Tuesday, October 16, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Study on Landuse of Pune

Dear All, 


Back in January 2017, I did a quick study on the local environmental concerns in Pune with reference to urbanization, under our Sustainably Smart Pune 2030 project. Now that I am in the process of compiling all the information into a super report I would like to share my findings with you all.

While I was looking for information on the environmental aspects like landuse, biodiversity, green cover, ambient air quality etc, Dr Priyadarshini Karve suggested me to quantify the aspects since it is true that whatever can be measured, is easy to manage. Hence we wanted to quantify the impacts, however at that time all I could find was some numbers and graphs which did represent magnitude of the impact urbanization is having on our environment. Starting with this blog, over the next few weeks, I want to share the journey of exploration and discovery that is leading us to developing an approach to quantification of environmental impacts of urbanisation in Pune. Needless to say, everyone's suggestions, comments, inputs are most welcome! 

So, firstly I looked at land use of Pune, while reviewing various documents. I came across a study done by Prof. Nitin Munde from Pune University, who is a geographer, and used Geoinformatics (GIS) and developed land use land cover (LULC) maps of Pune right from 1973 to 2014. These maps help us to understand the spatial extent of urban growth that occurred in Pune. 
You can see the images of the maps posted for reference. These colour coded maps show category of land under various uses like built up, vegetation agriculture etc...Each land use is depicted by a color and here built up is assigned red colour, land under vegetation is assigned green colour and so on. You can see the spread of red color covering the entire area. This shows the extent of urban growth due to the incoming population in the city either for work or education.   


There is also a graph showing the changes in LULC in percentage for each category. The graph below clearly shows that more and more land is being consumed for built up to provide housing, infrastructure and other basic services due to urbanization.  Whereas the other categories of land which are the providing factors or resources are drastically reducing. Especially the scrub land which has reduced from 49% to 5 % in the span of 40 years, followed by fallow land, then land under rivers and lakes. You can see an increase in land under vegetation and agricultural land, but this is because in 2000, surrounding villages got merged into the Pune city increasing the limits of the city. This can be seen in the maps as well. 


Graph showing the percentage of LULC
In my earlier blogs I mentioned about ecological footprint and how we are experiencing the ecological deficit at the global level. Though its quite tedious to calculate the ecological footprint at a city level, through this study it is quite evident that the rate at which we are consuming our resources leaving no or very less room for regeneration, we are going to remain in debt to our future generations. Just think about it … and stay tuned for more in coming weeks!

Pournima Agarkar. 
www.samuchit.com

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Alternate riverfront development approach continued

Expert group discussion
Dear All, 


In continuation with my earlier blog on developing an alternate riverfront development approach as part of our Sustainably Smart Pune 2030 project, I would like to share some more insights. 

As mentioned earlier, the river stretch near Omkareshwar temple consists of a Dhobi Ghat and two public gardens Nana Nani Park and Vartak Garden, and a few religious and heritage spaces. Our idea was that the riverfront development should compliment these existing spaces while focusing on improving the health of riverbed areas. For the same we thought of having discussions with the concerned experts. 

Firstly we decided to meet Ketaki Ghate and Manasi Karandikar from Oikos for guiding us on plantation along the riverbed. Both Ketaki and Manasi are experts in restoration works and our riverbed areas require sound restoration strategy instead of planting some random tree species or having landscaped lawns. 

Dhobi Ghat near Omkareshwar Stretch
According to Ketaki, preference should be given to indigenous trees, that have both aesthetic and ecological attributes. It is important to note that exotic tree species are not bad but they should be selected carefully otherwise they can cause weeding and dominate over the native species hampering the local ecosystems. Tiered structure of plantation should be followed, where we have the trees then shrubs and then ground covers. There should be a good diversity in selecting tree species instead of monoculture. Hardscape areas can be negligible or if required should use local stone tiles like those seen in nature trails. Water requirements for this restoration works can be supplied through treatment plant set up for treating the wastewater from Dhobi Ghat as well as the one's set up for treating city's sewage. Tree species that can absorb additional impurities in the treated water can be used. 

