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Categories: - Students' Voice for Sustainability


Content, Idea and Concept by: Ashapurna Das, Blog Team-TOHRI
Edited and Re-worked by: Vidusshi Pathak, Intern-TOHRI

"Mumma will they take us just like they took papa away?",said the little brown cub, Lapa.
Lapa was a cub in the small streak of tigers that lived in the great Sundarbans in West Bengal. He, along with his mother and siblings managed to survive just as the other 279 tigers.

To his question, mother, Reva had nothing to say. She remembered the day Tulsi, her husband fought for his life and told her to run away with the cubs. Shot in the middle of their hunting, Reva dared not to let her cubs walk alone in the darkness of a moonless night. Lapa was the youngest and the most curious cub among his siblings. He was the favourite amongst all the adult tigers and everyone was quite familiar with his mischievous nature . Regardless of being warned by his mother Reva a hundred times, Lapa went on his journey of exploration without permission. Reva would get worried; she only wanted to fulfill the last wish of her husband.

Lapa like other days sneaked out of his afternoon nap for his mischievous escape. He wanted to explore the environment, hunt like the adults, roar like his dad and find food for his mother. The little cub had realised that it was time for him to grow up, but was it too soon?

After wandering for more than two hours Lapa realised that he lost his way back home. There were no sight of tigers and not a soul could be found . It was an eerily silent place in the forest. He started to panic. Lapa ran here and there but he couldn't find any other tiger or cub, neither could he trace his way back home. The real trouble started when he could hear the rustling of leaves right behind him. Scared as he was, he turned around only to see 3 men armed with guns pointing at him. He recalled his mother telling him the story of 'monsters in human flesh'. He ran away as fast as he could, directionless.. The men chased him without fail, Lapa dared not to look back and kept running. After running for almost a mile, he heard a loud noise. Someone had been shot, but who was it? From his hiding he saw a tigress bleeding, it was his mother. The three men took his mother's corpse back to their truck. Lapa was shocked and heartbroken. He had experienced his worst nightmare. Walking along the way and still not knowing where to go he soon discovered small pieces of round rocks. He remembered what his mother said to him once " If you ever get lost, round pebbles will help you find your way home. But if you ever lose me, my darling, know that I raised you to be as strong as the pebbles below your paw."

Like Lapa, many other small cubs lost their parents in a one sided war. A war between humans and animals which started years ago as a leisure time fun-activity; hunting of animals was a hobby not many fancied, but with time it became more of a status symbol. Hunting of tigers grew substantially and things worsened before anyone could notice. We call it extinction. Tigers, considered one of the most strongest, fearless animals that were naturally a threat to all kinds of other animals were now a victim of human threat. Once a fierce dynasty was now a small clan losing its members every now and then for the evil greeds of mankind.

Categories: - Students' Voice for Sustainability

Sonnet: To Hunger, Goodbye

Written by: Lipi Bag, Blog Team- TOHRI

I saw thirty of them struggle
For grabbing those eggs
Alas! I just had three.
So, all I could do is gaze, at those faces meekly.
Running across in hunger and fatigue,
These were children of the street.

The epidemic of Malnutrition has been,
One of the major problems that the world has seen.
One meal a day is something that they cherish
Without proper food, we all know one would perish
We can go on wasting our luxury
But think for a while for those toddlers living in misery

Oh! If only we could care,
For the kids who live in fear.
Donate those leftovers to that little one,
Let’s make the world free from starvation.

Categories: - Caught by a thought

Did BCCI drop the ‘Smith’ catch in 2017? Yes, it did …

Has Steve Smith got caught one year too late due to magnanimous BCCI? Well , it seems like that.

Let’s get to the fact first. On day four of Bengaluru test in 2017, Smith, the then Australian captain, was caught on television looking towards dressing room for getting hint whether he should go for third umpire review or not after being given out by on ground umpire. However, while doing so, he got caught both by on field umpire and Indian captain Virat Kohli; and was sent back. Post match Smith admitted the gaffe but called it a brain fade. BCCI was quick to accept the Australian captain’s version and swept the controversy under carpet.

However in doing so, BCCI after initial burst of aggression against Australians subsequently completely ignored – and also ICC - the version of Indian captain about the incident; who was quite categorical post match about the issue. “I saw that happening two times when I was batting out there. I pointed it out to the umpire as well, that it’s happened twice, that I’ve seen their players looking upstairs for confirmation, and that’s why the umpire was at him. When he turned back the umpire knew exactly what was going on, because we observed that, we told match referee also, and the umpires, that they’ve been doing that for the last three days and this has to stop…” said Kohli in press conference. “… if something is going on for three days, then that's not a brain fade, as simple as that”, added Indian captain.

The moot point is Virat not only said that he himself had seen it but also mentioned that both umpires and Match Referee were aware of it; a claim that could have been easily verified by BCCI, ICC and even Cricket Australia which has been found so proactive during the recent planned ball tampering episode after losing face to the world. Even the video could have been reviewed. However no question was asked, no enquiry has been ordered and the game continued business (pun intended) as usual. Indian team swallowed complains, apparently prodded by BCCI; and so did former cricketer Sunil Gavaskar who observed immediately after the incident that he would like to see ICC’s response on the issue! The fact that BCCI runs the cricket coverage in television, where Gavaskar happened to be a star commentator, took care of his finger pointing.

What one also needs to observe is the similarity of the two scenarios and Steve Smith’s clear intention of winning at any cost! Was it just ‘win at any cost’ mentality on 22 yards or being propelled by something else beyond 22 yards , is anybody’s guess. In India, Australia, after winning the first test in 2017 series, came suddenly under pressure after generally dominating first three days in Bengaluru test and Smith knew that his dismissal was key to match , and perhaps series, fate. So came out ‘dressing room referral system’! Similarly in South Africa, Australia after winning first test lost the second one and was under pressure in third test and South Africa was threatening to take the game away. So came out the sandpaper! If a young bloke Peter Handscomb was made to tweet in India that he actually pushed Smith to look towards the dressing room as he did not know the DRS rules (laugh aloud) and Smith did as suggested (even louder laugh). Similarly another young guy, Cameron Bancroft, was made a direct scapegoat this time.

