Friday, November 02, 2007
The funniest part however is that everyone seems to believe that this is a brand new event even though official records show that the farmer suicides have been going since the early 1990's. What has completely devastated several districts, including Anantapur, is a long running drought that began in 2001 and is yet to end. At the Nairobi summit of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, there was a strong focus on the fact that those most likely to be severely affected will be people who had no hand in propagating the anthropogenic factors that have escalated climate change. It will be the poorest of the poor, the landless, the economically backward, the socially marginalized. All of which describe the farmers of Andhra Pradesh.
The most terrifying truth about this scenario is the fact that these farmers are being crushed between the jaws of the Globalisation mantra and unreliable climate patterns. The Indian farmer has traditionally relied on the monsoons for sustenance, they are his benefactors. They are his cruel masters; to whose whims and mercies lies bound, inextricably, his life. In the WTO regime, that really, desperately wants us to believe that 'the world is flat', people such as these farmers have no voice, no power and no access to the wealth that the WTO promises to bring to people exactly like them; honest, hardworking and desirous of a 'good life.'
Now, that promise stands forfeited. There is no salvation in sight for these people with no financial lending institution or government organisation willing to take up the responsibility for improving the situation. Indeed many of the small scale private banks which were supposed to exist as the farmers friend now no longer give out loans to them. Their new clientèle is the upper middle class urban population.
To spice up things, Andhra Pradesh regularly experiences the same troubles as Orissa. Storms, cyclones near the coasts and prolonged drought inland. Nature's double whammy which, compounded by the failure of government policy and the competition from cheaper food grain imports, seems to be the surefire solution to India's overpopulation problem; 'Kill them all!'
I know I shouldn't sound so depressing and negative, but most of what I typed above is so terribly true, I don't know if it makes a difference if I package it in tinfoil and ribbons.
Going back to the discussion on climate change, it is not really difficult to imagine how climate change is going to further worsen the situation in Andhra Pradesh. Erratic precipitation, unending droughts, government apathy and repeatedly failing crops. India is already incapable of feeding her masses. Now farmer after farmer is giving up on agriculture. There is little left to imagine about what the future holds unless some corrective action takes place.
P Sainath on the state of farmers in Andhra and Maharashtra
p.s. - Palagummi Sainath is this year's winner of the Ramon Magasasay award. He is the rural affairs editor for The Hindu, a leading daily in India.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
The Rainbow Warrior sailed on past the east coast and docked yesterday at the Chennai port. There was also an amazing action last morning where the climate action team painted the message 'Cut Coal Save Climate' on the hull of a cargo ship (the INS Sridevi) laden with coal. India right now, (actually based on 2002 data) stands at fifth place on the list of the world's largest polluters. The current development plans envisage an addition of 73 new coal fired power plants. By themselves, these coal megaliths will raise India to the third position. Greenpeace and Solar Generation are strongly against this kind of blind development plans. We need clean power if we want to stick around long enough to see India as a world leader, in whatever field it is.
In the last post I mentioned how officials sent to survey the population of the Sunderbans were shocked to discover that an entire island had disappeared beneath the sea. A Kolkata based scientist, along with his team of oceanographers at the Jadavpur University have identified another island that submerged at about the same time, although there is no record of any human settlement on that island.
Around the same period, a series of cyclones and droughts battered the coastal state of Orissa. Although the Orissa droughts and Super-cyclone made it to media prime-time, little corrective actions can be said to have taken place. As of today this state continues to suffer from the effects of climate change. An already poor people (Orissa scores a meagre 1 - 1.5 on a scale of 5 in the economic development indices), the Oriyas today are struggling to sustain their lives. Orissa has to its credit several dubious distinctions, including supposed trafficking in women, highest numbers of infant mortality due to malnourishment and record numbers of migration due to rising sea levels eating into the coast.
If truly there are climate change hotspots in India, Orissa figures at the top of the list. Greenpeace and Solar Generation India have separately documented the effects of climate change already being experienced by the Oriyas.
Given below is the first video created, directed and shot entirely by the team of Solar Generation. Take a look:
One is forced to feel ashamed about the clueless leadership that seems to prevail in our country after one witnesses the suffering that these people seem to have accepted as part of their lives.
I didn't want to drag this post on for too much longer but couldn't help but share this story.
