So, the idea: bring together a group of fun, adventure-loving hackers to live and cowork in India for a couple of months this coming spring (we’d leave the States shortly after Liftcamp). I’ve visited twice already and loved it — for anyone who grew up in the Western world, India is an incredibly rich, diverse, and fascinating experience.
Currently, I’m looking for people who’d like to help me put this together. Interested? Let me know.
A web of support. How people using technology to self-organize and take action after disasters is becoming commonplace.
According to The Guardian, Bhopal and many parts of Northern India are facing a late monsoon and the driest June in 83 years:
In Bhopal, which bills itself as the City of Lakes, patience is already at breaking point. The largest lake, the 1,000-year-old, man-made Upper Lake, had reduced in size from 38 sq km to 5 sq km by the start of last week.
The population of 1.8 million has been rationed to 30 minutes of water supply every other day since October. That became one day in three as the monsoon failed to materialise. In nearby Indore the ration is half an hour’s supply every seven days.
Much of India is dependent on a yearly monsoon from June to September to replenish lakes and reservoirs. When the rains are late, there just isn’t enough water. Of course, it’s the poorest of the poor that suffer the most in a situation like this.
I came across a photo essay from the BBC about the shortages in Mumbai earlier today as well. This could be just the tip of the iceberg (although that’s probably a poor choice of words).
In Rajasthan, two boys in the 8th standard fill their father’s cart with water from the village naadi, or pond. It takes around an hour and a half for them to complete this task daily, and provides just enough water for the eight family members, 10 to 15 goat, a cow, and a bullock. The quality of their water becomes less important when quantity is a concern.
I’ve been working frantically for just over a week on putting together a piece for this year’s edition of Flux Magazine, only to learn at the last minute that my story was cut because I’m not an active student. If I have time next week, I’ll finish up what I was writing and publish it.
Reinventing Direct Action, 4 April 2009 View more presentations from danielbachhuber. I’m giving this presentation today as a part of a panel at a global health weekend my friend Alex Goodell spent a significant amount of time putting together. The conference is “You Can’t Crush… Continue reading →
In Savurgaon, a small village in the Kolwan Valley, Maharashtra, India, a broken pipeline in March 2009 means no water for at least five days. The community shares its local government, the Gram Panchayat, with two other villages, a unique situation to the area which ultimately means that issues aren’t often addressed as quickly as they should be. In the interim, many of the families are dependent on the generosity of a wealthier farmer with his own private bore well. When water does come again, though, the way the pots are ordered will signify who gets their fill first.
A woman from Nanegaon in the Kolwan Valley west of Pune carries water home past the heavily-fertilized sugarcane fields near her community’s open well. Sugarcane requires copious amounts of water and heavy fertilization, most commonly with a nitrate-based urea. Although not fully understood, excess amounts… Continue reading →
Just below the Dapka Ghat in Kanpur, a “nhala” or drainage ditch, pours raw sewage into the Ganges River. The pollution is 80% domestic and 20% industrial. Waste treatment should have been addressed by the Ganga Action Plan of 1985 but, like many of India’s… Continue reading →
Kids play cricket, India’s most popular sport, on the banks of the Ganges River in Kanpur. Although significantly polluted, it is still the life-source for those who live along the river. The Ganges, according to Rakesh Jaiswal of Eco Friends, is forecast to “die” in… Continue reading →
Three news items that caught my eye in the last couple of days:
Building a Social Entrepreneurial Garage Startup in India – PBS MediaShift
Update from a pretty cool project to bring community radio stations to rural India. If it’s not too prohibitive to launching one of these (who knows what it takes to legally license spectrum in the country), then it could interesting to try applying the concept of a social business to this. I can see community radio for a social cause having a tremendous effect on water literacy, health education, etc. Also related: layoffs at out-sourcing firms might lead to huge innovation spikes in India. I certainly think it’s possible. Here comes the real competition.
Change Haiti can believe in – The Boston Globe
Paul Farmer and Brian Concannon argue for better US policy towards developing, and not punishing Haiti. It will be interesting to see how Obama’s foreign policy changes will affect the country’s development (especially in this economic climate and after the hurricanes). The authors are also participating in a panel discussion tomorrow night, the 27th of January, that will be broadcast live over the web.
Ecologists warn the planet is running short of water – Times Online
An annual report by the Pacific Institute in California says that the world could run out of “sustainability managed water.” Part of me wonders if this article is too broad to actually deliver anything substantial, but water is certainly going to become more and more of a local issue.