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How to Green: Environmental Experts Sweta Daga & Rikin Gandhi Answers Your Queries

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1). Query by Neeraj Kumar: Please give some idea how anyone can start awareness programme from any school.

Experts Answer: Hi Neeraj, there are several ways of working with schools around India. Depending on your relationship with the school and the teachers, giving workshops and trainings is always a great way to start. Another way is to start working with a group that is already doing similar work, like our friends at Reap Benefit.

2). Query by Lakshmi S: What are ways we can create environment green and awareness in middle class and low income group of people. The things to avoid other than – Say No to plastic carry bags!

Experts Answer: Hi Lakshmi, actually many times, people in the lower social economic brackets waste less than many in the upper brackets because they usually dispose of less garbage. However, there are ways to do more. If people are able to segregate their waste at home, we can recycle glass and paper more efficiently. People can also change policies through their spending; buying less tetrapack items and plastic bottles. A great way to bring a community together is through a collective project, for example, getting an apartment society to start their own rooftop garden.

3). Query by Parvathy Raju: Please suggest me 5 Green steps that I could implement in my day-to-day life. It could be around basic things and I lead a normal busy life in a high raised apartment and do not have a garden or other facilities. I am already doing very basic things like using energy lights, switching off lights when not in use, using public transport and walking where possible, to save water I don’t use the dishwasher etc.

Experts Answer: Hi Parvathy, first congratulations on doing so much already! It’s always the first steps that are the hardest. A few more ideas that might work with your lifestyle is to carry a reuseable water bottle so that you never have to buy plastic bottles again. To that effect, always carrying an extra cloth bag when you go shopping avoids the use of plastic bags.  You can segregate your waste at home, and recycle paper and glass. If you have a balcony at home, you can try composting your wet waste, like vegetable and fruit peels, instead of throwing them away. Lastly try to encourage your family and friends to also conserve energy and water, the more people who engage, the more we save!

4). Query by Krishna Subramanyan: I like to get authentic home architectural contacts who can help design and build an eco-friendly farmhouse for me. Preferable location of contact can be Trichy, Tanjore, Chennai or Bangalore. Secondly, I like to understand what are the essentials that need to be taken care of for it to be a signficantly eco-friendly home.

Experts Answer: Hi Krishna, here are some basics to consider: Materials need to be sourced from nearby areas of site, and preferably locally available natural materials. The design should be in alignment with micro-climate- ie. sun path, wind direction, rain, etc, and lastly water harvesting and waster water treatment is essential as well. In Bangalore, check out either Biome Solutions or contact Ata- ur- Rahman of Kalakutumbh architects.



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