The region over which Orissa stands now is roughly the extent over which a medieval Indian kingdom, that of the Kalingas, once stood. The Emperor Ashoka waged a lengthy and bloody war on the Kalingas and defeated them. At the end of this war, the king who was known as Chandashoka, "the cruel Ashoka," was so moved by the suffering he had imposed on the Kalingas that he gave up all violence and adopted Buddhism, giving up his traditional Vedic religious beliefs. Later, Emperor Ashoka was rechristened, from "the cruel Ashoka" (Chandashoka) to "the pious Ashoka" (Dharmashoka).
I wonder if the descendants of the Kalingas will once again be forced to embrace oblivion in the face of senseless greed.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
As of right now, one of the 'x'-solargen (x stands for extra talented!) members, our great guru of cool, Mr Amrit Bakshi is enjoying an amazing cruise aboard the Rainbow Warrior! Well, actually, he's only sailing from Kolkata (where he was part of all the Greenpeace (India) activities that took place in Calcutta and the Sunderbans) to Vishakhapatnam or Chennai depending on which port gives the Rainbow Warrior clearance to dock. For new readers, Amrit has been a member of Solargen India since it's inception and has been a moving force behind almost everything Solargen has achieved. He also represented SGi at the Montreal UNFCCC and then again there's his famous freak dancing; which I'm told floored quite a few at Montreal. Besides he's also like the 'as cool as they come' dude.
But this post isn't a tribute to Amrit. It's a report on the people who Amrit is trying to raise a voice for. While we sit and try to argue whether climate change is real or not, who's to blame for it and what corrective measures might work, there's already a lot of people who lives, livelihoods and cultures are already being washed away in the mighty tides of climate change.
Amrit (along with the others from Greenpeace India) was protesting against the apathy of Governments with regards to climate change issues. Most the of anti-climate change lobby refuses to accept the reality of the climate change refugee. Well, like it or not, we have some of our very own climate change refugees. Right here, in India. They are the inhabitants of one of the of the Sunderbans. Sunderbans, incidentally is the largest mangrove forest formation in the world, strecthing from Indian territory to Bangladesh. It is also home to Royal Bengal Tiger, which already facing near-extinction. Apart from tigers, the Sunderbans are home to several species of birds (including the magpie robin - the national bird of Bangaladesh) and crocodiles. It has also been identified as a major mating spot of the endangered Olive Ridley Turtles and is home to the River Terrapin, the Gangetic Dolphin and the Horse Shoe crab among others . Apart from the flora and fauna the Sunderbans are also home to some 4.5 million people. Of these at least 7000 are eco-refugees, who lost their homes when the island Lohachara was lost to rising sea levels in the year 2001. An estimated 15% of Sagar Island, the largest in terms of land mass and human population, is already under water or erdoded.
Shown here is an infrared map of the Sunderbans.A rise of 3.5 mm (0.13 inches) will lead to a loss of 15% of the total land mass of the Sundarbans and will displace a further million people from there homes. These are conservative estimates.
A large part of the effects of climate will be suffered by people who are aged less than 25 years today, i.e., the youth. 53% of India's population is less than 25 years of age. That means a lot of us. A LOT OF US. It's time we demanded our rights and took an active role in the climate change dialog.
So will you wait till the sea's at your doorstep? Or do you want to make a change now?
Wildlife Institute of India
Population Census of India
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Dean Williams and the Science of Climate Change
By Roger Witherspoon
Oct 12, 2007, 14:29
When the United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change contacted the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and asked for help there was, at first, consternation.
Dean Williams, senior research computer scientist at the Laboratory, recalled “Our program director, Dave Bader, came to me and said they want us to coordinate and standardize all this data from around the world. Can we do this?
“I said we can not not do this. And then we set out to figure out how and it led to the creation of the Earth System Grid.”
The awarding of the 2007 Nobel Peace Price to both former Vice President Al Gore and the International Panel on Climate Change has cast an international spotlight on the behind the scenes work of Williams, one of the world’s most influential black research scientists.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the prize jointly for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.
It is difficult to envision the impact of global warming – or to determine its existence and causes – considering the disparate impact it has on climate conditions around the globe.
Parts of Texas this summer had 18 inches of rain a few hours while much of the southwest was experiencing record setting drought and fire conditions, and the northeast was wet and unseasonably cool. On a global scale, the disparate impacts are even greater.
It would have been impossible for the International Panel on Climate Change -- IPCC – to have come to the unanimous conclusions on trends in the earth’s climate and the impact of human development were it not for the contribution of Dean Williams, whose work over the past 15 years has provided the computational underpinnings of global climate science.
Williams’ first contribution was the development of the Climate Data Analysis Tool – CDAT – an open source analysis and visualization software package which allows researchers to simultaneously look at multiple climate models and compare observed results.