In order to maintain these areas, local gardeners can be employed since they have the expertise. Technological interventions can include timer based drippers for efficient water supply and use of motion sensor based LED light fixtures wherever required. These are some of the ideas brainstormed. However, in order to make this a reality, budget is needed for each activity and hence in our study we are working out a tentative budget for this stretch as well.

Other experts we met include Sayali Joshi from Shristi Eco Research Institute (SERI) who is currently working for Assi river in Varanasi. She made a striking statement that our river is in an ICU state and hence she should be treated immediately by ensuring there is no access to the river by anybody as a first step. This viewpoint was also supported by Swati Gole from Ecological society who also mentioned that public should not be allowed to access the river for anything until the river is restored. 

I have seen people many a times throwing wastes, nirmalya and even food as part of some rituals in the river. I think its high time to change the way we look at our rivers and realize that they are the only source of potable water for us. Shailaja and team from Jeevitnadi are actively striving for the same through their work on river revival. 

Stay tuned for more on these studies in the next blog!

Pournima Agarkar. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Linking and networking!

Dear All, 


Seed art created by the tribal farmers

You all must have heard about INECC many a times in my blogs, here I will introduce you to the network, since we at Samuchit and LAYA Resource Centre are members of the Indian Network of Ethics and Climate Change (INECC)

INECC is a network of not-for-profit organizations, businesses and individuals from different parts of India, coming together to link their work on climate change and sustainable development at the grassroots level to the larger policy dialogues and discourses that happen at the Local, State, National and International level. This network aims to highlight those voices from the ground that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and link them to the various policy dialogues to make their communities sustainable and climate resilient. The network meetings happen once or twice in a year, this year I could attend this meeting and it was in Kabini a serene place near Mysore. I would like to share my experience from this meeting. 

One would wonder why Kabini! Well this is a place where one of the INECC members Siddharta and his team from Pipal Tree are involved in working with the tribal communities around on climate change education and sustainable development.  It was an opportunity for us to see their work as well as have a meetup! 


Prosperous tribal farmer
The tribal communities around Kabini were displaced from their homes and lands due to the construction of a large dam on the Kabini river. They were even denied access to the Nagarhole forest area from where they used to make their living and were forced to migrate for work. Stressed due to the social and political pressures, their survival was at stake. A team from Pipal Tree undertook to work as facilitators with these communities to help them in their rehabilitation. Being an environmental scientist I had learned about the concept of participatory rural appraisal (PRA) technique and I was glad to see its application in a rural setting. Its time we realize that we are no one to teach the villagers living in the wild about food security and sustainability...but all we can do is to observe them, learn from them and intervene only when required for giving information on changing weather patterns since they lack access to the latest news. I am sure with all the indigenous knowledge that they have, they do come up with better adaptation and mitigation strategies as they are "THE experts" quoted by Dominic D'souza one of the members of INECC. There is a need to innovate or use technologies that can enable the farmers to get LIVE weather information so that they can accordingly plan their cropping patterns. I feel such technologies are available but still in experimentation phase. 

Village kitchen garden

On interacting with some of the farmers in this village we found something similar was happening in this village, with the help of Pipal Tree. The farmers here grew only cotton and other cash crops earlier, now they have shifted to growing more of millets (require less water comparatively) and other food crops through Pipal Tree's intervention. They also have their own kitchen gardens where they grow their daily veggies. In a way they are going towards food security and sustainability already. However they are still struggling with other political pressures and lack of irrigation facilities.  



