Piplantri village in Rajasthan plants 111 trees when a girl is born, and other wonderful initiatives


Received in an email forward from multiple sources. Found a fuller article in a news site here: http://www.thehindu.com/news/other-states/a-village-that-plants-111-trees-for-every-girl-born-in-rajasthan/article4606735.ece that had some more information, like "Over the last six years, people here have managed to plant over a quarter million trees on the village’s grazing commons- inlcuding neem, sheesham, mango, Amla among others."
(Also not mentioned in the email-forward below is that this village has also banned alcohol. After that line came "there has not been any police case here for the last 7 to 8 years". Now I wonder if that line was omitted on purpose 😉

India’s other daughters – The village that plants 111 trees, when a girl is born !!

In a country that still favours the birth of a son, Piplantri village in Rajasthan not only embraces daughters, but has created a tradition that benefits both the local people and the planet. This endearing village makes a conscious effort to save girl children and the green cover at the same time, by planting 111 trees every time a girl is born. A brilliant exercise in eco-feminism, this should inspire India and the rest of the world.
This wonderful eco-conscious tradition ensures that an increase in human population will never come at a cost to the environment. It is literally helping to ensure a greener future with each new generation.

The village gathers as a community and plants 111 fruit trees in honour of every newborn female child.

Village residents collect Rs. 21,000 among themselves and Rs.10,000 from the girl’s parents. This sum of Rs. 31,000 is made into a 20-year fixed deposit in a Bank, for the girl.

Parents are legally bound by a signed affidavit stating that their daughter will receive proper education. The affadavit also mandates that the girl should be married only after she reaches legal age and the trees planted after her birth would be correctly looked after.

The community ensures that the trees survive, attaining fruition as the girl grows up.

The villagers don’t just plant trees, they look after them as well. To protect the trees from termites, the residents plant Aloe vera plants around them.

These trees, and especially the Aloe vera plants, are now a source of livelihood for several residents.

This unique tradition was first suggested by the village’s former leader, Shyam Sundar Paliwal, in honour of his daughter who passed away at a young age. In the last 6 years, over a quarter of a million trees have been planted.

Villagers claim there has not been any police case here for the last 7 to 8 years.

This is a heartwarming and inspiring story that MUST be shared and replicated as much as possible across India and the world.

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Kerala to go fully organic by 2016; Kasargod has already switched over


Copy-posting from http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/organic-farming-in-all-assembly-segments/article6747476.ece

[Kerala] To make State fully organic by 2016

The government has initiated efforts to promote organic farming in all Assembly constituencies.

Minister for Agriculture K.P. Mohanan said here on Thursday that the initiative was designed to encourage farmers to switch over to organic methods of cultivation, under a project to convert Kerala into a fully organic State by 2016. Kasaragod district had already switched over to organic farming in the pilot phase of the project.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting to review the performance of public sector undertakings, Mr. Mohanan said the agriculture sector in the State had registered a Gross State Domestic Product growth of 5.26 per cent over the last year. The production of paddy went up to 5.376 lakh tonnes though the acreage of 2.148 hectares showed little increase. The productivity of other crops such as coconut, cassava, mango, pineapple and other fruits and spices, including pepper, ginger, and turmeric, also registered an impressive growth. The domestic vegetable production had gone up to 11.9 metric tonnes.

The Minister said efforts were on to procure vegetables from farmers through Krishi Bhavans and market them through outlets of Horticorp and Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam. Simultaneously, Kerala Agricultural University and the Agriculture Department were involved in a drive to promote processing of agricultural products under the “Safe to Eat” brand.

Vending machines

The government, he said, was planning to install vending machines in every panchayat to dispense neera, vegetable seeds and products manufactured by Kerafed. The project would be implemented by the departments of Agriculture and Panchayats. The daily production of neera was expected to go up to 20,000 litres by February with the commissioning of new plants by the Coconut Development Corporation at Aralam and Elathur and the KAU campuses at Vellanikara and Vellayani.

Mr. Mohanan said Kerala was expected to become self-sufficient in milk production in another three years. “By that time, we will have added 6,00,000 milch cows to the domestic bovine population, raising the milk production potential to 60 lakh litres.”

Officials from 20 public sector units participated in the review.

