Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Students summer jobs

Read about a California non-profit that trains students to help neighbours go green. Training is offered to those who opt for summer vacation job,for which the
students get paid - $10 an hour. The students, after a crash-course in household energy audit, make house-calls. And each pair can do up to 12 households in a day, spending about 30 minutes going through a checklist of items that include water connections, electrical fittings, sockets used for household appliances.

Energy audit includes:
1) Checking water meter and water pressure;
2) testing faucets and toilets for flow and possible leaks;
3)suggesting installation of water-saving faucet aerators and high-pressure showerheads (done free under sponsorship);
4)replacing conventional lightbulbs with energy-saving compact fluorescent lightbulbs';
5)checking electrical wiring,notably,in the attic;and
6)offering guidance on energy-saving practices such as solar panelling, usage of recyclable items, and tree-planting.

Sponsorship for such programme could come from government agencies related to youth welfare, renewable resources;coporate social reponsibility projects of
companies, builders and architects associations and local chambers of commerce.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


The thamboolam is a mandatory take home at all Indian festivals and ceremonies, at weddings especially. The thamboolam bag (made of plastic, cloth or some polyester fibre, rarely of paper) contains a coconut or grapefruit, a couple of betel leaves, a packet of betel nuts – all auspicious tokens.

I don’t know what others do, but when I come home with the thamboolam, I put away the betel nut packet to be passed on, throw away the betel leaves which have started wilting, and use the coconut to cook. The bag if sturdy enough, will be reused as a carrier bag, that is if one doesn’t mind being the publicity person for the caterer. I have often felt that the fancy bags are a waste - especially when I see the grandeur of the bags – so much money spent on things no one really wants.

Long before the advent of plastic, the thamboolam was packed in ordinary paper bags on which the bride and groom’s names were printed. As plastic came into vogue, thin bags were used. Little by little the bags grew in size and show…….

So I was heartened when I read this news . Mayor of Chennai M. Subramaniam introduced an innovative concept at the wedding of his son recently, one that can be emulated by all. He gave away as thamboolam 3000 saplings to his guests to take away and plant. This delighted all environmentalists and eco-conscious citizens – zero pollution, plus greening.

The saplings are all avenue trees, and he had made arrangements with a nursery for the saplings to be readied by the time of the wedding.

I loved it, and I am sure GVK fellow blogger, who has been pushing for distribution of saplings on all possible occasions will too. Many of us can follow this trend.