Clearly Mr. Smith, and number of his co- players and even support staffs, has been playing anything but ‘cricket’ in cricket ground for last few years;. It is difficult to believe the non involvement of dressing room in case of repeated referral brain fade; or rest eight cricketers on ground having no clue of ball being ‘prepared’ for reversing early! Well, even a boy playing school cricket will vouch for the opposite. Did ICC and Australia hatch up a plan to sacrifice three cricketers and save Australian cricket? Nobody knows. But one knows for sure that BCCI, ICC and Cricket Australia successfully played the brain fade theory in 2017, and brain washed cricket community in accepting this.

By : Jayanta Basu
Senior Journalist and Honorary Chief Advisor, Media and Sustainability Communication Programme, Tohri

Categories: - Students' Voice for Sustainability

Air Pollution: From Thrills to Chills

Air Pollution: From Thrills to Chills
Content by: Jagruti Panchal, Blog Team-TOHRI
Edited by: Vidusshi Pathak, Intern-TOHRI

Saanjh never had problem in breathing. Why would he? He was a healthy boy of fifteen whom even the Delhi air couldn't take a toll on. Like many, he actually prided himself in this fact. And like any other fifteen year old boy in Delhi, firecrackers on Diwali weren't just a norm but a necessity for him. That year as well, when the unpredictable month of October approached, , Saanjh and hundreds of other kids of his age weren't concerned with anything but the festival of lights. Though, not as much with the festival as with the blasting fireworks anticipated with it. Numerous stalls exclusively meant for Diwali shopping erupted spontaneously around Saanjh's residence on the street side which was a cue for his mother to start a house cleaning regime and for him to start nagging his father for crackers enough to last him until after Diwali.

Last year his father gave him an allowance of a thousand rupees, but the amount of crackers and rockets he bought didn't fulfill his satisfaction. So this time, after many tantrums were thrown by him; Saanjh was allowed a sum of three thousand rupees for purchasing as much firecrackers as he desired. He bought cartons of them.

As Diwali grew closer, his anticipation heightened, with only a partial stopper in between when an awareness session regarding the harmful effects of burning crackers took place in his class. Why were adults so obnoxious and always managed to put a damper on fun? Alas! was beyond Saanjh's imagination. He would never stop anyone from lighting crackers, he knew what joy and rush that brought and who is he to someone from that enjoyment? He would rather teach his kids from an early age the tips and tricks of burning rockets and ‘Anar' bombs. The fact that a fun activity for him was life threatening to people whose hearts and lungs aren't as blessed as his, never registered in his brain for even a moment. He came back home, changed at the speed of lightening, and went out with a matchbox and a packet of ‘fusli' bombs meant especially to be exploded while waiting for the big day.

An old man in his early eighties lived a few blocks away from Saanjh's place. He was counted amongst those anti-social, reserved people who usually didn't interact much with any neighbour. Perhaps, he preferred solidarity over gossips (as is the trend). Although, he was living in the locality for years now, no one seemed to wonder where his family was. Not one soul paid visit to him, except for some delivery boys carrying medicines. He was a mystery unsolved yet undettered. Within the boundaries of his two-room habitat lay many secrets waiting to be discovered. Saanjh, like all his other friends did not dare to cross paths with this man owing to his weird and unwelcome nature. However, he always seemed to be curious about the world beyond that door.

This year, the park in which Saanjh carried out his cracker sessions was, unfortunately, adjacent to this man's home. As soon as Saanjh started burning crackers the old man would scold him "It isn't Diwali yet and you kids are all over the place with those explosives" bringing the boy's mood to a lowly state. However, that wouldn't stop him from exploding ‘fusli' bombs and in the end the old man would wheeze and cough and leave Saanjh alone in peace by shutting himself in the house.

On the day of Diwali, everything was happening excruciatingly slow for Saanjh, be it the decorations and rituals or the mandatory meetings and greetings. All Saanjh was waiting for was a green signal from his parents so that he could rush out with his friends and celebrate Diwali with fireworks. As soon as he was given the minutest affirmative, he was in the park with his friends showing off his collection of crackers, (which was still huge even when a considerable part was exhausted before Diwali itself). He saw a glimpse of the old man at the porch of his house and with an enthusiasm (which can only be due to the festive mood), ran up to him and wished him a happy Diwali. This was his only attempt to greet the grumpy-faced old man.

The old man gave him a sad yet resigned look, and then exhaled "Nothing much happy about it, boy". Saanjh was left flustered. He behaved like a good kid and he expected some smiles in return.

But in an attempt to maintain basic etiquettes, he said, "Why not, sir? It is such a lovely day…err…night." he stammered.

The man just looked at Saanjh for what seemed like an eternity before replying in almost a whisper "I am old and I have asthma. This festival isn't happy for me, it is rather frightening."

He looked down at Saanjh again with his blank eyes, he wasn't hoping for the young boy to relate to his condition, he knew the boy was the last person who would empathize with him.

"What do you mean, uncle?" Saanjh was now regretting coming to greet this creepy man at all, wasn't it impolite to respond with anything other than "Same to you" when someone wishes you a happy something?

"You won't understand" the old man dismissed him and went inside his house.

Saanjh heard the locks being bolted and then silence. He stood there for some time, his young ego bruised. He didn't want to understand anyway, whatever the old man was going through or whatever he said, did not bother Saanjh. He was a happy, healthy kid and he decided to stay in his little bubble of ignorance, it was there where he felt the safest.

