Monday, February 22, 2010

Thoughts on Gates' TED Talk

Bhavani liked Alex Steffen's amendment of the formula and suggests reading the latter half of his critique of Gates' TED Talk. I agree. See what you think...

TED Talk on Energy (Bill Gates)

When I put a link to this blog on Facebook, Bhavani Prakash in Singapore invited me to be a friend on Facebook and introduced me to her blog . Being a Fan of Eco Walk the Talk and a Friend of Bhavani's has been very fruitful in keeping me informed on environmental issues. While Gopal and I were making the long trek from Coonoor to San Francisco the last couple days, Bhavani posted this TED Talk on her Facebook. It's very interesting.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bon Voyage meals with Govindharajan family

Govindharajan, Gopal, Carolyn, Aishwarya, Raja
Last Tuesday, Govindharajan and Aishwarya took us out for dinner and introduced us to their friend Raja, a retired military gentleman. We had a great time. The picture was at a second restaurant where we went for ice cream. (Aishwarya cooked us a very good vegetarian lunch the following day.) We're going to miss them.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Volunteering at Earth Trust Nilgiris

The Earth Trust Nilgiris office is the blue building. This is taken from the road.
This is the front room where I do some office work.

This is the view out back.

This is the rocky hillside back up and across the road. Very beautiful.

Some pictures from our evening walks

We've gotten to going for a walk at dusk in our neighborhood. I love that light. Gopal likes to take pictures of the flowers.

You probably can't see it, but sometimes I take plants from the roadside to plant in pots at home.

The shrubbery all along the path is mostly these flowers - way over our heads.

Coonoor at dusk.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Genetically Modified Food in India

If you ever imagined that Monsanto, for example, would go to places like India where brinjal (eggplant) has been grown for thousands of years and work to implement genetically modified brinjal here, you would be so right! Can you imagine the dilemma of a very poor Indian farmer when offered money to grow GM produce? Here in India, even some of the scientists (please read between the lines) are supporting this. What is a farmer to do?

I am new to this fight in India but am familiar with Monsanto's presence in the American agricultural world, so I don't know all the players here, but I do know that the Minister of Environment and Forestry has offered to consider a moratorium on "Bt Brinjal" if he is convinced by today. Greenpeace India had a MoveOn-type internet campaign to help the minister understand where Indians stand. Today the Minister announced a moratorium on Bt Brinjal!

Here is an article from Greenpeace India on the fight for clean food:

The World's Biggest Baingan Bharta
January 28, 2010
India —
Right now, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh is deciding if he'll allow corporations with American interests to genetically engineer India's King of Vegetables—the brinjal. The U.S.-backed companies say that Bt Brinjal will be free from pests, but Indian farmers have successfully grown brinjal for thousands of years without this toxic gene. Moreover, there have been no tests to prove its viability for human consumption. Rats fed on Bt Brinjal had diarrhoea and liver weight decrease. If Bt Brinjal is grown in India, it could contaminate traditional brinjal farms as well, thus tainting India's food supply forever. The introduction of Bt Brinjal has been rejected equivocally at all the public consultations that have taken place so far. But Jairam Ramesh is yet to give his verdict on this issue. Greenpeace is launching a new campaign to persuade Mr. Ramesh to protect India's brinjal: We're going to make the World's Biggest Baingan Bharta, in Delhi! The baingan bharta will have one brinjal for every person who signs our petition. We will present the names of all the signers to Mr. Ramesh. Our goal is 10,000 brinjals. The petition says: "India should not allow our brinjals to be contaminated by corporations with American interests." Add a brinjal by signing our petition today and ask your friends and family to do the same.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Earth Trust Nilgiris

On Tuesday, 9 February, I'm going to volunteer for a few days for Earth Trust Nilgiris, an organization for which I have the most enormous respect. There is a magazine article that describes very well what Earth Trust Nilgiris does. Here's a link to that article.

Before we go to California, I'm going to do what I can with them, then get back on it when I return. When you read the article you will understand why I am so excited.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Going for a visit to California!

We had a small windfall which enables me to join Gopal on his trip to California. I am so, so glad! We'll arrive in San Francisco on 21 February and leave on 25 March.