This was followed by the development of the Earth System Grid, which standardizes how data is collected and provides a common framework for the world’s climate modeling centers. It has changed the way the world’s climate scientists operate.
During the development, Williams sent out terabyte discs to every major climate modeling group, and has since uploaded more than 300 terabytes of data into the Earth system Grid for the IPCC.
At Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Williams said, “we are a neutral climate model center. All the world’s models come in to get vetted. We do comparisons of all the climate models and inter-comparisons around the world.
“The works is scientists will run a model at their site, and then run it through our filter to get a standard format.”
It was this system which provided the world’s scientific community with the certainty exhibited in the current IPCC panel on climate change validating the human cause of global climate disruptions.
The Earth System Grid has been expanded to provide operational nodes at 23 climate research sites around the globe so new information can be downloaded directly for all climate researchers to use.
When informed of the Nobel Prize Award to the IPCC Williams, stunned, at first could only keep repeating “Wow! This is awesome!”
“I’m speechless at this award,” he said after a few minutes reflection. “Everyone in the climate community is a winner today. Our whole team should be jumping up and down.”
Williams grew up on South Central Los Angeles knowing the direction he wanted to take in life at an early age.
“I was always best in my class in math,” he said. “I told myself in fourth grade I’d be a master in math one day.”
He earned a bachelors degree in applied mathematics and statistics, and then a master’s degree in computer science at California State University at Chico and then joined Lawrence Livermore. When he is not standardizing the world’s climate research, he coaches high school track.
© Copyright 2004 by Career Communications Group, Inc.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Bangalore, 13 July, 2007: Greenpeace today announced the completion of collecting 1,00,000 petitions for their “Ban the Bulb” campaign addressed to the Union Power Minister to implement a ban on inefficient light bulbs in the country by 2010. The campaign aims to collect a million signatures (ten lakh) from the public till the end of the current year.
To commemorate the occasion Greenpeace organised a special event at Christ College joining the hands with Green Army, the environmental cell of Christ College in Bangalore attended by a few eminent names like the young director Master Kishen and Dean of Science, Christ College Mr Chandrasekhar amongst others.
Representatives of Solar Generation from different campuses such as St. Joseph college,Mount Carmel College,St. John's Medical College,Mahavir Jain College,Dayanand Sagar Dental College and National College were present at the function.
Launching the “Ban the Bulb” Campaign on the 16th April 2007, Greenpeace handed over a copy of the model legislation to the Power Minister, mandating that light bulbs with an efficiency of less than 25 lumen/watt should be phased out by 2010. The incandescent bulb falls into that category and Greenpeace demands it to be phased out by that period. Another step for more efficient lighting should follow in 2012 and 2015 so as to raise the minimum efficiency level of lighting to 35 and 55 lumen/ watt respectively.
A decisive measure taken by the Union Minister to phase out the incandescent bulb and ushering in a process of continuous improvement in the efficiency ratings, would save roughly 12000 MW of electricity, while reducing our CO2 emissions by a minimum of 55 million tonnes annually.
Greenpeace will continue collecting petitions from the public, with the aim of collecting 10,00,000 signatures in the coming days. On-line signing of petitions can be done at the campaign web-page " www.banthebulb.in "
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Athena is the face of Greenpeace's climate and energy campaign in Asia. She has just returned from Kyoto, where she led a team pressuring the Asian Development Bank to put their money where their mouths are and invest in Clean Energy. Here's her round up.
2 weeks ago I welcomed myself back to the city of Kyoto with high expectations: for the Asian Development Bank to honour the spirit of one of the most important environmental agreements in history – the Kyoto Protocol.
I finally got to see Kyoto on the last day of my visit to this historic city. A visit to the Kiyomizu-dera Temple and a walk along Gion made me appreciate its beauty – something I missed10 years ago during my first visit. The people of Kyoto should be proud of their home. The ADB could have made them even prouder, but they were a few steps short…
Following a gruelling week of no sleep, limited food, stress and countless meetings and writing sessions – we surprised ourselves at the impact we had on this giant institution. A team of 18 people from 10 countries, Asian led I must add, managed to rock the institution and send nervous ripples running through it.
From the starting act of the love shirts, to the kimono girls to the sumo-wrestling match, to high-level debates on coal and clean energy, our team was formidable and relentless. We countered each ADB statement, welcomed their initiatives and called for more. More importantly, we blocked a major attempt at putting nuclear on the agenda; stopped ADB expanding the Mae Moh coal plant in Thailand and applied the pressure that resulted in the ADB announcing an impressive array of clean energy initiatives. However, the one thing that keeps cropping up is coal and we will continue to push the Bank hard to phase-out coal from its portfolio.
