Indo-German Sustainability Center (IGCS)

The IGCS is widely interdisciplinary Academic-Industrial organization creating multifunctional programs in various domains for promoting sustainable development. The approach is to study and understand the problems related to sustainable development and climate change will find fundamental ways to prevent global challenges in the Energy and Water sector.

The energy and water represent the requisite asset for public health, economy, and maintaining the basic human living environment. Therefore, it is very crucial to develop and innovate effective methods of energy and water management especially in urban regions. A number of strategies are being adopted to manage and renovate the energy and water industry such as the development of a wide kind of renewable energy sources efficient electricity networks and wastewater treatment plants by making the effective use of information and scientific evidence available. This effort to create a lasting impact is done in collaboration between Indian and German researchers which also includes development and organization of various educational programs at different levels.

The educational programs are practical in nature where students are given a broad project in sustainable development solutions where students can design solutions which involves diverse people from different domains. This leads to advancements in various green start-ups and finding the loopholes in maintaining the continuity in the transaction of the technology in between individuals.

The impacts will be applied in many domestic, industries and commercial markets. A country like India, where most of the population is continuously growing and majorly shifting to urban areas and where the total population is going to surpass China, needs rapid development in the operational and sustainable infrastructure to ensure adequate and healthy water supply and cheap electricity to its citizens and maintain the harmony with the environment. I had the opportunity to attend the IGCS winter school back in 2015 where I was involved in learning problems related to water issues and possible solutions that can be developed in India.

There is growing pressure on energy and water resources globally which is further influenced by global political changes. The primary reason for failure to meet the basic needs of mankind is the imbalance between the human`s need and natural production. The problem comes along with frequent urbanization, disturbance in hydrological cycles and outbreak of many airborne and waterborne diseases. The quality of air is consistently degrading in big cities of India like Delhi and Mumbai.

IGCS brought attention to regulatory issues involved in sustainable water and energy management, such as globalization and privatization of water, conservation, and efficiency, illegal water connections, religious and conflict issues, the impact of changing climate change on water and air issues like irregular rainfall patterns and decreasing
green belt. Although, the incredible increase has been noticed in aforestation achieved with the efforts both public, private and nonprofit organization work.

On the other hand, the exploding urban population in India had led to some serious disasters such as floods and droughts, lack of access to safe water, decreasing organic content of the soil leading to poor fertility.

Underlying all these issues, the IGCS organization plans well-constructed programs which involve students and researchers from different domains like industrial engineering, biotechnology, architecture, chemistry, economics, etc to discuss and find the solutions for water and energy challenges. The roadway map of this program involves creating solutions for the management system to prevent the wastage of energy and water. With this roadmap, they have further created awareness at the student level who will take the practical solutions at a different scale. However, to develop a successful integrated system of water management requires the active involvement of water governing bodies ( local, state, national, and public-private relationships).

A few clear-cut benefits of having sustainable water and energy management systems in place are as follows:

  1. Significant reduction in the degradation of biodiversity, river ecosystem and air quality.
  2. Increment in carbon credits and the possibility of creating a carbon-neutral country.
  3. Development of better management infrastructure will reduce the operation and management costs of water and energy projects.

The ultimate mission of sustainable management is to make both rural and urban management more sustainable. All these considerations are very important for a country like India, which is going through a massive urban transformation. The program is adding significantly towards the advancements in technology, policies, academics, and cooperation between India and Germany.

IMGP6193

Location- IIT Madras, 2015
Released bulletin of the Program- http://www.igcs-chennai.rwth-aachen.de/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/IGCS-Bulletin-Vol.-4-Issue-3-July-2015_final-3.pdf

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How Water Thinking can help future generations?

Water is becoming a commodity which should not be the case.  Our current system of water management and treatment method is not well equipped to manage the growing population and luxurious lifestyle for the minor population. The challenge for educators, policymakers, providers, payers, business, and the government working in sorting out the ISSUE OF WATER is to redesign services, way to educate, water tax system, production and consumption of water-intensive products to address the damn serious issue.

Kindly refer to the previous blogs on water thinking and water thinking stages to understand the complete story in-depth.