Tribal village school kids

We also got a chance to visit the Children's College another initiative of Pipal Tree a facility where the tribal children from government schools can stay and learn life skills, and also get help as they struggle with school education. The best part of this Children's College is, it is located near the village so that the children don't feel lonely or out of place, they can meet their parents once in a month or so. We met such a group of young girls, the ones who stayed for two years were quite confident and aspired to go for higher studies instead of marriage. Some of them were really good with artistic skills like singing, dancing and making paper quill jewelry etc. We all felt that entrepreneur skills should be promoted among these students as alternative livelihood options, since many of them will not get an opportunity to go for a regular job due to social pressure. These students were fascinated by us and the places we come from and really wanted to know us, unfortunately we were running out of time so couldn't interact much with them. However it was good to meet these budding future generation!

Apart from this, it was good to visit a tribal school and see how the young generation in the villages is being groomed for the future. More needs to be done here in terms of training of the teachers, however this work is in process so it will be good to visit the schools after a year or so.

I would like to conclude saying that this meeting gave all the members good time to interact and know each other's work areas and has definitely opened new avenues for collaboration. Indeed its a great networking initiative and I am grateful for being a part of this network. Credits for overall coordination and efficient management of the workshop goes to Ajita and Myron!


INECC members group photo
Pournima Agarkar.
www.samuchit.com

  

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Alternate riverfront development approach

Dear All, 


As per my last blog under the Sustainably Smart Pune 2030 project, as part of the pilot studies that we are conducting, we are trying to define an approach to design an alternate riverfront development plan. 

Mutha river stretch near Omkareshwar temple
Manoj from Acwadam measuring the flowrate





















We are working in coordination with Jeevitnadi, for the Omkareshwar temple stretch of the river. The whole idea of this study is to come up with a holistic and local specific plan while designing any development for the riverfront. Since river is not a single entity, it is an ecosystem and connected very deeply with our lives. Understanding local peoples interaction and attachment with the river, the ecological setting, heritage structures, traffic and transport, hydro-geology, religious activities etc are some of the many aspects we considered while undertaking the study.

On the same lines while undertaking a survey on this stretch, we found that this particular stretch of Mutha river, is dominated by religious activities and heritage structures that need to be preserved in order to sustain any riverfront development. There are two public gardens in the stretch, one is the Nana Nani park and other is Vartak garden. There is a Dhobi Ghat that belongs to some trust and employs some people while drains the wastewater into the river.

There is a so-called natural spring in the riverbed area that faces the backside of Omkareshwar temple. The spring water looks clear and fresh, many people use this water for bathing and washing clothes. On interacting with these people we found that this spring has been there since ages now and is always flowing and draining into the river. On measuring the flow of spring water in coordination with an expert Manoj from Acwadam, we found that daily the spring drains more than one lakh litres of clear water slowly into the river. Now that was something interesting! Though it looks like the water is getting wasted, it has some ecological significance as well.

We are in a process of identifying local conservation strategies for the spring and the people dependent on that water. Stay tuned for more on these studies! 

The intern working on this project is an architect from D.Y.Patil School of Archtecture Ar. Vishaka 

Pournima Agarkar.

www.samuchit.com



Tuesday, September 18, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Carbon Neutral Campus Workshop!

Dear All, 


In my last blog I mentioned about our initiative on guiding educational institutes to go low carbon by undertaking a workshop on carbon neutral campus. 

Last Sunday, we could successfully conduct this workshop where like-minded, conscious and enthusiastic faculty and students from nine different colleges of Pune actively participated in the workshop. We had a great blend of 70 participants from different streams ranging from engineering, architecture to sciences. I would like to share few highlights of our workshop. 

I would like to mention that we could conduct our workshop at Indradhanushya centre for Citizenship and Environment Education auditorium which is a zero carbon emission facility since all the energy used here is generated through solar energy.

Though the workshop was just a full day event, it is expected that the process has to be followed by the college for an entire semester. Here Samuchit Enviro Tech along with Laya Resource centre, Indian Network of Ethics and Climate Change (INECC) and Pune International centre (PIC) will be mentoring and facilitating all the participants for quantifying their greenhouse gas emissions in a systematic manner in order to calculate their footprint and design a strategy for mitigating it for going towards carbon neutrality. 