Yes, the Bank is moving and its response to mounting public pressure has been significant. But I can’t stop wondering whether these commitments are real or not. Half way through the ADB meeting, I finally escaped from the Conference Centre to join the Peoples Forum activities at Doshisha University. Once again I listened to Maliwan, the Mae Moh community representative and to the Cambodian woman whose community was destroyed by an ADB funded highway project. They carried direct testimonies from people whose lives had been devastated by large-scale ADB projects. I was thankful for this opportunity, I had to keep reminding myself that despite the Bank’s improved language on clean energy – this campaign has a long way to go…This bank is losing its grip...the private sector has taken over the energy and infrastructure field and it has nowhere else to go but to find its niche elsewhere. Our pressure can push the Bank to pioneer initiatives for the future - Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. The ADB can and should make Clean Energy their business. If they get this right, they will show leadership, if not, they will slip into irrelevance and disappear and a golden opportunity to catalyse the energy revolution will disappear with them.
Up until now, we have always been told that money is the problem and this is why renewables are unable to compete. However, during the ADM meeting, Japan announced a US$100m clean energy facility, commitments to the Carbon fund reached US$80m and the clean energy financing partnership reached US$250m. The question is “If there had been no public pressure to re-channel these funds, where would’ve they gone otherwise?” This is the value of persistent global campaigning. It will be business as usual unless we agitate and mobilise, it will be coal and fossil fuels unless we increase the risks of investing in coal. Our campaign makes it difficult for coal proponents and banks to pursue coal - lets keep it this way.
This year is critical. All 3 IPCC reports are now out confirming the urgent need to address climate change. Now we head towards Bali in December for the next Kyoto Protocol meeting, a critical negotiating session for governments where big solutions are required to match the scale of the problem. The ADB could make a difference. We challenge the Bank to come up with actual good projects across the board that demonstrate its commitment to the many clean energy initiatives. We will continue to push, but not for further policy language, we want real action. We want wind farms, geothermal projects, Renewable Energy Bills, and RE based Development Plans by the Bank’s donor member countries. There’s still a long way to go but considering where we were on this campaign 2 years ago…not bad.
We thank you for the petitions and we thank our colleagues in Europe for exerting pressure on donor members. Let’s stay vigilant - one or two large-scale coal plants may still pop up in the ADB’s portfolio – we need to make sure the ADB doesn’t dip its hands into these projects.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
We thought we lost them all in the taxi that brought us back to the conference hall from the kimono shop the previous night, but thanks to the very considerate taxi driver who drove all the way back, we didn't have to make them all over again...
At 9 o'clock the next morning Solargeneration distributed the cherry blossom bookmarks along with artificial cherry blossoms to the delegates as they arrived for the Opening Session for the Board of Governors. We stood at the doorway and stopped them as they hurried in and handed over our little symbols to remind them of their duty towards the welfare of the future generations. Most of the delegates accepted them and some even wanted to choose the ones they liked best. This activity went our way as well...
At 2 o'clock the same day Greenpeace had organised a 'Love T-shirt' activity for which some of the Solargeneration members took part as well... each T-shirt with a message to the ADB was worn by two members as they stood outside the hall where the governors from the ADB member countries were meeting.But this activity was cut short as some of the japanese delegates were annoyed. After this activity we weren't allowed even close to that hall and security was tightened as though we were terrorists of some sort!!! We even had our own personal security guards!! The same activity was carried out the previous day as well but as security wasn't so tight it went on pretty well...
As we were done early and it was the last day that all of us were going to be together, we treated ourselves at a beautiful Japanese restaurant. The food was really good though some of us had a tough time with the chopsticks...
THE GRAND FINALE
After a lazy morning, the Solargeneration team made preparations for the next attack... this time as the world famous Japanese Sumo wrestlers... a few sessions of practice and we were good to go...
At the conference center, we handed out invitations to our 'Energy Sumo Wrestling Championships' to delegates from the countries that had the best statements with regard to the Solargeneration objectives. These were statements that were made at the first and second Business Sessions of the Governors the previous morning. Studying the statements the night before, our final judgemnet was easy because most of the countries had no regard for climate change at all. Their country's development was the only concern even if it comes at the cost of their environment and people.Tthe only few countries that put mitigation and adaptation to climate change and the need for change form dirty energy to clean and renewable energy as the most urgent of all requirements were the UK, Switzerland and Norway. And the worst country statement was from Japan who are seriously considering Nukes as the best way to combat climate change!!
