Green sense of humor

Environmental protection is a serious topic, and so are many other issues we face every day. Yet, in all seriousness, humor has a way to get the point across. This blog post introduces people who are spreading the message of environmental protection through their sense of humor. These are environmentalists who are making people laugh with their art and wit.

Vasu Primlani: Indian stand-up comedian and environmentalist.

Rohan Chakraborty: India’s wildlife and environmental cartoonist.

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Dallas Goldtooth: Environmental activist who uses comedy to help stop oil pipelines.

“The angry Indian activist character, I think, is hilarious. I actively choose to go about my organizing in a different manner.” – Dallas Goldtooth.

Penny Walker: Stand-up comedian, facilitator, coach, consultant.

A part of Sustainable Stand Up –  a place where you can learn how to convert your ideas to become human, engaging, and deeply funny.

The Ecospot Grand Prize Winner 2007

Q. Generally speaking, sustainability advocates seem to be a serious crowd. Have you got any jokes or one-liners that can bring some levity to our work? Especially ones related to recycling? – Find out the answer on Ask Umbra.

How do you communicate environmental issues and concerns?

2018 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals

I studied the 2018 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals to understand how India, Canada, and the USA are doing. It is safe to assume that this post is going to talk a lot about India because it is a lower middle-income country with a lot of progress to show because from where it is coming from as compared to the other two countries who have already done a lot of progress before. It contains over 180 maps and charts and shows the progress societies are making towards the 17 SDGs. It’s a big report, hence the cherrypicking.

India

  • Home to 260 million people in poverty. No – extreme poverty. Which means all these people do not have the pleasure of basic necessities and facilities.
  • Has the largest number of people practicing open defecation. When I was a kid, I’ve done it too. In fact, hear this. I’ve experienced both open defecation and dirty public toilets. Not during the occasional travels, but for a good 20 years of my life. It was accepted as a way of life. It wasn’t such a bother until I leaped over to the other side of the world that uses good smelling toilets and soft tissue rolls.
  • 100% village electrification achieved – exhilarating to hear about, but it hasn’t reached each and every house.
  • 780 million (59%) people do not have access to clean fuels for cooking. People are now talking about indoor (ambient) air pollution. Although I do enjoy the occasional wood-fired/dung-fired food.
  • Don’t even ask about North India’s air pollution. The area is practically living in soot instead of clean air.
  • Forest cover has been slightly increasing.
  • Low CO2 emissions per capita.
  • More than 9% animal species threatened.

Canada

  • Forest cover looks steady. As if nothing is growing, nothing is dying.

USA

  • Increase in patents being designed to encourage innovation by providing incentives for research and development.
  • Alongside China, it collects the most municipal waste, the majority of which makes its way to landfills.
  • High CO2 emissions per capita.
  • Forest cover has been slightly increasing.
  • 16% animal species threatened.

It is not a competition. This report is calling for harmony. It is an in-depth and compelling report to read. I encourage you to read it and learn even more insights into our world today, such as:

  • 71% of the world gets safely managed drinking water.
  • One-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted.
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have been growing steadily.
  • Fish stocks are increasingly overfished.
  • Activities on land are causing marine dead zones.
  • Only about 7% of the world’s ocean area is designated as marine protected area, officially reserved for long-term conservation.
  • Oceans are warmer and more acidic because of climate change.
  • Globally, about 14% of the land is protected as national park, wildlife preserve, or a similar designation.
  • China’s forest cover has been growing substantially.
  • Over half of assessed plant species and one-quarter of assessed animal species are threatened.

Sustainable consumption and lifestyle in modern times – My research paper is out!

 

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The Hulk face of accomplishment

 

For the first time, I tried to write a research paper, and the journal accepted it. “Sustainable consumption and lifestyle in modern times” was the subject of my research. Published by AIMS Journal of Research. Such a delight!

This paper looks at the advances in sustainable consumption & lifestyles and the current trends of material consumption in our day to day lives globally. It showcases the ripple effect of consumption and therefore our resources on people, industries, countries, our planet and outer space. The goal is to identify the influences of and on individuals and collective consumption patterns, and the consequences thereof on our finite and non-renewable material resources. Making linkages to the human psychology, mass media, politics and trade, living standards, education, culture, social groups, demography, urbanization and accessibility, health and wellbeing, technology, certifications and labels, and activism, provides insights into consumers’ buying behaviour. Balancing economic growth, environmental concerns, and improved quality of life for all remains to be the challenge. Global movements in the form of green lifestyles, the boycott of Black Friday, and fair trade show shifting patterns in the consumer culture towards a more conscious society. Value-based businesses are developing relationships with the community for a positive impact through value-based management strategies, and consumers are buying products that are aligning with certain values. Industries are integrating circular and sharing economy; and sustainable production and consumption (SCP) practices in their operations. The knowledge of consumption patterns and influencing factors can be input to policy analysis and technological solutions to challenges to our sustenance.

