Wounded earth air pollution

Wounded Earth - Effects of Air Pollution

By Dr Shashi K | Feb 07, 2019 | 0 Comments

Air pollution is not merely a threat to our health but a reminder that our most celebrated technological achievements are in fact environmental failures. Be it automobiles or jet planes or power plants, they are all guzzling down precious fossil fuels. Some ways to reduce pollution include energy conservation, switching to renewables, and following the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle.

Labour Care = The Human Factor

By Dr. Shashi K | APR 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

Our urban scene anywhere in India appears like a permanent construction site. All along the construction sites, the lesser privileged live in temporary accommodations. Most of these people are the victims of the vagaries of the weather or early victims of climate change related droughts who come to cities for some opportunities. Labor care therefore is one of the most important considerations that we as a construction firm are completely committed to.

Which Electric Vehicles Are Available In India

Diesel, Petrol, or Electric Vehicle: How Can I Decide Which Is Best For Me?

By Dr Shashi K | Apr 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

Electric vehicle has been a human fancy for a long time. However, never before the urgency to have electric vehicles as mainstream vehicle had been more than in recent times. This is particularly significant as electric vehicles are clean energy vehicles and something that can help wean us away from our fossil fuel addiction. Electric vehicles are also non-polluting and will propel urban ecosystems to become cleaner and better.

Why Should We Use Star Rated Appliances?

By Dr. Shashi K | Mar 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

A higher star rated appliance will assure you save money for the life of the appliance. A monthly saving of just 200 units would put Rs.1,700 in your pocket at current electricity rates. Over ten years this means Rs.2,04,000 and over 25 years this means Rs. 5,10,000, factor in this cost when you buy a new appliance. While earlier it was difficult to understand the energy efficiency quotient of appliances, now the star ratings helps us understand the potential of savings directly.

Star rated
Why is it important for everyone to know about Biodiversity-1

Biodiversity Loss and What We Can Do About It?

By Dr Shashi K | Mar 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

We are losing some of our unique ecological niches because of the direct and indirect disturbances that we humans create in our ecosystem. As a result of the changes in land use, pollution, global warming, and physical destruction of ecosystems, species are getting extinct. Although extinction of species is a natural Darwinian process, the rate at which the species are getting extinct now is unprecedented. It is entirely possible to stop the accelerated loss of biodiversity by making changes in our life-style. And it’s all……… worth it.    

Why Is Renewable Energy Important? Types of Renewables

By Dr. Shashi K | Mar 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

Nothing, perhaps nothing else that matters so much is more appropriately named than how energy is classified. Embedded in the name of renewables is the core of what renewable energy delivers. It is the form of energy that can be renewed endlessly as it makes use of the resources that are a part and parcel of the Earth’s natural system, be it oceans and tides, water, wind, sunlight and even accessible heat energy stored in the Earth.

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Indoor Air Quality

By Dr Shashi K | Mar 07, 2019 | 0 Comments

Indoor air quality is mostly an undervalued asset as there is very little awareness about its correlation with overall health and well-being. Outdoor quality contributes to it to some extent, but many indoor air pollutants are not really suspected as cause of pollution that can be harmful to humans. Biological, chemical and particle pollution can create significant distress to all humans especially most vulnerable sections of the society just as newly born babies and old people. 

Organic Gardening - Vertical, Terrace, and Regular Gardens

By Dr. Shashi K | Feb 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

Gardening offers some less visible, but equally sustaining benefits - whether it is a vertical garden, a kitchen garden, a backyard garden or a roof-top garden. Home gardening helps close the loop from organic waste to compost to growing vegetables. It not only helps in reducing the heat gain on the roof/terrace and other areas at home but also contributes to enriched soil and reduced landfill waste. Besides, eating fresh fruits and vegetables immediately after harvesting assures high level of nutrition and satisfaction.

Organic Gardening
Conventional Water Treatment-1

What is Wrong with the Conventional Water Treatment Options: What are the Alternatives?

By Dr Shashi K | Feb 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

Waste water treatment has traditionally been the responsibility of municipal corporations, but due to water scarcity it is now mandatory for industrial and residential developments to treat sewage before releasing it. Conventional treatment of grey water requires oxygenation, which is energy consuming and generates large amounts of sludge that needs responsible disposing. On the other hand, a plant-based system (Phytorid) is a tried and tested technology that achieves the same results at minimal cost without expending energy or using harmful chemicals.

Is Solar PV A Feasible Solution For Our Power Needs?

By Dr. Shashi K | Feb 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

Reduce or eliminate energy bills. Earn tax credits and rebates. Start savings from Day 1. Help the environment and help us all. Solar power systems derive clean, pure energy from the sun. Installing solar panels at home helps combat greenhouse gas emissions and reduces our collective dependence on fossil fuel. Traditional electricity is sourced from fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. For a country with abundant sunshine and poor connectivity, using solar power to generate electricity clearly appears to be the way to go!

solar power panel
Wounded earth air pollution

Wounded Earth - Effects of Air Pollution

By Dr Shashi K | Feb 07, 2019 | 0 Comments

Air pollution is not merely a threat to our health but a reminder that our most celebrated technological achievements are in fact environmental failures. Be it automobiles or jet planes or power plants, they are all guzzling down precious fossil fuels. Some ways to reduce pollution include energy conservation, switching to renewables, and following the principles of reduce, reuse and recycle.

Organic Outlets in the City of Hyderabad

By Seetha Anand | Nov 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

In the last decade or so, there has been a rise in the number of organic stores and farmers bazaars in the city of Hyderabad. This has been the trend world over and the twin cities have caught up on it too. Today there are many players in the market.