We coulnd't invite the Japanese delegates for obvious reasons, though we wanted to present them with the award for the "Worst Country for Future Generations". We did invite the other award winners for the "Best Country for Future Generations". The Swiss delegates were the only ones who confirmed their presence since the other countries had prior commitments. The thrill and the excitement shown by the Swiss delegates took us by surprise. This is what one of the delegates had to say... "It is GREAT to see youth like you'll taking the initiative to make a difference without waiting for the Governments"
Once all set for the final Solargeneration activity of this AGM, the media was called and the Swiss delegates arrived as well. As our sumo wrestlers entered the scene there was a loud applause which aroused curiosity among people around the otherwise quiet conference center, getting more spectators than expected.
The wrestlers entered the ring and the match began with Mr.Coal, the reigning champion, winning the first round over the underdog, Mr.Renewables. But Mr.Renewables wouldn't give up so easily... he fought back with all his might... after a long and well fought battle, Mr.Renewables came out victorious!! But the championship wasn't his yet because he had another dangerous and powerful challenger, Mr.Nuclear. Though Mr.Nuclear put up a good fight Mr.Renewables was on a roll and wasn't prepared to give up his hard-won championship. Mr.renewables then awarded Switzerland with the award for the "Best Country for future generations".
The sumo wrestling championship was a great way of ending our campaign. We had good media coverage and the attention of a lot of people and most importantly we could complete our activity and make our messsage clear without having to end it midway. Though Solargeneration didn't make Governments take immediate action, we certainly did get them thinking.
Today early morning at 5.30 am my Aeroplain landed in Swarnbhumi airport (Bangkok). It is a very big and clean airport .when I was doing my immigration enquiry I meet my Bangalore friend Inchara who is also participating in Solar generation skill share programme . After completing our immigration inquiry we came out of airport.
There we saw two Thai guys in solar generation t-shirt aged “between” 20-23 were waiting for us. They were waiting for us since 4.30 am. There name is confusing to me but I can remember one name of AA. He can speak English, any way around 8.30 am we reached Loma resort, and were we have to stay from 27 to 29 of April.
All the participants already arrived here and they were taking breakfast.
I meet with my new roommate Jeffrey, he is from Philippines.
After getting fresh all of us assembled in conference hall at 9 am. I missed my breakfast, but I was not feeling like hungry. Here Agnes started the programme.
After a brief introduction we went for tour of a river which is polluting because of many factories on the bank of river.
We were in a beautiful boat, it was very fun on boat , we played lots of game one game which we like most was PIPO game, in this game u have to act as a peacock and dance like a peacock .
After coming back we had taken our lunch in a beautiful canteen, it was my first Thai food and unfortunately I one of my German friend Lisa have eaten very hot chilly dish, which makes us full of sweat.
Again we assembled in conference hall here I meet with one Indian Green peace activist in Thailand SHAI or Shailendra. I feel proud.
In Afternoon Agnes and Abi has given the presentation and informed about further activity in between this four more participants from Indonesia joined us.
At Evening around seven we taken our dinner it was delicious I ate many sea foods.
It was quite good day, I am very tired and feeling sleepy. See u tomorrow
Today I wake up at 6.30 am it was a beautiful morning,
Our workshop started at 9 am with warm-up game named PEEPOO.
Agnes and Abi started the session with the topic on campaign.
FA is helping every one in this session in their presentation. At 10.15 am Philippines delegate Karla given the presentation, there after Germany and France delegates Lisa and Aurelie have given their presentation, thereafter Indian delegates from Hyderabad and Bangalore described about their works in country, at last I presented a bamboo gift of god Ganesh to Agnes and given a beautiful Madhubani painting of SUN which is made by a small girl of BIHAR and few stickers to solar generation workshop.
Every body likes that painting.
We started our workshop programme with group discussion and play on speaking with university president. In this programme one of my Chinese friend became the university president and I as a solar generation member going to talk him. I am happy because I was able to convince him.
Today I had taken lunch with my Chinese, and Thai and Philippines friends. It was delicious food no spices but hot and nutritious.
Afternoon session some media person and BBC broadcasting members were in between us. They participated in workshop programme and given us some tips on interviews and camera facing.
After this boost-up workshop we had a brain storm session on COP /MOP. At night we started creative activities which are a preparation for up coming events.
I am in hot spot visit activity. We are making banners and posters for IPCC meeting. YaYa is guiding us.
Till 1 am and we are not able compete our work because of few colors missing,
We planed to complete it tomorrow.
