Tiny organic garden right on your terrace !!!


With the rising number of buildings and the decreasing open space, terrace gardening is emerging as a great option to have the best of both worlds. Want to grow a terrace garden at your home? Our reader and contributor Vikram Kapoor shares with us his guide on how to grow wonderful veggies, flowers and fruits yourself.

Plants also need love. They can’t express their feelings but if you take proper care they will bloom,” says Kishore Kumar, a Bangalore resident who owns a terrace garden at his home in Shantinagar.

A few decades ago, almost all houses in Bangalore had a garden since plenty of space was available. However, since the IT boom, this space has been shrinking and today, it is almost non-existent. In spite of scarcity of accommodation, many people have come up with novel ways to grow plants even in the little available space. Terrace gardening is one of them.terrace garden

To read full article click here — http://www.thebetterindia.com/15579/terrace-garden/

Aasvishkaar !! a learning space …


Recently came across the facebook  page of Aavishkaar which is a learning space for young minds to have fun with hands-on science, math, reading, writing and music in a curious and creative way and focus on shifting our educational system from teaching to learning. Working with various schools in the region of kandbari (himachal), AAVISHKAAR  team visits various school promoting practical learning with special emphasis on science and maths and even hosting science fairs or Vigyaan mela’s and are even open for volunteering opportunities.
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Started by a Amazing couple Sandhya and Sarit along with there home-schooled daughter Shyamli.Do check out there facebook page for amazing pics from there journey and any further information:
facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/AavishkaarPalampur
Or e-mail at – aavishkaar.palampur@gmail.com

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Why you should take your kids out of school !!


THEY DISAPPEAR FOR HOURS. WHEN THEY RETURN, THEIR BASKETS ARE HEAVY WITH SMALL TREASURES OF THE WORLD AND THEIR HEADS ARE FULL OF SMALL STORIES OF THEIR WANDERING: THE MOOSE TRACKS THEY SAW, THE FORKED MAPLE THEY SAT BENEATH TO EAT SNACKS.

This phrase above mentioned in the article made me remember my childhood days.

As it further mentions:

It is already obvious that unschooling is radically different from institutionalized classroom learning, but how does it differ from more common homeschooling? Perhaps the best way to explain it is that all unschooling is homeschooling, but not all homeschooling is unschooling. While most homeschooled children follow a structured curriculum.

 

The first incidence of compulsory schooling came in 1852, when Massachusetts required communities to offer free public education and demanded that every child between the ages of 8 and 14 attend school for at least 12 weeks per year. Over the next seven decades, the remaining states adopted similar laws, and by 1918, the transition to mandated public education was complete and from there on it spread to world.

With recent rise in awareness about compulsory education, several movements and people have risen up to the challenge to provide better model of education for our people, making industrial model obsolete.

To know more about alternative learning spaces in India scroll down a bit in our Alternative spaces section .

To read this beautiful article about the homeschooling adventures of Fin and Rye “WE DON’T NEED NO EDUCATION”  click here.

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.

Indian knife innovation


Jugaad has been integral part of Indian life style,  creating useful items from the limited resources is the basis of jugaad technology,   Check out this amazing Indian knife innovation.

 

Pedal-A-Watt – stationary bicycle power generator


A DIY idea to make a power generator which can be made to produce power using any bicycle. just take it along with you anywhere in the wilderness and your laptop and mobile will never fall short of power. All you need to know is the idea , which you will get in this link and basic electronics and mechanics which you can learn easily on net by googling the terms charge controller or voltage stabilizer to supply constant supply of electricity to your device, asking help to your engineer friend would make things further easier. Setup is similar to small generators attached to wheel for lighting headlights on bicycles easily available on many diy sites.


So check out this link to get the idea of making your own power generator —  http://www.econvergence.net/The-Pedal-A-Watt-Bicycle-Generator-Stand-s/1820.htm

Video link –

TOXICS ALERT – An environment news bulletin


Each and every second 310 Kg of toxic chemicals are released into our air, land, and water by industrial facilities around the world.This amounts to approximately 10 million tons (over 21 billion pounds) of toxic chemicals released into our environment by industries each year.Of these, over 2 million tons (over 4.5 billion pounds) per year are recognized carcinogens. This amounts to about 65 Kg each second.

Toxic substances can range from naturally occurring toxics like arsenic and bacteria to man-made chemicals like flame retardants, or pesticides.We can’t help but come into contact with a range of chemicals in our daily lives. More than 70,000 chemicals are currently in commercial use and little is known about their effects on our health. Substances can pose very different risks depending on how we come into contact with them, the amount that gets into our bodies, and for how long and how often this occurs.

