Live and Express

Live and Express


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Let there be no illusions! #India’s #population is still at dangerous levels.

There’s a recent article on India’s population slowing down based on fertility rate studies. There are views expressed that finally we can heave a sigh of relief.

No.

That study is based on only the fertility rate – which is the new production of babies.  The truth and the fact is that we have already crossed the thresholds of healthy population rate multiple times as compared to the world standards (around 850 people per sq.km.). We already know that we are over-populated. Don’t we see that in the public places – people swarming with no respect to each others’ space and property?  When was the last time when anyone who’s coming in front of you, considered your presence, slowed down, and let you walk, in India?  We are 1.3 billion in number – 17% of world’s population!

Our agricultural lands are decreasing – because of unavailability of labour (movement to cities), water sources are draining out – because of new storage points not being planned, our air and environment are getting more polluted – not to mention about the new manufacturing oriented development agenda.

If you look at the map in the above article, you will see that the fertility rates themselves are on the higher side in the central Indian states.  This is in addition to the already dangerous levels of population in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand. Literacy levels are low in these states, and they move to other states for labour. In fact, they generate babies for labour.

So, nothing for consolation. We need to act to take the message of dangers of over-population to the rural through grass-root workers of NGOs and social enterpreneurship companies – provide economic well-being and thus preventing them from generating babies for labour, and the message to adopt instead of generating new babies in cities.

And this has to done in a feverish scale. And bring down the child birth rate (incorrect to call it as fertility rate) to around 1 in the states mentioned above. Only then, we can breath, no pun intended.

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Chennai: Are you going to bathe out of water bottles?

Chennai is always remembered for its December Carnatic music concerts and the aroma of filter coffee!

But that’s not everything Chennai is remembered for. On the bitter side, it’s remembered for its never ending water woes. And the bad news is, it just got worse, because of the expansion of the city.

recent report states that while Chennai’s current water supply is 600 million litters per day, it’s demand for water is going to grow to 1584 million litres per day in just 3 years! Urgent measures like getting ready to use the full capacity of desalination plants are going to yield very minimal results, as the demand is going to grow 2.5 times!

Chennai already has severe water shortage problem, and there’s no addition to the existing sources of water.

With a population of 8.6 million people as of January 30, 2014 (remember it was 4.3 million in 2001!), the demand is getting worse because of population explosion, immigration and urbanization. People can take pride with the fact that Chennai is growing by boundaries, and hence their real estate value is going to go up, but with no water to drink and use, the city’s existence and value is going to collapse if not now but in the near future.

In spite of Tamilnadu having many Tier 2 cities, the immigration is still happening to Chennai. Moving some Government functions and IT/BPO industries to the other Tier 2 cities will help mitigate the problem a bit. There are several logical choices like Trichy, Madurai, Tirunelveli and Erode.

Government is taking all the steps possible to take care of the water problem, but, ultimately it is in the citizens hands on how this can be mitigated.

I am not a water conservation advocate, because I know that at this scale, any amount of water conservation will not solve problem. I am not a tree planting advocate for Chennai, because (a) in Chennai, all the land has been usurped, (b) even if we start planting trees now, it will take 10 to 15 years for the trees to grow and take care of the water level – not to mention the Chennai problem of salt water mixing with underground water.

But I am going to suggest that Chennai folks stop their reproduction!  Irrespective of whatever the Government does to mitigate the situation, even, if the state capital offices and IT/BPO companies are moved to other cities, if people keep on giving birth, it is not going to help the situation.

One could stay single (or) marry but not generate babies (or) adopt instead of giving birth.

There’s still a tendency to run to fertility clinics when existing people don’t have water to drink and use, and there are children on streets with no one to take care of them.  Instead, folks should think of going to adoption centers and orphanage homes and see if they can adopt.

I am providing a few links on how individuals can act than blaming it on everyone and everything else.

As someone said, Chennai is drinking from water bottles, it won’t be far when it starts to bathe from water bottles. Now, that would be sad.

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Delhi, may be it’s time for – We two, adopt two!

Congratulations! Delhi is the 2nd most populous city in the world! Sounds as though we are lifting some trophy in the World Olympics Championship! Not!  The bomb had already ticked a lot, and it now exploded! Now it’s time for the triage. Looky looky here!

That article talks about two things: (1) Condoms & sex education, (2) migration from other places.

Do you actually believe that a person living in a large city is unaware of the consequences of unprotected sex?  If yes, do we know what percentage?  Or should we take an SMS poll to figure out that number?

Yet, average people are bogged down by the mental challenges of handling their family, friends and circle for not having a kid. If they are really up to not having a biological baby, there are multiple options available: (a) stay single, (b) get married but decide not to have kids, (c) get married, but adopt instead of having biological children (in fact, the office of CARA, the department for adoption enablement under Ministry of Women and Child Welfare, is right there in Delhi!)

