Jul 1, 2013

The Bicycle Man

Did you know that on a bicycle you can travel up to 1,000 Kms on the energy equivalent of a single litre of petrol…? I am sure you must be aware of such facts just like my friend Jugal Rathi.

A chartered accountant by profession who came to Pune from Latur many years ago, Rathi has always been concerned about the environment and has been taking initiatives to make it better.  He started cycling almost 12 years ago as a hobby but then it became his cause.

Ageless Rathi is seen shouting slogans-‘Pollution Pollution…cycle is the solution’ through monthly bicycle rallies organised by a group of peddlers on Sundays when all of us are lazing around in our homes. This 67 year old peddler bicycles wherever he goes. He has been taking initiatives through ‘Pune Cycle Pratishthan’ to spread the joy and awareness of bicycling in our traffic troubled 
Rathi on a mountain biking expedition

Whenever you meet Rathi, all you hear is about his new cycle expeditions and how environment friendly way of commuting is promoted. According to Rathi, each one of us has the seed, the spark within that makes us conscious about environment.  It’s just a matter of being firm on our beliefs  and bringing them into action. “I am sure the change will happen and people will love peddling to their work, schools and picnic spots,” he says. 

As part of the action, he has been pursuing PMC schemes like ‘rent a bike’ and giving cycles to about 50,000 needy student friends. Also, has been shaking the administration through his letters to consider those walking and cycling on the road have equal rights as motorists.

His efforts have such earnestness that his birthday celebrations begin with cycle riding. “I take as many rounds as that of my age on every birthday,” says Rathi with a smile. While leaving on his bicycle on a routine ride he doesn’t forget to remind us that cycling is a potential activity that makes our environment healthier. 


  Greeny Says

"Rathi believes that each one of us has the seed, the spark within that makes us conscious about environment."

-As told by Greeny to Praveen Lulekar

Jun 12, 2013

India’s ‘Paniwala Baba’

I know… I am sure that you must have heard about the famous Paniwala Baba?

He was walking on the dead river bed of the Agrani River in Sangli district. As he started walking, people started joining him and just a walk became a march for cause. The cause was to bring the Agrani River to life. Many people could feel that the Paniwala Baba-Water Man can speak to the rivers, he can understand their plight and bring them back. The march turned into a public meeting and Paniwala Baba became the initiator- Rajendra Singh.

Singh, always in his Khadi kurta and cotton pants has been known as the Paniwala Baba because he has reinvented the ingenious concept of ‘Johad’- the rainwater storage tanks and mud and rubble barriers that arrest rainwater under the ground. This indigenous and simple system has transformed the Rajasthan in to happy state as more than 1000 villages in the state have got easy access to water. He has now decided to transform the unhappy drought situation in Maharashtra.

Singh has already started working to rejuvenate four rivers in Maharashtra - Agrani, Manganga, Yerala, and Adan. While speaking about the conditions of dying river Singh says, “the rivers are yours, become their owners and transform them.” Back in Rajasthan, Singh has initiated the people to clean the river, build their own check dams and conserve water. He has named his movement as the ‘Jan Jal Jodo Abhiyan’ (People Water Connect).

While making people aware about the drought situation in Maharashtra, Singh is continuously spreading the message that how we ourselves can get over this drought situation. “There was only 40 per cent of rains in Rajasthan, if it can survive then so can Maharashtra with as good as 70 per cent of rains.” 

Singh believes that, if we follow only three things then our rivers will be transformed and can stay lively. These are River land should be encroachment free, sewerage and river should be separated and sand mining should be completely stopped. “But this is not enough, the work can only be completed with people participation means our participation.”

Greeny Says 
"Paniwala Baba- the Water Man can speak to the rivers, he can understand their plight and bring them back to life."
-As told by Greeny to Nitin Brahme

Apr 26, 2012

Let's do it - together!