Some days later, he found out that the old man died after an asthmatic attack caused due to worsened air quality in the city. The news of the death of a person who was almost a stranger to him surprisingly left him with a guilty conscience. He was well aware of what asthma was and what problems asthmatic people faced when projected to toxic air and fumes, but since he never went through it himself, he just didn't understand. Soon he forgot about the old man altogether and the next year Diwali was the same as any other. Crackers, crackers and more crackers. Years passed and yet every Diwali that came saw Saanjh even more indulged with firecrackers. Until one day, Saanjh's bubble of ignorance popped.

He couldn't have asked for a better life. He had a small happy family- his wife and a daughter who was eight years old, a satisfactory job and a secured career. From a healthy boy of fifteen he became a healthy man of thirty six. He still burned crackers every Diwali and still prided in the fact that he was someone surviving in the Delhi air. The year of 2017 though, put a permanent stopper to his infatuation with crackers. His little girl had been diagnosed with chronic bronchitis after she had an uncontrollable cough and breathlessness while she was in school.

"But she is just an eight year old! How can she have chronic bronchitis? It is supposed to be a long term effect of smoking, isn't it?" Saanjh was quivering inside but had to maintain a steady foothold in front of his clearly despaired wife.

"Breathing in the air of Delhi is equivalent to smoking almost forty cigarettes a day. It is the effect of environment. I would recommend you to take your daughter to some hill station for the time being, as Diwali is approaching" the doctor said with a sympathetic voice "this year Supreme Court has banned the purchase of crackers in the city but I don't think people will stop at that. There is going to be a huge degradation in the air quality this year and it can be fatal to people with respiratory disorders, including your daughter." Hearing this was enough to make Saanjh go numb to the core.

‘CRACKERS', ‘DIWALI', ‘FATAL', ‘RESPIRATORY DISORDERS', ‘IGNORANT', every word that the doctor spoke hit him like a boomerang coming back at him that he threw a while ago and forgot about. The guilty conscience which he felt when the old man in his neighborhood died, the old man to whom he had not given a single thought in decades, multiplied ten folds and made home in his heart. How couldn't he blame himself for everything happening to his daughter? If not the whole reason, he was at least a part of it, and for that he couldn't bring to forgive himself.

Days passed and he expected that year's Diwali to be a green one. He had hope that people will follow the ban on purchasing firecrackers. With the approval of his daughter's doctor, instead of retreating to a far off hill station, he bought an air purifier for his house and sealed it shut on the day of Diwali, hoping against hope that not a single cracker would go off. Of course he was disappointed; people were still ignorant towards the environment. He shouldn't have been surprised, but he was, what gave him thrills in his childhood now sent down chills in his spine whenever his daughter coughed or choked . Ashamed, since he was once acquainted with this ignorance himself, he went up to his daughter who was clearly uncomfortable while breathing even with the air purifier beside her.
"How are you feeling?" he asked her.

"Why aren't these people stopping with fireworks already, papa?" she asked meekly, inhaling heavily. He had no answer to that, so he questioned her again "How are you feeling, my little princess?"

She exhaled "You won't understand."

All that flashed across Saanjh's mind was the image of the old man, surprisingly vivid and detailed. Somewhere or the other Saanjh always remembered him, even if only subconsciously. His eyes tore up at those words. He wanted to tell his daughter that he did understand; he was feeling helpless and desperate. Not just because his inability to do something for her or what she was going through, but because he was a part of what messed her up in the first place. He no longer prided himself for surviving the Delhi air, he would rather have his girl survive it. He no longer lived in the bubble of ignorance, and only now he understood how suffocating it was without it. He wanted to tell her that he did understand, better than he did ever before. He was going through a permanent breathlessness of his own that was his guilt.

Categories: - Students' Voice for Sustainability

Delhi and it's Water Problem

Delhi and it's Water Problem
Content by: Lipi Bag, Blog Team-TOHRI
Edited by: Vidusshi Pathak, Intern-TOHRI

Watching Vinay Shukla's the Insignificant Man, a socio political documentary on Arvind Kejriwal Arnav came across a lot of details regarding the water problems in Delhi. One of the major predicament, apart from the water crisis in Delhi is the access to clean regular water to people across the state. He could recall an article by a journalist about the Indian problem of sanitation and water supply. In the end of his analysis, the journalist proposed that all those who are to pass water and don't find a toilet around ought to book a cab and pass water on the municipality's wall. To say, that one day it's washed away in the excretory flood! "I'm about to get bald because of the water quality", Arnav thought to himself.

India's capital city is expected to deliver the best form of governance. In contrast to that, the situation is getting worse. As a research fellow for Social Work, Arnav was to make a documentary on the water conditions of Delhi. Browsing through the internet, Arnav noted as a matter of regret that the Capital city had been dependpent on its nearby towns for the supply of water because of the Yamuna being in its worst condition, and the broken pipelines that the government has sworn never to repair. Travelling via the blue line of the metro, Arnav noticed the algae floating across the river. He couldn't believe what he had been coming across as a work of research daily. He was flabbergasted to think of his health when he saw those unhygienic conditions around him. Whilst he was weaving his documentary, he gave a voice over narration to the video, "No wonder when you visit the Yamuna Bank for perhaps flaunting your photography skills, you can watch people using the same water for bathing, sanitation and food. Alarmingly, reports confirm that the water level in the Yamuna in Delhi has crossed the warning level due to discharge of water from a barrage in Haryana. As a matter of fact, untreated treated effluents are also discharged into the river through the numerous city drains. Despite the significant efforts of Yamuna Bacchao Andolan, and other important programmes, the situation isn't improving."

What Arnav also came across through his endeavour was that the Cementing grounds was also a major cause for the depletion of the ground water level. Another concerning factor was that of the water supply agencies. The agencies were facing a lot of problem for the arrangement of raw water from various sources in the vicinity of Delhi. Groundwater levels were depleting fast, falling by significant numbers in some parts of Delhi. There had also been evidence of groundwater contamination and high salinity content in the same.

