From dust to glory
If you’re in Madhya Pradesh anytime and happen to explore the place, you should check out the Bondri hill which is located at a distance of about 180 kilometres, south of Bhopal and is a five-hour drive from the capital city. As a part of the Shahpur division of the forest department, this place used to be a little more than a barren mound three years back, but all that is changed now, thanks to the forest department’s efforts to plant 54,000 saplings in a single day!
The plantation was done under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), which aims to promote afforestation and regeneration of the environment. Punit Goyal, the divisional forest officer (DFO) of North Betul division, in which Bondri hill is located, led the effort. He said that the terrain made it very difficult for the plants to survive and the steep slope also made carrying the equipment, supplies, materials, and other necessary tools difficult. For this uphill task, the officer had one deputy forest ranger, two forest guards, and 1,000 labourers, all of whom planted varieties of bamboo and teak. Each labourer planted hundreds of saplings sourced from the social forestry department. Also, it was made sure that the saplings were placed properly, watered, and not damaged or abandoned in the process. “Despite these hurdles, all of us stood firm and finished the planned task. Three years later, we can say the project is a success,” says Mr Goyal.
The drive has brought visible ecological and social impact. Ecologically, the soil erosion of the hill has reduced dramatically as the roots hold the soil. Another benefit which has been observed is the retention of rainwater which is being harvested in the ground. Moreover, the green patch serves as a safe stopover for birds to rest or nest during their migration.
Speaking about the sociological impact, Mr Goyal says that the project has provided livelihood in a remote area to thousands of people under the guidelines of the Joint Forest Management Committee (JFMC). “The forest produce, like bamboo, will be sustainably harvested for commercial use by those who live here. Other means of livelihood are also being explored,” he adds.
What used to be a huge barren mound has now turned into a green haven for birds, boasting biodiversity and serving various other ecological needs at the same time. Similarly, if all of us take some inspiration from this drive, we can help our metropolises and surrounding barren lands turn into cleaner and greener spaces, which will not only enhance the beauty of nature (a relief from the skyscrapers) but will also increase our quality of life.
Wrap away your rotten food woes!
How many times has it happened that you got fresh fruits, vegetables, or packaged food from the market and kept it inside the fridge, but after a few days of storage, you got to see green patches of fungus or bacteria on them and, sadly, you had to throw them away without even eating them?
A potentially game-changing innovation has arrived which can address the twin problem of food contamination and plastic waste. The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) announced the development of their Sustainable Antimicrobial Wrapping Material, which they believe will prevent packaged food contamination as well as reduce plastic waste. Headed by Professor Mukesh Doble of the Department of Biotechnology and Puja Kumari, a research scholar in the same department, the wrapping material developed by the team is both biodegradable and reduces bacterial colonies in food by 99.99 per cent when compared with an ordinary wrapper. “We have developed a biodegradable wrapping material with inbuilt antibacterial activity to prevent bacterial growth in stored food. The antibacterial compound should be safe for consumption as it is approved by the authorities and does not cause any toxicity,” says Professor Doble.
The films of the antimicrobial wrapping material developed by IIT-M researchers are made with polymeric blends containing starch, polyvinyl alcohol, and cyclic beta glucan (CBG).
The quality of the wrapping material also degrades very slowly at various environmental conditions. Hence, they believe, this wrapper can play a major role in plastic waste reduction.
Their antibacterial-coated polymer wrapper was tested on chicken, meat, and paneer. “Our study observed 99.99 per cent reduction in the bacterial colonies in food samples wrapped with our antibacterial wrap and stored at 30 degrees Celsius for 10 days when compared with a plain wrapper. This study also suggests that our antimicrobial wrapper can, to some extent, overcome the problem of reduced availability of cold storage units. Paneer is known to have a very low shelf life (less than seven days) and hence extending its shelf life with our antimicrobial wrapper is a major advantage,” noted Puja Kumari, the research scholar.
Bacterial growth is higher when food is stored at 30 degrees Celsius as compared to storage at 4 degrees Celsius. Thus, in a country like India, where the lack of cold storage is a major concern, the material developed by researchers at IIT-M could prove to be very useful in preventing food spoilage and wastage.
Listening to heal
How can we help others across the world experience positivity and bring a transformation in their life? Is there a simple act of love that can be replicated across the world? A few members were discussing this question with Maitreya Dadashreeji in 2017, a Global Humanitarian and Founder of Maitri Bodh Parivaar. After much discussion, they arrived at a simple conclusion - Passive Listening.
At the base level, all our actions, choices, and decisions are driven by emotion. We do things that make us happy and avoid those resulting in unhappiness. Emotions are meant to be shared and expressed. They consist of dynamic energy that supports and guides us in life. This energy needs to be channelised to its full potential. It needs to be released appropriately, allowing the emotions to flow easily.
A person ‘bursting with joy’ cannot wait to share their joy with others. Whereas, a person feeling sad or lonely wants to share these emotions too but ends up repressing them due to the fear of being judged, ridiculed, and rejected. This can result in physical manifestations of diseases, stress, and depression. Before we know, these repressed emotions start clouding our thinking and judgement. All these emotions need a safe outlet.
Maitreya Dadashreeji says, “When a listener completely empties themself and listens from the heart (Passive Listening), the speaker gets an opportunity to express their emotional blocks, and in doing so, an automatic release happens.”
According to him, a listener who is trained to practice inner silence can provide this environment to you. A true listener can simply be there for you, without judgement or advice. Through their inner silence, they provide you a space where you can release restless energy, share a personal story, understand the source of emotions, de-clutter the inner world, and re-establish peace inside yourself.
This space removes confusion and brings clarity in thoughts. At “I Listen U” they have a team of trained listeners who practice this inner silence. They offer space to express those emotions completely and witness positive changes.
Dr. Sharad Patel, a physician and lecturer at Kohinoor Hospital and College registered for a listening session. In his own words, he says, “On a recommendation by a close friend, I booked myself for a session with no expectations. The listener, who was assigned to me exhibited calmness. After a small conversation initiated by the listener, I started speaking. Slowly and steadily without any effort, I noticed myself expressing candidly and painting a picture of my current life scenario with my words. Towards the end, not only did I have clarity about my current problem but also found a solution for it. That’s it, I was able to access that inner space and help myself.”
To learn more about this FREE service and to book a session, please visit www.ilistenu.com
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