Go Green for the Blue’s sake, folks!

There I was, minding my own business and commuting on Old Madras Road last Sunday, and what should I see? A novel protest by Greenpeace India (pics below). It seemed pre-ordained that I should cross paths with them as I had recently written about their recent campaign on the bulb vs. CFL issue.

Wanting to take this issue further than just post the pics, I called Greenpeace India Director Anantha Padmanabhan’s office in Bangalore with a request to answer 5 questions. Action oriented, they certainly are for they reverted pretty quickly. Must be my charm, I guess? ;)

Q: For years, we’ve been reading about of Greenpeace’s concern for the environment, its activism and the exploits, if I may say so, of protest ships like the Rainbow Warrior. Greenpeace is now in India & in Bangalore. What is your mission?
A: ‘Greenpeace exists because this fragile earth deserves a voice. It needs solutions. It needs change. It needs action.’ Greenpeace has been in India since the year 2000. Ever since it has been campaigning independently, using non-violent creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems in the country and to force solutions which are essential to a green and peaceful future.

We are proud of the fact that 50,000 Indian supporters from different parts of the country are financially supporting our cause. They are central to all our struggles to expose global environmental threats as much as they are a part of the major recent victories like the return back of the toxic laced ship Clemenceau or the announcement of major electronic companies to take back their toxic e-waste.

In India Greenpeace focuses on the critical worldwide environmental issues such as:

• Protecting our oceans
• Checking climate change by promoting clean energy.
• Elimination of toxic chemicals
• Preventing the release of genetically engineered organisms into nature.

Q: There are so many environmental issues that India is grappling with. What are the most important ones, in your opinion and what is Greenpeace’s action plan to tackle the same?
A:One environmental problem which will affect one and all homogenously is climate change, if not tackled on a war-footing urgently. The effects of climate change on human health, eco-systems, food production, water resources, small islands and low lying coastal areas are likely worsen in the immediate future. It is expected that the cost of climate change in India could be as high as a 9-13% loss in GDP by 2100 as compared with what could have been achieved in a world without climate change.

The solutions to this proposed by Greenpeace is simple–reduction of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions which are responsible for heating up the planet and causing climate change. And this is possible only by cutting down on our excessive dependence on carbon dioxide emitting fossil fuels like coal and switching to alternative sources of energy i.e clean/renewable energy. Interim measures like using the energy that we have efficiently will also help. The ban the bulb campaign is a step in that direction. The Greenpeace solutions report titled India Energy Revolution Scenario can be accessed here.

Q: Your current campaign – Ban the Bulb – has a twin-pronged goal – fighting climate change and the prevailing energy crisis in the country at the same time. Can you give some further info & statistics in this regard? How successful is your campaign in India?
A: Experts, leaders, governments and industry around the world as well as in India now acknowledge that there is no bigger threat to humankind than human induced climate change. There is also unanimous agreement that climate change is caused by burning fossil fuels. A major emitter of CO2 is the burning of coal to produce electricity. Any product that wastes energy is therefore a climate killer and hazardous to the earth and its inhabitants. Up to 95% of the energy used by an incandescent bulb is wasted as heat, a shockingly inefficient that needs to banned immediately. Compact Fluroscent Lamps use only 20% of the energy used by an ordinary light bulb. By replacing all ordinary light bulbs with CFLs, we can reduce India’s CO2 emissions by 55 Million tonnes annually.

We are seeking to spread our message of energy efficiency across the country and gain popular support the ‘ban the bulb’ campaign. This will in turn empower the people to take steps in their individual capacity to arrest the problem of climate change and the acute power crunch paralyzing their day-to-day lifes, as seen in Bangalore recently. In this direction on the 18th of April 2007, in 8 cities across the country (New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune and Chandigarh) prominent citizens joined Greenpeace in the launch of the 1 million petitions to call on the Power Minister of India to ban the incandescent bulb by 2010.

Q: In Bangalore, we are witness everyday to how the unrestrained use of plastic bags is clogging garbage dumps, landfill sites, sewers etc. Can we hope that Greenpeace will target this issue as well?
A: It is true that plastic waste disposal is a major issue that the Bangalorians are facing today. However, being an international organization our strength is in working on international environmental threats like climate change, genetic engineering, etc. There are several organization which are taking up these issues quite effectively. We greatly appreciate their efforts and in our capacity are happy to express our solidarity with them.