Through his basic idea of identification, Arnav filmed how the inadequate amount of drinking water caters to a greater dependence on private suppliers and affects the household finance. The film showcased the records of 2016, as per the Wire, of how it is noted that the city's drinking waste water management, estimated total distribution losses around 40%.

Some areas, like Khanpur locality in southeast Delhi, and Sangam Vihar in South Delhi did have protests and slogans against this lack of basic rights. Arnav's documentary with some solutions of plantation, rain water harvesting and less wastage of water, if not anything else, did impress the judges to give him to award of most original piece of work in a film festival.

But deep down in this heart he knew that the real difference would be made if only we take a majora step of water conservation like putting efforts of raising the water tables, and ceasing the industry effluent from being disposed in the rivers. On an individual level what we can really do is plant trees, stop wasting water. Looking at the Yamuna from the last metro over the blue line, Arnav realised that until these steps are taken, the promises by the government appear like a far-fetched dream as the basic amenities in most places seem to lack. In our household, for every bucket of water that we waste, there's a life that is lost.

Categories: - Students' Voice for Sustainability

Population and Sustainability

Opinion Piece by Youth on Issues of Sustainability
Concept, Idea and Content: Jagruti Panchal, Blog Team – TOHRI
Edited by: Vidusshi Pathak, Intern, TOHRI

10 billion. That is the number of people which our earth can sustain at a given time. We are already beyond 7.6 billion as per official records and these records are well below the immediate actual numbers. Our resources can only bear exploitation to a certain limit.

Population growth is a more sensitive issue than it appears to be. It is equally battered with controversies and questions of morality, ethics, and rights; as are the other integral debates in our society. It is not just limited to one community but wraps the whole world in the unfolding of the inadvertent consequences due to population explosion. The earth’s population increase has been exponential if nothing more and the measures taken for balancing the same haven’t been satisfactory.
We always fret about how there is no end to the problems the world is facing in today’s time. Global warming, every type of environmental pollution, climate change, deforestation, famine; there is so much natural imbalance due to our own actions, that the situation seems beyond our grasp now. We have tempered with Nature to such an extent that the damage is now almost irreparable. What more does one need in order to realise the gravity of the situation than the fact that over half of our forests have vanished due to human exploits? They are not ‘our’ forests to begin with; since nature has always been about co-existence.

Most of the issues pertaining today (I say most and not all out of discretion) that are affecting our society as a whole can either directly or indirectly be connected to the enormous population growth. It is estimated that by the end of this century we would be well over 11billion. That might be the time we witness the extinction of our resources as well as ourselves. But that can easily be prevented if proper measures are taken on a mutual basis from now onwards.

844 million, that is one out of every ten people, do not have access to clean water. About 800 million people (one out of every nine) do not have proper food intake. It isn’t because there is a shortage of the same, since every year 10 to 20 percent of the total crop production in India is lost in storage either due to pests or ignorant handling. The wastage is to a high extent and instead can be used for fulfilling the food requirements of the underprivileged in our country. The problem lies in the lack of planning for managing such a huge population. Our country, in fact our world, is discovering new techniques and hustling to find new ways to lessen the chaos and systematize consumerism and the intake of resources in such a way that basic benefits are achieved by one and all. But of course, it isn’t going to pay off until and unless we as a human society have a mutual responsibility towards this cause.

Population growth is far more ahead than the solutions we are bringing in to sustain the growing numbers. The need of the hour is to limit this problem from the very core itself, i.e., to encourage smaller families and the concept of adoption. So, this pertains to a perspective of- “Small is beautiful”. The larger requirement is to provide a crystal clear and deeper understanding of this perspective so as to make people realize that this situation is soon going to turn into something hard to handle. This can only be achieved in the future generations by providing them proper education regarding the topic of population growth and the ethical ways to curb it. Many in our society argue that subjecting children (and young adolescents) to this kind of information is not ethical in itself, but their argument is not based on any solid reasoning. I don’t see how informing our young successors about the legacy (or damages) we are leaving behind for them to deal with, is in any way corrupting their minds. Only when the ways they can deal with it in the future are inculcated in their minds from an early start would there be a possibility for them to shape their actions collectively for the betterment of this society.

Adoption not only helps in overcoming the population problem; it is also about taking the responsibility of a child and filling their lives with happiness. In the end there would be a lot more love in this world if children are provided with a home and a family. Many people constrain themselves from adopting because of the conservative thinking that has been imprinted in our brains long ago, but it is high time to abolish this mindset and change the world by doing our bit.

The natural resources, which aren’t just ours to soak up, should be preserved and sustainably utilized by the masses until a balanced and controlled population is acquired. Only by cutting out on our unnecessary expenditures can we actually save something for our future generations to cherish on this planet, be it the trees we are butchering so irrationally, the water reservoirs we are draining relentlessly or the very air we breathe that we have shamelessly contaminated with toxic fumes.
It is never easy to keep in mind the future consequences and lives while striving for our own selves. But drastic situations demand for drastic measures. To prevent anything as such to arise, it is necessary that we keep our actions in check because this planet isn’t ours to claim, no contradictions whatsoever. True, it is helping us grow and we are a part of it. We have to respect Mother Nature if the idea is to sustain humans further in future.

For a start, let’s try by curbing our inner fundamental hunger for everything and think about the bigger picture for once. As Mahatma Gandhi said- “There is enough on Earth for everybody's need, but not enough for everybody's greed.”

