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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.”


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.

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.

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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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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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.

Please send us your pledge to financially sustain the blogspace and sustainability products. The voluntary contribution can be sent at-

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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.


Concept, idea and content by: Ashapurna Das, Student- (BA) Applied Psychology Honors, Delhi University
Edited and re-worked by: Vidusshi Pathak, Intern (TOHRI) and Student- (BA) English Honors, Jamia Milia Islamia
Illustration by: Ashapurna Das, Student- (BA) Applied Psychology Honors, Delhi University

Shirish stood in the midst of forest, all alone, waiting for a sign of life. His friends from the forest were brutally killed, and their body parts sold for a good price. He wondered if he'd see his friends ever again.

We never see trees wailing, but it doesn't mean that they don't cry. Shirish, 'A tree' stood up to be just a helpless lonely tree; all his friends were gone. He missed the days when light breeze would blow and all his friends would smile in array with him.

Jungle TalesShirish was the most aesthetic tree among his friends, he was the most deciduous and apparently the most friendly in the forests of Raipur. He loved the little humans who would climb up and sit on his branch and enjoy the view of the green forests. Until one day, when he realized that the little humans grew up to be more selfish than ever.

Rakesh wanted to build his industry at the place where he spent his childhood. He loved Shirish, but wasn't emotionally attached to other trees. With the growing demand of wood, Rakesh thought about his business and so he cleared up the land and sold the pile of logs for a good deal. Shirish experienced solidarity for the time. He witnessed the logs of wood being loaded in huge trucks, for him, this wasn't less than witnessing a slaughter; the bodies of his friends frightened him. For Rakesh, Shirish was merely a tree which instilled in him nostalgic feelings of his childhood, but for Shirish, Rakesh became equivalent to a child who doesn’t appreciate his own mother, the one who has brought him in the world, the one who has taught him how to speak and eat, the one who has taken care of him and loved him unconditionally.

It had been a month since Shirish was standing isolated in the middle of the industry. His beauty and built was appreciated and relished by all employees and workers of the industry. But no compliment would indemnify the loss of his friends and loved ones.
Solitude, which resulted from being a lone tree in an industry of nothing else but buildings, made Shirish weak. He started shredding more leaves and his branches would fall all of a sudden. Since Shirish was the exclusive beauty of the industry, Rakesh was concerned about him. He hired gardeners to look into the matter. None of the gardeners were skilled enough to understand Shirish's predicament.

Until one day, Rakesh's father came to visit the industry. Among the busy workers and the hustle bustle of the industry, the old, weak yet beautiful tree caught his attention. He touched his trunk and could understand his feeling of loneliness. The feeling was so relatable; he hugged the tree and told him that he wasn't alone.

Shirish felt the warmth of Rakesh's father, but was it equivalent to the loss of his friends? Even though it wasn't, but being loved after such a long time, made him feel good for a while.

The very next day, Shirish saw a huge truck entering the industry. It was bigger than the regular trucks. It stood right beside Shirish. The workers quickly unloaded the truck. 5 Bonsais, 10 shrubs, and numerous flower pots, restoration of his friends surprised Shirish!

They were all planted right under Shirish.

Shirish was happier than ever! He started interacting with those plants and regained his vitality in no time! Noticing such a sudden change in Shirish's health, Rakesh realized that cutting trees and plants was no less than a sin!

Shirish was reinvigorated again and Rakesh became more sensitive towards nature since then.

The earth doesn’t belong to us, we belong to the earth. And by ‘we’ one doesn’t mean only humans, but all plants and animals. Happiness can be found when love and care for each other leaves behind all trails of negativity and when people realise the importance of inter-dependence in humans, nature and society.

Jungle Tales

Written by: Vanita Pathak
Edited by: Vidusshi Pathak
Illustration by: Vidusshi Pathak

Once upon a time the trees in a jungle held a meeting and discussed why humans never visited their jungle. A wise tree convinced others to see reason. She explained that humans were scared of the ferocious animals that lived in their jungle.
The trees were very sad that humans never set foot in their jungle and decided to appeal to god to remove all the ferocious animals from the jungle. God answered their prayers and removed all ferocious animals from the jungle.
As the ferocious animals were removed, humans fearlessly visited the huge jungle and found out the benefits that they could avail from it. They started cutting trees recklessly for business purposes. The trees organized a meeting and debated over the reason as to why they asked god to grant such a wish. The wise tree interrupted them by saying that he could voice his opinion only partially on the day they took that fateful decision. She said that she knew the decision would harm them from the day it was implemented.
Now, all the trees decided to look carefully into the matter and together they decided to appeal to god to restore the ferocious animals that previously lived in the forest.
Jungle TalesNo wonder god listened to their pleas and did the same!
The jungle seemed to be complete again with abundance of flora and fauna. However, the animals were not quite pleased with their situation.
A similar committee was set up by animals of the jungle, they decided to complain to god about the numerous amounts of trees which seemingly posed as a threat, as they could not dodge through the trees easily while trying to escape from the hunters.
Even they were heard by god and he removed all the trees from the jungle at once. However, without trees in the forest it was easier for hunters to spot the animals and shoot them. This decision too failed miserably. The animals then realized their mistake and asked god to restore the natural conditions of the jungle. With both- animals and trees, the jungle flourished once again.