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Whether or not a substance poses a risk to our health depends on many things, including individual sensitivities. Sometimes we sense an odor in our environment that we think is making us sick, and even if we are not being exposed to toxic levels of chemicals, that smell can affect our quality of life.

To keep yourself updated about toxins and its affect in India follow this bulletin – http://enews.toxicslink.org/

DIY Rocket Stove


A rocket stove is an efficient cooking stove using small diameter wood fuel which is burned in a simple high-temperature combustion chamber containing an insulated vertical chimney which ensures complete combustion prior to the flames reaching the cooking surface.

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The principles were described by Dr. Larry Winiarski from Aprovecho in 1982 and stoves based on this design won Ashden Awards in both 2005 and 2006. Interest in rocket stoves has led to the development of rocket mass heaters and other innovations.
A rocket stove achieves efficient combustion of the fuel at a high temperature by ensuring a good air draft into the fire, controlled use of fuel, complete combustion of volatiles, and efficient use of the resultant heat. It has been used for cooking purposes in many energy poor locales as well as for space and water heating.

Check out this design made of materials easily found around any house or farm – http://devandhema.blogspot.in/2013/11/a-really-exciting-rocket-stove-project.html

The Aloe Vera Cookbook


Aloe Vera is really quite an incredible plant. It is a succulent plant and part of the lily family (Liliaceae), the same family that garlic and onions belong to.
Different parts of the plant are used for different effects on the body and Aloe Vera has both internal and external applications.

Aloe Vera contains over 200 active components including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, polysaccharide, and fatty acids- no wonder it’s used for such a wide range of remedies. The bulk of the Aloe Vera leaf is filled with a clear gel-like substance, which is approximately 99% water.

Man has used aloe therapeutically for over 5000 years, and many traditional methods for using it has been developed.

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Here is one book in which we have collected some cooking recipes using this amazing plant —
  http://www.swaraj.org/shikshantar/aloeverabookfinal.pdf

Swapathgami magzine – WALKOUTS/WALKONS NETWORK


For those who have taken the bold and bright decision to walk out of schools, colleges, or other institutions of thought-control — and walk in to taking their learning and their lives back into their own hands…

for more info visit – http://www.swaraj.org/shikshantar/walkoutsnetwork.htm

Bhoomi magzine


Bhoomi Network is committed to a deeper understanding about various issues concerning Sustainable Living. It is a space for those who wish to learn, share ideas for ‘owning up one’s ecological self’, and engage in action individually, in groups or in larger communities.

They also publish a magazine which is focused on fostering holistic thinking about sustainable living, valuing Nature and fostering Earth Reverence in ourselves.

link | http://www.bhoomimagazine.org/magazine/current-issue


Joy of Making

5 Epic Community Initatives From Around The World


Our world is changing rapidly, and some of the most exciting changes in the spaces in which we live together. There are some highly ambitious groups seeking to completely redefine how we live. This is extremely exciting because changing such a basic element of our society will have more far-reaching implications than most any other change.

Check out these awesome examples of community initiatives at – http://www.highexistence.com/5-epic-community-initatives-from-around-the-world/

Bhoomi College – For sustainability studies


Step into the world of Bhoomi College — http://www.bhoomicollege.org/
A unique community-based institution focused on fostering Earth Consciousness and Sustainable Living…

Bhoomi College has been an idea, a dream in seed form for a long, long time. It continued to grow through the Prakriya Green Wisdom School, where in subtle and tangible ways they continued to work on building consciousness about ecologically wise living.
In 2007, a group, began working on an Earth Citizenship seminar and then went on to organizing conferences on Food, Health and Climate Change(2009) and on The Good Life (2011). As Bhoomi Network this group expanded, and after 2 years of bringing out the Bhoomi magazine and organizing several programmes on Inner and Outer Ecology, they are now a formal college as well.

to know more check out – http://www.facebook.com/BhoomiCollege

Also check out – www.prakriyaschool.org

DIY hydrophonics – Grow edible plants without soil.


Ever imagined a fully functional garden right in your balcony of apartment or near your window, or where ever you got little space with sun light around.
Worried about where to get pots and soil ? Scared of hassles of watering and dirt ? You actually don’t need one. Hydroponics is the solution.
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. Terrestrial plants may be grown with their roots in the mineral nutrient solution only or in an inert medium, such as perlite, gravel, mineral wool, expanded clay pebbles or coconut husk.

