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Sunita Narain's picture
5 April 2010
Sunita Narain

There is a buzz about green buildings. But the question is: what does one mean by building green? And how does one design policies to make the green homes of our dreams?

Green is not about first building structures using lots of material and energy, and then fixing them so that they become a little more efficient. Building green is about optimizing on the local ecology, using local material as far as possible and, most importantly, building to cut the power, water and material requirements.

Sunita Narain's picture
18 March 2010
Sunita Narain

1411 tigers left. So says the latest advertisement campaign of a new telecom company and the WWF. It is powerful. It plays to our emotions. But it does not tell us what is being done, or should be done. It does not tell us how we, the consuming classes, can be part of the solution to safeguard the tiger.

Anumita Roychowdhury's picture
5 March 2010
Anumita Roychowdhury

It was our usual pre-budget musings -- Will you… Wont you…. free up the prices of transport fuels, or make diesel cars pay the same lifetime fuel excise as petrol cars.

Sunita Narain's picture
3 March 2010
Sunita Narain

There I was, zipping down bustling Ahmedabad. The bus stopped at a station, designed so the doors of the bus and the station open simultaneously to let passengers out and in. People were walking to the station, buying tickets and waiting. A notice flashed when the next bus would arrive. Each bus has a GPS device that transmits its movements to a spiffy control room inside the city corporation. You know when the next bus will come. It will be on time.

Sunita Narain's picture
16 February 2010
Sunita Narain

The minister for environment and forests has announced his decision on Bt-brinjal – whether the world’s first genetically modified vegetable should be given permission to be grown and eaten in the country. And before I discuss the issues further, let me also make my own bias clear. I am not an anti-GM-person. In other words, I have no ideological problems with the use of genetically modified technology to improve crop yields. But I am anti-Bt-brinjal and believe the minister is right in not  giving clearance.

Sumita Dasgupta's picture
11 February 2010
Sumita Dasgupta

Like forests, tigers, minerals and groundwater, schools too, will now be meticulously ‘mapped’ by government agencies. The purpose is to find out if there are enough good ones around to cater to thousands of aspiring toddlers (looking for nursery admissions, of course!). Focus, in this case, will be rivetted on our cities, which are bursting in the seams. In fact, the Delhi administration has already made a public announcement, promising its citizens a secondary school, offering ‘quality education’ in every locality. A wise move by a very savvy Chief Minister. Why?

Sunita Narain's picture
4 February 2010
Sunita Narain

Visiting the US, one thing came home to me: the country has very little political will to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Policy makers and media professionals talk about the climate change crisis. But any opinion on cutting emissions, based on historical or even current responsibility, is just dismissed. The public perception, seemingly carefully nurtured, is it is runaway pollution in China and India that will devastate the world. Indeed, talk about serious action by the US is hushed up, for it will play into the hands of the Republicans.

Sunita Narain's picture
29 January 2010
Sunita Narain

A new decade. For me, three decades of work in environment. I wonder: have matters improved since the early 1980s, when I began? Or, are things worse off? Where do we go from here?

Anumita Roychowdhury's picture
22 January 2010
Anumita Roychowdhury

Glitz and glamour dazzled. The lure of jazzy cars at the recently concluded auto show stirred up mass hysteria, clogged roads, brought the city to a near halt. The dream sellers had them all entrapped. But the dream had a green wrapper - small cars, SUVs meeting the most stringent us norms, electric vehicles, hybrid cars, even CNG and diesel hybrid buses! The show is over. But serious questions persist. Need urgent answers. The show is definitely not over…

Chandra Bhushan's picture
21 January 2010
Chandra Bhushan

The recent controversy on the IPCC report regarding Himalayan glaciers has been all over the media. Before dwelling on this matter further, it is important to recognize that it was a silly mistake on the part of the authors of the IPCC report (those who wrote and reviewed Chapter 10 of the Working Group II: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerabilities), to pick up a non-peer reviewed paper and quote it as a definitive finding. Silly still, they quoted a definitive year – 2035 – for the vanishing of the entire Himalayan glaciers.

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