March 09, 2007
Reactions from ASSAM
.....The tribal bodies are doubtful about the efficacy of the new Act in protecting fully the interests of the tribal people as successive governments in Dispur have failed in the past to protect the tribal belt and blocks, leading to the alienation of the
tribal people from their ancestral land. Secondly, they fear that non-traditional forest dwellers, such as immigrant settlers, might take advantage of the ambiguity in the nomenclature "other forest dwellers" in the new Act to claim occupancy rights. Thirdly,
they say that the new Act has not taken into account tribal customary laws, which are essential to protect both forest and tribal rights. ........
........Environment protection groups, on the other hand, fear that if the rights enshrined in the new Act are granted without responsibility, they will prove to be detrimental to the existence of the forest cover and result in increasing human pressure
on the remaining forest land. They point out that encroachment of forest land in many areas of the State received political patronage, and express the apprehension that some politicians may now take advantage of the provisions of the new Act to encourage more
organised encroachment. "The tribal organisations should come forward to shoulder the responsibility to ensure that the rights provided in the new Act are not misused to degrade forest land," said Dr. Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, secretary-general of Aranyak, a
leading organisation in the field of biodiversity conservation in northeastern India. ..................
March 09, 2007
March 09, 2007
March 07, 2007
"My parents have always been opposed to buying a TV and they were trying to explain to us the reasons why they were not falling in line with the TV-buying public.
We couldn’t understand all their arguments until they finally put it to us this way: TV is for those who will never get to experience the real thing. Do you want to actually visit, some day, all those beautiful places they show on TV, or would you rather be
happy with just seeing them on the screen? The choice simply put was: Buy a TV, or travel around instead. We chose travel. And I am proud to say that till today we have never allowed the idiot box space in our house. We have travelled instead to almost all
parts of India. I learnt snake catching in Pune, handled crocodiles in Mamallapuram, studied spiders and earthworms in Chennai and even travelled to Thailand and Malaysia in my quest to learn more about reptiles. All of which I managed to do because I never
sat in front of a TV."
Read the full article by Rahul Alvares, a young snake rescuer from Goa, who has recently won the ’Young Naturalist Award’ given from Sanctuary Magazine by clicking
March 06, 2007
IIT Mumbai, Powai, is saving electricity on a daily basis and it’s being done with a few thousand square feet of mirrors, discovers Piali Banerjee
The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) is doing it with mirrors
nowadays. There’s an initiative to save electricity on a daily basis in IIT,
Powai, and it’s simply being done with a few thousand square feet of
There are 12 faculty offices in the mechanical department of IIT where
using tube lights during the day is passé. Diffused sunlight is used
instead. (Like most offices, these too are designed in a way where
artificial light is needed all day.)
"Saving electricity is more important than producing it. That’s why we
decided to use the sunlight with the help of mirrors," says Chetan Solanki,
who hit upon the idea and set up mirrors in his own office, only to find
many of his colleagues asking for deflected sunlight in their rooms, too.
So, today he’s a busy man, organising mirrors for everyone.
"I’ve just received a fresh consignment of mirrors, so I’m ready to do up
10 more offices," he says.
So, how do the mirrors actually work? "A long panel of mirrors is fixed
above the windows of the office, facing the floor. This deflects the
sunlight from outside, onto the ceiling of the room. The ceiling being
white, and not-so-smooth, this light is dispersed to the rest of the room,"
"One more mirror is placed near the ceiling, which can actually redirect
the reflected sunlight bang on to the desk. Since this is diffused light, it
brings no heat with it."
For a 10 by 15 sq ft office, you need about 15 sq feet of mirrors, at a
cost of Rs 30 per sq ft. Since every office is fitted with two tube lights,
for a working day of eight hours, this ’mirrorwork’ saves 700 Watthours of
electricity, which works out to Rs 3 saving per day. It takes about six
months to recover the cost of the mirrors… After that, it’s a free lunch
Source: Mumbai Mirror dated 6March 2007
February 27, 2007
In February, 2007 scientists from around the world kicked off the Amphibian Ark project, a global campaign to protect the world’s vanishing amphibian species from a ravenous killer fungus, widespread habitat loss and exposure to pollution and global warming.
Project organizers are asking zoos, botanical gardens and aquariums around the world to each take in at least 500 frogs from a threatened local species to protect them from the killer fungus, chytrid.
February 25, 2007
Green Tech: Eco Software
Environmental degradtion affects everyone; is being
caused-in varying degrees- by everyone; and demands
some action from everyone. Some of these actions
could be as simple as switching off the lights when no
one is around, or aligning the text in a document before
printing for optimal usage of paper, or turning off a
computer monitor when the machine is not in use. Yet,
few care to do these in today’s high-pressure work
environment. This is where software comes to
GreenPrint: It’s a software application that sits
between a web browser and printer to make web pages
printer friendly before it gets printed. While printing a
web page, it’s not uncommon to find that a whole page
has been used just to print a single line (often the url of
the page), or patches of ink for an advertisment. The
application automatically removes the ads and aligns the
text optimally. And thus saves paper.
