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Saving the planet earth, including our own Bangalore – an Architects view point and contributions

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Jayaraj Sunderesan an Architect and consultant in iihs is currently working towards his PhD in London school of economics. IIHS [1] campus is coming up in Kengeri near Bangalore. It will be an Indian Institute of town planning in Bangalore. 

“IIHS will create India’s first independent National Innovation University focused on the challenges and opportunities of its urbanization. This will be a privately funded globally-ranked education and action-oriented research institution at par with the celebrated Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). The IIHS will host an integrated program of high quality education, research and knowledge generation, executive training, distance learning, design and advisory services, advocacy and intervention.” 

Growth rate in Bangalore has been highest in the recent times. It has strong lake based ecology which can contribute to sustainable drinking water. Jairaj started with the basic concept of a “three axis of sustainability”. These could be Equitability, Social Harmony and Environmental safety. Jairaj emphasized the fact that sustainability is a political issue, as it is to garner the support of people to save the planet earth from the brink of extinction due to human greed.   

Equitable is being fair to all parties as dictated by reason and conscience.  One should be free from favoritism or self-interest or bias or deception, conforming to established standards or rules. Legally or ethically right inequitable division of wealth is of importance. Showing lack of favoritism, with the cold neutrality of an impartial judge is hard to come by. Taxation also needs to equitable, to keep the balance between the rich and the poor. He mentioned about Arundhati Roys musings [2] on Maoism [3] which is conspicuous as a solitary opinion which stands out for the very same reason. 

Capitol flow due to government priorities can be a sour point. The example of Commonwealth games fiasco [4] was sighted by Mr. Jairaj. Such discrepancies can be an impediment to social harmony. Religious conflicts are other sources of tension for otherwise harmonious communities. There is a need to think from basics and a historical perspective. 

While sustainable has become a popular theme now a days, one need to understand what and whose life and rights are to be sustained. Sustainable is popular because every body looks at his own priority. Sustainable means capable of being sustained, capable of being maintained at a steady level without exhausting natural resources or causing severe ecological damage. Sustainable development should be non-inflationary by nature and design. 

Mr. Sunderesan took an interesting example of a person having 20,000sq ft of house which can be cause economic conflicts. 

Rachel Carson's Silent Spring book [5] in Pdf format is available on the web.

Rachel Louise Carson ">[6] (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964) was an American marine biologist and nature writer whose writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement

Scattered reports of problems with pesticides had appeared in the technical Literature from the fifties onwards, but it was only in 1962 that a wide-ranging Critique of pesticides was published for a popular audience. Brought out by a Major trade press, this book charted the tremendous increase in the production And use of these chemicals since World War 2, and documented their failings. Focusing On chlorinated hydrocarbons and DDT in particular; it described their Physiological effects, their impact on human health and wildlife, and the Inadequacy of existing pesticide regulation. Antibiotics are similar in nature of the pesticides. Enough Care has to be exercised in the usage of Antibiotics. Rapidly growing population is a challenge to life support resources of nature. 

Rich are higher consumers than the poor. Thus slums and the poor are the assets of a nation. This brings us to the scale issue. The 20000 sft house is an example of greed than need cutting into the carrying capacity of the earth. [6.1] 

UN Conference Stock Holm 1972. [7] 

The mood that time was “Not even a good present so why worry about future”.

Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment

The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, having met at Stockholm from 5 to 16 June 1972, having considered the need for a common outlook and for common principles to inspire and guide the peoples of the world in the preservation and enhancement of the human environment, 

“The Brundtland Commission, formally the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), known by the name of its Chair Gro Harlem Brundtland, was convened by the United Nations in 1983. The commission was created to address growing concern "about the accelerating deterioration of the human environment and natural resourcesand the consequences of that deterioration for economic and social development." In establishing the commission, the UN General Assembly recognized that environmental problems were global in nature and determined that it was in the common interest of all nations to establish policies for sustainable development.” 

