Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Batti Bandh Mumbai: The Lights Off Campaign

Frankly I am not a very eco-conscious person, but when ever I hear about innovative ideas and events to protect the world and make it greener, it makes me anxious, excited, wishful and what not. Mumbaikars have announced their Batti Bandh program. This Bandh for once is definitely welcome as it is not like the ones called by the political parties every other day.

The event: Batti Bandh
Date: 15th Dec 2007
Time: 1930hrs to 2030hrs
Plan of action: switch off lights and appliances in your home, shop, office, school, college or where ever you are in Mumbai.
Purpose: To take a stand against global warming
Inspired by: Earth Hour in Sydney

Imagine a live city like Mumbai to be in darkness for one hour! I wish the event organizers a smashing mega success.

Yes, why not have a similar green movement in Bangalore. May be we can organize one Gaadi Bandh event too. Today communication is a matter of a few clicks. With ‘n’ number of social sites, youngsters and office goers tethered to their laptops, it is a matter of a few days when the whole of Bangalore will be aware of the program. Time to start the countdown for Bangalore Batti Bandh.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Climate change - India - We no longer have any choice

How has climate change manifested itself in India? Such phenomena as floods in Rajasthan, drought in Assam are all evidence of climate change that is already upon us - global warming's local effects. We have no more time for discussions and debates, conjectures and arguments.
True, officials from 180 countries are going to sit in AC rooms and consume UN's and nations' resources in Bali (see Ban Ki-moon's write-up), as they haggle over who is responsible for what % of carbon emissions.
We Indians can no longer afford to say that "we are developing, so don't expect us to cut down on energy consumption. You have polluted more than us, so you do your bit first".
(see Climate Change - should India Change?)
Immediate drastic steps that we can take provided political and corporate will permit:
1. Use of only public transport / company buses for commuting to work. (We missed the opportunity to car-pool, didn't we?)
2. Use of bicycles by willing / able-bodied employees, for reasonably short commuting distances.
3. Where possible, telecommute. Surely hi-tech companies employ personnel of sufficient integrity?
4. Use of railway freight services for transportation of goods, with adequate logistic support at origin and destination.
5. Drastic curbs in domestic flights, especially those that do not fly full capacity.
Even more drastic steps:
1. Regulated fuel issue through distribution systems with daily limits strictly implemented
2. An embargo on non-emergency air travel by top executives as well as elected representatives. (Ironically excellent web-conferencing facilities are operational but do not translate meaningfully into less shuttling).
Such a sky-scraping order!
Sounds far-fetched? Wake up, the costs of not acting now are beyond even our nation's collective resilience.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Green IT

The technology industry has become an essential and inseparable part of everyday life. The various information technology systems used are a significant contributor of waste to environment. Today the greening effort is picking momentum, thanks to the awareness created by voluntary organizations and Government bodies. The negative effects of the toxic e-waste have been so alarming that the IT industry is seriously considering managing and reusing the disposals.

What you can do:
1. Make your hardware vendors responsible for recycling and disposal. Encourage vendors to whom you can return the end-of-life equipment at no cost.
2. Donate useful used equipment after wiping out sensitive data.
3. Purchase low-power hardware whenever possible.
4. Do not use screen savers which are major culprits of power consumption.
5. The power saving features is not usually enabled default in your system. So take effort to leverage these features of your operating systems.
6. Next, when you plan to upgrade, put power saving capabilities on your criteria list.
7. IT managers can contribute by using notebook and desktops that consume less power when in sleep or standby mode.
8. IT managers must question the vendors’ manufacturing processes. They must make queries related to use of environmentally sensitive materials and recycled plastics.
9. IT managers should consider desktop, storage and backup virtualization. This will free up valuable resources and save financially too.

Big companies are reducing the carbon emissions, recycling the waste that will take care of equipment obsolescence, using energy smart servers, and even “Plant a Free for Me” campaigns. Some of the IT giants who have made tremendous contributions to greening are:
1. Sun Microsystems encourage upgrade program, where customers can return the used equipment. A third party vendor dismantles these used equipment and returns useful parts back to Sun.
2. Apple and Microsoft have developed operating systems with power management features. These features can control computers’ energy consumption.
3. Chip manufacturers too have contributed. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has come out with a new quad-core processor. It doubles the power output when compared with dual-core processor while using the same amount of energy and thermal power.
4. Apple bans use of toxic substances like lead, cadmium, mercury and asbestos from its manufacturing process and has also stopped using CRT monitors which contain lead oxide and barium.
5. Virtualization software helps lower energy consumption and cost by reducing the number of machines and servers. It enables the deployment of many operating systems and applications on the same computer simultaneously.

The task is difficult no doubt, but a steady effort from all can surely make the environment greener.