Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Monday, July 28, 2014
Sunday, July 27, 2014
When In the course of human events, it becomes increasingly necessary
to recognize the fundamental qualities that connect us,
then we must reevaluate the truths we hold to be self-evident:
That all humans are created equal and all are connected.
That we share the pursuits of life, liberty, happiness, food, water,
shelter, safety, education, justice, and hopes for a better future.
That our collective knowledge, economy, technology, and environment
are fundamentally interdependent.
That what will propel us forward as a species is our curiosity, our
ability to forgive, our ability to appreciate, our courage,
and our desire to connect...
That these things we share will ultimately help us evolve to our
fullest common potential.
And whereas we should take our problems seriously,
we should never take ourselves too seriously.
Because another thing that connects us...is our ability to laugh...
and our attempt to learn from our mistakes...
So that we can learn from the past, understand our place in the world,
and use our collective knowledge to create a better future.
So perhaps it's time that we, as a species, who love to laugh, ask
questions, and connect....do something radical and true.
For centuries, we have declared independence.
Perhaps it's now time that we, as humans, declare our interdependence!
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Today was a proud moment for us when we formally inaugurated the micro grid in Dharnai village in Jehanabad district of Bihar. We issued the following press release in Bihar & national media. GPI issued the International PR simultaneously. Please check for IPR
Bihar village declares independence from darkness and anonymity
Greenpeace's first solar-powered micro-grid in Bihar kicks off with village ceremony
20 July, 2014, Dharnai/Jehanabad: Even as more than 300 million people still wait for electricity in India, Dharnai in Bihar declared itself energy-independent today with the launch of Greenpeace's solar-powered micro-grid. The 100 kilowatt (kW) micro-grid currently provides quality electricity to more than 2,400 people living in Dharnai village in Bihar's Jehanabad district.
"While India was growing leaps and bounds, we were stuck here for the last 30 years, trying everything in the book to get electricity. We were forced to struggle with kerosene lamps and expensive diesel generators. But now I can proudly say that Dharnai is a leader in innovation. We have established our identity as an energy self-sufficient village and can compete with the country in its race to growth," said Kamal Kishore, a resident of Dharnai.
Costing Rs. 3 crore, the solar-powered micro-grid is a comprehensive, first-of-its-kind enterprise that provides 24x7 electricity to more than 450 households and 50 commercial establishments. This includes 70 kW for electricity generation and 30 kW for 10 solar-powered water pumping systems of three horsepower each. Built within three months and on a test-run since March, the quick-to-install micro-grid also takes care of 60 street lights, energy requirements of two schools, one health centre, one Kisan Training Centre (Farmer Training Centre) and 50 commercial establishments. It gives the village the mandate to not just a better life but also an ambition.
A quarter of the global population without access to electricity comprise the poor in India, where more than a third of the rural population lacks access to electricity. The decentralised, expandable and sustainable approach of the micro-grid provides that critical catalyst to power the new growth centres of India like Dharnai as well as bridge the deficit in urban areas. It is also a solution that can plug into the current government's focus on using solar power for energy access to every household by 2019.
"Even as the government is preoccupied with blaming the civil society for stopping energy projects, here is a village that has created its own energy pathway through an alternate model of sustainable energy. The coal-fired and nuclear-fired power plants of the country will not be able to reach the Dharnais of the country. Nor will they be able to address global climate concerns and India's commitments towards those concerns. India needs to seriously reconsider its energy strategy and prioritise renewable energy for social and climate justice," said Samit Aich, Executive Director, Greenpeace India, at the launch of the micro-grid attended by more than 3,000 villagers and community leaders from 25 villages. Also present at the launch were representatives from partner organisations CEED and Basix.
The micro-grid is operated in association with BASIX, a livelihood promotion institution as well as CEED, which is a network of NGOs and think-tank organisations in Bihar to support renewable energy development in the state.
The micro-grid has been set up with the approval and conformity of the people of Dharnai. So while it is a 100 kW system as of now, it can be expanded to meet the advanced requirements of the people.
"The micro-grid intends to be the answer to the intense policy and vision paralysis that India's energy sector faces today. The towns and villages of Bihar have been deprived of energy for decades now and we feel this is where the micro-grid can be the connect. We urge the Bihar government to follow and replicate this model," said Naveen Mishra of Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED).
Greenpeace appeals to the government of Bihar to recognise decentralised renewable energy systems (DRES) like the Dharnai model for replicating and upscaling to provide energy to the dark villages of Bihar and create adequate regulatory structure for promotion of similar models.