Categories: - Students' Voice for Sustainability


Concept, Idea and Content by: Ashapurna Das, Blog Team-TOHRI

Abhav bid good night to his mother.
He closed his eyes and felt much better.
The life he lived in his dream,
Landed him in a fictitious realm.
A realm where no one worried about hunger,
A realm where pain did not exist any longer.
Ration cards did not divide mankind.
Nor did the poverty line.
No more did he wore torn pre-owned clothes,
Nor did his life primarily comprised of woes.
The pre-dominance of hereditary illness did not exist,
Neither did his family slept in the horrifying mist.
A life that he would cherish,
And a health that he would nourish.
Suddenly he woke up to a dreadful noise,
Only to see his tent collapsing again out of poise.

Categories: - Students' Voice for Sustainability

The Might of the Deadly Pollution in Delhi

Content, Idea and Concept by: Lipi Bag, Blog Team-TOHRI

Edited by: Vidusshi Pathak, Intern, Blog Team-TOHRI

The gruesome shriek of the women gave me heart palpitations. I immediately stopped the video on my phone. The horrifying scenes of the cars crashing at the Yamuna Expressway on a not so wintry-morning, pained my lungs. It was the deadly fog which engulfed the whole city. In the past few months the pollution in Delhi has indeed created a ruckus in the lives of ordinary people. Perhaps, it was the first time that I wondered why I took admission in a Delhi college. I remember how one of my friends joked, “Breathing the Delhi air is like smoking ten cigarettes a day, so why not add one more to it!” To add to this, my laptop read from one of the E-newspapers, “the deadly level of carcinogenic pollutants in Delhi’s air was roughly 10 times the reading in Beijing.”

Last year when the thick envelop of pollution covered the city of Delhi, forcing the schools to shut down; we readily blamed it on the ever accused ‘Diwali crackers’. However, this year the conditions weren’t the same. The Government had put a ban on crackers, and the pollution was also caused by agri residue burning in Punjab and Haryana. Nevertheless, the persisting situation continues to gnaw at us, as we head towards this plethora of toxic air.

So what went wrong this year?

Perhaps the answer lies deep inside us. We can play the blame game on the government all our lives, but would it yield any result if we don’t work on it ourselves? Even after the ban, it was seen that people were burning crackers.

In the past, when the Delhi Government tried to implement the Odd and Even Scheme, despite the minor problems, it was really beneficial. Car pools were taken into consideration, and Delhi started understanding the gravity of the situation, as it seemed. But if we look under the layers of newspaper, we come across the irony of the fact that there were people who started cars with both even and odd numbers! How do we even escape the tragedy when we ourselves seem to be inviting them?

How will the learnings from ‘Environmental Science books’ be put to use, when we don’t practise them in our daily lives. For what’s worth, one of the small steps could be that of planting a tree every year. The increase in population, thereby increasing the construction of buildings does come across as a vital problem, but we have to fight it by educating ourselves against the growing tentacles of population. Last but not the least, we need to stop asking for excuses like ‘Please let the women drive pass through the Odd-Even scheme, just like another reservation. No! If we’re barely making it to our workplace or college (because of the poisonous air), there’s no use asking for such reservations. Stop, and think for once as a social human being, and not as individual seeker with any particular gender perspective, for that could be the beginning of the change.

Categories: - Short Stories for Sustainability

Dusk to Dawn

Concept, Idea, Content – By Debashis Chakraborty

They are barely six years old. Well, maybe seven, but that's it.

The two boys are playing. Not with toys, but with pieces of stones and woods. Actually, describing their engagement as playing in strict sense would be glorifying their action. In practice, they are trying to escape the scorching sun and the flying dust particles by pretending to be engaged with some physical actions. The neighbourhood, full of worn out people, seem to be far too obsessed with their own struggles for securing livelihood to take any notice of them.

It is just not possible to keep the pretence of playing for long. One of them looks up and says, 'hey, let's go for mountaineering.'

The other joylessly nods, more likely from the sheer lack of alternatives than from the possible excitement.

They move towards the outer gate of the rundown colony. The homes on both sides of the ally are literally made of pieces - plastic, wood, stone, metal – whatever the scavengers could get from their surroundings have been put to good, okay – manageable, use.

They arrive near the river, reduced to a canal now. Water is difficult to spot though - mud, loads of poisonous chemicals and plastics are rather visible.

A few grown-ups are standing near the rickety bridge and busy quarrelling. An old man is angrily saying, 'For how many times do I need to implore you people to stop releasing the waste in the river? Let's dig a deep hole and we can put -'

One roguish looking person laughs loudly and rebuffs him, 'Hey Grandpa, spare us the lesson on this so-called MRS – morality, responsibility, sustainability. I'm tired of it. Frankly, I really do not believe that by adopting your so-called sustainable practices, we can reverse the climate scenario prevailing today.'

Others loudly cheer for him.

The two boys do not stop. It's everyday affair.

They cross the bridge and step into the ghost town. Skeletons of the big buildings are standing there and thousands of cars, air-conditioning machines and other electrical appliances are piled against them. Without electricity, they are useless now. Nobody lives there anymore. There is no e-waste processing facility either. So, rainwater carries all the harmful chemicals to the river and other water bodies.

It's scorching heat for the last seven months. But before that for more than two years, it has rained continuously, with snowfall in between. This dingy colony has lost all their solar batteries due to bad maintenance. The promised help from another community located nearby has not arrived yet.

'Which one?' asks one of them.

'Let's take this', the other suggests by pointing to a fifteen storey building.

The two boys nod to each other once and start climbing the identified building. They are repeating what they did yesterday. They'll race upto the top floor of the building by climbing the exterior. It is difficult, but not impossible. The buildings are in advance stage of decay with plasters coming off and plants are visible here and there.

With almost no economic activities, life is harsh. So every person hunts and gathers their own food, even the kids.

This is a daily routine for them. The two boys play the mountaineering game in the morning, decide the winner of the day, and then start gathering food. The winner gets the lion's share of the meagre joint collection of food. But the game brings traces of thrill in the otherwise dull life.

