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Urban jungles of the green kind
I was at the entrance of the compound leading up to my house when I saw the most spectacular sight: a magnificent hooded cobra. It was a baby cobra fighting off a crow. This was not the first time I had come face to face with the wild in the busy polluted city of Pune; I have counted at least 54 different species of birds from my window, thanks to the surrounding trees and green areas.
Bawris and johars: Rainwater harvesting in the old days
Our ancient religious texts and epics offer an insight into the water storage and conservation systems that prevailed in the days gone by. In ancient India, people believed that forests were the 'mothers' of rivers and worshipped the sources of these waterbodies.
Many drops of rain
Realising the importance of recharging groundwater, the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) is taking steps to encourage the practice in the capital Delhi and elsewhere in India. Many government buildings have been asked to take up rainwater harvesting.
Rooftop revolution
Imagine a situation where there is no more potable water on earth. Riverbeds will dry up, taps will run dry, people will fight for a handful of water. There will be riots over water. How will you bathe, wash, cook, build houses, run your industries, generate electricity, and most important, what will you drink?!
Microcredit: How a little money goes a long way
This year's Nobel Peace Prize was won by Muhammad Yunus, an economist from Bangladesh, along with the bank he founded, the Grameen Bank. Yunus's great idea was something known as 'microcredit', an idea that has pulled thousands of people out of poverty. Microcredit itself is an interesting concept, helpful in learning about poverty and how a modern capitalist society works.
Organic farming
When we think of a farm, we picture a beautiful sprawling rural set-up that's self-sufficient and relies on nothing other than a few seeds and a good rainfall or irrigation. And perhaps some simple machinery for planting and harvesting. But if you delve into it a little further, you'll realise that modern agriculture is dependent on the petroleum industry as much as it is on water and seeds.
The Gaia hypothesis
If you read a lot about environment and development, one word and phrase that you often come across is Gaia and "the Gaia hypothesis," a strange and wonderful idea that is at once odd and yet seemingly obvious.
Doing without money
Can you imagine a world without money, without the actual notes and coins you use to buy things? Or even a credit card, since a credit card represents money you have in a bank or have borrowed from a bank.