Wouldn’t have been possible hadn’t Dr Sharma introduced me to this Journal.

Download:

Copy of the issue.

Is population control overrated?

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Source

In my very first blog post, ‘Major Challenges to Sustainability‘, puts the population on the top of the list. In such a case, if all of us stopped consuming like we do, will we still run out of resources? Will we have alleviated poverty and famine? Will we have eliminated all other issues just by tackling this one? Is population, the most significant challenge in the world?

I’m pinning two works of thoughts that go against the grain to try to answer these questions. First is from a review of a book called Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation by Amartya Sen and second is from a book It’s Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear by Gregg Easterbrook.

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This is a JSTOR article. You can read 6 articles for free for every 30 day period when you sign up.
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Visit your nearest library to read thought-provoking books.

Are we running out of resources? We have a lot of resources, but we are not managing them well. Are we running out of time? When it comes to climate change, yes we are. Climate change could cause a lack of access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

Above all, is population control the panacea? I don’t think so. If we could only manage our time and resources well, we could do a lot better. Just think about how much time and resources we waste and how much we could save by working together – through efficient management and knowledge transfer.

What are your thoughts?

Sustainability in my city

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Newton is one of the six town centres of the city in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

Since I first came to Surrey, a few months back, I wasn’t sure I liked it. Then I realised that I felt the same about New Jersey when I moved there from India. It takes some time getting used to a place. The more I’ve gotten to know Surrey, the more it is growing on me. I like the climate, it is warmer than New Jersey. I get to visit Vancouver, the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen. Public transportation is back into my life, though I do miss driving. Top that up with the city’s desire to grow sustainably – caring for the environment and the people.

Surrey’s Sustainability Charter 2.0 has eight overlapping themes:

  1. Inclusion: A caring community that encourages a sense of belonging and access to opportunity for all Surrey residents to realize their full potential.
  2. Built environment and neighbourhoods: A beautiful, accessible and well-connected city of distinct and complete neighbourhoods that are walkable, engaging and resilient.
  3. Public Safety: A city in which all people live, work and play in a safe and engaging environment.
  4. Economic Prosperity and Livelihoods: Continued prosperity and thriving livelihoods and a strong, equitable and diverse economy.
  5. Ecosystems: Healthy, protected and well-maintained ecosystems and biodiversity.
  6. Education and Culture: Access to diverse, high-quality learning opportunities, and vibrant arts, heritage and cultural experiences for all Surrey residents.
  7. Health and Wellness: A community in which all residents are healthy, active and connected.
  8. Infrastructure: Effective infrastructure and services that meet the current and future needs of the city, while protecting the natural environment and supporting urban growth.

It takes these high-level goals and sees what they look like at a neighbourhood level through Newton: Sustainability in Action (NSIA), a neighbourhood-wide pilot project to engage residents in identifying ways to make Newton a more thriving, green, and inclusive community.

City of Surrey has made community engagement a part of everything they do. This makes newcomers like me so welcome and wanting to be a part of it all. When I went to the NSIA event, an electric vehicle in the parking lot caught my attention first. It was one of the 8 electric Nissan Leaf vehicles that the City operates as part of their Corporate vehicle fleet.

As I entered into the lobby, it was easy to notice the hustle and bustle, an unusual sight for the recreation centre’s entrance. The greeters invited me in and were glad I came in exclusively for the event. They walked me through the various activities I could take part in. A lot of volunteers made sure everyone had a chance to engage.

  • Adding your wishes to the Wishing Box for a sustainable Newton and a chance to win $100
  • Gallery walk of neighbourhood action poster ideas
  • Conversation tables to chat about your plans with others
  • Children’s’ activities
  • A light dinner to fuel your thoughts
  • Writing ideas on boards
  • An activity corner for public art. It was great to see art being used to raise awareness and engage everyone.

I enjoyed being a part of this event and I look forward to seeing how ideas turn into action! What is your city doing to be sustainable? Comment below.

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