Prof. Amitav Mallik from Pune International Centre (PIC) conducted the first session where he gave us an insight on whole lot of data showing how climate change is real and the need to go low carbon starting with Pune city by taking educational institutes as the first sector for change. 

Prof.Amitav Mallik and Dr. Karve 
Dr. Priyadarshini Karve  introduced everyone with the basics of carbon footprint, greenhouse gases, process of carbon accounting, probable actions in terms of behavioral change and technological changes and tentative schedule for going ahead with the entire process. The idea is to get feedback from the colleges on the first and second steps of the carbon accounting process i.e. defining the boundary and identifying the scope 1, 2 and scope 3 emission sources. Once we have this basic information we are planning to conduct another workshop in the month of October for going ahead. 


Through our next session, where one representative from each college gave a five minute talk on different  initiatives they have been taking in their colleges. It was seen that every college had either undergone a green audit or was undertaking some ecofriendly initiatives under the National Assessment and accreditation Council (NAAC) mechanism. However, none of the colleges had measured their carbon emissions and accordingly tracked how their initiatives were helping reduce the impact! Thus, this workshop will prove beneficial to the colleges from both the accreditation and environment perspective in a sustainable manner. Going low carbon is the new green someone just mentioned!

Myron Mendes addressing the group
The second half session was the most energizing session, since it was conducted by our enthusiastic member Myron Mendes, where he probed everyone to introspect, reflect and anticipate the challenges in going low carbon in a college campus and how social media can be used as an effective tool for creating awareness among the college community and others. Here, we observed that most of the challenges faced by the institutions were either related to management or finances. However, if the higher management is convinced and there is sufficient level of awareness among the lower management staff, faculty and students, implementing measures can be easy. Finances are mostly required for making technological modifications which can happen as per the availability of funds.

Group Discussions

The last session known as Cantastoria was conducted by the students themselves under the leadership of Myron Mendes. Here each college had to sing their story through a series of posters on climate change awareness and actions for mitigation. It was the most creative and innovative session of the day. Videos of the same will be available on our Youtube channel soon! 

I am sure everyone enjoyed the session and it has definitely made a lasting impact on their young minds!

Group picture

Pournima Agarkar. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Being local specific!

Dear All,

Every year we conduct pilot studies as part of the Sustainably Smart Pune 2030 study project, through an internship program. This year we could conduct studies on local climate vulnerability and I would like to share some of the insights of this study. 

By now, we all are aware of the impacts climate change is creating in our lives. We as Indians are definitely climate vulnerable and hence it is crucial for us to develop adaptation and mitigation strategies in order to survive. Though globally we are vulnerable, we wanted to check how vulnerable we are in the local context and specifically in an urban setting. For the same, we undertook a random survey of thirty households in selected areas of Kothrud, Aundh and Kasba Peth wards, with the help of three interns. Exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity are the three core aspects that help determine vulnerability. We considered exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity through factors like rainfall, flooding, temperature rise, population, socioeconomic conditions, governance, infrastructure, waste management, awareness on climate change etc and rated these factors on the scale of one to five, where one indicated low impact and five higher impact. These ratings were based on observations, local conditions, responses of the people and secondary data. According to the vulnerability assessment studies, higher exposure and sensitivity coupled with lower adaptive capacity causes vulnerability. After analyzing all the numbers, we found that the numbers for adaptive capacity were much lower than we thought, which means that these areas are certainly vulnerable. This according to us was an interesting find since we live in an urban setting where we have access to all the necessary facilities and still we are locally vulnerable to climate change. 

Understanding the severity of climate change impacts locally is indeed the first step for developing adaptation strategies as an immediate action while Sustainably planning our upcoming cities will help us mitigate the impacts of climate change in the future!


Aspects of Climate vulnerability 
Household survey














This work was done by our interns Kasturi, Shivani and Aishwarya, who are studying Architecture.