Vellore model of Solid Waste Management (seen in Satyamev Jayate’s “Don’t Waste Your Garbage” episode)


Cows, hens, frogs, ducks and earthworms—these are only some of the ‘workers’ helping C. Srinivasan to convert garbage into gold. Srinivasan, who appeared on the Don’t Waste Your Garbage episode, spoke about the ‘Vellore model’ of solid waste management which involves both animals and human beings in reusing and recycling waste. After the show, people from all walks of life approached him to learn more about handling waste responsibly. He us tells us more here.

C. Srinivasan

After the episode was aired on the morning of March 16, my phone was engaged all day, till late at night. I used to think garbage was a dry subject and nobody was really interested in it. But I was surprised that so many people want to see India clean.

Through the show, people learned about the reality of garbage and began to realize that the problem is solvable. They now want to see change in their own localities and become involved in bringing about that change. So, making India clean may not be far off. You have lit the fire and it has caught on like a forest fire; it cannot be stopped.

I was contacted by people from 16 states, and received nearly 300 emails. Out of these 50 were from total strangers. The people who contacted me wanted to know more about our Solid and Liquid Resource Management programme and implement it in their own areas. Some people even said, ‘I will give my land for this project, but I need your help with the technology.’ It isn’t so easy for people to promise their land for a project like this. Students contacted me to learn more about the SLRM project so that they can get involved in it soon after they graduate.

I also noticed that highly qualified people want to get involved in managing unwanted materials. Normally, such people want to sit in AC rooms and expect that people will come to them. But here, people with MBAs, MScs, PhDs and other postgraduate degrees contacted me. Most of them want to get involved in the field, to use their hands. Some want to use this method to develop a business; others just want to help society. At the moment, two people with MBAs are being trained by us. I feel that all these people are definitely going to be change-makers. Earlier, we were on the lookout for change-makers, but here they are waiting for us!

In addition to this, I received 12 emails from outside the country, including from a Madagascan diplomat stationed in Poland, who has approached the president of Madagascar and asked for the implementation of the SLRM programme in that country. Many people have expressed the desire to visit us and see the project site in Coimbatore. Looking at this response, we have decided to set up a training centre not only for people in Tamil Nadu but for people from across the world. They can come for a one-day visit or for a 15-day training programme, which will help them understand all the different aspects of treating and recycling unwanted solid and liquid materials. They could also stay for a year and get certified as a Grassroots-Level Consultant in SLRM from a local university.

Today, I still receive emails and calls from people who have seen the show. We’ve been waiting for this kind of response for years. Satyamev Jayate was like a rocket that pushed the issue of garbage into space. Now we just need to get it into orbit.

C. Srinivasan is the project director of Indian Green Service, an environmental organization. He can be contacted on velloresrini [at] hotmail.com.

Sourced from Satyamev Jayate website: http://www.satyamevjayate.in/Dont-Waste-Your-Garbage/EPISODE-3Impact.aspx?uid=E3-Impact-A1

Do you want to get in touch with / involved with Mr. Srinivasan and his organization?

Join their network here: http://www.indiangreenservice.com/advocacy-initiatives.html

Earthrise : 9 min videos on the SOLUTIONS for a sustainable planet


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http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/earthrise/

https://www.youtube.com/show/earthrise

earthrise explores solutions to today’s environmental challenges, taking an upbeat look at ecological, scientific, technological and design projects the world over. Our reporters meet inspiring individuals and communities leading the way in a field few can afford to ignore.

We need to dub many of these into Indian languages and spread them around!

Pump that runs without electricity


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A pump that doesn’t need electric power to run… "Ram" or water-hammer pump.. an old design that was around before the advent of electric pumps.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Worlds-greenest-water-pump/?ALLSTEPS

I don’t quite understand this one right now, but someone out there might!

Excerpt:

"last season, it hammered over 145,600 gallons of pond water up a steep hill to our garden over 700 feet away and over 100 feet higher than the pond! In the process, it saved us over 485 liters of diesel fuel we would have normally used to drive our diesel tractor to pump and tow the water around our farm.

The pump was built for about $50 worth of plumbing parts and a bunch of stuff that I had sitting in my scrap pile."

Vermicompost project in slum area creates earnings for residents while taking care of organic waste


http://www.wealthywaste.com/kalmanthai-slum

Excerpt:
Vermiculture uses worms in a controlled environment to do what they are best at- converting organic waste into nutrient-rich compost in nature’s way of recycling.

Members of the community groups underwent training and initiated a small-scale trial project investing Rs.2,200 (£29) they had raised from the sanitation blocks. They bought 4,000 red worms, Eisenia foetida, commonly known as the red wiggler or manure worm, which are best suited to composting.