One boy slips at the third floor. He barely catches a branch of a thick bush. The other boy thinks for a few seconds before extending the helping hand, if he is weighing the possible benefits of saving his partner. But, finally he does so. The first boy lets out a nervous chuckle and after a minute they start climbing once again.


Nilesh logs out from the visuoscope. Watching the future in 2345 is exciting for academic interest, but is takes a toll on health. And morale as well. After watching the two kids for three days running, he feels empty, despite the bright lights and comforting atmosphere of the laboratory. Despite the air-conditioner running in cool mode, he is sweating.

When man invented time machine, i.e., visuoscope, in 2289, it was marked as the great leap for mankind. It however was deliberately not made a household devise.

The policymakers at least guessed one thing correctly – 'ignorance is bliss'.

Despite the scientific advancement, tragedy of the commons are spreading rapidly today. Sitting in his laboratory in 2292, Nilesh now knows that in a span of three decades, the Earth he knows is going to be transformed completely. Climate change effects are going to intensify and cause extreme weather fluctuations.

In essence, over the next three decades the world would reach pre industrial revolution stage once again. Knowledge and civilized manners would be lost. Wealth would turn into meaningless assets. A glass of clean water would be scarcer and costlier commodity than diamonds. 'Survival of the fittest' would rule once again.

But nobody believes this version of future! Or, they do not want to believe.

Nilesh gets up from the chair and with a heavy heart switches off the AC and lights. After descending the stairs, he reaches the parking lot. Instinctively he looks up towards the building.

All the ACs are running. The global warming is making the world a hot place to live…. So, everybody switch the AC on while at office and also drive their vehicles with the ACs on during the journey. Once at home, they switch it on again. It comforts them as individuals, but collectively the practice deteriorates the environment.On the other hand, the carbon and other harmful emissions have reached such a harmful stage that even in this afternoon, it looks like sunset time.

Well, if anybody says that they have seen sunrise, sunset or clear blue sky today, any sane listener would blast him as a damn liar. All the day, the sky sports a look of sunset.

Nilesh takes a deep breath and thinks. There are hardly any mountains or jungles left in today's world. Mankind's quest for mineral deposits have removed them from the earth's crust long back. So five decades down the line, the kids would have no option but to scale abandoned buildings and piled up vehicles and AC machines for adventure sports. No other mode of recreation would be there.

In his vision of the future, the kid that saved the other one had a choice. He could have let the other kid fall to his death and consume all the foods he was going to gather. But he preferred to save his friend. He preferred to enjoy lesser material comfort, by choosing the company of the other boy.

Nilesh understands his choices. He can drive home in the confine of his vehicle, escaping the scorching heat and surrounding pollution. Or, he can walk to his apartment, trying to enjoy the company of other people. And maybe he can try to warn them on the possible adverse effects of the life-style led climate disasters. His efforts may not change the future much. But at least he will have the consolation, 'I tried'.

After a few minutes of thought, he decides in favour of the second option. Perhaps he will not be able to influence the mind-set of too many people, but one can only hope. He moves away from his care, silently uttering, 'Rio'.

Nilesh walks towards his apartment. Joylessly. Mid-way through, while wiping perspiration from the forehead, a trace of thought comes to his mind, 'If only all the nations had understood the climate change consequences three hundred years back..'

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Categories: - General


Concept, Idea, Content – By Issam Adeeb Sheikh, B.A. English Honours, Jamia Milia Islamia
Curated by – Vidusshi Pathak, B.A. English Honours, Jamia Milia Islamia
Edited, Reworked and Illustrated by – Anandajit Goswami

By 2060, there was no more land in Bhadarwah. Now, I don't mean that the land over there had somehow degenerated over the ages; it was still there, but was hidden under all the trashes that dwellers of Bhadarwah had piled and then subsequently thrown out of their house. By 2100, the plateau of trash dangerously strived to look down upon Kailash and the other mountains that surrounded Bhadarwah. Slowly, and gradually, the valley of Bhadarwah was land-filled, and was not a natural valley anymore. Houses were built on the vast hills of trash.
Under these circumstances, a woman in a time-machine space ship air-landed in the exact centre of the ocean of trash from an outer galaxy. The ship landed on earth through a backward time travel. A woman from the spaceship came out and landed in a place that had once been called the Seri Bazar in 2016.

On looking around, she discovered that she was standing in a geographical depression around Bhadarwah. Upon figuring this out, she realised that the area that had-once-been-Nagar was deeply buried. However, it was not as deeply buried as Athkhar, Sungli, or Chobia. Confused, she wandered all over the landfill, and tried to ask the trash-dwellers about the topographical dissimilarities of the terrain. But, nobody had the faintest idea. The trash dwellers were accustomed to the trash- filled valleys of 2100 just like the natural valleys of 2016. Finally, she cried out within the valley of trash with despair and a voice came out saying - "O Athkhar! O Sungli! O Chobia! What is it that you all didn't have in your small towns of Athkhar, Sungli, and Chobia, and have lost so irretrievably?"
The answer echoed in a heart-wrenching voice within the woman’s conscience as - "MUNICIPALITY!"

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Categories: - Football and Sustainability

Football For Sustainability

Disclaimer: The article was originally published in Goalden Times ( and the copyright of it lies with Goalden Times. No part of this article may be reproduced, distributed or transported in any form or by any means ,including recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods without the prior written permission of Goalden Times. For permission requests, write to the

Written by Anandajit Goswami

The genesis of this article needs to be traced back to an event in 2008. I was in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, for my professional assignment with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. It was a Friday afternoon and like every day I was walking back home after work at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa when I saw a group of young children. They usually spend their days begging tourists for spare change, but they were doing something different that day. They were playing football with a homemade ball made up of dilapidated clothes and waste paper. The ball consumed them and made them forget about the money that usually consumed their daily lives.

