March 11, 2007
Ant hill in the premises
Nature lovers’ haven in the outskirts of Mumbai
A short two hours drive from Mumbai takes one to Dattatreya Ashram, a dream come true of Prakash
Tendulkar, mountaineer, swimmer, yoga exponent, Sanskrit scholar, nature and medicinal plant enthusiast and civil servant; and of his wife, Jyotsna, mountaineer, trekker, storehouse of Maharashtrian cuisine and folklore
and professor of Statistics in a leading Mumbai College.
With the help of an architect from Kalyan, Mumbai, Prakash was able to finalise the design of the ashram - the Geodesic dome, surrounded
by 10 comfortable dwelling rooms, laid out in the form of a “lotus opening out”.
At the entrance to the Ashram are a massive Mahua tree and 3 teak trees, originals of the plot before Prakash came there. Almost
no tree was cut in the layout of the Ashram, but ever so many were planted!
Over 150 types of medicinal plans thrive in the plant beds. A start had been made with 33 varieties that were already in the farm
– which were identified and labeled.
There are varieties of trees, there is a solar cooker,
the farm has its own cows, with calf; and Nandi the bull, till Prakash gave it away to a farmer who had lost his own. The farm also has Bambi the dog, ever ready to welcome visitors, and sundry birds, cobras, monitor lizards, rodents, insects, wild boars,
rabbits, nature’s bounty!
There is a pebble walk, paved with pebbles collected from different rivers in India and even from the banks of Manasarovar, in Tibet. “The idea
is that a walk down the pebble path can bring to the walker the benefit of visiting all the rivers and Manasarover too”, quips Prakash.
Prakash and Jyotsna would love to have you over. Just drop them a line, at
( Text and photographs-S.Ananthanarayanan)
March 11, 2007
Clean energy, ................is 2.3% of the US electricity market.
The 2.3% breaks down the following way:
1.5% from bio-mass
0.44% from wind
0.36% for geothermal
0.01% for solar power.
The other 97.7%?
19.1% natural gas
Wow. 97.7% is non-renewable, with 50% carbon spewing coal.
March 11, 2007
Will the Asiatic lion go extinct in the wild during our lifetime? Read what experts and concerned individuals have to say on the ground realities by clicking
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.