It is already late and tomorrow we have to do lots of work so good night………….
At 9am we started our work. After a group discussion we had started brain storm for next meeting in Bali
Again we have divided in four groups in my group I am along with Jeffrey from Philippines, Indonesian friend Christy and a Thai friend.
We had planned very interesting events for Bali. We wanted to start Bali meeting with beach party which can attract more public and officials.
After lunch we completed our painting works. YAYA and Abi were busy with their camera to make this event memorable.
At 6.00pm we left Loma resort with beautiful memories for Bangkok city in a hotel called Suan dusit place.
Luckily Jeffrey is my roomy here, he is very happy because there are few English channels also in cable.
After arriving we discussed on our tomorrows IPCC activity. We were divided into two groups who are going to meet high officials in ministry.
Inchara is going ministry of energy and resources and I am going ministry of environment and resources.
Tomorrow we have to meet Dr. Rajendra Pachouri who is famous among us on the name of Mr. P who is the head of IPCC also.
So it is very important day for us. Tomorrow we have to wake up early in the morning so see u bye bye….
Suan dusit place
Today we wake up early at 6 am and gathered in meeting room. It is raining; we have decided to leave at 8.30 am for UN building where IPCC meeting is going to be held.
I along with three Thai and one Indonesian girl were distributing pen wind mill with a pleasing smile to high officials who were coming for IPCC meeting.
While my other friends were standing with solar van to meet Dr. Pachouri in formal way with messages to save climate.
It was very interesting for me to speak Swaddee kha which means good morning and talk with high officials directly on the topic of global warming and presenting a gift of pen wind mill to them in between media person who were busy in making news report with this activity.
We had given this gift pen wind mill which is a message to use renewable source of energy to security personals as well as media person also.
Most of them accepted our gift but few of them who were seems to very busy they went directly inside some of media person passed comment in Thai on them.
Then Dr. Rajendra pachouri came there, again I felt proud on being Indian. We gave a pen wind mill to him also.
After this event we went to parliament there we meet ministers of parliament.
It was a good meeting between us we raised our question among them?
At last he invited Thai students to participate in parliament discussion. He has taken their email ids.
After this meeting we had divided in two groups one group went to meet ministry of energy and resources and my group went to ministry of environment.
There minister of environment welcomed us with snacks and tea. Thai student actively raised many question to him on the issue of global warming in their language but it was useless for me because he was speaking in Thai language.
By the way I also given my message to him but I am not sure whether he understand it or not.
After this session we went to parliament canteen where we had taken our lunch. I enjoyed Thai food in canteen..
And then we returned back
Now it is 5 pm. I am along with my Thai friends going near by area to make mast….!!!
Sunday, May 06, 2007
Day number 1 started off with a panel discussion between ADB and the Civil Society Cooperation on the requirements in the development of adb's energy strategy. The rest of the day was more interesting with us working on the cherry blossom bookmarks and planning out activities for the next day.And the day ended with the grand reception and cultural event organised by the Kyoto committee. I shall go into details of each event now.
The panelists at the discussion were:
Bruce Murray, Director General, Operations Evaluation Department,ADB
Carl Middleton,South East Asian Campaigner,International Rivers Network
Zhao ang, Greenpeace China
Mika Ohbayashi,Director,Institute for Sustainable Energy Policy
Ana Maria Nemenzo,Freedom from Debt Coalition
Woochong Um,Director,Energy,Transport and Water Division,ADB
The discussion was attended by representatives of several ngos and the media was present as well. Minutes of the discussion can be read at www.adb.org/annualmeeting/2007
'CLEAN COAL'... What??!! Yes, this was one of the strategies put forth and strongly considered. All except Zhao ang from greenpeace,China, seemed to be in complete agreement with this. Zhao ang said he wanted to make something clear and stated "coal is dirty energy and can never be even considered clean"
CHERRY BLOSSOM BOOKMARKS
The national flower of japan, the cherry blosssoms, bloom earlier each year due to the effect of global warming. We used these as a symbol to represent disturbed ecosystems all over the world.These were to be handed out to the Governors and other delegates as they arrive for the Opening Session for the Board of Directors, thereby giving us an opportunity to speak to them on taking action on climate change to safeguard our future and the generations to come.
RECEPTION AND CULTURAL EVENT
This was a dinner party organised by the host country. Solargeneration and Greenpeace decided to keep a low profile, joining the rest in the ELABORATE dinner. We did get to speak to a lot of the guests and they seemed very interested in what we had to say about our aims and our actions.