Q: How can Bangalore Metblogs and our readers help Greenpeace in its efforts to provide solutions, change and action to protect this blue planet of ours?
A: Today the internet is a powerful tool to reach millions. Powerful voices are being raised in the cyber world regarding grave issues of concern like climate change. So we see great potential in the idea of cyber activism to push for major mindset changes in our lifestyle and consumption patterns for the sustainability of this planet.

A first step in this direction they can sign up as cyber activists here Taking it further with two simple steps:

1. Switch to CFLs and all possible energy saving measures in their own homes, offices, etc.
2. Sign the petition themselves here.

SMS BTB to 4646. And also popularize it with their friends and family. They may also meet our volunteers spread across various location on the streets of Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune and Chandigarh and sign the petition there.

They can also consider supporting Greenpeace and adding on the list of our 50,000 concerned supporters from different parts of India from this place.

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Here are the pics:

greenpeace_1.bmp

greenpeace_2.bmp

greenpeace_3.bmp

greenpeace_4.bmp

While its good to be color blind these days, it would definitely help humanity further by going green!

What say you?

8 Comments so far

  1. Rajesh (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 7:54 pm

    Well Done Ravi!! nice initiative.

    With your post you surely have helped spread the awareness. In my house I have replace all the incandescent bulbs ans have seen the savings on my electrical bill as well as added my footprint to this mission.


  2. Lokesh (unregistered) on April 27th, 2007 @ 7:04 am

    Good job, Ravi. I think this is an apt post in a place like this. If we are reading this then I suppose the message will spread among the blogging community.


  3. R.A. Levin (unregistered) on April 27th, 2007 @ 9:22 am

    Ravi, you beat me to the CFL V. Incandescent debate!
    I was thinking of posting something about it on my blog, last night.
    I have quite a few CFL’s around the house and they’re not bad.
    One problem with them is the disposal issue. Flourescents contain Mercury. If there’s a concerted effort to recycle them properly, that shouldn’t actually BE a problem at all. Unfortunately, I can’t think of a country (including the U.S.) that would properly create an infrastructure in which to do this effectively.
    It’s true that the Hg content of these “bulbs” is very low, but when they hit the skips in massive quantities, it could create quite a health crisis. If the landfill is located anywhere near a water table or river/stream, the results could be potentially disasterous.
    The other risk factor, is when CF’s are installed in older lighting fixtures, there is a considerable risk of fire.
    There have been some very interesting trial usages of L.E.D.’s that promise to save even more energy, rendering the C.F.L. lamps redundant.
    It will be interesting to see how all this turns out.

    -Robert


  4. Christopher (unregistered) on April 27th, 2007 @ 10:41 am

    Regarding the polythene bags, while we wait for the recycled paper bags to take over, I have a coupe of suggestions.
    1) Try avoiding it if possible. Lets say you go to your local store and you buy just 3 or 4 items which you can carry without a bag…. do it. Just dont go to the polythene bag.
    2) If you still think you need a bag, try the traditional cloth bags, or the woven bags. If you dont have access to these bags, then try and reuse the polythene covers till they cant be used anymore.
    I know that these are easier said than done…but its worth the try….


  5. Chitra (unregistered) on April 27th, 2007 @ 10:43 am

    Ravi, interesting to read the interview. Robert makes a good point. Maybe the Greenpeace can get on here and answer some questions?

    BTW, the petition link leads to the Bangalore Metblogs main page.


  6. Christopher (unregistered) on April 27th, 2007 @ 10:44 am

    Regarding the polythene bags, while we wait for the recycled paper bags to take over, I have a coupe of suggestions.
    1) Try avoiding it if possible. Lets say you go to your local store and you buy just 3 or 4 items which you can carry without a bag…. do it. Just dont go to the polythene bag.
    2) If you still think you need a bag, try the traditional cloth bags, or the woven bags. If you dont have access to these bags, then try and reuse the polythene covers till they cant be used anymore.
    I know that these are easier said than done…but its worth the try….


  7. Deepa Mohan (unregistered) on April 27th, 2007 @ 5:39 pm

    Very nice post. I already use cloth bags, and cycle and walk everywhere…and use the incandescent bulbs, which, alas, are very expensive and get spoilt every time there is a voltage fluctuation. Still…for the green cause…


  8. Usha vaidyanathan (unregistered) on April 30th, 2007 @ 5:30 pm

    Good work Ravi. Will switch to CFL with immedaite effect.



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