Sustainability is like love: a pallet full of different colours. A similar pattern also holds for another art, namely the game of soccer. It requires “talent, skill and science”. But what makes it sufficient as a game is its appeal to the larger humanity where principles of sustainability get enmeshed with sustainability centred activism across the world. Such activism has different dimensions, forms and are conducted by individuals, governments, corporates, technology firms, and institutions in their own way within the vast spectrum of – “Football for Sustainability”. In this article, Anandajit Goswami of Goalden Times, takes you through this journey of football for sustainability over time and across spaces.

The genesis of this article needs to be traced back to an event in 2008. I was in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, for my professional assignment with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. It was a Friday afternoon and like every day I was walking back home after work at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa when I saw a group of young children. They usually spend their days begging tourists for spare change, but they were doing something different that day. They were playing football with a homemade ball made up of dilapidated clothes and waste paper. The ball consumed them and made them forget about the money that usually consumed their daily lives.

I smiled inside as I watched the children play, and at the same time two words – “Football and Sustainability” were born within me for the first time: Football and Sustainability. The reason being because the children — those green warriors — converted waste paper and old clothes into an object that generated happiness. The little geniuses didn’t overcomplicate things when they created their sustainable ball, but they were courageous to go against the trend by converting their collected waste papers into a football.

Nine years down the line when I was motivated and inspired by Indranath Mukherjee of Goalden Times to write something on “Football and Sustainability”, the first thing that came to my mind was that the word “sustainability” has “sustain” and “ability” in it. It is like love with a pallet of colours where colour portrays its own narrative in frames of an artist.

Then I remembered an English Premier League event from August 2015 when fans of Chelsea, Manchester United and Newcastle took a pledge to follow sustainability strategies by cutting emissions through car- pooling and sharing on their way to away matches [1].

During that same year, Dale Vince, chairman of Forest Green Rovers- a football club that plays in the English League Two, and CEO of green energy company Ecotricity made a telling statement.

“We want to bring our message to the world of football – which is relatively untouched by eco stuff,” Vince said [1]. “Our work is on the issues of energy, transport and food; and within football you find that, like a stick of rock, written through the middle. So we decided to dive in and create the greenest football club perhaps in the world and use that as a way to reach a totally different audience” [1].

The journey of writing this article started with me organizing my thoughts within the professional domain of sustainability and including personal ideas curated over time.

So, as a part of that organization process, a question was asked: what is sustainability?. One of the several answers that emerged was that sustainability essentially translates to sustain, endure and remain diverse, productive and relevant for tomorrow.

Today, after the United Nation’s 1987 Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, sustainability entails meeting the needs of the present without compromising the wellbeing of the future. In 2000, the word sustainability, through the Earth Charter, expanded the definition by including principles and ideas based on the “welfare of the global society”, respect for nature”, “universal human rights”, “economic justice” and a “culture of peace” [2]. These lofty goals are aimed to be attained through policies focusing on environmental protection, socially responsible behaviour, economic practices, sustainable production and consumption, conservation of energy, sustainable society, climate change mitigation and adaptation and development of sustainable technologies [2].

This beautiful game of football across the world is now generating a movement for sustainability by addressing the social, economic and environmental goals of sustainability. For a long time, it has been realized that football pitches and stadiums can lead to unsustainable consumption of energy, water and raw materials. The game has now taken a pledge to change such practices to address all of the principles of sustainability. Several real practitioner perspectives and narratives bear ample evidence towards addressing the pledge and direction on sustainability put forward by this wonderful game. Different actors across the world are already joining the movement.

The movement spans out from Rio de Janeiro’s slums where Pavegen, a London based tech firm is showcasing the potential of a renewable option: power-storing tiles [3]. Pavegen has installed 200 “kinetic-harvesting” tiles within a local football pitch in Rio’s Morro da Mineira neighbourhood. The 56 mm tiles are placed under the football pitch’s Astroturf surface and whenever a football player takes a step, the tiles flex fractionally. Each footstep of a footballer generates a power of around five watts per second. The entire system is supplemented by solar panels, which helps in illuminating the pitch and adjoining area for ten hours in the night [3].

Football for sustainability: Rio, Favela [Source:]
Football for sustainability: Rio, Favela [Source:]

Another milestone of connections between football and sustainability lies in the first organic football pitch of Gloucestershire-based football club Forest Green Rovers [4]. Through a three-year-effort, the club has eliminated all nitrogen-based fertilizers and chemicals used for maintenance of its ground. The club is now applying a range of plant-derived products, from compost tea and coconut wetting agents, to seaweed fertilizer for turf maintenance. This is also supported by an autonomously-driven mower, which creates organic mulch and fertilizes the pitch as it mows. Charcoal is also provided to the pitch to create a carbon base for bacteria and fungus [4]. The additional upfront costs of setting up organic turfs are offset in the long term by savings in the energy bills through installation of 170 photovoltaic panels catering to a capacity of 45kW. On top of that, the team’s kit is washed in phosphate-free washing powder [4].

However, from Brazil and England, if we turn toward Spain and move back a little in time, it comes out that in 2012, Real Madrid had upgraded its eleven training pitches with a new generation turf produced by Dutch cradle-to-cradle pioneer, Desso [5]. The pitches do not use any pesticides. In 2012, in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio De Janeiro, while policy makers were debating about whether or not to produce a new outcome document of “Future We Want”, which had a chapter on – “Green Economy”, some football practitioners were actually greening their turfs and were following the lines of Mahatma Gandhi – “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Desso wanted to ensure that the old pitches were reused in schools and sports clubs in the area. It started reusing components from dismantled pitches in other products [5]. Desso made a pledge to make all its artificial turf pitches, which are produced from polyethylene, polypropylene or nylon, as 100% cradle-to-cradle certified by the year 2020 [5]. In recent times, a famous club from Manchester, our very own Manchester United picked up the principle of recycling and started using recycled materials for artificial turf pitches by partnering with an Indian company called Apollo tyres [5]. Manchester United installed a pitch at its Old Trafford complex by using 2,200 recycled tyres weighing about 10 tonnes. The waste rubber, sourced from Apollo’s European subsidiary, is generally reused as a high calorific fuel in industrial ovens. The ground has been FIFA-certified recyclable pitch and is now open to the community in the neighbourhood of the club’s home ground [4,5]. So, when it comes to the history of sustainability, there has been a time and space reversal. It is interesting to note that in the past, Mahatma Gandhi called for a movement to boycott clothes from Manchester in India and move towards hand spun, Indian clothes to support local economy, and defy unsustainable patterns of consumption within the society. However, today we see collaboration between a Manchester football club and an Indian company to promote the cause of sustainability.