Surveyor:It promises to reduce a computer network’s
energy consumption by putting PVs into low - power
status when users are away or switching them off during
non-work hours. A PC consumes 588kwH of electricity
every year on average. and managing it could cut upto
200 kwH .
Such software need not necessarily reside in computers. They could be embedded into other systems too.
February 22, 2007
Selling the Tiger to Save it?
"Enforcement of wildlife laws in China is lax, one of the main reasons that smuggling is so rampant and this laxity will extend to the tiger farms rendering any system of monitoring ineffetive. In the event of the lifting of the ban on trading in tiger parts,
laundering of wild animals through legal channels will thus be the more than likely outcome."
Dr. Xu Hongfa, China Director of TRAFFIC agreed with Indian wildlife experts that farmed tigers will always be more expensive than poached ones, doing little to dampen the profitability of poaching.
What the Chinese government really needs to be focussing on is habitat conservation, Dr.u says. He blames the dramatic depletion of China’s tigers on an equally dramatic loss of habitat for the animals as a result of deforestation and expansion of large-
scale agriculture. Until some of its natural environment is brought back, no amount of breeding will save the wild tiger, he concludes.
Source: The Hindu dated 21/02/07
February 20, 2007
“In India, as in China, stimulating an interest in nature is a task of the utmost and immediate importance. With both economies growing at rates of around ten percent
a year, whole ecosystems risk being destroyed. In India the most recent example is the famed bird reserve of Bharatpur. The increased demand for water in Rajasthan has lead to the diversion of the water supply from Bharatpur, the winter home of 70,000 migatory
birds, or rather what was the winter home of 70,000. Since the local river was re-channeled the birds don’t come anymore….
In Britain surveys have found that 85% of respondents have stated that they learn most about their environment from television. Patently India is not necessarily
a direct parallel, however there is no doubt that television could have a positive role to play in creating awareness among India’s 1.1 billion people. A sizeable proportion of the population do not have access to television, but hundreds of millions do. It
is vital then that a strong and vibrant natural history industry evolves to supply this huge market with home grown films to reinforce the sense of wonder and respect for nature that needs to be there, so it can be defended…..
………….In my personal view creating air time on Indian channels is vital to generate a successful Indian wildlife film industry not merely as a platform to sell to
American channels but also help preserve India’s wildlife treasures…”
Jeremy Bristow, award winning environmental film producer
February 13, 2007
When one talks about E-governance for conservation, most of us dismiss the idea as one whose time has not come.
But an article I read at the following link called
the 100 dollar un-pc
reassures me that the day is not far when we can achieve that.
The article talks about the revolutionary product Nova net tv which is a PC costing less than Rs 5000/-
Rajesh Jain, co-founder of Novatium
says that in India’s PC market there are 10 million relatively wealthy Indians at the "top of the pyramid" who buy computers just like consumers in developed countries. There are an additional 30 million urban Indians at the "middle of the pyramid" and
100 million very poor Indians at the "bottom of the pyramid." "What we are saying is how can you dramatically bring down the entry levels for computing in this country and make it accessible to the middle of the pyramid?" he says.
Novatium’s approach has been to completely redesign the computer, slashing costs while keeping the form and functions typical
of a top-end PC. Once it’s set up, it doesn’t look all that different from a conventional PC—the basic box plus a keyboard and monitor. It installs and operates as simply as a television—you plug it in and switch it on. And the money doesn’t come from government
budgets or philanthropic largesse, but from Jain’s profit-oriented business model.
The concept owner and cofounder Prof. Jhunjhunwala and researchers at IIT came up with a plan that builds on the "thin client" concept
that has been popular in the West for years, but only for business applications. It uses a cheap microprocessor and removes the hard disk, CD/DVD drive and other costly and problem-prone components, leaving the keyboard, screen and USB port. Easier to maintain
than regular PCs, sales of thin-client PCs to businesses are growing at about 20 percent a year in developed nations, even as sales of regular PCs flatten. Instead of working backward from the PC, Jhunjhunwala pioneered a new architecture from the ground up,
replacing the expensive microprocessor with the guts of a mobile phone—thus tapping a supercompetitive industry with enormous economies of scale. In 2003, Jain and Jhunjhunwala cofounded Novatium, along with Analog Devices Chairman Ray Stata, with the aim
of taking thin-client computers into the home market.
Read the full article which appeared in News Week International at