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Vegan Options in the City of Hyderabad

By Seetha Anand | Nov 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

Veganism is slowly but surely catching up in the city of Hyderabad. A vegan diet means no dairy, eggs, honey, meat, poultry or fish -- abstinence from all animal products. People turn vegans for reasons of health, prevention of animal cruelty and for environmental protection.

Biodiversity Loss and What We Can Do About It?

Mar 21, 2019 9:19:46 AM / by Dr Shashi K

What is Biodiversity?

What is biodiversity

Simply said, biodiversity is the variety of life on earth. It is short for biological diversity.

The main idea behind biodiversity is the interdependence of the plants, animals, birds, insects, microbes, etc. for their survival.

The more number of different species per square foot at any place implies higher biodiversity as compared to lesser variety and more number of one or two species.


Why is Biodiversity So Important?

Why is biodiversity so important

The earth is home to millions of species, with estimates ranging from 10 million to 100 million.

Of these, only about 1.7 million species have been recorded and identified (Guardian, 2019).

With so many species around, it does seem like the loss of a few species here and there should not affect the balance of ecosystem significantly.

But in reality, each organism has its place in the complex web of life, and the loss of even one link can lead to a dysfunctional ecosystem.

The following example can illustrate this point better.

In the Yellowstone National Park, the population of wolves started to decline rapidly in the 1930s. This led to an increase in the elk population, as there were fewer predators (wolves) to prey on the elk.

This in turn caused overgrazing in Yellowstone and a subsequent decrease in the Willow trees was observed. In the 1990s, wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone.

What followed was a decrease in the elk population and an increase in the Willow growth!

While this is a simple example highlighting only 3 species, there are many more species that are affected in this chain.

For example, the micro-organisms and insect populations that feed on the dead elk, or the effect that overgrazing has on the soil properties should also be considered.

While sometimes our attention may go to species that are nearby, what about far off species that get impacted by actions that we take in our backyard.

Thermal power stations and incessant use of fossil fuels and dependence on private automobiles is contributing to climate change and guess what, because of our actions in our countries, polar bears are losing their habitat.

As the ice goes on melting, what polar bears call homes will not remain. The dominance of a type of species on the planet which is Homo sapiens may ultimately lead to huge destruction of habitats in various ecological niches for millions of species.

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Why Some Species Fall Under Endangered or Threatened Category?

Why some species fall under the category of endangered or threatened category

IUCN (International Union for conservation of Nature) is entrusted to list the species that are on the verge of getting extinct.

To put the problem in perspective it may be important to know that species in the wild are just 3 percent of the total number of total species and the species that are domesticated account for 97% of the total fauna.

As the linkages and interdependence of species is explained above, even one missing link can lead to wiping out of a large number of species.

IUCN Red list elaborates on species that are confirmed to be extinct, or extinct in the wild, or critically endangered or endangered or vulnerable or near threatened, or least concern or data deficient.

Maintaining these listings with the help of a global network accounts for action on species that need protection or special intervention.

Indian bustard, Siberian crane, Indian owlet, Spotted Malabar civet, Ganges river dolphin and one horned rhinoceros and red crowned roof turtle are species that require intervention in India.

White crowned hornbill, Amsterdam albatross, Java sparrow require intervention in other parts of the world.


Why is it Important for Everyone to Know About Biodiversity?

Why is it important for everyone to know about Biodiversity

If everyone makes connect with nature it is easy for everyone to understand the importance of biodiversity and interdependence of different species to each other.

A case in point is the extinction of pollinating species because of climate change, that is bound to create and drive further damage to eco-systems.

There is intrinsic value of biodiversity that we cannot put a price on, however, biodiversity loss may cause lot of damage to potential research in medicines (if we lose species at the rate at which we are losing now) and ecosystem services.

According to some estimates the benefits of biodiversity in terms of monetary value may run into trillions (Guardian, 2019).

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What Can I Do To Help?

What can I do to help

Several years ago, my cousin who was visiting from Bangalore was shocked to see sparrows nesting inside our home in a small town in Chhattisgarh.

That was the first time she was seeing a sparrow! In trying to keep our houses clean, we have ensured that no birds can make their way into our houses and build their nests in the nooks and corners of our home.

It is of course understandable that in cities there are security concerns which prevent us from keeping our doors and windows open.

Moreover, many apartments in big cities now have meshes to keep away the horde of pigeons that threaten to destroy everything in their path!

But wouldn’t it be nice to spare one part of the apartment complex, perhaps the garden or the trees in general, where birds could freely build their nests and keep warm?

The other issue for small birds like sparrows is to find food in cities.

Hanging containers outside your balconies that contain uncooked rice or some other bird feed might help these birds avoid having to fly long distances in the polluted air of the cities.

Such containers could also be placed near trees or in the garden in your apartment complex.

During the hot Indian summers, it might be really helpful to keep a cup of water in the balcony and ensure that it is filled at all times. It can be harder for birds to find clean water than to find food in cities (isn’t that true for us too?).

If you are a member of the executive committee of your homeowners’ association, you might have come across suggestions to “trim” down tree branches in the interest of having more sunlight, or even aesthetics.

However, it is these bushy tree branches that many species of birds and insects call home.

Please keep that in mind the next time you come across such a suggestion!


Dr Shashi K

Written by Dr Shashi K

Dr Shashi K is a sustainability professional with degrees in Environmental Management from Oxford University. She has experience working in Sustainability and on Green Buildings, Water, Energy and Reporting and is currently CEO of SAGE Sustainability, a consulting firm working in the field of social and environmental issues. Dr Shashi believes that the construction sector can be the foremost enabler in moving towards low carbon living.