SUSTAINABILITY SYSTEMS PROJECT MAKING
For the next assignment, each group was supposed to get back to class with research from their chosen NGO or non profit school. During these two weeks, we did some online surfing and found a bunch of organisations, we decided to go forward with Pragati Vidyalaya. Pragati Vidyalaya is a non profit school for deaf children, located in Dadar.
First we wrote to the school for permission to visit, study and research; after the principals approval we visited the school. A faculty member guided us through the school and got to speak with faculty, students and helpers and understand the environment better. We took down notes, pictures, audios and videos to support our visit.
When we got back to class, we discussed our visit with the faculty and peers. After a long discussion, we were asked to revisit the school and look at how our main vertical, water; plays a major role in the environment. We were also asked to divide our research into sub topics and categorise the information.
We went to the school again and looked at their washroom, drinking water facilities and other aspects.
I did some research on hearing aids just to get a better understanding of how it works.
The next class, we again discussed the recent information we had gathered. The next step was to ask the faculty members a bunch of questions about their kids to get a better understanding of their background, the things that go on in their heads and to really get to know them.
As the review was nearing, we had to start cutting down the information we had gathered and direct our research towards a particular question.
Initially my main vertical was water and my sub-vertical coral reefs, then I cut it down to coral reefs and under that the worlds biggest reef- The Great Barrier Reef. I did online case studies, research and saw a documentary. Now it was time to put it all in a single document. Taking notes helped me understand the topic better.
After making the third and fourth revision, I had to now focus on one particular question. I decided to take up coral bleaching, so I looked at the reasons behind the bleaching, recent incidents, incidents at the Great Barrier Reef and support from the government, public and organisations.
For the review day, each of discussed our final document revision with the faculty and then we were told what changes had to be made. We had the end of the day to change our final document. After making the necessary changes, I uploaded my work on the google drive.
SUSTAINABILITY SYSTEMS PROJECT MAKING:
The session started with a brief about our new project, we were told that each group is supposed to visit either night schools, NGOs or municipal schools. We had to visit any one place we chose and do an in-depth study of the place.
We spoke about the different topics we can study into when we visit these places. There are so many factors that makes an institution what it is. Everyone spoke about the different things that can be looked into. We can study into the type of institution, the hierarchy, age groups at the institution, understand their curriculum, where the teachers come from, where the students come from, study the environment there, the facilities there, funding, the history of the establishment and study their alumni.
Later we drifted away from the topic and started talking about how everything is made up of many micro steps. Even the process of entering college and getting to class can be broken down in hundreds of steps, passing through the revolving doors slows down our speed and only few people can pass through within a given time and putting our bags through security check also further slows the process and if there is some design solution to solve these problems, people who come five minutes late might be on time. So we should we able to micro analyse and break a process into many steps, this helps one understand the process much better.
The topic then slipped into ethnography, we had a very interesting conversation about how the way you frame the question during an interview can completely change the response you get. We spoke about some examples and tried it out in class and to some questions people opened up more and to others not really.
Then we came back to talking about the new projects, based on our vertical of choice we were separated into groups. We sat in our groups and started talking about each others verticals and which place we were going to visit. For the next two weeks we were told to go to the place we chose and do our research.
We started the session by watching the video ” The monk, the engineer and the artificial glacier”. It was a beautiful documentary of how an Ladhaki engineer, Sonam Wangchuk started the “Ice Stupa project”. His aim was to find a solution to the water crisis faced by the farmers in Ladakh during the critical planting months of April and May. In just a month he was able to build a two story ice stupa that stored 150,000 litres of water. He built a sustainable design that worked out for the farmers. After watching the video we spoke about his sustainable and solution towards such a critical problem.
Later each of us had a one on one session with the faculty and we got to discuss our research with him and our process work. We then started continuing our research and kept editing the information we got.
The lecture began with a short discussion about climate change and how it affects us in our day to day lives and in the long run. We were given a brief about the documentary “Before the floods”, it is a film by Leonardo DiCaprio; the UN messenger of Peace with a special focus on climate change. It is a spectacular documentary in which DiCaprio meets with scientists, activists and world leaders to discuss the dangers of climate change.