Moral: Tampering with nature results in dire consequences.

What is fiction? Some exploration

Fiction is any literary narrative in the form of prose or verse. Fiction is a process of invention
rather than being an explanation of events that actually happened. Fiction denotes an
agglomeration of narratives which are written in prose and sometimes used synonymously
for novel.

Literary prose narratives are the ones where biographical, historical and contemporary facts
are referred and defined as – “fictional biography”, “historical or nonfiction novel”. Literary
critics and philosophers have always explored the truth value of a fiction. They have tried to
engage themselves in a special world created by an author. The world can be also analogous
to the real world but it has its own settings, beings and mode of coherence. Often, fiction is
seen as a form of emotive language.

Fictional sentences are meaningful according to the rules of ordinary, nonfictional discourse:
however it follows the conventions mentioned by an author and readers of a work of fiction.
Fictions are not necessarily assertions of facts. Hence they need not be subject to the
criterion of truth and falsity which applies to sentences in a nonfictional discourse. The
speech act theory suggests that a fictional writer only pretends to make assertions about
what he or she or anybody asserts to be true. The concept of fictive utterances include
genres of literature like – poems, dramas and narratives. A novel is made up of fictional
utterances. Modern critics of prose fiction create distinctions between fictional scenes,
persons, events and dialogues that any narrator describes about their own assertions of the
world. The assertions of the narrator have to be explicit. Assertions and claims by Tolstoy at
the end of War and Peace are often implied, inferable from the control of fictional
characters and plots of the narrative. These are often assertions of the author and seem to
be true about the world and tries to relate to the moral world of actual experience. These
assertions can also be linked to the belief systems of the reader. It is also linked to the moral
experience, interpretation and acceptability of the reader. Belief systems in fiction can be
explored through S.T. Coleridge’s description of reader’s attitude as a – “Willing Suspension
of disbelief”.

Review of exploration of theories dealing with the criterion of truth in fiction can be traced
back to Monroe C. Beardsley’s work. Jacques Derrida and his followers criticised the notion
of truth in a fiction by saying that the binary notion of “truth and false” in a fiction is one of
the metaphysical presuppositions of Western Thoughts. Relationship of fiction to the real
world is also being explored by Peter Lamarque, Stein Haugom Olsen. Catherine Gallagher
explores the concept of fiction in the larger literary history. All of these explorations
question the Western binary presuppositions of fiction as true and false and presents a
multifarious world within the binaries of true and false.

The Ignorant Villager

Written by: Vanita Pathak
Edited by: Vidusshi Pathak
Illustration by: Vidusshi Pathak

Once upon a time in a hypothetical village named Palampur there lived a farmer Kishan. He did not know how to read and write. He was fascinated by villagers using glasses while reading and writing. He also wanted a pair for himself. So one day Kishan went to the town. He bought for himself a nice pair of glasses from the optical store. After buying it, he asked for a book from the shopkeeper to see whether the glasses were helping him to read. However, Kishan was disheartened because he could not read anything.

The Foolish BrahminThe shopkeeper noticed that Kishan was holding the book upside down and gave him a doubtful look. He said, “Perhaps you don’t know how to read”. Kishan told him that he bought the glasses in order to read like the other villagers.

To this, the shopkeeper replied, “Glasses are meant for improving vision and not for learning how to read; first of all, you must learn how to read and write, only then wearing glasses can help you.” Kishan walked away on realizing the truth.

Moral: Education is the only way to come out of ignorance.

The Foolish Brahmin

Written by: Vanita Pathak
Edited by: Vidusshi Pathak
Illustration by: Vidusshi Pathak

One fine day, three rogues were walking along a lonely path. Suddenly they saw a Brahmin walking with a goat. They decided to steal the goat from the Brahmin. They started framing strategies for the same. The first rogue said, “Let’s run away with the goat: the Brahmin is too fat and lazy to chase us!”

The Foolish BrahminThe second rogue said, “There is no need of running away. I have a brilliant idea!” and he told his friends about the trick he had thought of. All of them liked the idea very much!

One of them went to the Brahmin and said,”Good morning, sir. Your dog looks very cute! Which breed is it?” On hearing this, the Brahmin looked at the man angrily and said “Go away stupid fellow! It is really funny that you mistake a goat for a dog.”
“Will you consider me a wise man if I say that your dog is a goat? HAHAHA!” said the rogue and went away.

After a few minutes, the third rogue approached the Brahmin and said, “Good morning, learned sir! I wonder why are you walking when you can very well ride on this pony of yours?” To this, the Brahmin replied, “My goodness, do you think that this goat is a pony?” The rogue started laughing; “I thought you were a learned Brahmin, but I now realize that you’re a fat head who knows nothing!” said the rogue and walked away.

Sometime later, the Brahmin was approached by the third rogue. He said, “Good morning priest, why have you selected this donkey as your fellow traveler?” The Brahmin asked nervously, “Is this animal a donkey?” “Of course it is!” said the rogue in an assertive tone.

The Brahmin got frightened after this and started thinking that the goat was really a monster who changed forms from time to time. He left the goat on the road and ran away. The three rogues happily grabbed the goat and fled from the spot.

Moral: Sometimes faith in yourself can be beneficial than relying on others.