If the Brits are following this path, it is apparent that the Germans who are the pioneers of renewable energy application in decentralized mode will not be far away. The testimony of German commitment to sustainability lies in the fact that FC Bayern Munich, one of Germany’s top-ranking football teams, is installing 380,000 energy-efficient LEDs to create a huge “light show” at its Allianz Arena stadium. According to Bayern Munich’s official “lighting partner”, Phillips, the project will be 60% more energy efficient (and will lead to saving of about 362 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year) than the conventional lighting currently being used [6].

United States, the other power centre has already shown to the world their commitment to sustainability by building a new stadium in Santa Clara which has won the prestigious gold standard from eco-building certifier LEED. The state of the art green stadium is marked by a 400 KW solar plant for meeting the power demand of the stadium, a geothermal heat pump transferring the heat from the sun-drenched ground around the stadium to the hot water supply and a water recycling system that produces up to 1,800 gallons of grey water per minute to keep the turf fresh and clean [6].

While these individual actions are being taken at different parts of the globe, FIFA, at an institutional level, started its Football for Planet programme which is their official environmental programme aiming to mitigate the negative impact of its activities on the environment [6]. This programme started since the FIFA World Cup of 2006. In the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Local Organizing Committee (LOC) implemented projects to reduce the impact of the World Cup on the environment. FIFA and the LOC estimated the total carbon footprint of the event to be around 2.7m tonnes CO2 [6]. Out of that 251000 tonnes were controlled through operational control by means of carbon reduction projects. These emissions were largely catering to travel and accommodation of all staff, officials, teams, volunteers and guests along with emissions of venues, stadium and offices [6]. Most stadiums in Brazil were planned to achieve LEED certification for green buildings and many solar panels were installed on their roofs to generate renewable energy. FIFA and the LOC organized training courses on sustainable stadium management for all twelve stadium operators. Moreover, a new waste law in Brazil was created to manage the handling and desalination of waste. Local waste cooperatives, FIFA, the LOC and Coca-Cola together developed a waste management system for the stadiums to ensure that waste was handled properly and recycled where necessary [6]. The overall carbon footprint of 2014 FIFA World Cup was estimated to be just over 2.7 million tonnes of CO2 (tCO2e). Currently, a new Russian standard has been developed for certifying the 2018 FIFA World Cup stadiums to be in line with international standards [6].

Gandhi had realized that football can bring unity amongst the masses. Due to this foresight of merging football with social goals of sustainability, he can be regarded as one of the high profile sustainability professional, practitioner and commonly unknown passionate follower of the game in India.

Sometime back, Poobalan Govindasamy, president of the South African Indoor Football Association, provided rare insights about how Mahatma Gandhi a visionary in sustainability discourse, held football in high regard. According to him, Gandhi used the game of football to build teamwork, spiritual peace, communication platform, non-racial sporting structures through small associations like Transvaal Indian Football Association or the Klip River District Indian Football Association to unify people and build social capital. Gandhi’s involvement with football was not only limited to associations, but he even facilitated establishment of three football clubs in Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg. All three were named Passive Resisters Soccer Club, as Mahatma realized that his passion for football, coupled with marginal people’s interest in the game could help his political and social agenda for sustainability.

Gandhi had realized that football can bring unity amongst the masses. Due to this foresight of merging football with social goals of sustainability, he can be regarded as one of the high profile sustainability professional, practitioner and commonly unknown passionate follower of the game in India. However, today, with the global movement on sustainability happening through football, the time has come to create several Gandhis in different parts of the world through football. Let a million flowers bloom and spread the fragrance of sustainability through football all across the world!


Cover Image Credit: Danny Choo

Anandajit Goswami

About Anandajit Goswami

Anandajit Goswami is an economist by training and interested in exploring the interfaces of sports and sustainability. His research interest lies in analysing the social, economic and environmental impacts of football through an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary lense.

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Categories: - Students' Voice for Sustainability

Be able to Sustain

Concept, idea and content by: Arifa Banu,(BA) English Honors, Jamia Milia Islamia
Edited and re-worked by: Vidusshi Pathak, (BA) English Honors, Jamia Milia Islamia

According to the calendar hanging on my room’s wall, the great Indian festival Holi, comes annually. I have a profound argument against it, because I see it every day on the streets of Delhi. Just swap the coloured water balloons and pichkaris with people’s mouths and the target, my dear friend, this time are the roads or anyone where it is written in bold, "Do not spit here".

Sustainability is a vast topic to dig into. Therefore taking note of the issues which are relevant for everyday life is necessary. Unless and until we relate sustainability to our run-of-the-mill every day lives, it cannot be helped.

Start with your school, your college, your workplace, your home. We need to stop using plastics and polythene.

On the streets of Delhi, the windows of cars are opened either to shoo off a beggar or to throw a plastic bottle, wrapper or any kind of undesirable object. Let us change the common flaws surrounding us every where, every second. Let us change for the good.

Think of sustainability as a responsibility on your shoulders, balance yourself as well as leave hope for your future generations. Let us make ourselves worth the identity of being born on a land where nature is respected and worshipped.