The documentary covered a lot of unpleasant facts and statistical data about climate change in order to bring about awareness among individuals. One topic I found very interesting was the Sumatra forests that have been exploited for obtaining palm oil which is the cheapest oil. The whole forest has been destroyed resulting in endangerment of wildlife, deforestation and pollution. In Baffin Island(Arctic Canada), ice caps have shrunk 50% from the 1950s causing rise in sea level.
I found certain facts about India very interesting, I’ve mentioned some of them: In India 30M people have no electricity and 30% have no access to power and 700M people use biofuel for cooking. In a 2015 forest fire, the carbon released into the atmosphere was more than the carbon released in an entire year in the US.
Overall the documentary brought about a lot of awareness, there were a lot of unpleasant facts and statistical data that helped bring out the truth about climate change. Climate change is a major issue, an issue that cannot solved by one individual or a group of people, everyone needs to take a step; companies, households, leaders and individuals. Some people want to make a change, some people don’t really care and other have two minds about it. With everything that is going on in people’s lives, most people wouldn’t have much concern for climate change.
Once we were done watching the film, we started talking about infographics. Infographics is a way of depicting information through graphic visuals, most common examples of infographics are pie charts and icons. Each of us were asked to take up one issue from the film, find out 10 facts about the issue and represent the information through infographics and bring it for next class.
SUSTAINABILITY SYSTEMS- PROJECT MAKING:
Over the week, each of us had to chose a vertical and sub topic based on the film “HOME” and do thorough research on it and bring the information we gathered to class. I chose the vertical Aquatic ecosystem and my sub topic as coral reefs.
First I started researching about aquatic life and then moved onto coral reefs. I took reference from multiple websites, I took notes of the information so its easier refer to and understand better.
After taking down notes, I typed out the data in a word document along with facts and statistics. Some interesting facts were: (i)Coral reefs cover less than 0.2 percent of our oceans but they contain approximately 25 percent of the world’s marine fish species, (iii)approximately 30 million people depend on coral reefs for their livelihood and (iii)a coral is considered fast growing if it grows between 10 to 20cm in a year but some only grow millimetres in that period etc.
Once the lecture began, few of us had to present our research to everyone, one person from each topic. This way we understood a lot about others topics and how each topic bleeds out into another. People who chose fashion spoke about how politics and water is a part of fashion. It was really interesting to see how all the topics are interlinked and related in many ways.
For the next class, we were asked to continue our research and gain knowledge in our verticals and sub topics.
Post a long holiday, Sustainability systems was the first class of the second semester. We were eager to know more about the course and what is has to offer. We had an interactive session, the main question was, “what is sustainability?” and everyone had a different approach to this question. Sustainability is the ability of biological systems to remain diverse and productive indefinitely.
Everyone shared their thoughts on sustainability and how to maintain a sustainable environment. The next big questions were, what else is sustainable? Is culture sustainable, Is politics sustainable? and so on. Each person had different perspectives to the question. I felt that in the long term culture is not sustainable, even now we don’t celebrate rituals and festivals the way our parents did, in-fact we don’t know half the rituals.
We discussed about sustainable ecosystems in Mumbai; the Worli Koliwada and Bandra village. Worli Koliwada is one of the oldest fishing villages in Mumbai; there are a community of people who’ve learnt to coexist over the years, they help one an another and grow as a community.
Later, we saw the film HOME. It was a spectacular documentary of how all of Earth’s problems are interlinked and they cover the creation of Earth to its current state. The film had various statistical and numerical data which was an eye opener and made all of us think about how insensitive we are to the Earth. 100 litres of water is required to harvest 1kg of potatoes, 1300 litres for 1kg of beef and in Los Angeles the number of inhabitants is equal to the number of cars and various other numerical and statistical data. Simultaneously we took down notes:
Once we were done watching the film, for the next week to do a detailed study on one vertical and a core study on a sub vertical. Collect information in the form of text from 3 online references, images and one live study.