Brundtland Commission “Our Common Future” [8] is a Pdf document which is very interesting and educative to read. The wiki article about the same topic is also available. [10] 

Is “Whose future” a political question.  

Rio Declaration on Environment and Development -[9]

 “The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Having met at Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992, Reaffirming the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, adopted at Stockholm on 16 June 1972, and seeking to build upon it, With the goal of establishing a new and equitable global partnership through the creation of new levels of cooperation among States, key sectors of societies and people,”

Rio declaration of 1972 is a legally binding document 

Ecological Foot print Of Vancouver is 180 times the area of Vancouver. It is different than Carbon foot print. No closed society is sustainable. Only renewable expenditure of the planets resources can be sustainable. The fallacy in costing of major projects is the fact that Carbon is not priced in the costing. The mall costs for example do not take into account increase in transport and hence Carbon foot print. 

Human Development Index [HDI] vs Bhutan comes up regularly. But Bhutan is not a Democratic country 

Happiness and public Policy [11] 

“This volume discusses the determinants of happiness and presents case studies of how public policy can help promote happiness. Happiness is a private matter and individual pursuit, however public policy does have an important role and can contribute much through various enabling means. Possible examples of such influence include establishing a set of institutions that allow private enterprises to flourish, investing in infrastructure and in education, protecting people from harm and reducing risks and alleviating pain when harm is unavoidable. This book takes a multidisciplinary approach that encompasses economics, psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science and an international perspective.” 

The environmental movement, [12] a term that includes the conservation and green politics, is a diverse scientific, social, and political movement for addressing genvironmental issues

The Centre's plan to rid cities of slums is of universal interest because even the smallest urban areas have them in one measure or the other. This slum-free plan of the Centre would be of particular interest to Mumbai [ Images ] which has the dubious distinction of being the world's slum capital because more than half the population lives in them.[13] 

The leading discussions moved around points like the following. 

* Does Iran Own the Oil? Who owns the Bauxite in India?

* Bhutan is one of the 10 happiest countries in the world.

* It is possible to reduce Carbon foot print to zero.

* Is Happiness through policy possible?

* Slum dwellers are most innovative. Slum is not a problem but a solution. Slum free cities may not be feasible

* The procurement system is most complex in Bangalore. Hence it is difficult to compile the ecological foot print of the city of Bangalore. Big money needs to be spent if we have to take up this work.

* Green house effect is not modeled fully yet. Earth has warmed 0.7 degrees centigrade since 1900.

* Glaciers are melting

* Who pays for the development?


psaram42's picture

Renewable is sustainable

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It took millions of years on earth before the human species invented the IC engine. During this period the marine life had produced huge quantities of hydrocarbon. It is not known whether there was any attempt to figure out the extent of these hydrocarbon deposits left behind by these dead marine life.

During 1960s government bill boards on Bangalore Roads were pleading the general public to use petrol sparingly as it was estimated to last only for 20 years. However these estimates were proved wrong. The truth of the matter is that there is enough petrol to last for centuries, even if we continue to use this resource at the current rate. However the catch is that global warming is likely to over take us in a couple of centuries with this high rate of fuel consumption. [1] The numbers of cars we are adding each day in Bangalore is alarming! It would an interesting figure to know. What can be more futile than RTI for this? Why instead the registration in fact the whole of RTO transactions be available on public domain web.

There are examples to show that we the humans are capable of averting dooms days in time. One example is CFC commonly known by the name Freon a DuPont trade name. An environmentally safe alternative has been found.

It only shows that the humanity has something up its sleeves, to prove Stephen Hawkins wrong. [2]. only time will tell.

idontspam's picture

Steering wheel & clutch testing center

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Why instead the registration in fact the whole of RTO transactions be available on public domain web

RTO should be renamed "steering wheel & clutch" testing center. They have the same excuses, Dont have enough inspectors and dont have enough knowledge. It will pay to visit that new "state of the art" driver testing center and note how much attention is paid to non steering related driving issues.