For more information on the micro-grid, please visit
For the briefing paper on the micro-grid,
For a detailed manual on the micro-grid,
For the fact sheets on the micro-grid,
For photos please visit,
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Consider what you shared about the Dust Bowl of 1930s. The American agriculture techniques were not adapted to the American climate. Lack of dryland farming techniques. Famines happen when agriculture doesn't adapt to limited-resources conditions. But there ARE ways to grow food and survive non-plentiful conditions. Switching over to more resilient agricultural practices is a far better option than the chemtrail program, duh! The basic assumption that the current system of agriculture is the ONLY way to grow food is flawed, and that throws the chemtrail justifications out the window.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
The revenues foregone in 2013-14 could fund the rural jobs scheme for three decades or the PDS for four and a half years.
By P. Sainath,
It was business as usual in 2013-14. Business with a capital B. This year's budget document says we gave away another Rs. 5.32 lakh crores to the corporate needy and the under-nourished rich in that year. Well, it says Rs. 5.72 lakh crores but I'm leaving out the Rs. 40 K crore foregone on personal income tax since that write-off benefits a wider group of people. The rest is mostly about a feeding frenzy at the corporate trough. And, of course, that of other well-off people. The major write-offs come in direct corporate income tax, customs and excise duties.
If you think sparing the super-rich taxes and duties worth Rs. 5.32 lakh crores is a trifle excessive, think again. The amount we've written off for them since 2005-06 under the very same heads is well over Rs. 36.5 lakh crore. (A sixth of that in just corporate income tax). That's Rs. 36500000000000 wiped off for the big boys in nine years.
With Rs. 36.5 trillion – for that is what it is – you could:
- Fund the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme for around 105 years, at present levels. That's more than any human being could expect to live. And a hell of a lot more than any agricultural labourer would. You could, in fact, run the MNREGS on that sum, across the working lives of two generations of such labourers. The current allocation for the scheme is around Rs. 34,000 crore.
- Fund the Public Distribution System for 31 years. (current allocation Rs. 1,15,000 crores).
By the way, if these revenues had been realized, around 30 per cent of their value would have devolved to the states. So their fiscal health is affected by the Centre's massive corporate karza maafi.
Even just the amount foregone in 2013-14 can fund the rural jobs scheme for three decades. Or the PDS for four and a half years. It is also over four times the 'losses' of the Oil Marketing Companies by way of so-called 'under-recoveries' in 2012-13.
Look at some of the exemptions under customs duty. There's a neat Rs. 48,635 crore written off on 'Diamonds and Gold.' Hardly aam aadmi or aam aurat items. And more than what we spend on rural jobs. Fact: concessions on diamonds and gold over the past 36 months total Rs. 1.6 trillion. (A lot more than we'll spend on the PDS in the coming year). In the latest figures, it accounts for 16 per cent of the total revenue foregone.
The break-up of the budget's revenue foregone figure of Rs. 5.72 lakh crore for 2013-14 is interesting. Of this, Rs. 76,116 crore was written off on just direct corporate income tax. More than twice that sum (Rs.1,95,679 crore) was foregone on Excise Duty. And well over three times the sum was sacrificed in Customs Duty (Rs. 2,60,714 crores).
This, of course, has been going on for many years in the 'reforms' period. But the budget only started carrying the data on revenue foregone around 2006-07. Hence the Rs. 36.5 trillion write-off figure. It would be higher had we the data for earlier years. (All of this, by the way, falls within the UPA period). And the trend in this direction only grows. As the budget document itself recognizes, "the total revenue foregone from central taxes is showing an upward trend. "
It sure is. The amount written off in 2013-14 shows an increase of 132 per cent compared to the same concessions in 2005-06.
Corporate karza maafi is a growth industry, and an efficient one.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help
me make the big choices in life.
Almost everything--all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure--
these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you
have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there.
And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it, and that is how it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It's life's change agent.
It clears out the old to make way for the new."
Saturday, July 12, 2014
If we keep aside everything and really go back to the beginning, then there's clarity. We have to be a people's movement, do work for the people, and then the people have to compel us to stand for elections when they see it as the most efficient way to get their problems solved. Not the other way around! I'm feeling happy to see this message put loud and clear, feeling happy about this course correction. There can be infinity-squared blamings on what has happened so far ("if like this then why did we do this this and that", "then they should not have this and should have that" etc), but for the way forward, I think this is much better.