I feel that undertaking local specific surveys for local specific actions are one of the ways to find appropriate solutions for a Sustainable city.  We are conducting similar study for an alternate riverfront development plan and I will share the insights of the same soon. Stay tuned!

Pournima Agarkar. 
www.samuchit.com

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Thought for Food

Dear All, 


Myron Mendes and Ajita Tiwari - organizers of the workshop
Last Saturday I got an opportunity to participate in a workshop on Food Sustainability. The best part of this workshop was the engagement of people from varied fields, right from foodies, food bloggers, doctors, dietitians, nutritionists, media people, academicians, entrepreneurs to ground level experts working with fisher folks, farmers and tribal communities.
Laya resource centre in coordination with The Indian Network of Ethics and Climate Change (INECC) came up with the  concept of Building people's agenda towards resilient food choices. The whole idea of this workshop focused on looking at food choices that we should be making in this age of changing climate in order to sustain ourselves. The impact climate change is having on our food, its availability and demand for feeding around 10 billion people in this century is going to be one of the biggest challenges especially for India since it will be the most populous country and most vulnerable to climate risks. 

Dr. Priyadarshini Karve opened the session with her expertise on the science of climate change and its impacts in the light of food availability followed by a game on understanding food resource and its sustainability and a TED talk on global food crisis. Her session indeed was an eye opening and delivered a straight forward message that sensitized everyone about the gravity of the upcoming challenges of food availability.

Session by Ganesh Nakhwa who is closely working with the fisher folk stressed on grave realities of climate change and its impacts faced by the fishing community due to sea surface temperature rises that is in turn affecting seafood availability. He recommended diversification in sea food choices instead of obsession with prawns and pomfret. Many other fish varieties are preferable in terms of availability, cost and nutritional value.

Session by Manoj Dawale along with a local farmer Rajendra of Vikas Sahyog Pratisthan from Buldana district shared with us an indigenous poem of a prosperous farmer for whom his yield is his gold. They stressed on the hardships the farmer is undergoing today due to lack of support and acknowledgement that disregards his hard work. Rather than monetary support, his efforts need recognition and value. Responding to the game on sustainability, Rajendra mentioned how a farmer believes in taking only that much what is required and believes in reserving for the future and his fellow humans. Lessons on food security can be learnt from our own farmers! Listening to a farmer who actually toils for the food that we get on our plate, was an emotional moment for all of us.

Session by an entrepreneur Cassandra Nazareth, empowering the tribal adivasi communities of Aarey colony in Mumbai gave us a shock when she said that some villages there still have no electricity. A metropolitan city and commercial capital of India, having hidden villages without electricity......seriously, where are we heading!!! She introduced us to a tribal women who was a bit shy but still conversed quite well and invited us to have a tribal lunch which is one of the key initiatives taken by Cassandra, where people get to visit the tribal community, taste their food and can buy artistic stuff made by them. A short session by Deepti Jhangiani involved in Mumbai farm project introduced us to urban agriculture happening in Mumbai. It was good to know that a few citizens and experts are volunteering for such initiatives even in a congested and polluted city like Mumbai.
It was indeed a great feeling listening to all of them. Later on, there were two short sessions one on nutritional value of food by Dr. Subhadra Mandalika who stressed on the importance of balanced diet having appropriate intake of proteins, vitamins, micro nutrients, fats and carbohydrates both through vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian diet was a good take away. Lastly, Simona Terron introduced us to podcasting as a good media for communication on any issues of social concern, including food. 

Guest speakers from left Dr. Priyadarshini K, top Cassandra N and tribal women, bottom Myron M and Ganesh N, right Manoj D with Rajendra 

In this age of sustainability, changing individual consumption patterns, shifting to local and diversified food options, having balanced diet, minimizing food wastage are some of the local solutions towards food sustainability. I am grateful to Myron Mendes for inviting me to this workshop and glad it has made me reflect more on my food habits.

