The past 6 weeks of super 60 were all about self-introspection and knowing ourselves better. In week 7, we were split into 5 teams and we had inspiring stories from resource people who is one or the other way related to UN Sustainability Development Goals. The session made our minds ponder more about the people and the environment around us. It stirred us to think about what can we contribute to society and it made us narrow down ideas to achieve SDGs.
DAY 26: Systems thinking for sustainability
“Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”
The week started with the session on a new topic about Systems thinking and sustainability by Mr. Vivek Poovalingam, Program manager, Forge accelerator. We had interesting homework to do before this session. I personally enjoyed reading the comic strips from Zen pencils relating to famous leaders and personalities. We all clicked a screenshot of our one favorite comic strip and uploaded it to the drive. On the basis of these comic strips and individual personality types, we were split into 5 teams. And yes! Our team names (Potters, Hagrids, Weasleys, Grangers, Dumbledores) are again related to our Gryffindors tribe. Henceforth the tribe will have small competitions, team activities, and leaderboards for the rest of the weeks. The session started with – What is our favorite breakfast? The majority of us came up with DOSA! And with that our first team activity began where the team has to come up with a drawing representing the process of dosa making. It was fun! Finally, each team came up with a drawing and none was exactly the same. From this, we learned that any problem can be represented in form of drawing to understand it in different dimensions and it can have many solutions. At the end of the session, we realized that system thinking is not merely linear thinking, each node in a system has an impact on the other nodes of the system.
DAY 27: Carbon Green
“Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius. The Earth was made for all beings and not just human beings.”
One another in our series related to Sustainability, a session on Carbon green by nature enthusiast Mr. Prem Balasubramaniam, Systems Engineer, Infosys Ltd. The overall session revolved around the two main topics that are water and wildlife. The first question that was put in front of us was which is the source of tap water that we use daily. He insisted us to think from a bottom-up approach and finally we ended up with the rain. It was interesting to know how Sholas and grasslands act as a persistent source of water and the consequences faced by their absence. Sholas are like a sponge and it acts as a catchment area when it rains but these areas are now used for plantation crops which results in causing soil erosion and flash floods. Next, our discussion was about wildlife and specifically Elephants. Do you know why elephants are mentioned as keystone species or creators of the jungle? This is because an adult elephant consumes 200-500 kg of food per day and out of which only 20% gets digested and the remaining 80% turns into dung. This dung acts as seed dispersal, manure, and aids in the creation of forest. The discussion also gave us an insight into why the elephant population decreases from a perspective that I have never thought of. The deliberation continued on how poaching is done and why human-elephant conflict is encountered. Also, we had a discussion on whether to captivate all elephants that enter our settlements. Mr. Prem also shared his trekking experiences and he told us how concentrating on small things like insects, dragonflies, etc., during trekking could change the way we look at things. This session was interesting and it would definitely have an impact on perceiving the beauty of nature.
DAY 28: Food, hunger and globalization
“There are people in the world so hungry, that god cannot appear to them except in the form of bread”
The speaker of this session was Ms. Vaishnavi Balaji, the founder, Foodbank Coimbatore. The food bank had an inspiring story behind it and the session was full of questions that everyone needs to think of. One such question was that we have enough food than required even then why we come across hunger deaths and starving people in the world. We exchanged our views and came up with some causes of food wastage around us and a solution for the same. The fact was that major food wastage takes place in hostels and as an individual, a step must be taken from our side to avoid food wastage. She explained about the food bank, their activities, and her experiences with people. The speaker made it clear that charity should start from our own plate. She also added that the outcome of our project should help someone in need. Finally, she gave us a Happy plate challenge that is we have to take only the required portion of food on our plate and complete it without wasting it. Her energy throughout the session was very impressive. This session was a much-needed one. It made us realize that being hungry is more than just missing a meal and also how no food wastage is important.
DAY 29: Sustainable tour in campus
“Sustainability is treating ourselves and our environment as if we are to live on this earth forever.”
The speaker of this session Mr Nethaji Subash, Programme executive, Microcosm took us on a virtual sustainability tour on our campus. He took us to the Ahimsa Vanam and we enjoyed the peacefulness of it. It was fascinating to know about saplings created from the seeds of the Jamun tree (Naaval maram) that was planted by Mahatma Gandhi in Coimbatore. In the flow, he elucidated the various infrastructures for sustainability in our campus like the solar panels which generated 250 KW, roadside rainwater harvesting structures that arrests the runoff water, percolation pond, kitchen waste compost, etc. He also explained that we use 7 lakh litre of water per day on our campus and the wastewater is treated by sewage treatment plants which are used for watering trees. Then he described urban gardening, solid waste management, and upscaling studio. Finally, we were asked to do a self-assessment audit by individually finding out the following like quantity of water in our home, electricity bill, food and vegetable wastes per day, the approximate quantity of water that we would have used in our life, and the number of trees planted. This session showed us the various ways in which we can make our day-to-day activities in a sustainable way.
IV year B.E Electronics and Communication Engineering