Migration from other places because of lack of opportunities, jobs, and sheer ambition to make it big in a city are also important reasons. While the state governments have to take care of the basic amenities in the rural and towns, and provide moderate growth opportunities, so that people don’t move to the cities, it’s the people who are in the cities who have lots of opportunities to do something about containing the India population.

Why do I say that? Because urban people are mostly (hopefully) educated; they have access to information; they have independence to think through and make personal choices like not having kids; and they have means to adopt children if they wish to, from orphanages and homes,and give them a home.

Delhi Government cannot keep building metro over metro, double-decker metro, underground triple-decker monorail, etc. It’s the urban people who need to take responsibility, if they want to live well in a city state, which is around 1500 sq.km in size (including NCR), but has around 25 million in population. That’s roughly 16700 persons per sq.km, while the healthy population density for India is 197 persons per sq.km.

Remember, it’s not ‘We two, Ours two’ anymore. It’s ‘We Two, Adopt Two’ time!

YOU, yes YOU! Please think about it, and act, or rather not act in the wrong direction!

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Can we leave coffee, tea and milk for good ?

Please feel free to re-blog this blog. This is public information, written for awareness for everyone’s well-being.  Spread it far and wide.

Some 10 years back, I left coffee. I was told by someone that coffee and tea are nervous stimulants, which, when taken without discretion, will lead to nerves weakness. The effect of nerves weakness will be the inability to sit peacefully at one place. No, I am not talking about meditation. Even for getting your work done at your computer, looking and attending to files in the office in a careful way, doing any work diligently, studying for your exams be it school or college, you need calm and alertness, which will be available to you only if your system is stable.

Coffee and tea will give you the sudden briskness with which you can carry on with your immediate tasks, but on a long run, it will lead to inability to focus and sit calm and alert to attend to whatever you are doing.

More so in the old age, when you have nothing much to do – you are retired, your kids are settled, and you enjoy your bliss – if you find yourselves restless, that will be very sad. Your mind will want to be active, but your body won’t co-operate, and you will be a mess.

There’s one more aspect to it – which is milk that’s added to the coffee and tea, in the Indian context.  If you don’t add milk, it’s even worse, because the ill-effects is more-prone and immediate.

But, if you have coffee and tea with milk, just consider where the milk is coming from. In western countries, there are complaints that cows are being artificially milked and they are sent to death long time before they are supposed to die – because they extract the milk faster and faster, and the cow loses the ability to give milk pretty soon.  Even in India, you might have seen loads of cows and buffaloes being carried in lorries and trucks. Where do you think they are being taken to? To get killed because of their inability to give milk.

Food that goes inside us is supposed to nourish us and give energy. Cow’s/buffalo’s milk, however, makes us dull and lethargic. Cows’ milk is meant for calves, and not for humans.

And food that goes into us is supposed to be a blessing and enable us to become better human beings.  Food that come from sources as mentioned above, and having the properties that tend to negatively influence our ability to perform at our full potential may not be good food options, isn’t it?

Especially in the context of India Population, where loads of milk is consumed by millions of people, it’s pretty necessary that we consider.

Please feel free to re-blog this blog. This is public information, written for awareness for everyone’s well-being.  Spread it far and wide.


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Hydro-power from Bhutan – a good source but only temporary relief

In a welcome move, India has started partnering with Bhutan for getting low-cost, clean, hydro-energy. According to the reports, these plants have capacity to deliver around 6750 MW power daily by 2016-17, when every project is finished. Totally, 10 projects have been planned, out of which some have already started delivering.

Now, let’s look at the demand situation. The neighboring Indian states which have huge population density are Bihar and West Bengal. While Bihar says it is going to generate surplus energy in the coming years, it has to be seen. Currently it has an energy requirement of around 3000 MW every day. As a state, it has the largest population density, and it remains to be seen how it would tackle the increase in population vis-a-vis the supply of power.

West Bengal is claiming that it has 15 to 20 percent of surplus energy. But, industrial demand of energy, which amounts to 40% of the total requirement, has increased only 4% in the near past, because of industrial slowdown. This situation is going to change, and industry is going to pick-up across India, because of the new Central Government. In this case, additional energy will be required.

While power from Bhutan will definitely take some load off of at least two states near Bhutan, one has to look and plan for the far future.

Out of the 4 Indian states (apart from the Union territories) which have the highest population density, 3 of them are in the north-central-east region (Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal).  This corridor (starting from West Bengal to the National Capital Region of Delhi) has been having the maximum population density and also the highest railway traffic and movement of human beings (as can be verified from railways maps).  Power has been and going to be a big problem if population is not contained by policies, with focus on these three states. The other state is Kerala, which needs attention too.

Indian Ministry of Home presumably is well-aware of this situation, and hopefully taking the right strides in containing India Population.


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Optimum population density – Where does India stand ?

In this blog, I will introduce you to the concept of Population Density. It’s the number of human beings per sq. km. Naturally, one would be curious to know how many human beings can live well without ecological and resource issues within a sq.km. This is called the Optimum Population Density.