All Puneites - if anyone is interested to have similar workshop in Pune, kindly comment or email me! 

Pournima Agarkar.
www.samuchit.com

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Why Educational Campuses should go low carbon?

Dear All, 

Pune is a hub of education. It is known as the Oxford of the East due to the presence of innumerable universities, management education institutes, professional degree colleges etc..

Due to all these organizations, the city is full of youngsters who migrate from different parts of the country and world, making the city a live and vibrant city. However, migration for education or job opportunities has led to mass urbanization in the city leading it to be one of the reasons for increase in carbon emissions of the city. It has now become crucial for all of us to be prepared for erratic changes in weather pattern and other potential disasters arising from climate change. At the same time, it is equally important to keep the future carbon emissions under control. Mobilizing the enthusiasm and energy of the youth to undertake strategies for reducing carbon emissions can be a good step to cope with the upcoming challenges.  

As educational institutions form the source of knowledge, if these institutions undertake the activity of calculating their carbon emissions and design a strategy to reduce the same in order to attain carbon neutrality (reducing the net greenhouse gas emissions to zero) by involving the enthusiastic faculty and students of their colleges. This activity will enable a win-win situation for both the institutions as well as the youth. Here the institutions can provide hands-on learning by acting upon what they preach. This in turn can create a good opportunity for brand building as a green or eco-friendly institution. Every year the institutions can take up this activity and publish their carbon emission reductions year on year in order to showcase their contributions towards mitigating climate change.  In the process, the youth undertaking this activity will be sensitized to be environmentally conscious citizens and professionals of tomorrow. 

From this perspective, we at Samuchit along with Laya Resource Centre, The Indian Network of Ethics and Climate Change (INECC) and Pune International Centre (PIC) thought of introducing the concept of making college campuses go low carbon. The first step of this process is a one day workshop under the YuvaDrishti initiative of Laya-INECC. This workshop is focused on youth (below the age of 35 years) from colleges in Pune that are keen to make their campuses go Carbon Neutral. The idea is to involve young faculty along with students as a team to work on this activity. Though the workshop will be just a one day event, the activity can run for an entire semester depending upon the initiative of the college. Our panel of resource persons will be available throughout for mentoring and guiding the faculty and students in the entire process. 

Source: https://www.plt.org/greenschools/engage-your-students/

If interested kindly write to me at pournima@samuchit.com. All the educational institutions from Pune are invited to participate in this event.

Pournima Agarkar. 








Tuesday, August 21, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Raksha Bandhan 'Bond with Environment'

Dear All, 

With the Kerala floods making headlines everyday, we all are witnessing the dreadful impacts of ignorance towards our environment and its sensitivity as well as its potential at the same time. According to the Western Ghats ecology expert panel, most of the regions in Kerala facing this disaster were recommended to be classified as ecologically sensitive areas (ESAs). However these recommendations were either rejected or ignored by the government, giving priority to so-called 'development'. Madhav Gadgil, the chairman of committee thus termed this disaster as a man made calamity due to the irresponsible environment policies made by the state governments. 

Metro Pillars under water near Baba bhide bridge
Riverside road under water seen from Lakdipul
We are not far from facing such a disaster in our city, Pune. Areas around Pune, Mumbai, Konkan, Goa fall under the purview of Western Ghats, any illogical and inconsiderate development around these places is going to affect us sooner or later.

Its been raining in Pune since past one week continuously, the dams are full and water from the dams has been released into our rivers. The riverbed is fully covered under water, riverside roads are flooded and hence closed. Pillars being built in the riverbed for the upcoming metro rail are already under water. The city is facing heavy traffic congestion, causing delays in our day to day activities. In order to resolve the traffic problems we are constructing rapid mass transit options like metros, however if we ignore the climatic conditions and environmental flows we are going to create another menace. Pune will also be undergoing riverfront development soon which completely neglects the flooding nature of our rivers. We are underestimating the potential impacts of environment and climate change thus we are bound to face disasters like that of Kerala 2018 and Chennai 2015 soon.... 