Have they marked turn lanes? Do they test for lane adherence? Do they test parallel parking? How do they test for lane merges? Do they test if drivers look behind and wait for clear traffic before reversing? DO they test if the driver is maintaining enough distance with the vehilce in front to be able to see road markings? Do they test when the driver looks in the mirror? Do they test when the indicator is put and when the lane change happens? Do they test if the driver is looking for the blind spot when changing lanes and not pushing into a lane? Do they test if the driver comes to a stop at intersection and waits for traffic to clear before pulling on to the main road? Do they test if the driver is blocking intersection when the traffic on the other side of a traffic signal is full? DO they test if the driver can maintain speed constantly as specified on the road and not racing at his own speed? I am sure it is ZERO on all these parameters.

RTO & BBMP are responsible for the state of our city today. RTO for putting idiots out and BBMP for being unable to build roads (roads are not just asphalt/bitumen). 2/3rd of the 3E's are gone with these people (Education & Engineering).

We need a new warning like the ones on automobile mirrors "Capacity of our roads are larger than they appear"

psaram42's picture

Green Sink Molecular sponge

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 “Deanna D’Alessandro of the University of Sydney displays highly porous three-dimensional solids known as metal-organic frameworks that can filter and capture gases such CO2. (Inset) 3D structure of the sponges” …………..[1]

The normal silencer only silences the sound similar to a series of pistol shot that would result without it. This would be unbearable. Thanks to the silencer invention / design, the sound is muffled so efficiently. However the above technology is only one of the many such ongoing researches. It was heartening to read the above in to days TOI.

Hope the scientific community can now come up with a solution to capture the CO2 as an when it is generated without leaving it in to the atmosphere. Or else the atmosphere can be cleaned of the poisonous gas separately at CO2 removal plants, using solar energy, if need be.

Apart from this IDS comment above was something to cheer as other wise the blog entry was going barren. 

psaram42's picture

IDS is justified in his concern about safe driving:-

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IDS is justified in his concern about safe driving:- 

RTO should be renamed "steering wheel & clutch" testing center. They have the same excuses, Dont have enough inspectors and dont have enough knowledge. It will pay to visit that new "state of the art" driver testing center and note how much attention is paid to non steering related driving issues.” 

While on the issue of enforcement failure of RTO, I would like to bring to the notice of the “Praja” that enforcement is only one arm of the civic triangle. The three arms of a civic triangle are (1) Legislature (2) Enforcement and (3) Judiciary. The Members of the Legislative assembly are the first important arm of the triangle. They have to make the rules of the game. The second arm of the triangle is the Police force, for enforcing the rules of the game. Judiciary is the third and the last arm of the triangle to pronounce judgment over the offenders. To day all the three arms are defunct. 

The Police force is totally corrupt to the advantage of the even more corrupt Legislators. This is a main theme of the TV serials and many films too. The Police get their post by bribing and justify their corruption. The judiciary is defunct too. Justice delayed is justice denied. Justice delayed is justice denied. Hence judiciary is nothing but a mockery of justice. 

The main issue of this thread is about “How to prove Stefan Hawkins wrong” or save the planet, including Bangalore from [Imaginary?] impending doom. 

An emission test cycle, [1] also known as a 'smog change', is a specified procedure for measuring pollutant emissions of engines. For emission measurements to be comparable for different engines in a category, the measurements are performed under a specific operating pattern, or 'test cycle' of alternating high, medium, and low engine load. The test cycle should ideally reflect a 'normal' usage pattern concerning speed and acceleration. Realistic test cycles are instrumental for the environmental integrity of emission standards. It was recently discovered that engine manufacturers would engage in 'cycle beating' to optimize emission performance to the test cycle against which European vehicle emission standards were tested, with the result that real-life emissions would be much higher than expected, undermining the standards and public health.[2]

Periodic emission tests for all road vehicles are mandatory throughout India including the city of Bangalore. The Legislature has made the first step all right. But the enforcement is pathetic. 

TV Channels are monitoring day to day environment pollution levels of major cities of India. Finally world wide emission standards are available.







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