help to guide this water run off directly to where it should percolate down into the soil.”


“Our resort is spread over 18 acres and we don’t want a drop of the precious rain water to go out of it. So you can see the channels and trenches criss -cross the property and carry the water via pipes under the paths to where it is collected in pits.”


The Serai group is very organised and keep a log of the rainwater which has been harvested at the property over the last four years. They require 22 thousand litres per day when the resort is at full occupancy. They even channelise the grey water of baths and kitchens to a Sewage treatment plant, before the treated water, is used to water the garden and the trees.


This is the only way forward say both Manjunath and Imran and it is heartening to note that instead of just buying tankers of water and depleting the ground water elsewhere which is the norm in India, the resort has its own RWH system already in place, even though it is barely a year into its operations. For details contact: Coffee Day Resorts Pvt. Ltd., Coffee Day Square, Vittal Mallaya Road, Bangalore, Ph: 4001 2345 or Marianne de Nazareth

Marianne de Nazareth writes a blog at

News and Views

News and Views

News..........and ...........Views
-Susan Sharma

Three tigers found dead in Corbett National park..  suspected cause : poisoning.    With human animal conflict reaching unbearable heights and the DNA of the animal weakening due to lack of space and absence of corridors between forests, not to talk of tourists hounding the animal like paparazzi, the future of our national animal looks bleak.   

In this scenario, we are publishing two different articles  -both reports on efforts to save the tiger,  Titled "Save Wild Tigers-efforts Abroad" and " Save Wild Tigers-efforts in India " these efforts however far apart and contextual  need to be repeated and repeated with resonance.   Wildlife in India can be saved only when each one of us feels the need to save it.  

"You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing — that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something."

The above lines were spoken by Richard Feynman, Nobel prize winning Physicist.

Does the world of birds fascinate you?  Learn more about them by doing an online course from BNHS.

Does the world of snakes fascinate you?  Learn more about them by doing an online course from BNHS.

Does the world of insects fascinate you?  Learn more about them by doing an online course from BNHS.

Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has been documenting the natural history of India for the last 130 years.

With its carefully preserved archives and research scientists of international repute, BNHS is the place to go to for a well rounded understanding of India's nature and wildlife. 

Hope more and more of our members will take up the online courses and will know the "difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something."

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