Encouraged by the initial results the community then set up a larger scheme. An area of land by the communal toilet blocks was set aside with a small shed and composting arrangements for the worms.

Now in every 45 day cycle, for an investment of Rs.500, nearly one tonne of compost is produced. The compost is packed in bags and sold for Rs.5 per kilogramme, making nearly Rs.3000 per cycle.

The success has spread to other slum communities and individual households, which are now also carrying out vermiculture projects. The original project now even breeds and sells worms to those wishing to follow its example.

Organic Food is Nutritionally Far Superior to Non-Organic Produce


Organic Food is Nutritionally Far Superior to Non-Organic Produce

A ground-breaking meta-analysis of 343 studies led by Newcastle University, U.K., has found that organic food delivers significantly more benefits compared to non-organic food.

Among these are that organic food contains up to 69% more of key antioxidants and significantly lower concentrations of cadmium (50%), nitrates (30%), nitrites (87%) and pesticides. The frequency of occurrence of pesticide residues in conventionally grown crops was four times higher than in organic produce. This increased to seven times in the case of fruit.

Antioxidants are linked to reduced risk of various diseases including cancer. Conversely, high nitrate and nitrite concentrations in food are considered as potential risk factors for illnesses such as stomach cancer.

The researchers stress the urgent need for further studies specially designed to identify and quantify the health impacts of switching to organic food. The abstract of the study and a briefing note on it are reproduced below as Items 1 and 2.

Article: Why JP Singh is every Indian farmer’s best friend


https://in.news.yahoo.com/why-jp-singh-is-every-indian-farmer-s-best-friend-063823627.html

Excerpts:

How did an unassuming Varanasi farmer and school dropout come to be sought after by farmers, praised by experts and awarded by the government for his famous seeds?

His claim to fame? He develops indigenous, high-yielding and disease resistant varieties of plants. So far, he’s perfected more than 460 types of paddy, 120 of wheat, 40 kinds of arhar dal and three of mustard. He’s also grown a special type of wood apple or bel, one that yields 8-10 fruits in a single bunch, multiplying harvests for poor farmers.

One million farmers in about seven Indian states swear by the seeds he provides. He sells them for Rs 30-40 per kilo, compared to the Rs 200-300 that agents charge for genetically modified (GM) crops. Still, his crops outperform the GM ones on yield. And from their grain, farmers plant for the next harvest – something they can’t do with a GM crop.

How To Build A Solar-Powered Still To Purify Drinking Water


How To Build A Solar-Powered Still To Purify Drinking Water | Off The Grid News.

Step by step instructions to build a simple box that takes in open vessels filled with any impure water. The sun’s heat collecting in the box slowly boils the water, which condenses under the sloping glass top, and is collected in a tube at the edge. What is collected is pure distilled water. This simple device (and once you get the basics you can modify it for any range of needs… ) can deliver basic life-saving drinking water from the most polluted of sources, is inexpensive and does not need too much advanced skill to set up.. just spread the basic idea and you might just save a lot of lives in a disaster.

Permaculture – Free Online Sustainability Course – Regenerative Leadership Institute


FREE PERMACULTURE DESIGN COURSE

Complete Online Self-Paced Program

Learn from World-Class Instructors

Complete 72+ Hour Permaculture Design Certificate Course Covers:

Natural building construction

Pattern observation and site analysis

Renewable energy and appropriate technology

Reading the land and natural cycles

Rainwater harvesting and conservation

Soil regeneration and land restoration

Passive and active solar design

Food forests, trees, and garden design

Greywater considerations and system design

Business and financial permaculture

Waste recycling and treatment

Urban permaculture for sustainable cities

…and much, much more!

via Permaculture – Free Online Sustainability Course – Regenerative Leadership Institute.

Raju and Shalini Titus : natural farmers in MP, Rishi Kheti


Raju and Shalini Titus have been engaged in no-till farming for over 23 years. Contrary to pop wisdom, their net income has gone up because of increased yields and a reduction in input costs.

Click to see full article: Farm like the rishis!.

Credits: Amita Bhaduri, article shared under CC BY-NC-SA 2.5 IN license from India Water Portal

Millet brings a windfall


http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/millet-brings-a-windfall/article5435704.ece

A farmer of Muthukadu in Tamil Nadu has been harvesting a conventional minor millet “kuthiraivali” on his
fields recently.