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Sunday, June 22, 2014
9 am - 10 am : Doors open, people start arriving, informal interactions, putting up charts / posters / exhibits
10 am - 11 am : Morning gathering. Announcements, Short introduction, Explanation about the event, Co-creating sessions
11 am - 12.30 pm : Session 1
12.30 pm - 2 pm : Lunch break, see exhibits, informal interactions
2 - 3.30 pm : Session 2
3.30 - 4 pm : Tea break, informal interactions, music
4 pm - 5.30 pm : Session 3
5:30 pm - 6 pm : Evening gathering, people sharing their learnings, takeaways, feedback
Day 2 : Sunday, 20 July 2014
9 am - 10 am : Doors open, people start arriving, informal interactions, putting up charts / posters / exhibits
10 am - 11 am : Morning gathering. Announcements, Games, Co-creating sessions
11 am - 12.30 pm : Session 1
12.30 pm - 2 pm : Lunch break, see exhibits, informal interactions
2 pm - 3.30 pm : Session 2
3.30 pm - 4 pm : Tea break, informal interactions
4 pm - 5.30 pm : Session 3
5:30 pm - 6 pm : Evening gathering, people sharing their learnings, takeaways, feedback, plans ahead
Urmila Samson : 9422330377, umrilasamson [at] gmail.com
Please try to SMS/Whatsapp first before calling.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
From a mailer from http://www.oikos.in/ :
Dear Nature Lovers,
Greetings from oikos !
What should be the main goal of human race…
To live happy and healthy life and let future generations live the same ?
Obviously education should be focused to earn a livelihood in a cautious way.
We are totally dependent on Nature for survival.
But our education system seems to deny this fact.
Current education increases aspirations of people towards -
maximum generation of wealth and standard of living
with respect to highest consumption beyond needs.
Question is whether we really get happy and healthy life after that ?
Even if we accept that comforts and contentedness has increased,
number of diseases and hospitals are equally increasing.
We still feel that technology can provide solution for everything,
… even deteriorated life style and dwindling resources.
Also technology based solutions, being expensive, are enjoyed only by few rich.
And many poor are deprived of it, so crime increases.
There is no value for morals and self realization.
There are ways wherein we can earn a better future, based on natural wealth.
Nature is the best guide for us to make livelihood.
Education must consider any facet of life as subset of nature.
If we ignore this fact, effects are coming back to us in the form of climate change.
So education, be it primary, higher or graduation level, must have ecological perspective.
Prakash Gole had suggested a new education stream - 'Eco-school to Eco-university'.
Students coming from such education system may take care of nature as well as
sustainable, happy and healthy living options !
Education should not be a burden and formality for students.
It should facilitate enjoyment.
It should incorporate morals.
It should improve learning ability.
It should also improve ability for self realization.
And this is best possible through learning in company of nature…
Sunday, June 15, 2014
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Imagine this situation: There's several different kinds of animals in an elevator, and the panel beeps and says it's too heavy: some occupants will have to get off to reduce the weight so that the elevator can proceed. There's several hundred ants in the elevator, dozens of butterflies, some squirrels, foxes, tigers, a couple of bears and one elephant. The elephant is assuming leadership of the elevator; and imploring all the ants to get off.. "there's too many of you! Please, you need to reduce your numbers to something like ours (elephant and bears), only then can this elevator move ahead."
That's what's happening with the overpopulation debate.. or should I say monologue (the other side is silenced), right now.
It's not about what the population is. It's about how much is the consumption.. the carbon footprint, the resource depletion, the burden being put on this planet etc.
All the so-called overpopulated regions of India, Asia, Africa : are on a per capital level consuming NOTHING compared to USA, the West. Even in absolute terms, when you trace out the consumers of the products of all the outsourced industries and credit those consumptions to their original masters, it's still the West (US mostly) cornering the top.
Now, let's put on the thinking hat of Efficiency and think in those terms. Supposing you were really proceeding with reducing the population as a means of cutting down the planet's resource depletion. Where would you begin?
Logically, the first step would be to list, in descending order, the populations of the world with their resource consumption statistics. Maybe an index that combines food, fuels, petrochemicals, expenditure, electricity, minerals etc. You would make a descending list of countries, with the countries having the highest per capita consumption at the top. If necessary, you would split the countries where there's a distinct difference between different regions. For example, India's metro cities stand in stark contrast with the rest of India. So list them separately.
Then, using the principles of maximum efficiency, where would you begin? Naturally, you'd begin at the top.
It makes obvious sense, doesn't it? Taking a white upper-class American off the planet is far more efficient and easier than taking out some 1000+ Africans or Indians who are consuming less than he is.
So, here's where the ridiculousness if this whole overpopulation topic manifests : Anyone who was honestly, sincerely believing that controlling the earth's population of human beings is an acceptable way to prevent runaway resource depletion.. would have to be talking about starting with depopulating USA first, followed by whichever countries, regions you have on that list. The poorest parts of Africa, Asia would have to be the very last on the list. Only after you've seriously, satisfactorily brought down the populations of the "West".. or at the least, after you've shut down most of the industries they've outsourced and which are heavily subsidized by the corrupt governments of the developing nations : only then should you even begin to look at the rest.