SG KIMONO PARTY
I can confidently say "we all looked beautiful"... six solargeneration delegates strolled down the aisle in the Japanese traditional wear, the 'KIMONO', at the dinner reception organised by ADB President Kuroda.
Walking around elegantly in the Kimono, we did not fail to catch the attention of every single person at the reception.
As we shook hands with the president we made our message clear by opening out the fans we carried, which read 'adb quit coal' and 'clean energy now'. Though the president was annoyed,if i may say so,he was pretty much helpless.
Rest of the evening we walked around in 3's making our message clear. Camera flashes nearly blinded us with people wanting a picture with the multinational 'japanese' girls.
The guests and delegates, all equally impressed came up to us saying 'impressive work' and 'nice tactic'. Some even saying 'yes,so no more power plants'... but we all know how much they actually meant it...though we can always remain positive.
And the whole experience?? Way beyond words!!! To begin with, it was a 5 HOUR job to get dressed!! And another 5 hours in front of the cameras? Even more tedious.But the feeling of being dressed in Japan's most celebrated and prestigious traditional outfit and all the attention... no words can describe that...
We also had delegates from Turkey and Kazakistan and the presidents of some other banks appreciating our work saying "Atleast the youth are taking action and not waiting for their governments." The response on the whole was really good. Though our messge may not necessarily be put into action immediately, they were crystal clear and did leave a lasting impression
We were the Solargeneration 'MAIKO' girls with a very strong message... 'ADB QUIT COAL' and 'CLEAN ENERGY NOW'
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Bearing banners that say "Save the Climate" and "Don't Drown our Future" as well as individual messages on climate change and renewable energy, SolarGeneration members from 7 countries (China, France, Germany, India, Thailand, Philippines) also visited the Buddhist temple in the community that today is partly claimed by the sea. The team also had a chance to talk to Samorn Knegsamut (the village chief) and one of the Buddhist monks that is now protecting the temple.Along with our team were IPS, Reuters, EPA and Bankok Post. paper on our trip. We're all muddy and tired but the 1 hour treck to the area was worth it.
Solar Generation spoke out as they met wth IPCC Chair Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, a special guest at their SolarGeneration kiosk just outside the meeting venue at the UN Convention Center. Dr Pachauri addressed the students, representing youth from Thailand, India, Indonesia, Philippines, China, Germany, and France, and acknowledged the importance of youth involvement on climate change issues.“The only climate change solutions we want are those that will guarantee a safer and better future. Our governments should not consider proposals which will do more harm than good,” said Karla de Guia, a SolarGeneration member from the Philippines. “We believe that renewable energy is the only perfect solution.”The IPCC meets in Bangkok to discuss policy recommnedations to mitigate climate change. The report will be made public at the end of the meeting on Thursday. Various press agencies have reported that options expected to be presented in the meeting will range from energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy to dangerous and untested technologies such as nuclear and carbon capture and storage.
Monday, April 30, 2007
I can talk about the things i learnt at the skillshare; I'm giving you'll the updates about the IPCC conference and the activities of tomorrow.
We are launching a renewable energy mobile unit, with a solar panel and wind turbine to demonstrate the use of renewable energy. We have named it the future carrier and inside the unit there will be a display of photographs about impacts, renewable energy etc.
Tomorrow morning before IPCC meet starts, Mr. R.K.Pachouri will be meeting the members of solar generation for fifteen minutes. The team leader for climate and energy campaign Shailendra and Tara, the energy campaigner from Thailand escort him from his office to the venue outside the UN conferance centre where our "future carrier stands with all the messages... There are three main messages we want to convey here.
- That climate change is a global issue and that the only solutions to it is renewable energy and energy efficiency
- We DO NOT want Nuclear power plants
- and its unsafe and stupid to talk about unproven technologies such as Carbon Capture and storage (CSS)as solutions.
So Mr. P as everyone calls him here willl meet seven representatives from the seven countries and each of us have 30 seconds to introduce ourselves and give our message. We have arranged the order in which the representatives speak in such a way so that one message leads to the other and it is like as if each of us are speaking about the same global issue but at the same time talking about it from our country's point of view... Thailand is the host so the rep recieves him and brings him to us, Philipines being a climate change hot spot talks of climate change and how its affecting them, India (I'm representing India) follows by telling him that we are a developing country and for "development" we need renewables and energy efficiency then china emphasises that they are a developing nation that has actually had large Scale renewable energy projects and how it has worked for them, then Indonesia pleads ( The fifteen year old doing it sounds really cute when she says "pleeeease") that they need development without Nuclear powerplant, (Since Indonesia has big plans for 'Nukes') folloew by a developed nation, france that him how wrong they have gone while turning to Nuclear power plants and finally Germany mentions that they are going in the wrong path of CSS and leads him to the giant thermometer...