The minor millet, with duration of 90 days, was raised on three acres of land and he is able to harvest an average 900 kg an acre.
“The kuthiraivali is a minor millet which can be raised on any dry land or wasteland,” says farmer Appavu Balandar.

The crop requires minimum
irrigation facility and is suited for
areas with less or poor rainfall in
the district, he says. It could
withstand drought-prone conditions up to 45 days. Against an investment of Rs. 2,500, the crop is expected to fetch prospective returns anywhere between Rs.11,000 and Rs.15,000 depending
upon the demand in the market as the produce was priced between Rs. 15 and Rs. 20 a kg, according to Appavu .

The crop was being revived through an initiative by Rose, a non-governmental organisation, which has been motivating farmers to re-discover the conventional crops which were raised in this part of the region.
According to Appavu, it could be raised as an alternative to paddy.

The crop is free from any pest
attack or disease. Less expenditure on cultivation and labour were the major advantages of this minor millet. There was a growing demand for the millet as it could be utilised for various dishes on the lines of rice.

Home in Bangalore using solar power and water harvesting


Home in Bangalore using solar power and water harvesting :
http://m.deccanherald.com/content/363491/this-home-free-clutter-power.html/

A wonder farm in Kerala


“Since 2007, this research station has gone from being a sleepy government facility to an engine of innovative agricultural practices – some local, some with far-reaching implications. Much of the credit for this energy and vision goes to Prasanna Rajendran, 53, who heads the ARS with the designation of assistant director of research.

Rajendran’s success has been such that the ARS’s annual income is Rs 2.56 crores. For next year, it has set a target of Rs 3 crores.

Compare that to Kerala Agriculture University (KAU) which earns Rs 8 crores annually from 3,500 acres. The ARS with just 25 acres adds Rs 2.56 crores to the KAU’s kitty.

What has led to this transformation? Rajendran attributes it to “just a little common sense and team work”. He adds: “Whatever we’ve done here is possible in any other research institution.”

Started in 1963, the Anakkayam ARS was once a cashew research station with 25 acres of rain-fed dryland. Only one scientist and five labourers worked here. Every summer, drinking water had to fetched from outside. The station’s annual revenue was a paltry Rs 4.92 lakhs. It had been all but written off.

Today ARS trains youth in agriculture, works with self-help groups (SHGs) and produces a variety of fruits and vegetables, some of which are processed and sold.”

read more at Civil Society Online – A WONDER FARM IN KERALA.

Countless Uses for Coconut Oil


http://www.realfarmacy.com/countless-uses-for-coconut-oil-the-simple-the-strange-and-the-downright-odd/

This article gives and explains a huge list of uses of coconut oil.

Bangladesh Hits 1 Million Solar Home Systems


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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/justin-guay/bangladesh-hits-1-million_b_2293643.html

"The Bangladesh story however, is particularly exciting because Grameen has singlehandedly shattered the energy ‘axioms’ on which the international policy community has relied for decades: Renewable energy is too expensive: Wrong. Even if solar makes sense the poor can’t afford it or they won’t pay: Wrong. The grid will come regardless so off grid, decentralized energy is a waste of time, money, and effort: Wrong, wrong, wrong. What Bangladesh does prove is that Carl Pope is right: deploying solar makes the most sense for off-grid areas where the economics are compelling and the need is great.

That’s what makes the next phase of the solar revolution even more exciting. That’s because today we are talking about 1 million solar home systems in Bihar, but tomorrow we could easily be talking about tens of millions in either Bihar or Uttar Pradesh, Indian states that have off-grid populations larger than most European nations."

Touch healer in Mumbai


MIRACLE HEALER MOHAN JOSHI FROM MUMBAI

Not drugs — its miraculously the healing touch of Mr. Mohan Joshi that provides wonderful solution to several chronic health problems that have found no permanent remedy in modern health sciences.

"It has come naturally to me, but I do not have any scientific explanation as to how it works, I only know that I carry within me a strong healing power which I use in curing various chronic diseases," is how Mr. Joshi explains this almost supernatural phenomenon. He quotes a reputed gynaecologist from Mumbai who had said that there are a few individuals, who carry in them an additional "charge" (the energy or power) that can be used for healing purposes.

The 50-year-old unpretentious Mr. Joshi from Akola has made the entire country his home. He started experimenting with his spiritual powers 18-years ago. He is an arts graduate and a former bank employee and has now dedicated himself to his new avocation, not for money or fame, but to use his powers to serve the needy for no selfish gain.