Instead, what do we get to see? Like the elephant in the elevator, we see mostly white-skinned, upper class people, belonging to the demoraphics that consume the most, talking in alarmed tones about overpopulation, and pointing fingers at the guys who are at the bottom of the consumption charts.
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Note: You'll probably have to use the same technique to change it back when you want to hear sound on the laptop again. Don't panic if you're playing a movie later on and there's no sound coming!
Q. Another area of your work which is becoming increasingly popular in anticapitalist circles is the idea of the commons. Could you briefly explain what it means and why it is important to the struggle against capitalism?
DH. Let's examine the question of housing for the moment. It is almost standard thinking that in order to get housing you have to be a homeowner. Therefore the private property system dominates housing provision. I think that's really problematic. For a lot of people being a homeowner is not good economics – they don't have the incomes. But being a tenant is a vulnerable situation. So, you might want to have a completely different kind of property regime for the delivery of use values to a significant section of the population.
I think there are ways to try to reorganise what goes on in housing provision through common property regimes. Not state-owned, I want to be clear. This would be social housing which would be co-operatively developed, managed and structured. There are interesting schemes in the United States, for example, called 'limited equity co-operatives'. If you participate you can't sell out at a market price. You can only get close to the value you started with. If you got into the housing co-op for €100,000 and twenty years later you want to get out – you get €100,000 plus the inflation or something similar. You can't go and sell it for a million. So this means there is a permanent pool of housing which is available for a population that can't afford a million but could afford €100,000 on a reasonable mortgage.
On housing provision, we have to get out of that frame of mind that says 'the only way you can really do this is through home ownership'. That idea of home ownership has been pedaled for political and economic reasons. Most people have absorbed the idea that this is the only way in which housing can be provided. Arguing for a different property rights regime seems to me to be critical. Many areas that have been commodified need to be returned to a common property idea. I think education and health care are common property rights. To the degree that our world is not delivering good use values for those things it is because it is privatised and turned into a private property right. I'm concerned to support wherever I can initiatives which start to generate common property rights regimes in place of private ones.
That common property regime is not state ownership. We've got a dichotomy right now between state and market which is misleading. Neither state nor market but a collective form of provision.
How did an unassuming Varanasi farmer and school dropout come to be sought after by farmers, praised by experts and awarded by the government for his famous seeds?
His claim to fame? He develops indigenous, high-yielding and disease resistant varieties of plants. So far, he's perfected more than 460 types of paddy, 120 of wheat, 40 kinds of arhar dal and three of mustard. He's also grown a special type of wood apple or bel, one that yields 8-10 fruits in a single bunch, multiplying harvests for poor farmers.
One million farmers in about seven Indian states swear by the seeds he provides. He sells them for Rs 30-40 per kilo, compared to the Rs 200-300 that agents charge for genetically modified (GM) crops. Still, his crops outperform the GM ones on yield. And from their grain, farmers plant for the next harvest - something they can't do with a GM crop.
Friday, June 6, 2014
A young professional murdered.
Stone pelting at several cities in state.
Number of buses were burnt.
Shops forcefully shut down for over 2 days.
Lot of private vehicles were also damaged.
Just for the sake of protesting against a FB post.
And we still have people who say "someone triggered it".
If the people of Maharashtra were really so trigger-happy and violent and easy to provoke, then some cyber criminals would have simply hacked into a few fb accounts and wiped out the population by now. No, sir, let's not insult the people of Maharashtra.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
<Sfx: mysterious space music>
Could this email have come through an inter-dimensional space-time warp from a parallel universe where an alter-ego of mine might be living a life path that i might have been on had i not diverged from the de facto script in 2010?
what might your alternate-universe life look like?
(read below to understand)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Subject: To: Nikhil D. Sheth / Purdue University
Dear Nikhil D. Sheth,
As stated by the Purdue University's electronic repository, you authored the work entitled "A Micromechanical Spectrum Analyzer" in the framework of your postgraduate degree.
Due to the fact that we are currently planning publications in this subject field, we would be pleased to know whether you would be interested in publishing the above mentioned work with us.
[..] Academic Publishing is a member of an international publishing group, which has almost 10 years of experience in the publication of high-quality research works from well-known institutions across the globe.
Besides producing printed scientific books, we also market them actively through more than 80,000 booksellers.
Kindly confirm your interest in receiving more detailed information in this respect.
I am looking forward to hearing from you.