Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Now this is an interesting idea, Sirji!

September 16, 2009

Few days back Washington Post reported about an interesting exercise conducted by MIT Researchers in the city of Seattle – “Researchers track 3000 pieces of Seattle trash” (Registration may be required). Immediately made me think – what an idea, Sirji!

I will let you all read the details of the exercise in the article. However, in summary, this exercise is about tracking where does different types of trash land up once it is tossed out of the house. The assumption behind this study is that we would probably look at our trash in a different way if we had some sense of what finally happens to it. This potentially might affect some changes to our habits of reusing or recycling. Many of us (including myself) today are blissful by the ignorance of how our trash finally affects the environment. May be this exercise might stir us to think in a different way.

I am looking forward to the findings.

[Update, Sep 17, 2009] New York Times also carried a story on the same topic today with lots of new details. You can read it here – “Following Trash and Recyclables on Their Journey“. (Registration may be required)

Is walking more harmful to the Environment than driving?

March 31, 2008

Well, if you read this article (How Virtuous is Ed Begley Jr.?) published in New York Times and you are an environmentalist, you will certainly think about cutting off your walking to save the environment!

The article refers to the recent comments made by Chris Goodall on his web site – “How to live a Low Carbon Life?“. Mr. Goodall is a member of the Green Party in Britain and seems to be a devout environmentalist. The argument which Mr. Goodall makes is that when people walk they consume food. To consume food, food needs to be produced. Production of food is carbon generating activity and hence not environment-friendly. So by doing some numbers mumbo-jumbo, Mr. Goodall has concluded that may be driving is more environment friendly as compared to walking.

Looking at the comments and uproar which are posted on the New York Times article, may be I can argue that writing such articles is also not environment-friendly! So much of electricity would have been consumed by so many people just to vent their feedback on the internet. And I am sure that Mr. Goodall would realize that electricity generation is also not an environment friendly activity!

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Bajaj and Environmentalists – Part II

February 24, 2008

About a month back, I had written a blog associated with my views about I felt about Mr. Rahul Bajaj’s interview on a National Television Channel. Read more about the same here.

Within few days, to my surprise and pleasure, I saw that Mr. Bajaj himself had commented on the blog and expressed his views. (You can read the same by scrolling down on the above link)

I wanted to reply back to Mr. Bajaj’s comment; however I was keen in getting a third view on this debate – someone from the environmentalist’s side. My views came from the position of a common citizen. Mr. Bajaj, I think, was bringing in an industry view. So an Environmentalist’s view would have completed the triangle of opinions. I took the liberty of contacting Dr. Rajendra Pauchari’s (co-winner of Nobel Peace Prize for the year 2007 along with former US Vice-President – Al Gore) office to get his views. However, I did not get any reply from him as yet. I am assuming that he/his office is busy with more pressing issues associated with environment. While I will keep waiting for Dr. Pauchari’s reply, I wanted to reply to Mr. Bajaj’s comment.

In principle, I am in agreement with what Mr. Bajaj mentioned in his comment. There is not much one can argue there. However, the key lies in the implementation of that. This is where organizations like Bajaj Automobiles would be tested. I hope organizations like them are continuously questioning themselves (as part of their responsibilities towards society) whether they are pushing growth at the cost of environment. It can be a temptation for organizations to hide under the blanket of excuse that they are doing this for the economically deprived societies and no one should deprive them about their rights. Yes, no one should! However, I am sure any member from this section of the society would also tell any organization that they would prefer growth in affordable Healthcare, Food, Education, Housing, Sanitation, etc. I am not sure if Nano has a place in that preference.

Regardless, from the experience of this blog, I feel positive that India is certainly awake to the issue of Environment. I am thankful to Mr. Bajaj for his active participation in this debate. Two successful made-in-India international industry leaders commented on this blog. First, Rajul Garg, co-founder of GlobalLogic (with whom i have had the honor and privilege to work with) and second Rahul Bajaj – Founder of Bajaj Auto – one of the world’s largest two and three-wheeler maker (with whom i have had the privilege of having this conversation with). There is a lot we can be optimistic about now.

Here is to a wish that many more leaders follow on the similar steps!

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Change the margins to save the environment!!

February 18, 2008

Here is a neat example of how simple ideas can help the effort towards Environment. Read about this effort on this web site – “Change the Margins“. This project is founded by a LA-based actress and writer – Tamara Krinsky. The idea seems to be simple yet extremely powerful in terms of its outreach. Force Microsoft to change its default setting of page margins in its Microsoft Office bundle.

Washington Post has also covered this effort in their Sunday Edition. They have also given some quantitative numbers associated with the savings this effort can bring in.

Kudos to Tamara on this effort! I particularly liked the phrase on her blog – “When it comes to environmental disaster, the margin for error is small“. So very apt!!

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Bajaj and Environmentalists

January 15, 2008

I was listening to an interview of Rahul Bajaj (head of Bajaj Auto) on the Times Now News channel this weekend. Some views expressed by Mr. Bajaj shook me slightly and the hence the reason for writing this blog.

On the onset, let me say that I have always admired Mr. Bajaj as an industrialist. Mr. Bajaj mentioned in the same interview that he is keen in seeing Bajaj Auto to be the next Honda. I hope his dreams come true and full power to him and his organization. My respect for Rahul Bajaj also increased when he joined Rajya Sabha – the Upper House of Indian Parliament. To see a successful industrialist also contributing in the running of the nation was/is a momentous thing for Indian Democracy, IMHO.

Now to this interview! To explain the context of conversation in this interview, Rahul Bajaj was responding to the popular talk-of-the-town nowadays – Tata’s Nano. While Mr. Bajaj had his opinion on the economic viability of Nano, what flipped me was when he took a shot at the environmentalists (especially the ones who have had reservations against Nano). What he said next shook me! It was along the lines -

“If environmentalists have issues against Nano, they should go back to the Stone Age. That is where they would probably find the perfect environment and the ozone layer. Progress and Environment cannot happen at the same time.”

(Mr. Bajaj – if you are reading this and you think I mis-heard you, please correct me right now!)

With all due respect, Mr. Bajaj, I know that you have good opinions on almost everything (Cricket Down Under, Gujarat, etc.), but here you were way off. While I cannot claim myself to be an environmentalist, I can understand where they are coming from. I do not think they are expecting people to shy away from the pleasures and benefits associated with modern technology; however they are expecting organizations to value social and environmental responsibilities. Rahul Bajaj’s statement for me is equivalent to the Law & Enforcement Head’s message to the citizens – if they don’t like the crime in the city they should stay in their homes.

Since Mr. Bajaj opened the lid on his views on environment – let me also say that IMO one of the worst polluting vehicle in India is the Bajaj three-wheeler. I am saying this from the way I see them getting used on the roads by the end consumers (typically auto drivers, etc. for public transport). You may argue here that Bajaj Automobiles may not be responsible for the use once it goes off their showroom. I am not trying to hold Bajaj Auto responsible for how it is getting used by the common masses. However, I think we all should certainly hold them responsible, atleast partially, for not using technology enough to prevent such usage.

Remarks made by Mr. Bajaj were really unfortunate. For the sake of environment in India, I really hope that there is more to it then what I understood from those remarks. India is at a verge where it needs to decide as to how it wants to handle the Environment issue staring at its face. My feeling is that Governments/Politicians will take substantial time to take any actions on this. This is where respectable Indian organizations like Bajaj Auto will have to play a key role for the sake of society.

Comments/Feedbacks/Fires are most welcome!

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