It all started when an astrologer told him that he had a rare power which he could use for healing and giving succor to the people suffering from various physical and psychological ailments. He did not believe the astrologer and was afraid of being ridiculed. Yet, when he revealed this jocularly to a close friend who had complained of pain, and as (he thought) there was no harm involved in the process, his friend asked him to try and cure him with his powers. The pain was caused apparently by abnormal growth of the ganglia. The maiden experiment worked miraculously, and his friend had no more pain. After 11 months, his friend said the ganglion growth had diminished.

Thereafter, he started trying his powers on other patients free of cost. Every time his confidence increased. So much so that he now has no hesitation to call himself a "spiritual healer" with powers to cure diseases for which modern science is no help.

Quoting from Atharva Veda, Mr. Joshi says India is the origin of spiritual powers which can be used to heal or cure diseases by applying the fingertips on the body of the patient. It can be applied even while other systems of therapy are being used. "Healing is of divine origin and transcends from one person to another where the healer is a medium through whom the care is passed to the patient in whom receptivity is awakened, and his or her diseases are healed in the process."

One can easily verify his claims. To make one feel the highly- charged condition of the body, he can feel a considerable amount of heat emitted from his hands even if he holds them at a distance from one’s face. If he places his palms on a person’s back, he or she can feel the "charge" transcend and traverse a circular path that provides relief, at least, for a few moments initially. However, the entire treatment is a process in itself which requires repeated sittings.

He clarifies that there may not be spectacular or instant results although dramatic changes can be experienced in just one sitting spread over a few minutes. Improvement comes progressively in days, weeks and sometimes months depending on the nature of the disease, and also the receptivity of the patient. Changes for the better involve two dimensions: Firstly, the specific malady for which healing is sought and secondly, total wellbeing of the patient spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. Thus, the cure is preventive in nature.

Not all patients are curable, yet the success rate is nearly 80 per cent. To cite a few examples, the well-known industrialist Mr.Dhirubhai Ambani, has benefited from him. The Major Irrigation Minister, Mr. H.K.Patil, is another. Then there are many eminent persons including the dramatist, Mr. Suresh Khare. Hew claims that so far, he has treated more than one lakh patients throughout the country, at least 80 per cent of them successfully. Healing is highly effective in blood pressure, asthama, arthritis, sciatica, muscular pain, slipped disc, spine disorders, swelling, paralysis, neurological disorders, heart problems (he successfully treated a young patient who had a hole in his heart), etc. It cannot work against nature yet, one may help in seeking some relief but not a cure. "Interestingly, people approach me as a last resort with diseases or illness which I have never heard, still they stand benefitted," he said.

The Faculty of Medical Studies, Medicina Alternativa Institute affiliated to the Open International University for Complementary Medicines conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa) in Colombo in December 1996.

"If you ask me, my own health problems have been automatically cured when I started healing others. I do not have any bad habit, I do not even eat "supari." In fact, I am a non-believer, but I know there are powers beyond reasoning that work wonders it is for the scientists to explain how the phenomenon of healing flows from one body to the other."

"I do not know the cause and effect of healing; what I know is that people are cured by my touch. I touch and pray and it works without any diagnosis. I will co-operate with scientists if they also do research on this subject."

He has makeshift clinics created by his patients, who have been benefited and turned his wellwishers in different cities and towns all over the country. He is not after money — after all, he says, he collects only Rs. 40 to Rs. 50 per sitting to meet the cost of travel, lodging and boarding. As he comes from a good family and with his son well-placed in the the United States, has never been short of money. "I am advised by my spiritual guru to carry on the work selflessly."

his address 302 Santoor Lokpuram Thane west mobile 9321112144 and 9699046147 email healmohan [at] yahoo.co.in, web site www.healmohan.org

The Play School Dilemma


Good checklist for what to have and what not to have in a young child’s playschool or any environment that it spends its day in.

Ask Amma

My son is 18 months old. I work as a free lance consultant and have a good support system at home. My husband and I have been thinking about playschool as our son loves physical activity and exploring new things and also interacting with other children.

What are your thoughts on play schools, the appropriate ages, what to look for in a good play school, its teachers etc?

Mama from Delhi

The neighbourhood is the appropriate place for an 18-month-old or really for any child who is looking for physical activity, new things to explore, and interaction with children outside the home.  Also the wide world beyond offers many attractions, but do not forget that there is much to explore locally, even within a kilometre radius as well.

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