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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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#Gift an #Education, Make a #Life ! – #Isha Vidhya

5 months ago, #IshaVidhya applied for accreditation with #GlobalGiving, a respected online fundraising platform which partners with corporates, employees and individual donors around the world.

Isha Vidhya crossed the fundraising requirements of $5,000 from 40 donors in just 23 days to become a permanent online member partner of GlobalGiving, thanks to many general public, supporters & wellwishers worldwide. They recognize Isha Vidhya’s work in transforming the rural education landscape of #India, and especially in #Tamilnadu. With its high quality education through carefully crafted methodology to the most economically backward children, Isha Vidhya is making a signficant difference in the lives of many rural families – many of them are first generation school-goers.

The fundraising was started to fund the critical infrastructure needs of the rural school near #Dharmapuri in Tamilnadu, needs like academic material, furniture for classroom and staff, compound wall, water facilities, digital class room, etc.

IshaVidhya has obtained $10,175 in donations from 104 donors. It’s heartening to see that 13 of those donations are from #corporate employees through employee gift cards, whose companies are partners with GlobalGiving, and be able to donate to Isha Vidhya through the GlobalGiving portal.

There’s still a long way to go to reach the fundraising target of $97,750, so awareness about this good work need be made to spread the word far and wide so that many more can support this building of rural India through education.

And the good news for the existing donors is that your project Isha Vidhya is in a very good standing at GlobalGiving, in many categories including donations, no. of donors, number and quality of project reports, and frequency of donations. It is expected that IshaVidhya will soon be in the ‘Leader’ category at GlobalGiving, at which time it will be introduced to more corporates, employees, and offered more exposure opportunities.

On February 12th, 2014, between 9:00 AM USA Eastern Standard Time and 23:59 PM USA Eastern Standard Time (between Feb 12, 2014 19:30 PM Indian Standard Time and Feb 13 10:29 AM Indian Standard Time) (what would be the time at my place? : http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html), donations made to Isha Vidhya at the Global Giving portal will be matched 30% by Global Giving, upto a maximum of $1000 per donor, till the Global Giving matching funds of $75,000 run out.  This is a great opportunity for everyone to donate and show their support for Isha Vidhya’s work. The link is:

http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/ishavidhya

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Muhammad Yunus – the inspirator!

My friend, who works for RangDe had invited me to watch a video that was to be screened on the event of RangDe’s 6th birthday, on January 26th.

I was a bit familiar with RangDe’s work, and I have had the opportunity to interact with their people a couple of times. I was thinking probably it’s about the work that RangDe is doing in the areas of microcredit to needy people in India.

What I saw was totally incredible – it was a documentary video called ‘Bonsoi People’ by Holly Mosher, which talked about how Muhammad Yunus transformed the lives of millions of people in poverty-stricken Bangladesh. The model is ‘Teach a man to fish’ instead of giving them the fish. It totally made sense to me, as I think – enabling them with the little capital that they need to stand on their own legs will make them take their lives in their own hands and thrive.

A typical example was shown in the video – an enterprising mother, who started with a small loan – how she expanded her economic wellbeing by slowly – educating her child and making him to dream to become a fashion businessman, constructing a house, helping her neighbors by giving them work, etc.

This particular case in Bangladesh – The Grameen bank – for which Muhammad Yunus got the Nobel Price for Peace (Note: not for economics) – strongly displays the point that microcredit is not sucking money from people, but enabling them at grass roots. Muhammad believes that peace can be achieved only if there’s economic wellbeing among the masses – and it shows. His Grameen bank has touched the lives of millions of people in Bangladesh to take their lives in their own hands. 97% of them are women!

It was also interesting to note that Grameen Bank didn’t just stop by giving loans and then collecting them- they have a bank representative who becomes like a family member and cares for what’s happening on a day-to-day basis with their clients. If they have a problem, they try to address it. They give directives to the people on how to live – for example, they stress that having a strong house and roof is important for people – because if they get wet or infected, their health is affected and sometimes they even die.

They have 16 such directives. The one that touched me the most was ‘Limit the no. of babies that you have, so that you can care for them’. How true! How much I wish this message is passed on to the central Indian states where people are having babies just for labour! How are we going to spread the message of having less children, so that they can care enough for them, and also thus not contribute to the country’s burgeoning population! Yes, I feel, an attempt should be made.

India might be a different story from Bangladesh. The dynamics might be different, and the approach could be different to eradicate poverty, bring economic wellbeing, and then bring sense into them to make them not have more and more babies. But, the concept is the same. How it needs be made aware, communicated to the most economically backward rural, is what needs be worked on.

If you are interested in this area of work, please leave a comment with your contact information in the comments section, and I will get in touch with you!