Riverbed under water
In this era of changing climate and environment degradation, our very lives are at stake. It would therefore be madness to prioritise 'development' over these concerns! In order to save ourselves we need to advocate for rational environment friendly policies and actions at the central and state level. At the community level we need to be vigilant of all the development activity happening in and around our surroundings and raise voice against any activity that violates the norms of environment.

We also need to be prepared for disasters. Are we as citizens of Pune ready to face floods? Do we have the required infrastructure for giving early warning signals? Imagine if there will be no electricity, our mobiles will not work for more than two days. In such a situation, is there any alternative for us to communicate??? Does our disaster management cell reflect or train or undertake any such workshops or drills anywhere??? If NO, we need to demand such inputs. If YES, we need to review and promote such activities in our community. At an individual level we need to adhere to Eco-friendly lifestyles, reducing our carbon as well as ecological footprint is one of the first steps towards it. 

Just a thought, coming Raksha Bandhan where we celebrate the bond with our siblings, let us reflect upon our bond with our environment and pledge to protect it from irrational developmental decisions in order to save ourselves! 


Pournima Agarkar. 
www.samuchit.com

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

My City My Responsibility - Why Should Anyone Learn Carbon Accounting?

Dear All, 


In my last blog, I introduced our online course on Basic Carbon Accounting that will be launched very soon. In today's blog, let me explain why this is a great opportunity for all of you readers!  

Carbon Accounting is a process of measuring, monitoring and reporting any individual's or activity's or event's or process's greenhouse gas emission in a defined period. Greenhouse gases (GHG's) are the gases that are able to trap heat in the atmosphere that make the Earth's surface warmer, and therefore a habitable place for all living beings. However when the concentration of these gases increases beyond a certain limit, that's when it starts creating a problem leading to what is called as CLIMATE CHANGECarbon dioxide is the main GHG, however there are other gases that contribute to the effect too. While the amount of GHGs in our atmosphere has fluctuated due to natural causes over the billions of years of the Earth's existence, in the post-industrial era, the GHGs have been accumulating in the atmosphere at an alarming rate, due mainly to various human activities fueled by coal and petroleum.

Carbon accounting helps us account for all the GHGs by creating a greenhouse gas inventory of each activity in a systematic manner. It provides a holistic picture of all the emissions and thus enables us to design an appropriate emission reduction strategy. This allows you to set GHG mitigation targets and contribute towards preventing Earth from tipping into a 'hothouse' phase, which will be highly destructive to humans.

With the signing of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change by the world's nations,  post 2020 it may soon become mandatory for businesses to submit or publicly declare their annual carbon account. Already, some of the major corporations in the world are undertaking carbon accounting in their organizations. Reporting carbon annual emissions and the reduction targets is a norm among all major multinational companies. 

Source: http://fortune.com/2017/05/22/climate-change-co2-fortune-100-companies/

All this means is that:

a. If you are a young person at the start of your professional career, having at least a basic understanding of carbon accounting in addition to the other skills required for your profession, will add value to your resume, and make you an attractive candidate to recruit for the best companies in your sector.

b. Once you acquire a basic understanding of the principles of carbon accounting, you can build on the knowledge and become an auditor or a consultant in this sector. China and India are the two leading carbon emitters in the 21st century. There is a tremendous pressure on us to keep our carbon emissions in check, without derailing the story of development. We can only manage what we measure. Therefore, it is only a matter of time before government of India will have to demand carbon accounting data from its industries in order to meet its international commitments and to cement its position as a responsible member of the global community. In the next 10 years or so, thousands of new job opportunities may open up in this sector, and those with an early start and some experience in the bag will benefit the most!

Our online course on Carbon accounting can definitely be a starting point for you. You can build a great career path for yourself, AND contribute to solving the greatest problem faced by humanity today!  

Dr. Priyadarshini Karve & Pournima Agarkar.