There had been quite a lot of debates about how the ‘Optimum Population Density’ should be calculated, and whether it made sense. Several parameters were discussed, and several reasons were quoted to argue that such a parameter does not make sense. The culture and ways of living of each region varies, and thus it is not logically correct to pin-down the number, is what the gist of the argument was.

But, eventually, an organisation called ‘Population Matters‘ in UK, came up with a way of measuring the density, taking into consideration the ecological and biological constraints.  And here is what they found :

Population Overshoot Index while taking into consideration ecological and biological constraints

Note that this data is as of 2007, and we are now in 2014.  The India Population has increased another 0.2 billion.

 

If you look at the report closely, India Population is at 68th position in terms of the overshoot.  Overshoot is how much of population is in excess to the sustainable population, based on the eco and bio considerations. How the eco and bio parameters are considered and derived is explained well in the introduction section of the report.

Given the India’s total area of 3,287,590 sq. kms, and given the sustainable population of 0.650 billion as per the report, the average population density per sq.km turns out to be 197 persons / sq.km. But, when I was looking at the Wikipedia article on India population, these are the densities of the topmost states (leaving alone places which are union territories) :

Bihar: 1,102 persons / sq.km   West Bengal: 1,030 / sq.km   Kerala: 859 / sq. km   Uttar Pradesh: 828 / sq. km

Even if we account for the ‘Thoda adjust kar lo bhai’ (Can you please adjust a bit?) attitude of India, 10 times overshoot of the living standards of the rest of world is very troublesome, don’t you agree?

So, what are we going to do? We got to do something different, not do the same thing of reproducing more and more, but a bit different than how we saw things in the past, and change our attitudes – because, at the current rate, we not only cannot live well, we are going to be cruel to each other – in a country where people don’t respect the concept of queues!

 

Resources:

1. India Population : What can I do?

2. Google search : India Population

3. Adoption? It’s so difficult! – Well, may be not anymore!


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On the event of World Earth Day 2014

Greetings on World Earth Day 2014!

Many of you might have seen the movie #Gravity. In the final scenes, the heroine gasps and gasps and tries to breathe anxiously for some pints of oxygen, and finally when her parachute lands on Earth, she grabs the mud and feels thankful for finally being home to the mother Earth!  I guess that’s the feeling that everyone of us should have for having the privilege in being here in this beautiful planet which supports us.

But, sadly, as with every sense of living, we have abandoned our gratitude in the search of individuality. My own home, my own TV, my own smartphone, my own space and my own everything. In the pursuit of this myness and iEverything, we have almost destroyed the planet. On one side, we keep building spaces for people to stay and industries to work, and on the other hand, we have destroyed green, which is the basis of our breath.   How many minutes do you think you can live without breathing?

In the past 2 or 3 decades, while Earth’s population grew dramatically, we were trying to curb the symptoms of environmental destruction – like reducing the carbon levels and trying to plant more and more trees. All these are absolutely necessary, no question about it, but it’s just that we have crossed a threshold point where the no. of human beings in this planet have exceeded certain limit, and their demands for living are anyway going to have an impact on the environment.

I am not a lamentor, but you would be already aware of the fact that the projection of Earth’s population is 11 billion by 2100. We are seeing the ill-effects of over-population in many countries in Asia and Africa, where the population continues to be growing. Do you think Earth can handle 4 billion more?

So how many of these human beings are we going to tell – Conserve water, eat environmental friendly food, don’t kill animals, don’t do industry, live ecologically friendly, etc. First of all, it’s not scalable, and next, you can’t force such things as we have become a democratic world mostly living on individual choices.

While continuing to carry out the environmentally friendly actions that are necessary, we should also look at how to contain the population.

I will specifically talk about India – as I live here, and know the context. India is 70% rural and 30% urban. That 70% rural is mostly having livelihood issues, insufficient education, malnourishment, sanitation and health issues. They reproduce to get more family members so that they all can go do labour work and support the family. This is the reality. The only way to reach out to them and ask them not to have more and more babies to provide economic development opportunities along with economic reward for not having babies.

In the urban India, there are opportunities to adopt. India has a good network for adoption homes. People in urban areas have access to social networking and hence awareness can be created asking them to adopt instead of reproduce. The change is slowly happening, and people are making personal choices in their lives.

On top of these, the policy support from the Government is very much required, in terms of awareness creation, economic rewards, tax breaks, etc. It has been a long time since the Indian Government has done anything with regards to population awareness, and it need to start again.

India holds 17% of the world’s population in 2% of the world’s land. That’s tragic. Every human being need 0.5 hectare of space of living self-sufficiently as per global statistics. Based on these, the living in India looks like is not the way to live. Statistically, India does not need another baby for the next 20 years.

All these boil down to how we manage Earth and its resources while we strive for the livelihood and well-being of the existing and future generations. So, if we want to protect Earth, containing population holds a major chunk of action. It needs be done, so that we can all live well, and leave a wonderful Earth for the future generations to come.

Happy World Earth Day!

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