All you need is a Hydroponics  DIY kit. Get Yourself this small kit and start learning Hydroponics in a matter of days.

Get yourself one here – http://www.gardenguru.in/hydroponic-diy-kits/393-hydroponic-diy-raft-kit-dwc.html

For kit in action check out this video –

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For more information about Hydrophonics and how to start it in your place Check out this blog –
http://geekgardener.in/2013/10/23/hydroponic-basil-videos/

This kit comes with the following

  • Container with lid ( holes premade, but can be customized)
  • Nutrient solution for growing herbs (For 100 Litres)
  • Seeds of Herbs (Large leaf Basil, coriander, Sage).
  • Net pots
  • Grow plugs 15 no
  • Air pump

Mosquitoes – A lifestyle problem


This post is not about telling you to cover your bodies, apply mosquitoes repellent creams and keep your surroundings clean, avoid mosquito habitats, and stuff like that to avoid mosquito bites, that all you already know. Also there are many plants which you can grow indoor, in your balconies or your garden to avoid mosquitoes, we can talk about them some other time.

Mosquitoes are themselves not the problem to us, but mosquito bite surly is. Imagine yourself sitting in a place with mosquitoes around but none of it is interested in biting you, just because they don’t like the taste of your blood. Amazing, right? They are no more attracted towards you, no more itching, no more red spots, no more malaria and dengue. Beautiful world that will be, isn’t it ? We will be in peaceful co- existence with mosquitoes.
By killing mosquitoes we are certainly not killing the problem, it is similar to killing pests using pesticides, it will only increase the problem, you solve one, another one pops out as a result, and next time you spray pests are resistant to it, and you keep on increasing the dose. What does common  sense  says ?? Which is better, trying to eradicate whole species from earth using chemicals resulting new types of problems or finding a solution of peaceful coexistence of all the species on earth.

Mosquito bites are not the primary cause of diseases, bites themselves are the result of unhealthy body. If you have ever observed the nature, pest attack or parasite attack is on weaker beings, a weak nutrient deficient plant is more prone to diseases and infestation. similar things are observed in animals too. Always weakest is attacked first in the herd.

So if you are getting mosquito bites, chances are there that something is wrong in your body and that weakness is the reason they are attracted towards and attacking you.

So this post is about some traditional natural methods which were incorporated in our daily routine and lifestyle to avoid bites of these blood sucking beautiful creatures.
Recent news headlines about spreading of dengue fever has caught many of ours attention, some blame it to unhygienic conditions, some on government, and some on disturbed ecological balance. Yes, mosquitoes have become the matter of concern these days with no. of diseases of which these are carriers, increasing. But equally important is the concern of methods used to control these pesky vampires. For obvious reasons with the increase in mosquito related problems, market related to deter these tiny blood sucking vampires has also increased, with many international players now in the field.
There is nothing new to tell about the harmful effects of the chemicals used to manufacture these insect repellent sprays and coils. Some of them are being banned in developed countries for over 20 years. Making India and other third world nations the dumping ground of these chemicals, corporations can’t sell anywhere else.
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With the 24 hours news channels booming and showing reports of dengu and malaria followed by the attractive advertisements of these products one might think that these are the must have products, after all nothing comes over the safety of your family. I will not go into the debate of these may be paid news to promote these products, similar to news headlines related to food adulteration and fake food in the making of traditional indian sweets at the time festivals followed by the advertisements of celebration chocolates.
(FOOD FOR THOUGHT)

A little flash back —
Growing up in a joint family, i learned a lot about various traditional techniques of personal care from my grand parents and elders of the family, and saving myself from mosquito and other insect bites was one of them.
what mosquitoes are attracted to ?

when i was a kid, i used to get lots of mosquito bites, where as my grand mother used to sit calmly with no bites at all, and upon asking the reason i used to get a logic that my blood is sweet, so mosquitoes are attracted to me more. Another one she used to tell was, breath deep to avoid mosquitos, another observation i made later was, she never used artificial soap or shampoo.
So when i was doing little search about what mosquitoes are attracted too , i was amazed to find how simple steps in traditional indian culture were so efficient to deal with the problems we face today in the name of life style related problems.

so what actually attracts mosquitos are —

1. Sweat is said to attract mosquitoes by its smell. Some people have problem of excessive sweating, Improper diet and lifestyle diseases are often source of stomach diseases, which are further related to excessive sweating, resulting foul smell of sweat, and attraction point of mosquitoes.
Deep breathing (pranayaam and yoga)and proper diet to keep your stomach good, does makes a lot of sense here.
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2. Another reason for being calm and deep breathing is, it keeps your blood high in oxygen content, and as mosquitoes are attracted to high carbon dioxide, they may not like your blood which is now high in oxygen content rather than CO2 rich after making deep breathing a habit.