Its a little hard to explian how that works but i'll try. Basically its this giant Thermometer with a high temperature and the mercury has on it all the causes of climate change like coal, oil etc and when Mr. P cuts a thread, The mercury drops bringing down and with it all the causes and behind it one can see a pictoric representation of a clean world with renewables etc which was hidden earlier....
then hopefully he will have a look at our 'future carrier" and give his comments before leaving. All this is covered well by press and hopefully it will send the message we want to
We have to remember that the report of the IPCC is not 'prescriptive', that is they do not take any decisions and is supposed to be unbiased (we all know how far that works), yet we also know that the things they say in that report is going to help some major decision makers take very important decisions... So its absolutely imperative that the solutions proposed are right and they don't resort to saying that Nuclear and css and other unproven and unsafe technologies are the answers to mitigate climate change...
It was shocking for us to see that todays Thai newspaper had avery big article on the first page titled "The message is clear, GO nuclear"!!! Thai Govt are actually seriously considering nuclear as the solution to climate change and they are doing so in a big way... We had to hence change the message of the 'future carrier' that was initially "here is our solution, where is yours?" since we couldn'tleave loose ends... Like Shai said it should have been "here is our solution, Fuck/up yours"... heheh... do edit this part...
We are also branching out in two groups and meeting the ministry of Environment and The Energy minister tomorrow.. The latter is the hifi graduate from london school of economics who doesn't like being told he is wrong and is also one of the main people pushing for the nuclear power plant. The Thai students will do most of the talking and you can only imagine how important this is...
Im almost out of time and we begin at six tom... I hope everything goes well tomorrow... It will! With the passion, energy and enthusiasm that people work with out here, it cant not go right...
Oh, thought i would also mention what i'll be mailing tom...
- The presentations of different countries and what we learnt from each other
- Importance of effective communication and bringing forth a message effectively
- Information on IPCC, ADB and Nuclear power plant (Deepa, the Information on ADB is the same as the one that was mailed to us)
- The fun ways in which we learnt so much and also the materials we prepared for ADB and IPCC events
- Preparations for a Hot spot visit to a place where a community has moved out because of climate change and their feeble attemts to save their temple with crude bamboo walls...
Monday, March 19, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
AND TAKE ACTION WE WILL!!!
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Some renowned glaciologists and other scientific data point out that the Gangotri glacier that feeds Ganga is melting at an alarming rate of 34 metres per year. When glaciers recede they immediately release more water. However later, due to a decrease in the total volume of glacial ice, the volume of water discharged decreases. This affects drinking water supply, irrigation and hydropower, directly or indirectly impacting the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. The Ganga which receives 70% of its summer water flow from the Himalayan glaciers sustains over 500 million people. The Stern report estimates that loss of water flow could lead to a drop in regional crop production by more than 20%, which in turn could lead to a loss in GDP as high as 9-13% by 2100.
However, climate change is primarily human induced. The key reason behind climate change is the growth of green house emissions. The Greenhouse gasses emitted by non-renewable sources like coal power plants that provide nearly 70% of India’s electricity are a major contributor to the crisis. Switching to renewable energy is a viable and far-reaching alternative to greenhouse emissions along with energy efficiency methods.
Our documentary received good response particularly from teachers of Mount Carmel College Environmental Science department. They want to screen this documentary in their classes to make the issue of climate change more live to the students.
There was also screening of another well-known documentary by Al Gore ‘The inconvenient truth’.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Solar Generation's totem of resistance started its long journey on the 18th of January at Christ college inter collegiate festival "INBLOOM". We were given a prime position during the fest. The totem lived in the campus for 2 days gathering a lot of attention, not only from the students but a lot of faculty as well.
Many students of different colleges were drawn towards the totem because of its impressive presence and using this opportunity we engaged them in conversations about climate change and youth resistance. It was a good platform to spread the message of Solar generation and get more people involved, in this process. Come of the faculty who visited the totem were professors from the departments of law, zoology, psychology, mass communication and sociology. They were extremely enthusiastic about spreading the message of solar generation on a larger platform in their classrooms. Thus, the journey of the totem has started in this positive manner. After this it will be going to the other colleges in Bangalore and then travel around the country.
Krittika Vishwanath M.A. Sociology,1st year Christ College