Garbage. Junk. Rubbish. Trash. Call it what you may, there is no escaping from it. Every now and then I heard people complaining about it but nobody seemed willing to act upon it. Not any more.
My 'green' friends from DGPS, Pune (Deccan Gymkhana Parisar Samiti) have come up with a smart idea. In collaboration with SWaCH and the Pune Municipal Corp, they have organized a garbage collection drive. They are calling it V-Collect. So you can get rid of all that unwanted stuff piled up in your balcony, lofts and terrace. Old footwear, toys, glass, old clothes - all that you 'wanted to get rid of but didn't know how.'
That's not all. You can even give e-waste (which is a real big problem) - batteries, old phones, chargers, electrical appliances - anything.
Most important, SWaCH will take responsibility of treating all the stuff in the proper manner. Not just dumping it in the municipal garbage dump. That's exactly what we all don't want, right?
I can see another very important message in this drive - that the garbage problem canbe tackled only if citizens and municipal authorities work together. Simply blaming each other won't help. We need more people like DGPS, which is a informal body of citizens, united in their aim of keeping their surroundings clean. If you are interested in finding out how you can become a part of them, check it out here.
So what are you waiting for - get all that stuff out of your house, and bring it to Kamla Nehru Park on Sunday morning between 10 am and 2 pm.
Of course, I will be there too, with all my DGPS friends. Won't miss this for anything.

Mar 31, 2012

I hope you remember?

Remember ......?
Remember what????
Its the last Saturday of March.
Still don't get it?
Its EARTH HOUR! People across the world take a little step of switching of all electrical appliances for one hour, from 8.30 to 9.30 pm. Surely you can add your bit to this.
You might ask whether this really saves energy. That's not the point. The purpose of observing Earth Hour is not just to save energy, it is more to do with making people aware about the impending energy crisis that all of us will face if we are careful.
Even last year, Greeny went around telling people about this.
Surely, you will join me in spreading the word?
Happy Earth Hour....

Mar 19, 2012

Every drop counts

Summer is just around the corner and like every year, we are going to be faced with water scarcity. There is no way we can increase the quantity of water on the face of Earth. Since we can't increase the supply, we can only cut consumption - its simple,
It is really simple. There are so many ways we can save water in our daily routine by taking simple steps. Here's how -
1. Ask yourself - do you really need to wash your vehicle everyday? If we resort to just wiping it with a moist cloth instead of washing it with a garden pipe, just imagine how much water we will each save.
2. Keeping the tap running when brushing or shaving amounts to perfectly good water going down the drain - literally!
3. Most flush tanks have a capacity of about 6-8 litres. Have you ever wondered whether all that quantity is needed every time you use the flush? One way is to remember to shut it off halfway instead of using all the water. A friend of mine has been using an ingenious idea. He keeps a bottle of water inside the flush tank. This way a 6 liter tank gets filled up every time with only 5 lt. of water.
4. Yes, having a shower is a nice feeling, but it can become a costly luxury in days of water shortage. Use a bucket instead. Start with doing it on alternate days at least? Its easy to get used to!
5. Keep an eye on the waiter in the restaurant next time. Many of them are used to filling up the glass as you have you drunk a bit of water. Take only that much water which you are really going to drink.
6. Do you use your washing machine at half its capacity? Oops. Why not wait and use it only when there is a full load of clothes?
7. Some people become paranoid when municipal authorities announce a cut in water supply. They behave as if there is no tomorrow and proceed to fill up every utensil that they can find in the house. Why? Let's store only that much that you need, and just a little some more for emergency.
8. The other day I was watching a friend while he was washing the dishes and I saw him follow an interesting system. Here's what he does -
Suppose you have to wash 6 tea cups, lets call them 1,2,3 upto 6. After scrubbing them all with detergent, they are all ready for final rinsing, right? Now, while you are rinsing Cup 1, keep Cup 2 directly below it in the sink. Get the idea? When washing Cup 2, keep Cup 3 below, then pick up Cup 3 and keep Cup 4 below. Try it out, each cup requires less water to be rinsed clean with this method, than if you rinse each one separately. (Plus, you might not close the tap every time you keep one cup to the side and pick up the other one.)
Don't believe me? Try it out and of course, let me know!

Note - While doing all this, spare a thought for the birds who also need water. It is a nice gesture to keep just one dish of water in your garden/terrace/balcony every morning for birds.