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3. Mosquitoes are found to be attracted to fruity and other smells, thus if u use soaps and shampoos which are fruity in smell they will definitely be attracted towards you.
So not using any artificial soap and shampoos does makes a lot of sense here.

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4. Last one about your blood being sweet, i can not conform scientifically but she had a habit of eating daily 10-15 neem leaves, we were also advised to eat it, it was said that it makes your blood bitter (neem is bitter), which mosquitoes doesn’t like. Also neem is very good for your stomach. So at least it does makes sense to me. Eating lots of garlic is also said to produce similar effect. there was also a kind of tradition to eat bitter gourd twice a week to keep your blood clean.

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So if your body is healthy, you won’t get mosquito bites. Bad stomach is the origin of many diseases, resulting in impure blood, excessive sweating, foul body odour, bad mouth and many more. So mosquito bites are the themselves the result of something wrong going on with your body.
Apart from having a healthy lifestyle and disease free strong body, here are some more desi tips to keep mosquitoes away !!

1. Take a wide plate and pour some mustard oil in it, just a little so that all of the wide surface is covered by it, and then keep that plate in some dark corner of the room (and yes another thing mosquitoes are attracted to are dark colours) after few hours, you will definitely find lots of mosquitoes lying dead in the plate. i have seen it myself working. to make it more effective, increase the no. of plates.

2. Alternatives to coils would be “dhoop agarbattis” made of gobar, you could find them easily in gaushalas. Its better to promote local sustainable product than supporting corporations in making India a dumping ground.
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3. Another one is ,cut lemon slices and embed “cloves” into it, and keep them in the corners of the room.These are effective air fresheners also.

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4.Neem oil or neem seed oil is easily available in the garden and panchgavya shops these days as it is used as organic insect repellent. light a oil lamp, or kerosene lamp, and add 6-8 drops of neem oil into it. This has also been found to be effective. 6-8 drops is the measure for the lamp of size we use in diwali you can experiment with amount of drops.
(tip -try adding citronella, or eucalyptus  oil drops instead of neem oil, never tried though. )

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These were some eco-friendly and sustainable tips to avoid mosquito bites.

30 desi ways to go eco-friendly


Sustainability, eco friendly, go green may sound like new slogans of  India, but as far as an eco friendly lifestyle goes, most of the traditional Indian ways serve as a model example! Each region in India has its own set of eco-friendly habits. It is important to educate our younger generation about these habits.

Check out this wonderful article by RAMA COUSIK.

http://thealternative.in/environment/30-desi-ways-to-go-eco-friendly/

Paperjewelz – vrinda gokhale philip


Paperjewelz is costume jewelry that is truly unique. It is the culmination of influences from different cultures and of course the eras of ever changing fashion statements, especially the psychedelic sixties and seventies. The Hero of this brand is recycled paper, teamed with a wide range of embellishments – from glass beads, and melon seeds to silver and semi precious stones. The results are alluring and glamorous pieces that are simply unparalleled. Ranging from the delicate to the chunky, the wild to the elegant, there is something in it for everybody.

check out more at – http://www.paperjewelz.com/
buy  online at – http://www.itokri.com/collections/paperjewelz-by-vrinda-gokhale
facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Paperjewelz/184590961593092

Kathalaya


Once upon a time, not so long ago, in June 1998, it rained heavily.
Three teachers hurried to take shelter under a grand old banyan tree. The rain didn’t seem to stop.
At first it was a casual chat about the weather and childhood memories of the rain.
And later the conversation drifted towards the concerns relating to education.
Why is teaching a monotonous exercise? What really makes the child interested in a subject?
Do we have a role to play? There was a pause. Why not storytelling?
Can we as teachers make a difference to evolve a more exciting curriculum, through stories?
Can we extend it to the underprivileged children, in the same manner?
The rain had stopped and the questions seemed endless.
The banyan tree stood witness to a new thought process evolving under its shade.
And that was just the beginning of a long journey…
Over the next few months, the group met more frequently to crystallize their thoughts into action.
They called themselves ‘Kathalaya ~ The House of Stories’.

to know more – http://kathalaya.org/
also – http://www.indianstorytellingnetwork.org/

facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kathalaya/239489306087919
read there blog at – http://kathalaya.org/about-us/blog/

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