Water Thinking

Water Thinking Stages

In response, the interdisciplinary community of tech, science, and entrepreneurs are creating an abundance of tools and devices to monitor and motivate the global population to consume less, save, reuse the treated water, take the required precautions, and live in harmony with water. But to make a real impact these products and tools must be integrated into the lives of the population and the daily water use in every individual. Water Design thinking can be transformed into an essential tool for simplifying certain and significant problems related to water.  The main point is using this AWARENESS TOOL is to every individual to help in their water which can help him to contribute and create value for the existing ecosystem in the most incredible way.

An individual commitment to water thinking is one of the most intriguing, highly variable and complex dynamics to the overall water ecosystem and human wellbeing. There is ample opportunity for us to create awareness about water thinking using digital tools which can bring the needed transformation.

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Various solutions and technologies have been developed over the years, ranging from treatment plants, management strategies, and educational programs. All these solutions are well noted but none of these solutions have provided an ultimate solution since these requires consistent organization, combinations, and synchronization among different stakeholders at different levels which can be collapsed for million reasons (technical or non-technical).

And it is a fact that “Billions of people do not have safe, accessible water and sanitation”

But it can be changed and It has to change.

To overcome these limitations, techies, educators, and policymakers are already working on the software and applications which set up the reminders and create awareness of water. Water thinking should be a religion and App stores have a wealth of information reminders that allow users to create a daily schedule for their actual healthy use of water. This strategy will target a huge population which is possibly the most extensive water users. But in spite of best technical programs, research articles published in high impact factor, big-scale rallies around the world, we are failing as individuals and as the whole community to sort the water issue.

A small activity or task that I have included in my water thinking-   

WHAT I LEARNED BY REDUCING THE ANIMAL, PACKED FOOD CONSUMPTION AND COFFEE?

Both animal and packed food (Beverages, coke, cookies everything which is packed in a fancy wrap is a water-intensive product). At an individual scale, one can reduce the water footprint or in simpler terms, the consumption of water by reducing your dependence on animal and packed products. Refer to this table and you will note that all the animal meat is most intensive in all the food products we have in the market.

So if we have the awareness and knowledge of consuming the product which is resource-efficient. We will be able to contribute largely to reducing the overall water footprint.

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Source: Mekonnen and Hoekstra (2010)

The awareness of water is physically disconnected from the complete existing mechanism (education and consumption patterns).

Internet-connected awareness and education programs can induce consistent reminders and stories to reduce the limitations that we are facing in solving the water issues on a gular basis.

The water thinking system has the power to replace traditional education programs. And build a new plan starting from the education system and this generation will always make a decision which will align perfectly in harmony with nature. The program that will teach the kids and develop the system which will work for the overall ecosystem instead of a personal ecosystem will advance significantly in creating preventive actions while reducing the unknown errors in water loss.

While the system of water thinking represents an advancement in the existing water programs and getting the individuals to adhere to their daily water consumption for nature, they are creating zero flaws. For this, support programs need to be developed at every level; schools, small and large communities, policy level for regular communication which makes it a bit challenging but with existing technology and internet, it is possible.

In the plan and practice of water thinking for the global population, it iterates on its scalability of design, observing the challenges faced by the individual because of its compulsive behavior or other multiple reasons which can be studied in detail to promote awareness about human and natural wellbeing.

 

Water Thinking Stages

In my first post about water thinking, I deeply focused on water thinking and developing educational programs to develop an intimate relationship with water. Water Thinking

All the alternative, eco-friendly, public-private relationship prototype that we have tried in all geographical locations to solve the issue of water has failed. But a whole new approach of water thinking can help us and the future generation to question our choice of consuming as everything in your life from wearing fancy and clothes to eating water-intensive food are produced and manufactured on the most fundamental and abundant solvent in the planet “WATER”.

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Water thinking will help in questioning, challenge assumptions and redefine our policies about water. It will question the Humanity to drink or consume any food or beverage that is produced by 5-10 liters of water or even more. Most of the single serving of junk food cost the planed more than 600 gallons of water.

There are many variants and challenges to implementing the process of water thinking which will have to go through different stages and modes of channel either political or non-political. However, both political and non-political changes will have to implement similar fundamentals of water thinking to all the stakeholders either producer or consumer.

