Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Books read...

Well, Hot, Flat, and Crowded is a good breezy read on what Tom Friedman, NYT columnist thinks the US must do. In any case, the US seems to be moving in the right direction with investments in rail, Silicon valley start-ups investing in all sorts of non-petroleum mobility solutions much faster than the world.

For us urbanites, the message is clear. Every litre of oil you use has the potential to come back to you as a bullet (or a bomb). Get onto those buses, for now, until alternatives are available. Friedmans draws this connection loudly and clearly. Now, it is not that this connection is a new one, but the ticket to clean energy will also potentially rid us of the other most plaguing issue these days - terrorism. As urbanites in India, the sooner we get to rainwater harvesting, borewell (groundwater) recharging, the better it will be for us.

And he touches upon "lazy environmentalism", but there are really no easy options here. And it is going to be one long haul - a generation, atleast, before we get to "utopia" if at all. And in the meantime, it is a race - who will win. I am optimistic.

India, thanks to efforts like the Reva and the Nano is there somewhere. But like the telecom revolution which made our villages mobile without having to wait for the landline revolution, the clean energy revolution might well get our villages which still languish with partial or no electricity another chance to leapfrog. Think biogas, think microhydel plants and of course, solar and wind energy and India can very soon make villages self sufficient.

Collapse by Jared Diamond, on how societies collapse due their rampant destruction of the environment makes for a gripping read for a while, but offers no solution. Most societies which collapsed had no clue this was going to hit them and unfortunately, many parts of our world are going the same way. But some of the arguments it puts forward are quite compelling...

2 comments:

Kavi said...

Thats a superb piece. The villages leapfrogging one cycle, getting to and staying ahead of it all, is a point well taken

and surely there can be more that we can do ! more we can do.

BharGo said...

amazing book... half way through