Is Water Thinking Process bad for the capitalist world which is indeed water intensive and water-dependent? Not at all. Because all the industries are now aware of the depleting or extensive polluted water resources.

Can we define the water thinking stages? It is important to note that water thinking stages cannot be sequential at the moment as all the methods of conserving or saving water have been human-centric which has failed to succeed. The approach of water thinking will completely reframe the present water policies and put humans in the equation parallel to nature rather than in the center.

To help you understand water thinking process, try to break down every single material or food that you buy into the amount of water it has taken to produce it. What is special about water thinking that this process can help humans understand the water with empathy and gratitude.

The problem of with existing water policies that it does not help students or common people to understand their daily consumption (food, beverage, clothes, etc) in terms of “What it is not”.

We have developed a tendency to think about everything in a human-centric approach and so did our inventions and scientific technologies have progressed in a similar manner. Therefore, there is no linear approach that can be used to understand an intangible concept of Water Thinking. The first most thing for accepting and adapting to water thinking approach is to break out from the repetitive process of consuming and buying just because of your compulsive behavior. Once we have achieved a significant control over our behavior along with the basic understanding of water thinking, these principles will assist the humans quickly in applying the same knowledge and ideas towards other natural resources.

Indeed, it is hard to sell just “Water Thinking” but imagine labeling the amount of water that is being used to produce every packed product in the supermarket, every fabric that being converted to final fashion product. 

A label of the amount of water is used in producing a kg of beef, a kg of ice cream, choco cream, a fancy polyester fiber that you are wearing, and all the daily products that you can provide a consistent reminder to the individual about the amount of water he/she is using.

It is our natural tendency to challenge assumptions and technology because our complete life is dependent on them and it is not easy to start from scratch again. Even the top-notch researchers, leaders or managers rely on the same kind of routine although, it looks like they are more productive to the economy or society, the fact is water quality is degrading and even in the world richest and developed countries have to drink water packed in a plastic bottle.

Stay tuned to more stories on Water Thinking 🙂

 

Water Thinking

Water is not an exclusive property of Humans. But the greatest and most advanced species of the evolution has either taken the full control or are either losing it completely. We have no holistic idea about the present status of water bodies. There is so much information available on the internet coming from a scientific database, non-profit organization or individuals. It is next to impossible to come to a concrete conclusion.

Even the process of creating awareness about water pollution, drying rivers, droughts, etc are so varied and complex which are not being understood religiously. Water is the most fundamental unit of various life processes such as Photosynthesis that is the creator of all the delicious food that we are eating. Not just this, it also put all the economic activities under the single framework.

So let`s ask a very important question. Fundamentally, a Human can live without water for at least 2-3 days without any serious troubles.

What will happen if all people are punished to live without water for just 1 day? And don`t have any water in your storage units or any hidden water bank.

water

This will create a major disarrangement at multiple levels. It is  time to realize that water or environment governance is failing to create a major impact in the society as the rate of consumption of not so important water products involved in producing a large array of non-renewable or food products is consistently increasing. Everything that you see while passing through the supermarket, commercial shopping center, coffee, and bakery shops involves multiple numbers of processing steps which include liters of water.

But I am not if there are any policies, programs or educational awareness programs are focussing on actual water thinking? What is water thinking? And Why it is important to involve this thinking process in our system either in schools, media, and other public space. The present generation should create a holistic system to design water thinking tools and protocols in and around every corner of the world so that human beings can actually understand the meaning of water consciously.

The process of  Water Thinking should revolve around in developing a deep interest in water which will make them think before using the products or services involving water. At the same time, water thinking might offer a harmony based approach to solve this trouble. It is a way of living and acting in harmony with other life forms.

Our education system has been focused on various kinds of thinking like health thinking, money thinking, career thinking, competitive thinking and so on but it’s very rare when we consciously conduct some water thinking.

It`s time for a change. Its time for policymakers, educators, researchers, and other stakeholders to bring a change. The world has definitely become better in terms of structure and organization, there is luxury and fantastic order in our society that no past generation ever had. But the world is lacking the harmony and the consciousness to connect with natural resources with deep interest and understanding.